As first reported by the Willamette Week in June, a Japanese book and stationery story is moving into downtown's Guild Theatre space on Director Park. Today, Kinokuniya Bookstores of America made the announcement official with a press release that includes some of the details of the new store, which will open in spring 2019.

The 5,140-square-foot space "will carry carefully selected books, unique merchandise and Japanese stationery, with a focus on art and comics from Japan which have been strengths in our existing stores," says Kinokuniya's press release. "We will also collaborate with a beloved local Japanese cafe to provide a space for both Portland locals and tourists to relax and drink authentic Japanese tea."

The Guild Theatre cinema opened in 1927, coincidentally the same year as Kinokuniya was founded in Tokyo. Kinokuniya is now the largest chain bookstore in Japan, with 56 shops in that country. The downtown Portland branch is their 32nd store overseas and the 13th in the US—there's also a Kinokuniya branch in Beaverton's Uwajimaya Plaza.

The Guild was most recently operated by the Northwest Film Center, but the space has been unused since 2006. As the Mercury reported in 2010, "Downtown's Guild Theater, which was once the Film Center's primary venue, has been sitting unused since... the Pastini restaurant next door moved in and discovered during remodeling that the Guild's bathrooms were technically in its space. The Film Center doesn't have an extra million lying around to jump in and resurrect the perfectly good (but bathroom-less and therefore functionally useless) old theater."

Since then, the interior has been gutted, so the old theater design—sloped floor, et al—is presumably already configured for a retail space. As far as any other changes, Kinokuniya states, "We are honored to have this opportunity to take over this historic building and open a new store. We will respect the historic importance of the theater, and will strive to preserve the exterior to honor it for posterity." It's safe to assume that the iconic and fully functional Guild Theatre marquee will remain intact.

This marks the second high-profile Japanese retailer to come to downtown Portland in the past few weeks, following MUJI's November opening in the Meier and Frank Building.

For impatient book lovers and holiday shoppers, Kinokuniya is holding a pop-up sale at the Cleaners at the Ace Hotel on December 20 to December 24.