Thursday, June 20, 2024

The EMF Building on Brookline Street near Central Square. (Photo: Kristina Kehrer)

All tenants of the EMF Building will be allowed to stay until May 31 rather than be evicted at the end of April, Mayor Marc McGovern announced today after discussions with building owner John DiGiovanni.

DiGiovanni, president of the Harvard Square Business Association and Trinity Property Management, bought the EMF Building at 120 Brookline St. near Central Square two years ago for $4 million through his business Ledgemoor. Though he hasn’t said what he plans to do with the building, he told the hundreds of musicians and artists using its practice rooms, art spaces and other uses to be out this month.

It brought an outcry over the past few weeks from the Cambridge arts community, two City Council orders – including a long-term one for an arts overlay district – and action from city officials sensitive to the loss of local creativity. (Filmmaker Steve Onderick has been gathering the “Voices of EMF” in videos.)

“We’ve achieved a small victory,” Onderick said in an online group he moderates about the building crisis. “It’s great to see that [DiGiovanni is] willing to be reasonable and decent about this situation, and I think this is his chance to do the right thing and look out for the arts and the community.”

DiGiovanni, city councillor Alanna Mallon, City Manager Louis A. DePasquale and McGovern “have engaged in several conversations regarding the future of the EMF building,” McGovern said. “All of us agree that supporting the artist community is of great important to the culture and social fabric of the Cambridge community. Although the future of the EMF building has not been decided, we have all agreed to continue conversations.”

The extension for current tenants at the same rents will allow “complex” conversations to continue, McGovern said.

“Our hope is that we can resolve this issue, one way or another, in the next few weeks,” McGovern said.