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Washington Business Journal: Bozzuto Takes Cue From Baltimore Project with Brookland Barnes & Noble

September 04, 2013

Published in the Washington Business Journal

In leasing the anchor retail space at Monroe Street Market in D.C.'s Brookland Neighborhood to a Barnes & Noble college bookstore, co-developer Bozzuto Group took some inspiration from our sister city to the north.

Bozzuto finalized a deal with Barnes & Noble at Catholic University to take 14,000 square feet in the mixed-use, multi-phase development. The store will sell regular Barnes & Noble merchandise in addition to college textbooks and Catholic University of America gear. The retailer will also include a 44-seat Starbucks cafe.

The deal isn't a brand new concept for Bozzuto, which installed a Barnes & Noble college bookstore for the University of Baltimore on the two lower floors of its Fitzgerald at UB Midtown building in 2010. The project has flourished, according to Mike Henehan, who is leading development on Monroe Street Market for Bozzuto.

"From our perspective, we saw the success at Fitzgerald of the space," Henehan said. "We watched it evolve, and really be a blending area of the neighborhood."

He's hoping Barnes & Noble at Catholic University will do the same for Monroe Street Market, which sits on property that formerly housed Catholic U dorms between the university and the Brookland neighborhood.

The development's rental units will likely be home to some students, but Monroe Street Market will also house 27 artists in their artist studio and retail spaces. Other retailers will also fill out the development, which will ultimately include 720 apartments, 45 townhouses and a community arts center.

"I think this is really a way to bring together the community, to provide a spot where everyone can go and have a cup of coffee," said Henehan. "We're at the front doors of the university and also the entrance to the community, so it will be a good common area."

With the book business facing an uphill battle in today's digital world, a bookstore to anchor a project like Monroe Street Market may seem risky. But Henehan said the combination of college bookstore sales, including apparel, Barnes & Noble's changing merchandising and the cafe will strike the right balance.

"What really appealed to us in that project was the larger retailer, bringing in all different kind of folks," Henehan said of the Fitzgerald project in Baltimore. "It created a spot where they could all interact and sort of made for a creative space in the neighborhood."