The other shoe drops: The revelation that the Dow Stearns Trust is seeking to sell off its real estate holdings at the epicenter of Harvard Square (1-8 Brattle and 17-41A Brattle St) for at least $95M sent shock waves through the community. With the Curious George/Urban Outfitters and the Church St theater projects already in the development pipeline, the sale of such a large chunk of the Square raises the prospect of three major redevelopments happening simultaneously, an unprecedented wave of change. In Cambridge Day’s coverage I am quoted:
“The proverbial other shoe has dropped in Harvard Square, an inevitable consequence of the same family trust’s record-setting sale in 2015 of its other linchpin property across Brattle Street,” city councillor Jan Devereux said. “Major changes in ownership and tenancy like the ones we are seeing in Harvard Square can have a destabilizing effect on neighborhoods.”
But Devereux also sees a silver lining, saying the changes present an opportunity to revitalize Harvard Square, and that there is renewed urgency to review the Harvard Square Conservation District guidelines (which apply to both properties) and to update the zoning to “preserve the character, history and diversity” of the square.
Pizza as a lifestyle choice? WBZ-TV News reporter Jon Keller was in Harvard Square this week to report on the “deep dish of controversy” served up by the revival of the proposal to open an &pizza fast casual restaurant (now with a separate counter and cash register for a “milk bar” operated by the Momofuku chain) at 1-8 Brattle St, formerly home of Crimson Corner and Tory Row. Keller interviewed me briefly about &pizza’s marketing hype. My quip: “I think they’re trying to create something through branding that may be lost on the average pizza consumer,” said Cambridge City Councilor Jan Devereux. “Even here in Harvard Square.” See the WBZ video and story. Disclaimer: Keller insisted I leave my bike helmet on for the interview — I guess he felt it added to the local color.
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Jan Devereux City Councillor Cambridge, MA