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A Pending Vacancy at Alameda Towne Centre? Borders Books on “Death Watch”

According to this article on the slow death of “category killer” specialty retailers, Borders Books is on an industry analyst “death watch.”

The Borders Books store at Alameda Town Centre opened barely a year ago, in March of 2008. A stroll through the shopping plaza, however, reveals that much of the retail space, after a big expansion, is still vacant – commercial property owners usually depend on anchor stores like Borders to lure other retailers into the smaller nooks and crannies of a plaza.

Now, Stacy Mitchell, author of the book “Big-Box Swindle” says that “Big-box mass merchandisers, like Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco, have taken over 30 percent of the book market. These chains are now selling as many books as Barnes & Noble and Borders.” The big-box stores carry a limited number of book titles and sell them below cost as a “loss leader” to get people into the store.

For some time, Harsch Realty, the owner of Alameda Towne Center, had been trying to get a Target store into the plaza, but ultimately abandoned the effort due to opposition from the plaza’s immediate neighbors. Most recently, Catellus had told City Council that they were working to get Target into the Alameda Landing project as a standalone store after freezing all other efforts on the project, which was slated to include 300 homes and additional retail. (Clif-Bar was once a scheduled tenant as well.)

So while we may get a Target in Alameda over the next couple of years, it seems there is a strong possibility that we could lose Borders, due to the aggressive tactics of retailers like Target, Wal-Mart and CostCo.

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