Barnes & Noble To Open In U Village -- First Step In Upgrading Shopping Center

In a first move by new owners to upgrade University Village, the Barnes & Noble bookstore chain said today it will open a 44,000-square-foot store there that will be its largest in the West.

The new store, to open in the summer of 1995, will be a part of a major restructuring of the 37-year-old shopping center that fronts on Northeast 45th Street and 25th Avenue Northeast, east of the University of Washington.

New York-based Barnes & Noble will open on two floors in the west half of the present Lamont's building, said Jocelyn Clements, general manager. Construction is to begin in October 1994 when Lamont's lease expires. An apparel store has been at that site since the center opened; the tenant then was called Rhodes.

Lamont's wants to stay at University Village, and is negotiating to retain the rest of the space in that building, said Brent Frerichs, Lamont's vice president. The apparel store has about 60,000 square feet of space in merchandise but has a total of 105,000 square feet for a sizable presence.

"We have a lot of spare space now," Frerichs said."We have taken a serious look at our customer base at University Village and it reaches into Madison Park, as well as nearby Laurelhurst, so we want to stay."

The bookstore, to be similar to Barnes & Noble's outlet in Bellevue, also will offer computer software and music. A children's book area also is planned.

"We feel this is a great opportunity to expand into this part of Seattle," said Tom Carter, director of real estate for Barnes & Noble.

"We expect this store to do very well." It will compete with the popular University Book Store nearby on University Way Northeast and the smaller, Kay's Bookmark, which has been at University Village 25 years.

"We just signed a lease until 1997 and spent $40,000 remodeling," said Kay Edwards, owner of Kay's, "but we won't stay. We're looking for other space in Northeast Seattle." The center's management agreed to let her out of the lease, she said.

The signing of Barnes & Noble is the first major change announced since Stuart Sloan, chairman and chief executive officer of Quality Food Centers, and Matt Griffin, former chairman and CEO of Egghead Software, bought the 24-acre center last summer. QFC also owns the adjoining former Foremost Dairy property which could be used for expansion.

"We plan to keep the village concept here," Clements said. "The center won't be covered, just enhanced with some cosmetic upgrades."

The new owners are looking for a new retailer to fill an empty former bank location. No decision has made on enlarging the QFC store, she said.