Huge empty commercial space, what else is new?

Huge empty commercial space, what else is new?

Joseph-Beth Booksellers in South Side closed the doors of their Carson Street location on February 22nd… and moved about a block away (to the corner of S. 27th Street and Sidney) on the 27th. While Joseph-Beth Booksellers was a favorite independent bookstore among many Pittsburghers, the new location might change that. Don’t get us wrong, it’s still a nice place to buy books and magazines, but the new store is has one floor and feels much smaller. It doesn’t help that a lot of the small space is taken up by non-book related gift items.

The old store wasn’t exactly the easiest place to plop down a laptop and study for hours (unlike the Borders in East Side). They set it up this way by not placing tables and chairs everywhere – which was ok because Caribou Coffee was attached to the bookstore and provided plenty of study room. But now, Caribou is up the street and around the corner from the bookstore.

The old store was well-known for hosting book signings and other events. It doesn’t look like the new store will have the space for these kinds of things, but we’ll wait and see what happens.

Why did they move? We don’t know for sure. According to their blog, they cut back their music department and were left with some extra space. Our take? We think they just weren’t making enough money in the old location. So they probably sat down with their landlord and negotiated to carry over the old lease to a smaller, less expensive location. This is probably a better business decision for the bookstore and the real estate company. It would look really bad to potential tenants if there were so many vacant spaces – and at least the bookstore won’t have to shut down for good. It would be interesting to know how much time is left on their new lease, because that’s likely to be the amount of time South Side works will have an independent bookstore.

On a positive note, it’s cool how they involved the community and offered store credit for a helping hand during the move.

Where is the new store?
Joseph-Beth Booksellers (map)
510 south 27th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
(412) 381-3600

What are their hours?
Monday – Thursay 10am – 8pm Closed
Friday – Saturday 10am – 9pm Closed
Sundays from 11am – 7pm Closed

What’s your favorite bookstore in Pittsburgh?
Tell us in the comment section below…

We've Moved Across the Street to the Former Z Gallerie Space

We've Moved Across the Street to the Former Z Gallerie Space

The new Joseph-Beth Bookstore on South 27th Street

The new Joseph-Beth Bookstore on South 27th Street

The new Joseph-Beth Bookstore

The new Joseph-Beth Bookstore


Update:

Joseph-Beth Booksellers is closing for good this time. This leaves South Side Works with yet another huge vacant retail space. What was once one of the hottest spots to hang out is turning into a boredom zone thanks to… thanks to what?

The businesses will claim the cause is related to the bad economy. Joseph-Beth just announced its bankruptcy filing. But is the “bad economy” simply becoming a convenient excuse? Maybe the cause is due to the local developers/landords who charge exorbitant rates for commercial storefronts in Pittsburgh.

Either way, it’s sad, because JB was a great place to buy books. And SSW could have remained one of the coolest places in the Burgh to hang out, but instead it’s failing fast.

Most of the building owners in Pittsburgh seem to be pretty boring. They would rather have vacancies than give innovative, local start-ups a chance with reduced rent and other incentives to fill the space. Places sit there empty until a bank or cell phone chain comes knocking. Pittsburgh is lacking cool businesses to support. Our money doesn’t stay in the city – it all goes to out of state companies that throws stores all over towns like ours just to guarantee they have maximum exposure – and the developers here play along just to ensure they have a 5 or 10 year lease with a blue chip organization.

Do we really need another T-Mobile, AT&T, or bank? What value does it add to have 5 banks in a square block when they all close at like 4pm anyway? What value does it add to have a T-Mobile in the coolest space in Oakland (the old Beehive at King’s Court) when you can pay your T-Mobile bills online.

More reasons why Pittsburgh is boring. Just like all the boring company names overtaking the Downtown skyline. Pittsburgh is a big mall – and we’re all a bunch of mall-rats and mall workers just trying find ourselves and get to the next best place in our lives. Disagree? Then why do most of the young people flee?

When are they closing the bookstore?
November 14th, 2010