ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Independent bookstore’s current site to house Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market
Copyright © 2013 Albuquerque Journal
One of New Mexico’s largest independent bookstores is moving from a 20-year home at Juan Tabo and Montgomery NE, apparently to make way for Wal-Mart.
Steven Morado Stout, who is searching for a new location for Page One, said he was tipped off by a representative of Kimco Realty – which owns the Juan Tabo Plaza shopping center in question – that Wal-Mart had signed a lease for the site, where it plans to build one of its Neighborhood Market grocery stores.
Stout said he has not received official written word that he’d have to leave, but the Kimco rep told him that likely would come in September.
Wal-Mart hasn’t responded to multiple messages from the
Journal , but a Kimco executive confirmed Monday that a lease had been executed with Wal-Mart for Page One’s space and for the adjacent space, a vacant storefront formerly occupied by Walgreens.
Scott Jensen, Kimco’s vice president for leasing in the Southwest region, declined to give a timetable for the project.
The latest development hasn’t come as a total surprise to Stout, who for the last year-and-a-half only has been able to get a month-to-month lease for his store.
He said he started hearing talk of a specialty grocer moving into the shopping center two or three years ago, and the discussion eventually turned to Wal-Mart.
“Theoretically, everything can fall apart, but no one seems to act that way, and we can’t gamble,” he said.
It’s been a rocky few years for Page One, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2011.
But Stout said the company has met its restructuring obligations and is slated to emerge from bankruptcy next month. He said customers rallied around the store during bankruptcy and that business “has picked up.”
“Now we have a lot of optimism,” he said. “The town really seems to be supporting us.”
Stout acknowledges that Page One’s current spot is too large at 24,000 square feet and that he’s been planning to downsize, but he said he’d hoped to do it at Juan Tabo Plaza.
Kimco and Page One even had worked on plans to subdivide the space about two years ago, he said, but those never came to fruition.
Stout has identified three potential locations for the bookstore – all much smaller – and is asking customers to help choose.
All are in Northeast Albuquerque: Holly Plaza and Paseo Crossing, each off Paseo del Norte, and the Far North shopping center at San Mateo and Academy NE. He hopes to be open in the new spot by October.
Wal-Mart has been active in Albuquerque lately, opening two new Neighborhood Markets in Northeast Albuquerque in the past year. That includes one at Menaul and Juan Tabo, only about two miles from Juan Tabo Plaza.