Louisville’s retail real estate market just took a really big hit — two prominent and huge Borders stores will be closing as a result of the parent company’s bankruptcy filing.
The biggest gap may be downtown, where a 23,000 SF Borders anchors Fourth Street Live. Let’s start the speculation now — will the city’s economic development staff offer up some cash to Cordish to put something in there to keep a black hole from developing in the middle of the city’s major tourist attraction?
Let’s just wait and see. Given the flack Jerry Abramson and the Metro Council caught for their million-dollar giveaway to convert a bowling alley/bar into a sports bar/bowling alley, I wonder if Greg Fischer has some ideas for a new use for the former bookstore. The overpriced steakhouse market is probably exhausted with government’s Eddie Merlot’s sponsorship, but I’m betting the big corner won’t be vacant more than a year.
The other store is on Hurstbourne, a place I use often for meetings. It is a stand-alone store, surrounded by a Target, Home Depot and Smokey Bones and Lonestar restaurants, along with a Shane Co. jeweler.
It’s hard to imagine any retailer coming in to take over the space (Hello, Trader Joe’s!) at either location.
But it’s also hard to imagine how any modern bookstore remains popular, given the many other ways you can buy merchandise for sale in them.
The Borders stores on Gardiner Lane and on Shelbyville Road will remain open, for now. The others will close in the next few weeks, along with about 200 stores nationally.