Barnes & Noble pushes back Wicker Park store opening, citing construction delays

Housed in the historic Noel State Bank building, the store will be the bookseller’s fourth location in the Chicago area this year.

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From across the street, a view of the former Walgreens building in Wicker Park, Chicago, that will become a Barnes & Noble in September.

The former Walgreens at the historic Noel State Bank building at 1601 N. Milwaukee Ave. The site will become home to a Barnes & Noble in September.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

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Barnes & Noble shared last week that it would be delaying the opening of its Wicker Park store.

The bookstore chain posted on Instagram that it would be opening “late summer,” citing “unforeseen delays.”

“We are working diligently to ensure everything is perfect for our big day,” the company said. “Thank you for your patience and continued support. Stay tuned for updates!”

Janine Flanagan, Barnes & Noble’s vice president of store planning and design, said “a few challenges with construction have caused a small set back.”

Flanagan said in a statement that there’s no opening date yet, but Barnes & Noble is targeting early September.

The bookseller had announced in February that it would open a new location at the Noel State Bank building, 1601 N. Milwaukee Ave., this summer. The historic former bank building was previously home to Walgreens, which closed in January 2023.

The property is part of Chicago’s Milwaukee Avenue District, a landmark area recognized as a prominent commercial center since the late 19th century. Principal features cannot be altered without the permission of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks.

Over the past 15 years, Barnes & Noble closed a slew of stores, but the bookseller is now on a hot streak, with sales at existing locations surging. The company is also pushing for an expansion with plans to open 50 new stores in 2024, including four in the Chicago area.

Last month, the opening of its Lincoln Park store was met with a line of more than a hundred people waiting to check out the new store. The retailer had previously operated a location on Clybourn and Western avenues last spring, but closed the store due to its lease ending.

It also held grand openings for stores at the Village Square of Northbrook shopping center and the Prairie Market retail center in Oswego last month.

Barnes & Noble operates more than 600 bookstores in the U.S.

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