It’s a new chapter for the site of a beloved bookstore.
The Target Corporation has signed a 15-year, 20,795-square-foot lease at 70-00 Austin St. in Forest Hills to open its first flexible-format store location in New York City by mid-2016, according to Muss Development LLC.
The site is the current home of the Forest Hills Barnes & Noble, which community members have been fighting to save. The Target will occupy the bookstore’s space, after the lease expires at the end of January 2016.
The bookstore chose not to exercise its option to renew the lease for five more years because of an increase in rents.
Local author and preservationist Michael Perlman started a petition to save the bookstore on Change.org, which garnered 5,770 signatures, and the store even held a customer appreciation day to help gather more attention in its struggle to stay in Forest Hills. The fight began in May when word got that Barnes & Noble would shutter one of its two remaining locations in Queens if did not renew its lease.
“We are excited that Target chose Forest Hills for its first New York City location as part of its national flexible format store roll-out,” said Jason Muss, Muss Development principal. “Austin Street is a natural fit for this new retail concept. It is in the center of a high-traffic, residential area and Forest Hills is the quintessential Queens neighborhood. Target will be a great anchor store and tremendous addition to Austin Street, one of the most popular shopping corridors in Queens.”
The new Target is slated to take up the entire ground and second floors, and will join retailers such as Starbucks, Men’s Wearhouse and T.G.I. Friday’s.
Its flexible format is expected to make the store vary in size according to the location, compared to other local Targets, and look to adhere to the surrounding community that would shop at the location.
Muss said the developer of the site and Target signed the long-term agreement expecting the retailer to remain at the location even after the 15-year agreement comes to an end.
“Target is one of the most popular retailers in the country,” he said. “We are both in this for the long haul, and will constantly be looking toward the future to meet the needs of this ever-growing neighborhood.”