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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.

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Barnes & Noble coming to Fredericksburg

Barnes & Noble is coming to this building

Barnes & Noble is coming to Fredericksburg.

The book-focused retailer this week finalized a 10-year lease on the 24,000-square-foot building in Central Park that formerly housed a Borders store, said Mark Doherty, who bought the property at auction last year with business partner Jeremy McCommons.

“We’re quite excited that we were able to get them,” Doherty said.

Doherty said Barnes & Noble hopes to open around Nov. 1 in Fredericksburg following a roughly $1.9 million store buildout.

The store will have the retailer’s new modern concept with the Nook e-reader front and center, said David Deason, vice president of real estate for Barnes & Noble. It will also have a cafe and large children’s area.

Barnes & Noble hasn’t opened a store in more than a year, and the Fredericksburg site will be one of its first new ones. Deason said the company has long considered the Fredericksburg market, and even looked at the location at 1220 Carl D. Silver Parkway years ago before it became a Borders. He said it was a mistake not to jump on that location back then and said the company is glad it got another chance to lease the property.

Doherty and McCommons, who have previously focused mostly on residential real estate through MacDoc Realty, approached Barnes & Noble shortly after buying the building at auction last year for $2.2 million. The lease process took about nine months.

Barnes & Noble has long been named as one of the retailers not currently in the Fredericksburg region that people most want to see come. In this year’s annual local wish list poll, Barnes & Noble trailed only Trader Joe’s, Cheesecake Factory and Whole Foods Market.

Doherty said several other national retailers looked at the space, a sign that the commercial market is showing signs of life after getting hit hard by the economic downtown.

Barnes & Noble is seeking incentives from Fredericksburg and will likely be before City Council on April 10. Details of the incentive package will be made public April 5, said Karen Hedelt, Fredericksburg’s director of economic development and tourism.