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Harvard Hikes Rent On Space In Holyoke Center Complex

By Jaleh Poorooshasb

The University has upped the rent for all commercial space in Holyoke Center, a Harvard-owned building complex, from 34 to as much as 150 per cent, a spokesman for Harvard's real estate office said yesterday.

Russell E. Hill, director of real estate at Harvard, said yesterday that leases on the space--most of them lasting ten years--began to expire last year, and that the University took the opportunity to increase rates.

The disparity in rent hikes stems from the difference in the location of the spaces, with those facing Mass Ave drawing the heftiest increases, Hill said.

The University based the rent jumps on a rise in the cost of living, George C. Putnam '49, Treasurer of Harvard College, said yesterday.

No tenants have left the complex yet, probably because Harvard's new rates still remain substantially lower than those of other area landlords, Hill said.

Other landlords charge between $13 and $17 per square foot, while Harvard asks an average of ten dollars per square foot, Hill added.

Harvard built the Holyoke Center complex in the early 1960s with an eye toward housing the administration. The University took control of commercial buildings already on the land, and put final touches on the complex in 1967.

Acting financial vice president Thomas O'Brien said yesterday Harvard has "not yet recovered" from its initial investment in the complex, and that the University seized the opportunity of lease renewals to "take the rent up as high as it could without driving away the tenants."

Income from this rent is "not a major factor" in the University budget, Putnam said, adding that Harvard would feel "no material effect" from the rent hikes.

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