Thursday, May 23, 2024

The Abbott Building in Harvard Square would be renovated as part of a retail and office project as shown in this rendering provided by developer Equity One.

Developer Equity One is inviting the public to a community meeting where it will share its latest proposal for the Abbot Building in Harvard Square.

The company plans to combine that building at 5 JFK St., housing the Curious George store, with the adjoining 9-11 JFK St., holding Urban Outfitters, and 18 Brattle St., which includes the clothing shop Tess, to create a retail and office project called The Collection at Harvard Square.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 7 at the Gutman Conference Center, 6 Appian Way, Harvard Square. The new proposal will be explained by William Brown, of Equity One, and David Chilinski and Mark Eclipse, of PCA Architects. (The company’s Jan. 10 filing with the Historic Commission can be seen here as a 15MB PDF.)

Company representatives said it would not be a formal presentation, but an “open house style opportunity to engage with the developer.”

As the developer puts it:

“The Collection at Harvard Square is located at the center of world-renowned Harvard Square and at the entrance to Harvard University. The mixed-use project includes 26,000 square feet of prime street retail space and 15,000 square feet of professional office. The property benefits from strong demographics and its irreplaceable location at the center of Harvard Square.”

But some residents and officials are concerned about how the project will affect the historic square, and the business community has expressed concern about its effect on rents.

“The building was purchased for an enormous sum of money – $85 million – and it’s very likely going to cost an enormous sum of money to renovate the building the way that they would like to have it renovated. Who will be able to rent here, and what does that look like?” Denise Jillson, executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association, said in September.