Hasty Pudding, Chabad, Bee Among Bidders for Fly’s Dunster St. Building
No decision made yet on the future of the space currently occupied by the Bee
The Hasty Pudding Club, the Chabad House at Harvard, and the Bee Club have all made bids for the property at 45 Dunster Street, which is currently owned by the Fly Club and leased to the Bee—but a decision on who will lay claim to the space has yet to be made.
The Fly Club’s graduate board met today morning to consider the offers but has not yet reached a decision, according to John L. Powers ’70, the board's president.
“Today was just to assess where we are because a lot of this has happened recently,” Powers said. “And I think that we just need to understand, evaluate all the offers, and have as many people as we can to do it.”
Powers—who would not confirm that the Hasty Pudding, Chabad, and the Bee were the only three bidders—said that the decision-making process is unusually lengthy because the choice will undoubtedly have “an impact on some group at Harvard, if not more than one group.”
“We have a fiduciary obligation to the Fly Club to make sure that whatever the disposition is, we get the best outcome possible for the Fly. But we also understand that the considerations are not purely financial, and that’s what makes this different,” Powers said. “If we were selling a piece of property in Kansas, it’s a little different.”
Powers said he does not know when a decision will be reached. Beyond determining the future occupant of the space, the board has not yet decided on its other options, including whether the Fly should retain ownership of the property or sell it outright.
Although “expressions of interest” in the building have been communicated to the Fly for years, the Bee’s termination of the lease initiated serious conversation among Fly graduate board members about the future of 45 Dunster Street, according to Powers.
High-end men’s apparel boutique J.Press also leases space in that building.
Chabad, an Orthodox Jewish center, has offered $6 million for the space, more than double the City of Cambridge’s assessed valuation of $2.7 million.
Powers did not disclose the value of the other bids, but e-mails obtained by The Crimson have demonstrated an active lobbying effort on the part of the Bee and the Hasty Pudding Club, both of which are on-campus social organizations. Bee members have been soliciting donations from other final club members, while Hasty Pudding alumni have been asked to contact Fly graduate board members to garner support.
Upon its merger with the now-defunct D.U. Club in 1996, the Fly took ownership of the Dunster Street building, which former D.U. member and current Fly graduate board member Charles J. Egan Jr. '54 said was famous for having “the nicest garden area" in Harvard Square. The Fly operates out of their building at 2 Holyoke Street near Lowell House.
Powers, a former Crimson sports editor, said that the graduate board recognizes the importance of the decision, which he called a “sensitive issue on campus,” a sentiment echoed by fellow graduate board member Charles D. Atkinson III ’58.
“I assure you that the Fly Club is taking this very, very seriously, and that we’re going to do the right thing,” Atkinson said.
—Staff writer Danielle J. Kolin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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