Aggregation: Harvard Square cinema sells, Casablanca sets end date; advice from London; and more
Cambridge developer Carpenter & Co. is now owner of the former AMC Loews Harvard Square 5 cinema, the Boston Herald reported Saturday. The company — owner of the nearby Charles Hotel — bought the 10 Church St. building for $6.5 million (that’s $2.7 million less than the purchase price in 1986).
“Carpenter & Co. has put together a team to determine the best use for the building,” the Herald’s Donna Goodison writes after an interview with company president Dick Friedman, “But it’s not likely the building — home to a theater since it opened in 1926 — will continue to serve as a movie house.”
The whole story is here.
Speaking of the Herald, its Paul Restuccia traveled recently to London and came back with seven lessons for Boston and Cambridge, including suggestions to “build skyscrapers as neighborhood markers” and “put all retail at street level” which developers and the city’s $350,000 development consultant, Goody Clancy, will likely be happy to hear; “allow drinking outdoors,” which every restaurateur with outdoor dining will cheer; and “install electronic timetable signs in the subway,” which is great for the rest of us. Restuccia writes:
Every tube and light-rail station in London’s 13-line Underground has electronic signs that post the arrival times of the next three trains. Passengers are also given frequent intercom updates on how all lines are running. Boston’s much smaller T needs to emulate London’s superbly run system.
Bravo. The rest of the story is here.
The Boston Globe had its own Harvard Square revelation back on July 7, by the way, reporting that Casablanca, for more than four decades “a home away from home for a Bohemian assortment of professors, artists, writers and various other regulars and reprobates” closes at the end of August. Boston Restaurant Talk says Dante DeMagistris, of Dante, may yet take over the landmark eatery. (And it cites a poster on Chowhound, which also says the Bosphorus site in Inman Square is well on its way to become Bridgestreet.)
Our own Cambridge Chronicle has great coverage of the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority, noting that not only has chairwoman of its board Kathleen Born called for a legal review of actions taken over the past couple of years by the executive director and staff; but that the review takes place in the context of a newly critical look by members of the City Council (with councillor Denise Simmons saying in March, “Maybe there should be some sort of action into dissolving them as a group”) and Planning Board, with member Thomas Anninger saying:
We ought to recommend that Cambridge Redevelopment Authority end its jurisdiction. I feel very strongly about that. The redevelopment authority now has the ability to do us harm and has done so recently [with a Microsoft sign and a Google project eliminating much of a public rooftop garden]. I can’t understand how we not take this final step … the implication for that is the end of the CRA.
Another good call on the part of the Chronicle’s Erin Baldassari was quoting authority board member Margaret Drury in talking with officials from developer Boston Properties on Wednesday, when there was more talk about its plans for Google in Kendall Square:
It sort of gives the feeling that you really think the design is really good and that’s how it’s going to be because you’ve got what works. The question is only whether there are some modifications to that design that might work better for the public … It doesn’t sound like you’ve really considered that.
Finally, on Wednesday the Gawker Media site io9 interviewed Marc Abrahams, editor of the science humor magazine Annals of Improbable Research and organizer of the annual Ig Nobel Prizes, the awards ceremony recognizing scientific achievements that “first make people laugh, and then make them think.”