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Barnes & Noble Returns to the Promenade, Marking a New Chapter of Economic Revitalization in Downtown Santa Monica

Iconic bookstore and range of businesses usher in a new Era on Third Street




Pedestrians walking along the Third Street Promenade. PHOTOGRAPHY: Courtesy of Downtown Santa Monica, Inc.

(PRESS RELEASE) SANTA MONICA, CA — Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. (DTSM, Inc.), the urban place management organization committed to advancing the vibrant culture and economic vitality of Downtown Santa Monica, announces the re-opening of Barnes & Noble on the Third Street Promenade after a five-year hiatus, marking a pivotal moment in the revitalization of the three-block pedestrian strip. The return of the beloved book store, along with a number of noteworthy new businesses including indoor pickleball venue Pickle Pop and acclaimed fitness brand JOHN REED, serves as a symbol of the Promenade’s resilience and heralds a new era of growth and transformation.

“The departure of Barnes & Noble in 2018, coupled with the impacts of the pandemic, mirrored the challenges faced by many retail centers worldwide in the wake of shifting consumer demand and the pandemic’s economic repercussions,” remarked CEO of DTSM, Inc., Andrew Thomas. “Its return is a signal to our community that the essence of Third Street remains viable and inviting as ever. We’re entering a new chapter where a diverse array of businesses across fitness, retail and hospitality, converge to reinvigorate this iconic street in a way that not only honors its past but propels it into a remarkable future.”

A wave of diverse businesses is magnifying the Promenade’s renaissance, as they choose to call it home. The return of Barnes & Noble is complemented by a slate of other new brands such as Herschel Supply Company and Aldo. These additions will join the ranks of recently opened establishments including JOHN REED Fitness, Blenders, Wilson, Swish Studio and Bella + Canvas — all among the more than 30 new businesses that have opened Downtown in the last year.

“We’re thrilled to have opened our third U.S. location on the Third Street Promenade,” said Chief Operating Officer of JOHN REED Fitness, Colin Thomas. “With community at the heart of JOHN REED, this couldn’t be a more fitting location. The response from both local residents and visitors has been incredible, and we’re excited to witness this community flourish even more.”

In response to changing consumer preferences, the Promenade continues to evolve toward experiential offerings that provide memorable interactions for visitors including the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle: Mutant Mayhem Experience and the highly successful World of Barbie and BTS Exhibition Proof popup experiences. Pickle Pop, an immersive indoor pickleball club, opened its doors to enthusiastic players on September 9, contributing to the transformation of vacant spaces on the Promenade into dynamic attractions that captivate both locals and tourists alike.

The Promenade’s transformation extends beyond retail and experiences. New dining additions include Ugo Trattoria, featuring authentic Italian cuisine, and the planned third location of HQ Gastropub set to open at 1360 on 3rd Street, featuring a multi-level space with a rooftop dining deck. The dining scene reflects the Promenade’s adaptability and responsiveness to changing preferences.


Recent data highlights the Promenade’s resurgence, with a ground-level occupancy rate of 77.6%, up 10% from 2021. In a strategic move to embrace the future, the district has undergone significant zoning changes, including the anticipated creation of an arts and entertainment district, the expansion of alcohol permits and the enabling of commercial use for outdoor rooftop spaces on structures owned by the City. These transformative measures, along with ongoing initiatives, position the Promenade for success in a rapidly evolving retail landscape. As the Promenade awaits the return of Barnes & Noble, it is evident that the future of the Third Street Promenade is one of evolution and revival. Building off of its rich history, while driving forward with adaptability and innovation, the Promenade continues to stand as a vibrant, international destination and cherished hub for visitors and the local community.

For more information about Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. and its initiatives, visit



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