Credit: Joe Zimmermann

Barnes & Noble is searching for a space to open a store in Bethesda, according to a spokesperson for the retailer.

The book retailer operated an anchor store at Bethesda Row from 1997 until January 2018; it was replaced later that year by Anthropologie. The store held a lot of memories, and its closure created a hole in the community, according to a 2017 Bethesda Beat article.

The retailer has been actively looking for a location for over a year, according to Janine Flanigan, director of store planning and design.

“We know that there’s a market we want to be in,” she said. “We have our real estate team there looking at different opportunities. We have booksellers or store managers in the area looking at opportunities and they’ll send them our way as they discover them, brokers as well, but there is no deadline, and we have to find the right space and make the right deal.”

Flanigan said the company isn’t aiming for any specific area of Bethesda but is mainly looking for a space with the right amount of parking. Barnes & Noble is opening stores with anywhere from 7,000 to 25,000 square feet.

In the last year, the retailer opened about 15 stores nationally and is looking to open about 30 stores this year.


“We are looking at all markets and all available spaces every place that makes sense. We’re not really shying away from anything,” she said.

Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row first reported Barnes & Noble’s interest in a Bethesda location.

The national retailer has locations at Congressional Plaza in Rockville and the Rio Lakefront in Gaithersburg.