MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. – Residents discouraged by the sight of Borders Books' empty storefront over the past year and a half may have a new reason to hope: A prospective tenant is interested in renting the space, according to village officials.
The 20,000-square-foot space at Main and Green streets is “being aggressively marketed by the owners of the building,” Mayor Michael Cindrich said Monday.
Cindrich said he has been asked not to disclose any further information, as the deal is still under negotiation. The mayor has been in talks with Mount Kisco Associates, the landlord of the building that once housed the bookstore.
"Hopefully, we will have more news within a few weeks," he said.
Whatever business opens up in the space, parking will be the key factor, Cindrich said, whether it be a grocery store, a clothing store, another bookstore or something completely different.
In July 2011, the Borders Books chain announced that it would begin to liquidate its stock. Borders, which operated about 400 stores nationwide, had failed to find buyers after it filed for bankruptcy protection in February of that year. The Mount Kisco Borders, which opened in 1997, closed that September.
Mount Kisco has had a number of bookstores over the years. Independent bookselling mainstay Fox and Sutherland closed its store on South Moger Avenue in 1995, leaving the field open to the Mount Kisco Book Co., which occupied a nearby space for a few months in 1996 before it burned down.
The Mount Kisco Book Co. was able to reopen in Fox and Sutherland's old spot, but gained competition with the arrival of Borders in 1997, before finally closing in 2000.
Small businesses have complained of negative consequences since Borders closed: a reduction in foot traffic, especially from those who came to Mount Kisco from other towns to visit the store.
Shop owners and residents also worry that the village now has more difficulty attracting new businesses to empty storefronts on Main Street and the surrounding commercial area, especially small mom and pop stores.
While a number of new businesses such as jewelry merchant Maddy Creations and Xenia Fine Foods opened in 2012, there have also been some disappointing closings for Mount Kisco shoppers, like Acadia on Main in February.
Last year, the empty Borders site and the increasingly familiar presence of other vacant storefronts fueled a grassroots movement to bring new businesses to downtown Mount Kisco.
Early in 2012, Sarah O’Grady and Maria Colaco founded the now-dormant Occupy Main Street movement, hoping to rally village and area residents and shop owners.