C & B Realty, which owns the Northern Boulevard property occupied by Barnes & Noble, has taken a step forward in its effort to make the location amenable to alternative tenants in the event the bookstore departs when its lease runs out at the end of the year.
The realtor gained permission from the North Hills Board of Trustees on Wednesday to add 20 spaces to the property’s parking lot.
“We’ll be granting them the right for additional parking spaces but it requires a retaining wall, screening and various other conditions they have to do in order to protect residents behind that area,” North Hills Mayor Marvin Nattis said.
C & B Realty sought the expansion in order to make the property attractive to prospective retail and medical tenants.
Approval from the North Hills trustees was necessary because the project requires release from a village covenant that restricts the expansion of the property’s parking lot.
A resolution to modify the covenant, and accommodate the parking lot expansion, was approved unanimously.
Last month, Edward Glackin, chief operating officer at Colin Development LLC, a subsidiary of C & B Realty, said the company is “still in talks with Barnes and Noble” to extend their lease but pointed to Barnes & Noble’s recent financial woes as a likely impediment.
“The bottom line is [Barnes & Noble] doesn’t know what it’s going to do,” he added. “When you have a declining business, it’s hard to plan.”
He called the effort to make the property amenable to alternative tenants a “plan B.”
Nattis said he was concerned about how the parking lot expansion would affect neighboring residents behind the 1542 Northern Blvd. property.
“With additional parking, it would bring the parking lot slightly closer to those homes,” he said. “So we established certain conditions to make sure it stays quiet.”
Robert Soviero, who lives directly behind the property, at 3 Shelter Rock Road, voiced concerns about noise and screening when the parking lot expansion was discussed at last month’s trustees meeting.
Soviero said a dumpster currently on the property results in noise that can be heard at his home as many as 350 feet away.
“At 5 a.m. garbage men are picking up [trash] and there’s a sound issue,” he said. “Something has to be done about the sound.”
Natiss said the covenant modification includes a condition that prevents a dumpster from being put near the rear of the premises.
The covenant was put in place in 1966 because the building is located in an area zoned residential, Natiss said.
C & B realty purchased the property in 1972 and Barnes & Noble became a tenant in 1996.
Nattiss declined a request for comment regarding the likelihood of Barnes & Noble’s departure.
“I can’t really say,” he said. “Because I don’t know.”