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Vt. bookstore inks deal for new building in Saratoga Springs

Friday, September 28, 2012
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— The owners of the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vt., have signed a letter of intent to locate a large bookstore in a new building that will be built on Broadway.

“It’s an exciting property. It’s an exciting town with great people,” said Chris Morrow, one of the owners of the independent family-owned bookstore in Vermont.

He said he signed a letter of intent this week with local developer Sonny Bonacio. Bonacio Construction has started site work at the former city parking lot at 420 Broadway.

Bonacio’s 46,000-square-foot, four-story retail-office-residential building will resemble a four-story structure that stood at the site in the late 19th and early 20th centuries before it burned down.

Earlier this year, Morrow had discussions with Myron M. Hunt, a real estate company in Buffalo that owns the former Borders bookstore building at Division Street and Broadway. He said the talks didn’t work out.

“They are pretty well locked up,” he said about the former Borders location. He said he understood the owners were committed to another tenant that will locate offices in the two-story building.

Morrow said Thursday he will have 9,000 square feet of space on two floors in the Bonacio building when it opens in June.

He is still raising money for the project but would not say how much.

“I’m confident it will happen but it’s not yet a done deal,” he said. He said he has 90 days to raise the money to finalize the transaction.

“I’m feeling pretty good about it,” Morrow said. He said he has been talking to some Saratoga Springs business people during his fundraising efforts.

“We’ve had a lot of customers from [Saratoga Springs],” he said.

Borders closed its Saratoga Springs store more than a year ago, along with its 641 other bookstores across the country. City officials have been unhappy that the 25,000-square-foot building has been empty for such a long period of time.

Earlier this year Chris Hunt of Myron M. Hunt said the company would prefer to lease the entire space to one tenant rather than split up the building.

John DeMarco, owner of The Lyrical Ballad Bookstore at 7 Phila St., said this summer he would welcome Northshire opening in downtown Saratoga Springs.

“I think it would be great to have them in town,” he said.

The Lyrical Ballad, which has been open for more than 40 years, is an antiquarian bookshop that deals in used and rare books.

The Northshire Bookstore was opened on Main Street in Manchester Center in September 1976 by Ed and Barbara Morrow. Chris Morrow is one of their sons.

The bookstore moved into a former restaurant in 1985 and later added a wing.

 
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