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Amazon to Open Bookstore in Berkeley (?)

There’s been no official word from Amazon, but local sources are reporting that Amazon will be opening a new bookstore in Berkeley , Calif.

From Berkeleyside:

An Amazon store is moving into the space on Fourth Street where Crate & Barrel used to be.

At least three sources who asked not to be identified, including one in city government, told Berkeleyside that the online behemoth will be opening a retail store at 1785 Fourth St. Construction to divide the 34,755-square-foot space into two stores — one with 23,580 square feet and the other with 11,175 square feet — has already begun.

The arrival of an Amazon store just a few hundred feet away from an Apple store reflects the changing nature of Fourth Street. Long known for its independent boutiques — like The Gardener, Pavé and the Lighting Studio — the number of chain stores in the expanding shopping area has increased significantly. The small stores have been joined over the years by Lululemon, Warby Parker, Madewell, Soul Cycle, Design Within Reach, Papyrus, Sur La Table, CB2 and more.

Eric Muhlebach of Bond Retail and his family own the building at 1785 Fourth St., along with many other buildings on the east side of the block between Virginia and Delaware, in a company called 4th Street Holdings, LLC. The family owns four large parcels on the west side of the street, including the building at 1730 Fourth St. that is home to CB2 in a company called Demo 4th Street Berkeley LLC.

Muhlebach would not confirm or deny that Amazon was moving into one of his buildings and said its arrival was “speculation.” He said it would be up to the individual retail operators to make any announcement. An Amazon spokesperson said in March that the company had no information to share about a Berkeley location.

Amazon runs 15 bookstores and has 4 more under development (including the Atlanta store that Amazon will neither confirm nor deny). The retailer also has hundreds of Whole Foods locations, dozens of kiosks in malls and department stores, and even an automated convenience store called Amazon Go.

There’s no word yet how Amazon will use this new space, but the most likely option is a bookstore.

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