Borders Books at Downtown Crossing is closing

After seeing the rumor posted on Twitter and LiveJournal, I just now phoned the store to confirm. Liquidators are taking over the store on July 1. The store was unable to renegotiate its lease with the landlord under Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

This will leave no new-book stores at all in Downtown Boston. Barnes & Noble closed a block away in 2006.

(x-posted to b0st0n LiveJournal)



Free tagging: 


oh man

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That spot is going to look terrible.

You're right there. That

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You're right there. That little statue park is already a hang out spot for homeless people. Without the foot traffic into the store the whole place will be filled with em.


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I used to see a lot of them hanging out in the Borders cafe area to get out of the cold in the winter.

Wendy's and Borders were also two decent places to take a piss if you were in DTX and had to go.

That's bad news

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Not a lot of retailers that can fill that very oddly shaped place. Used to do a lot of holiday shopping there and loved the Seattle's Best. No more.

Anyone know what business/es

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Anyone know what business/es originally occupied that building? Seems poorly designed, in my opinion.

A bank

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It was clearly once a bank (as I recall, you can still see the vault door down on the first floor, back by the travel section). I don't know which flavor of bank however; probably doesn't exist any more either.

Boston Five Cents Savings Bank

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You can still see what the building was once like by going around back - look for all the bucrania (the ox skulls that were once quite the thing for architects going for that classical look).


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It was built to be a bank

Boston Five Cents Savings Bank. Why do you think it is poorly designed? I have always enjoyed this store and the way that it relates to the adjoining plaza.

I should have clarified to

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I should have clarified to say that I thought it was poorly designed with regards to functionality. The interior is an overwhelmingly large space which I thought made the bookstore look empty most of the time and must have been very expensive to heat. I did appreciate being able to look out the windows from the inside, though I thought the exterior didn't at all blend with the surrounding buildings.

The Boston Five - original photos

Ouch, that one hurt! The Boston Five is, in my opinion, one of the most brilliant reuses in this city. The building isn't as oppressive as City Hall, despite being designed by the same architects (Kallmann McKinnell & Wood Architects). The building is beautiful, open, and responds excellently with its plaza. Borders actually kept THE BOSTON FIVE bronze logo that sits underneath the revolving doors too. Check it out sometime.

Anyway, here are some original photos from when The Boston Five (Cents Saving Bank) first opened.

I heard that's going to

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I heard that's going to become an AT&T store

I heard that was going to

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I heard that was going to become an AT&T Mobile Store. I see the future of DTX as a series of mobile stores and banks. They seem to be the only businesses with any money these days.

Oh, good

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That will save a lot of people a trip to Harvard Square.

The Athens of America

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Really bad news for DTX. When bookstores close, where will there be quiet places where cell phone users can chat in peace?

Wow, that's kind of shocking.

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Wow, that's kind of shocking. That store generally seems busy, as opposed to the Back Bay one. So now for chain bookstores it's just the Barnes and Noble in the Prudential Center Mall and the BU bookstore in Kenmore.

It is busy...

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The trouble isn't really that specific store, but the company's financial problems. They don't want to pay that rent anymore.

I used to work there. I feel bad for my former colleagues, and for Downtown Crossing...

Less competition too

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Both stores you mentioned are both of the B&N brand too. Borders was their main competition, but they've been suffering badly the last couple of years. This closing is a big blow.

Not QUITE True

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This will leave no new-book stores at all in Downtown Boston.

Not quite true. There still is a Barnes & Nobel in the Prudential Tower.

Barnes and Noble does operate

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Barnes and Noble does operate the Emerson College store on Boylston (next to the Colonial). It's small, but better than nothing.

There's a small Barnes &

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There's a small Barnes & Nobel near Emerson on Tremont street.

More competition at the dollar carts at the Brattle.

Strictly speaking

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Strictly speaking, that Barnes and Noble is a part of Emerson, in that it is the official school store.

that's the first time I've

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that's the first time I've ever heard the Prudential referred to as being in Downtown Boston.

That suuucks

Downtown Crossing is going the way of the dodo. And with the new post talking about increased crime in the area, this is only going to make it worse. Between the giant hole in the ground and the increasing empty retail stores, DTXing is just depressing.

It's a real shame

To loose yet another store in Downtown Crossing. I wonder if the city can do the same thing with that building as Northhampton and Salem have done with their over sized inner city malls. When Thornes closed in Northhampton they turned the three story building in to a lovely mix of artist shops, craft stores, and cooking stores. Salem has a space for local artists to display and sell their work.

We could do the very same thing down town. Down town is suppose to be special, not just a repeat of every dull shopping mall that lines Route 9.

Deadman Crossing

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When I worked in the area during the mid 1980s, Downtown Crossing had still some (not a lot) but some oomph left. But it has not really been "special" for a very long time.

The reality is is that people are buying their books on-line, shopping on-line and visiting malls like the dull one on Route 9. However we may bemoan the fact, that is reality. People are not going "down town" for shopping any time soon, except maybe on a street like Newbury (but even that street has taken some financial hits.)

Artist's shops, craft stores and cooking stores are niche stores. They would die in Downtown Crossing; not enough of the niche shoppers to purchase over priced artwork, crafts and fine cookware.

I think we are seeing the future of Downtown Crossing and it is not pretty.

