Harvard Will Buy Local Bar; Future of Building Uncertain

Harvard is planning to buy the building on Church St. which currently houses the Oxford Ale House and the poster department of The Coop.

Officials for both sides said yesterday they expected the sale to be completed within a few weeks, but University officials said they had not yet decided what to do with the 32 Church St building.

Urban Renewal

"Generally speaking, the improvement of Church St. which is not one of the most desirable areas in the Square, is something that Harvard and the community would be interested in," said the University's Vice President and General Counsel Daniel Steiner '54.

A trustee for the former owners of the building, Paul Feinberg, refused to say why his yet undisclosed clients are selling the structure.

Neither Feinberg or University officials would comment on the price of the 33,991 square foot building, but current Cambridge city records show if assessed at $1,698,900.

The Ale House, which leased space in the building, recently closed and its windows are boarded up, but representatives from the bar could not be reached for comment.

On February 28 the city will hold a public hearing on the possible transfer of the Ale House's liquor license to Harvard. Steiner said the University had no specific plans to use the permit, but added that it is possible the building might be leased as a restaurant.

"The license is going to be transferred to Harvard and what Harvard is going to do or not do is up to Harvard," said Feinberg.

What the sale will mean for the other building tenant. The Coop, is equally uncertain, as the University has yet to finalize its plans for the property.

But Coop General Manager James A. Argeros said he thought the department store's lease on the second floor ran for at least another five years and that he didn't expect any problems dealing with the new land-lord.

"I hope it's helpful dealing with them," said Argeros.

The property will be managed by Harvard Real Estate, which administers all of the University's land holdings. The University is the largest landowner in the city, with acres of retail and housing property under its control in addition to its academic buildings and grounds.