Harvard Square Theater Purchased for $6.5 Million by Developer

The AMC Harvard Square Theater, which closed its doors on July 8, has been purchased by Cambridge real estate firm Carpenter & Company, Inc. for $6.5 million.

President and Chief Operating Officer Richard L. Friedman said that the property was attractive to Carpenter and Company because of its size and location.

“It’s a third of an acre, if you can believe that, in the middle of Harvard Square,” Friedman said. “Since we’ve been doing business in Harvard Square for thirty-something years it seemed like a good thing to buy.”

Friedman also noted that the property comes with a disadvantage; namely, the 150 feet of blank wall space that it presents to the public. However, Friedman said that Carpenter and Company’s experience in working with non-traditional spaces would enable it to solve this problem.

“We are very experienced at adaptive reuse,” Friedman said. “We bring to this a capacity to look at things differently than most people.”

Carpenter & Company is known for its conversion of the Charles Street Jail into the Liberty Hotel, which opened in 2007.

According to Friedman, Carpenter & Company does not currently have a plan for a property, but has assembled a team of architects, engineers, and lawyers to determine what would be best. The team expects to reach a decision in two to three months.

“We’re very enthusiastic about the potential of this property,” Friedman said. “It’s a good chance to revitalize that part of Harvard Square.”

According to Denise A. Jillson, executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association, Carpenter & Company has been a valuable member of the Harvard Square Business Association. The firm developed and currently owns the Charles Square Hotel.

“They’re good stewards of Harvard Square,” Jillson said. “They’re very thoughtful in their real estate development vision.”

She also noted that the AMC Harvard Square Theater was not a member of HSBA, which she said could have hurt their business.

“We were never able to cross-promote or market with them,” Jillson said. “We would hope that anyone coming in with such an iconic location would be a significant partner with us so that we could help them and cross-promote with other events.”

—Staff writer Petey E. Menz can be reached at menz@college.harvard.edu.

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