Long vacant Downtown Crossing eyesore could be sold for $65 million

The Globe reports a pair of Chicago real-estate firms could be about to plonk down the big bucks for the perpetually unused former Barnes & Noble building on Washington Street. And at $65 million, you can bet they're not going to just open another bookstore there.



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Chinatown Public Library!...

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Advocate Types who visit, shop, eat around Chinatown can contribute to a great neighboring community with calls for furthering a more rapid development of Chinatown Public Library for Boston Chinatown, Theatre District, Tufts Medical Center area, Leather District, Downtown Crossing, South Station area!


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They should redo it into office space, it's a convenient area being near State St T stop.

Curious ...

Looking down from the Millennium Tower, one would notice that four of the buildings to the right of this building are owned by Ron Druker (lining Bromfield Street).

Either he lost out on the bidding, wasn't asked, or wasn't interested. He has said in the past he'd like a tall building(s) there. (And, there is the one proposed for the other side of Bromfield.)

The fancy buildings next to

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The fancy buildings next to this one, and including this one, are under historic protections for being fancy fancy. Any redevelopment is going to be an expensive facadectomy. The shadow protection laws for the Common will also come into play.

Not sure that's right

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The Filene's Buidling is a landmark and protected. The Fox Building (where the Gap Outlet is) is on the National Register, but that doesn't offer any real protection. I don't think any of the other buildings in that block are even listed on the NR (although some of them probably could be if a developer wanted to use tax credits to help fund a project).

Fox building was protected

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I was involved with the development of the Fox building and many of the original features had to be preserved. If you walk into the Gap and look up and around you will see most of the art deco styling is still intact along with the original stained glass ceiling. The stone faced was also preserved.

The BnN property is massive and wraps around the Fox building. It's amazing that property has been vacant for so long considering the yearly expense to keep it up along with the over $400,000 tax bill. It's gotta cost $500k plus a year.


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Yet another Dunkin' Donuts!

Have you seen Dunkin prices

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Have you seen Dunkin prices lately? They think they're a 'restaurant' and not a coffee/ donut joint. With their new branding and ridiculous coffee prices they could at least give people something comfortable to sit on.

According to the article, it

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According to the article, it's $65 Million for 75,000 Sqft, and the building is likely in need of a super-expensive gut renovation. Some people must have a lot of faith in the future of the area!


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A lot of faith that if they wave enough money at the city they can build as tall as they need to in order to turn a decent profit.

Can you say Don Chioffaro? Or Winthrop Square?

In Boston, that's called zoning.

Where did this stereotype come from?

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I usually prefer Starbucks but when I do go for the local Dunks instead, the prices are pretty much the same for my coffee, oz for oz. Assuming you don't compare a downtown sbux to a suburban Dunks of course.
Caveat: I drink plain black coffee, maybe the prices for the fancier liquid candy drinks are different?

I miss Barnes & Noble

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I miss Barnes & Noble, though I realize the day of that type of bookstore seems to be passed. One could lose oneself in the books and other items there. If I can show my age even further, I miss Grants, the department store that occupied the space before Barnes & Noble was there.

Barnes & Noble is still around...

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They may have less stores than they had in years past, but they are still in business. Locations in Boston I can think of immediately are at Prudential Center along with the MIT, Harvard, and BU bookstores under the B&N name.
All their chain competitors are gone AFAIK. To my recollection, the reason B&N is still here is because the key business decisions they made 20 years ago turned out to be the right ones, while their competitors (ex: Borders) had the exact situation at that same time, and made the wrong ones which ended up haunting them.

I still miss the B&N store in Downtown Crossing. That was my go-to place for books growing up.

Another one

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There's a huge standalone Barnes and Noble at the North Shore Mall in Peabody too.

Books A Million is a pretty

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Books A Million is a pretty similar chain, but I don't think they have any locations around here.

And as an Emerson alum, I have to give a shout out to the B&N College store at Emerson. It's a lot smaller than the Harvard or BU stores, of course, but it's open to the public and, as improbable as it would have seemed to me as a student 15 years ago, is the only new bookstore left downtown.


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maybe you're thinking down the street a bit where Borders became Walgreens, a different W store?

Missed Opportunity

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The DTX Walgreens is a missed opportunity. There's a massive amount of space and not much in there. It seems to be designed to be more of a convenience store or a grab and go lunch place than the neighborhood Walgreens stores that have a lot of varied merchandise.

Are you kidding?

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There is an entire Walgreens in the back bigger than any you have ever been to.

In the front is a huge liquor store. A coffee bar, a souvenir store, a sushi bar, tons of drinks and food, a salad bar, an ice cream bar, and more.

Really? Every square inch of the place is being utilized.



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I agree with 99% of your statement. Its a nice walgreens.

However.. Borders in that location had a second and third floor. Walgreens does not :-)

Agree, less than a regular Walgreens

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That Walgeens is great for convenience foods, and it has a good HBA section. But there's a lot of things you'd find in a 'regular' Walgreens that it does not have or is very limited in selection. The back area is big, but not bigger than most Walgeens. I get why it's more like a convenience store, but it's annoying to go in and try to find something you'd expect in a Walgeens, and they don't have it.

Do you people ever read the story ?

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"A source familiar with LaSalle and L3’s plans described a “substantial” investment that would revive two stories of retail with three floors of creative office space above."

So that's what's going to happen.

It's right there in the story.


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I'd love to see a two story Dunkin Donuts, with couches/tables to surf the web.