August 8, 2017

UConn bookstore on pace to open downtown

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin
The downtown Hartford facade of the new bookstore opening later this month.

UConn and book retailer Barnes & Noble College are working to open a café-bookstore this month in time for the Aug. 23 grand opening of the new UConn campus in downtown Hartford.

The bookstore has about 11,150 square feet of ground-floor space at the Front Street Lofts apartment building at 20 Front St. That building is directly opposite the university's new downtown campus in the refurbished Hartford Times Building, set to open this fall. UConn is leasing the space from apartment landlord HB Nitkin Group, Front Street's developer.

The store is on schedule to open along with the campus in a few weeks in preparation for the fall 2017 academic semester, said UConn Spokesperson Stephanie Reitz.

UConn Bookstores Group General Manager Leonard Oser has indicated the plan is to open Aug. 23, with a possible soft opening tentatively eyed for a day or two earlier, she said.

So far, the Starbucks cafe staff training has started, information systems have been installed and merchandise and books are arriving and being properly placed throughout the store, she added.

"We still have work ahead, but are very excited to join the Hartford downtown community," said Oser via email.

On Friday, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin tweeted a photo of the facade with the name "Barnes & Noble | UConn" out front. He said via email that the finishing touches the bookstore and other aspects of the new downtown campus are getting "really brought home" how it will contribute to the Capital City's revitalization.

"UConn will not only bring thousands of students to downtown every day, but the campus and the Barnes & Noble will together make an important physical link between Front Street and Main Street," said Bronin.

Customers will include the approximately 2,300 students and hundreds of UConn employees who will be based at the UConn Hartford, as well as the public.

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