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Harvard Square buildings going up for sale, further changing Cambridge enclave

Turnover, construction the norm


Two large buildings in Harvard Square could go up for sale before Labor Day, presaging further changes in the already rapidly changing Cambridge area.

The Dow and Stearns families, which have owned 1-8 Brattle and 17-41A Brattle streets for decades, are working toward a sale. The long, low-slung buildings include such businesses as Black Ink, Cardullo’s, Origins, Brattle Square Florists, and Rebekah Brooks.

They also house the spaces that eatery Tory Row and newsstand Crimson Corner occupied until recently. Their exits were but the latest changes in Harvard Square.

Those changes include a major revamp of the square’s central plaza, including the kiosk that contains the Out of Town News newsstand; the redevelopment of the long-shuttered Harvard Square Theatre; Harvard University’s revamp of its student union and the plaza outside of it; and the redevelopment of the 5 John F. Kennedy and 18 Brattle streets, which, among other things, could doom the world’s only Curious George store.

Naturally, then, what happens to 1-8 Brattle and 17-41A Brattle following a sale(s) has people a little on edge.

“Major changes in ownership and tenancy, like the ones we are seeing in Harvard Square, can have a destabilizing effect on neighborhoods,” Cambridge City Councilwoman Jan Devereux told Cambridge Day’s John Hawkinson.

Stay tuned.