The picture above is of a vacant storefront located at 395-403 Washington Street in Downtown Crossing.

Here’s a brief history about this storefront:

The first two floors have been vacant since the Barnes & Noble lease ended in May 2006. Parade of Shoes was the last to occupy the basement until its lease ended as well.

The first two floors add up to 25,000 square feet, and the basement totals 11,500 square feet. The two spaces used to be connected by an internal staircase.

CommonWealth Holding has owned the space for 45 years. Before Barnes & Noble left, the space was only vacant for three months for at least 75 years.

Barnes & Noble leased the first two floors from 1976 to 2006. Before then, WT Grant occupied all three floors for retail from 1928 to 1976.

Amazing, for 75 years in row this retail space has almost always had a tenant. So why is it vacant now? Choose one (or more):

1. Because of the recession
2. Amazon made book stores less viable
3. Greedy landlord
4. Greedy developers for Filenes Basement that left a big hole in the ground across the street
5. Other

What are your thoughts?

Note: Post idea from the Boston Courant. Sorry, no link. But more on the Boston Courant can be found at Wikipedia.

Author Profile

John Ford
John Ford

Over the course of 20 years in the Boston downtown real estate market, John represented and sold numerous, condominiums, investment and development properties in Greater Boston and in the surrounding suburbs

In addition to representing Boston condo buyers and sellers, John is currently one of the most recognized Boston condo blog writers regarding Boston condominiums and residential real estate markets. John's insights and observations about the Boston condo market have been seen in a wide variety of the most established local & national media outlets including; Banker and Tradesman, Boston Magazine The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and NewsWeek and Fortune magazine, among others.


For over 24 years, John Ford, of Ford Realty Inc., has been actively involved in the real estate industry. He started his career in commercial real estate with a national firm Spaulding & Slye and quickly realized that he had a passion for residential properties. In 1999, John entered the residential real estate market, and in 2000 John Started his own firm Ford Realty Inc. As a broker, his clients have come to love his fun, vivacious, and friendly attitude. He prides himself on bringing honesty and integrity to the entire home buying and selling process. In addition to helping buyers and sellers, he also works with rental clients. Whether you’re looking to purchase a new Boston condo or rent an apartment, you’ll quickly learn why John has a 97% closing rate.


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John Ford and his staff can be reached at 617-595-3712 or 617-720-5454. Please feel free to stop by John's Boston Beacon Hill office located at 137 Charles Street.

John Ford
Ford Realty Inc
137 Charles Street
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