As brick-and-mortar bookstores struggle to compete with online vendors, Books & Books founder Mitchell Kaplan has figured out a way to ensure that the rent on his flagship Coral Gables store never gets too high: He bought the building himself.
Kaplan was one of three buyers who paid a total of $15 million for the retail/office complex at 255-265 Aragon Ave., where the largest of the Books & Books stores has been located since 2001. Raimundo Lopez-Lima Levi and Eric Glinsky of the accounting firm Lopez Levi Lowenstein Glinsky, P.A. were the other two buyers of the 41,763-square-foot building, which is listed in the Coral Gables Register of Historic Places.
The sale closed April 23. The seller was DLGN Holdings LLC. The land had last sold in 1998 for $1.6 million.
Kaplan will own 25 percent of the building, which was constructed in 1926. Kaplan opened the first Books & Books store in 1982 in a 500-square-foot space just two blocks west of its present location on Aragon Avenue.
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Since then, the independent bookseller has expanded to a total of eight locations, including Lincoln Road, Bal Harbour Shops, Key West and the Cayman Islands. The most recent location opened in Pinecrest in May 2017. A ninth location, at 3409 Main Highway in Coconut Grove, is due to open soon.
Kaplan could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.