Come spring 2023, a beloved Cambridge literary institution will add a second home across the Charles.
Harvard Book Store announced Wednesday the launch of a second location in the Prudential Center — in the spot formerly occupied by Barnes & Noble — expanding its signature collection of novels, coffee table books, and stationery to Back Bay.
“This is an ambitious project,” said co-owner Jeff Mayersohn in a statement. “We think we’ve established an excellent team to bring it to fruition. We envision it as an important addition to the literary life in the city.”
Alex Meriwether, the bookstore’s chief creative officer and former general manager, said this is the end of the road for a long-held vision.
“Jeff has been working on the idea for a second location for many years, certainly pre-pandemic, until our attention turned to month-to-month survival,” he said. “Now, the idea is to create a destination bookstore for locals and tourists alike.”
The move comes several months after the Harvard Book Store announced a new partnership with John Henry, owner of the Boston Red Sox and The Boston Globe. In December 2021, Henry came on as a part-owner of the shop, with plans to stabilize the original Harvard Square location and perhaps expansion beyond that.
Henry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Now, the new 29,000-square-foot location in Back Bay — which Barnes & Noble vacated when its lease ended in June — will house a host of titles, including a large children’s literature section. There will also be an event space for speaker series, community classes, and meetings.
Traffic from events could be a boon for the Prudential and “attract many thousands of visitors annually,” said Bryan Koop, Boston Properties’ executive vice president for Boston, in a statement.
It’s quite a reversal for Harvard Book Store, which struggled immensely earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic. The owners continued to pay employees during the closure without revenue from its sales and literary events. “We had very few months of cash left,” Mayersohn told the Globe in December.
Federal funding, customer support, and an influx of money from the Henrys jolted it back to life soon thereafter, allowing the shop to renovate its decades-old fixtures and update its website.
The upcoming location paves a strong path forward for the nearly-century old book store, even as the particulars are coming together.
“We have not yet announced all of the details,” a press release read, “but we look forward to sharing these with you in the very near future.