On the plus side we should be

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On the plus side we should be getting another liquidation sale on books

Really sad

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Borders was the best store left in Downtown Crossing. There's almost no reason at all to climb out of the subway station now. I used to spend a lot of time and money in Borders before I bought a Kindle and an iPad...I know, I know.

I wonder if Borders had seen this coming, if they would have tried to keep their Boylston St. location open instead? With the economics of bookselling in 2011, it probably doesn't matter anyway.

used books nearby

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Brattle book shop on West St. -- their outdoor bookstalls have prices that can't be beat.
And there's also Commonwealth Books on Spring St. and the other one at Milk St.


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Their customer service is excellent and I really try to support these stores and always look for a book there before trying elsewhere, but their stock never seems to turn over, as opposed to the Brattle.

Commonwealth - Milk St

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Yes, but the Comm on Milk has a big, fluffy cat. Makes up for any issues you may have with their stock :)

that sucks

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On a related note, why does the Corner Mall close at 6:30?


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not enough foot traffic after 6:30p to justify the stores being open.

Could B&N step in?

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My sense is that Barnes and Noble pulled out of Downtown Crossing because they were getting their clocks cleaned by Borders (B&N wasn't offering CDs, DVDs etc. at that point in time; also suffering from a crappy layout), and that Borders closing at DTX is more a result of the parent company going under, rather than that specific retail establishment not doing well - it's a generally busy location.

I would hope B&N would be thinking about stepping into that void, there...


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i work here....

Time to socialize DTX. The

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Time to socialize DTX.

The city needs to buy up everything and start charging realistic leases. Not subsidized leases, but at-cost leases instead of the profit-seeking leases of our fine slum-lord owners.

Do this for a few years so that the area is thriving, then sell the buildings at a massive profit, and use the money to improve the infrastructure.

This is america. Where profit and capitalism is king. It's time for the taxpayer to enjoy the profits that the wealthy get to bathe in.

Because Massachusetts

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Because Massachusetts politicians are so good at picking winners and running businesses.

two words

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luxury condos

I think that's also what they

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I think that's also what they said when the original Barnes and Noble folded in 2006. 5 years later it's still empty - what's depressing is that the city doesn't even try to beautify the storefront in anyway - couldn't some school kids paint a mural or something? Instead it's just allowed to accumulate garbage, trash and graffiti - City Hall is bereft of any kind of original thinking. It's the second biggest embarrassment down there.


Isn't the DSW in the same location that once housed Barne's & Noble?

Globe takes note

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At 2:31, several hours after Ron's post. Go Team UHub (yeah, yeah, the Globe gets scoops every day, but they also have a fulltime newsroom of, what, 200 people?)

accounting firm taking over 2nd fl

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I was in there today and spoke to a girl who worked there- she said that the accounting firm on the upper floors is going to be renting the second floor... obviously for a pretty penny that Borders was unwilling to pay. She said that this closure of Borders has nothing to do with the corporations issues, but with issues regarding lease terms.

I would like to know how it makes sense for an accounting firm to take over that odd space on the second floor- and how in the world will they seal it off from the atrium and first floor... the escalators too?

DTX is dying.


There are way too many vacant spaces!

Will someone for the love of

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Will someone for the love of God put a supermarket down there? A Whole Foods, a Trader Joes, anything? Just so I can pick up some fresh bread on the way home from work? Stop and think about what people who live in the city really need for once? Just in case that Public Market by Haymarket doesn't work out.

I would love a supermarket

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I would love a supermarket there, but I don't know how viable it is with minimal residence in the area. There's already a Whole Foods on Cambridge St. for Beacon Hill, and Shaw's and Trader Joes in the Back Bay. I don't think a small collection of office workers buying an item or two on the way home would keep a grocery open.

I'd love a market . . .

. . . on the waterfront. The Golden Goose is great- don't get me wrong- love it- but I wouldn't mind a market that sells fresh produce and meat and good bread- say- where Chiofaro has his proposed development display? (And that isn't a comment on my approval or disapproval of that plan.)

This isn't your father's Downtown Crossing

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There might actually be a few thousand people living right downtown these days - from the grumps at Tremont on the Common who like looking at the city from behind their windows except for all the people to all the offices on the streets between Tremont and Washington that have been quietly converted into residences. There are now even people with kids living there, which is kind of amazing.

Where's Waldo?

Oooops! Meant to say Mumbles. If this is primarily a lease problem, couldn't Hizzoner apply a little political pressure somewhere. Or are only far-off NYC developers worthy of his wrath?

Not a problem, an opportunity

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Go upthread to see what the BRA thinks. We didn't have Twitter in 2006, so we don't know if they felt similarly optimistic when the other big bookstore down the street went vacant.

I'm going to miss this . . .

. . . store. If I was just walking around or doing errands or had to be somewhere near there- I almost always stopped in that bookstore- I'd grab a coffee in there and do some book and DVD and music browsing and usually end up buying more than I had planned. It was the center of that area- good people watching too (though I really still dislike the Potato Famine monument- just a tad too maudlin for my tastes and the figures look like cavemen though even it is better than the Hungarian Revolution memorial on Kilby/Water).

This is so sad.

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Borders Book Store was a wonderful bookstore, where one could get great books at great prices. It's unfortunate to see bookstores closing, since they're wonderful places to browse. I have a feeling that the availability of kindles may be at least part of the cause of so many bookstore closings.