Harvard Square Infill and Small Developments

TheRifleman

Banned
Joined
Sep 25, 2008
Messages
4,431
Reaction score
0
This is not good news for Harvard Square:

Please redirect this thread were you think it should be redirected to.
Harvard Square could lose iconic Out of Town News

https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/08/25/out-town-news-could-pushed-out-iconic-harvard-square-location/fu0JPz8OfNH2f0fpgkxgzN/story.html
“It’s a landmark, this newsstand. . . . The customers love the store,” Patel said.

I agree with this.

Harvard square continues to lose its Mom & Pop appeal to corporate/University world:
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
5,408
Reaction score
226
@$#&!

This pound-foolish planning city is going to live with a world of regret over these squanders of quintessential local flavor. This week with the Lanes & Games news and now this has been a total bummer.
 

statler

Senior Member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
7,760
Reaction score
112
Suggestions for its next use have included an open space for the public to hang out in
Political cat nip right there.
 

fattony

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2013
Messages
1,894
Reaction score
18
I honestly don't know what the big deal is. It's a convenience store.
 

datadyne007

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 15, 2010
Messages
8,807
Reaction score
108
Edit: Was mistaken.
 
Last edited:

statler

Senior Member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
7,760
Reaction score
112
I don't think the building is being razed. They are just evicting the current business.
 

tysmith95

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2016
Messages
2,530
Reaction score
18
Also the original Harvard Square MTA entrance... It's absolutely a landmark in metro Boston's history.
They aren't necessarily going to get rid of the entrance, only use the location for something other than a news stand.
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
4,093
Reaction score
336
I honestly don't know what the big deal is. It's a convenience store.
The big deal is that it's activated space with character. These morons would prefer that it be a sterile glass box. Both of their ideas are terrible. If you fill it with benches it essentially becomes a homeless shelter (which isn't a huge problem for me, but it's the opposite of what they're going for), and if you make it "available for community groups to reserve" you guarantee it's locked 75% of the time.

I could see some legitimate activated uses for this space that aren't a newsstand. It could house a constantly rotating set of arts and crafts vendors, for instance, or a coffee/lunch stand. It could go back to its old job as a T headhouse (replacing the abysmal one that's there now, that I sincerely hope the T is replacing with the elevators).

Bottom line, though, its that it works as an newsstand. There is no legitimate reason to change it. It's a local icon, and it's apparently pretty well-patronized (which the City is lying about, because of course...)

On another note (and since F-Line is already here), is there any chance that the T could punch out the old ticket windows and put a set of stairs back in front of the Holyoke Center ?
 

statler

Senior Member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
7,760
Reaction score
112
What's the point of just emptying it out?
Again, open space for the public. The holiest of holy grails.

I would love to see a small sandwich shop, coffee place or even a pub here, but this space will never be privatized again.
 

FitchburgLine

Active Member
Joined
Nov 5, 2013
Messages
562
Reaction score
78
It boggles my mind that Cambridge can simultaneously be so NIMBY that far too little housing gets built, and also allow local "institutions", or at least useful places that contributed to civic life, get taken out so quickly.
 

bigpicture7

Senior Member
Joined
May 5, 2016
Messages
1,729
Reaction score
92
They aren't necessarily going to get rid of the entrance, only use the location for something other than a news stand.
It's been on the National Historic Register since the '70's, so they can't change the building much.

I agree it would be a shame to lose this business because it is highly activated and offers truly unique value - this place legitimately has one of the largest and most diverse periodicals selections in greater boston, and has been a symbolic "welcome" beacon for those from distant lands looking to stay connected (I say symbolic b/c obviously they can get whatever news they want online). But as a gesture, it's very powerful. If the stand wasn't making money or was always empty, that'd be a different story, but it's highly utilized (and, as the owner said in the Globe article, profitable).
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
5,408
Reaction score
226
On another note (and since F-Line is already here), is there any chance that the T could punch out the old ticket windows and put a set of stairs back in front of the Holyoke Center ?
No. Abandoned Red yard tunnel is on the other side of the wall on the main stairs, and access point to that area (used as storage room and fire standpipe hookup) is behind the tix windows and associated staff office. Not possible to do egress through there the way the tunnel's configured.

