Drastic rent hikes have forced several Harvard Square business to move to lower-rent areas.
Several Harvard Square businessmen have charged that a single developer has caused many of the rent increases by acquiring a large amount of Harvard Square property.
Billy Turtle, owner of an antique store on Boylston St., said yesterday that the Wasserman Development Corporation, which has acquired most of the property along Mass Ave from the Orson Welles Theatre to the Gulf Station, has raised rents in its buildings in order to vacate them for demolition.
The Wasserman Corporation has succeeded in eliminating most of its tenants in the Mass Ave buildings, Turtle, who was forced to move from one of those buildings earlier this year, said.
Mare Millot, owner of the Tempora Restaurant once located on Mt. Auburn St. said last night that high rents also forced him to move from the Square. Millot said that Wasserman purchased the Tempora building early this year and slated it for demolition. He added that he could find no space near the Square at a low enough price.
Millot called Wasserman the "Pace setter" in determining rents in the area, but added that the high rents may also reflect increased business volume provided by the Harvard Square location.
Max Wasserman of the Wasserman Development Corporation said yesterday that he had heard no complaints of high rents and that he did not consider it a problem. He said that plans for many new buildings in the Square are "in the works."