They can definitely renovate the tix windows for new retail space, though. Lot of prime storefront space to be had there.
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
4,093
Reaction score
336
No. Abandoned Red yard tunnel is on the other side of the wall on the main stairs, and access point to that area (used as storage room and fire standpipe hookup) is behind the tix windows and associated staff office. Not possible to do egress through there the way the tunnel's configured.

They can definitely renovate the tix windows for new retail space, though. Lot of prime storefront space to be had there.
Fair enough (though I'd need a diagram to fully understand - why do we need to preserve the abandoned yard tunnel if there is no yard, and couldn't you realign the staff room along with the access?).

BTW, the end of the newsstand is getting zero support in a surprisingly cogent Boston Globe comments section. This is one place where I can get behind the Globe's gotcha mentality when it comes to public agencies. There clearly needed to be some public eyes on this.
 

BostonUrbEx

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2010
Messages
4,276
Reaction score
12
Fair enough (though I'd need a diagram to fully understand - why do we need to preserve the abandoned yard tunnel if there is no yard, and couldn't you realign the staff room along with the access?).
No one is preserving it, it is just... there. There's utilities in there that need accessing and a little flex storage space if needed. Why take the expense of filling it in? Plus having to reallocate utilities.

I believe F Line once said that it *might* be useful for an Urban Ring type deal through Allston and into Harvard.
 

estyle

Active Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2013
Messages
261
Reaction score
7
This is a popular misconception. National Register status offers almost no protection or oversight. Only when certain state or federal level activities are involved is it even triggered and then it can't prevent much of anything, including demolition. It does allow access to Federal and State tax credits for renovation and sounds good. But that's about it. To protect a building it needs to be a local historic landmark.

It's been on the National Historic Register since the '70's, so they can't change the building much.

I agree it would be a shame to lose this business because it is highly activated and offers truly unique value - this place legitimately has one of the largest and most diverse periodicals selections in greater boston, and has been a symbolic "welcome" beacon for those from distant lands looking to stay connected (I say symbolic b/c obviously they can get whatever news they want online). But as a gesture, it's very powerful. If the stand wasn't making money or was always empty, that'd be a different story, but it's highly utilized (and, as the owner said in the Globe article, profitable).
 

F-Line to Dudley

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2010
Messages
5,408
Reaction score
226
No one is preserving it, it is just... there. There's utilities in there that need accessing and a little flex storage space if needed. Why take the expense of filling it in? Plus having to reallocate utilities.

I believe F Line once said that it *might* be useful for an Urban Ring type deal through Allston and into Harvard.
It's mainly that once you get past the stairway wall the tunnel splits and starts going double-deck/offset. Old station had 2 track levels just like the new. So on that side it's way too thick a vertical mass of concrete to punch through for an egress.

Yes, theoretically you could use the level, tri-track portion of tunnel behind the stairs as a stub-end LRT/UR station. Theoretically, as it hasn't been studied. Dual-modeing the bus tunnel is the other option. There's no other plausible use for that tunnel portion other than what it currently is: standpipe, fan room, storage, work area for station maint (they've got carpentry benches and whatnot).
 

bigpicture7

Senior Member
Joined
May 5, 2016
Messages
1,729
Reaction score
92
This is a popular misconception. National Register status offers almost no protection or oversight. Only when certain state or federal level activities are involved is it even triggered and then it can't prevent much of anything, including demolition. It does allow access to Federal and State tax credits for renovation and sounds good. But that's about it. To protect a building it needs to be a local historic landmark.
Ah, thanks for the clarification!
 

Arborway

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2008
Messages
1,093
Reaction score
4
Step 1 - Find well-liked, heavily-used space that developed organically over time.
Step 2 - Start bemoaning how "bad" this well-liked, heavily-used space is and how it needs to be "refreshed" and "fixed".
Step 3 - Erase everything about it.
Step 4 - Create a new, sterile space and spend a ridiculous amount of time overthinking every fixture and feature, while obsessing about how to "program" it.
Step 5 - Cut the ribbon.
 

Top