With modifications for basement quarters nearly complete, Schoenhof's Foreign Books yesterday began moving into its new home beneath the Spee Club on 76 Mt. Auburn St.
Schoenhof's is one of seven businesses in the Square seeking new or temporary housing. The store's old landlord, the Niles Company of Boston, plans to tear down several buildings on the Mass. Ave. block bounded by Linden and Plympton Streets and build a four-story office-retail complex.
Unlike several of the other businesses, however, Schoenhof's will not return to its former location. Instead, it has signed a ten-year lease with first-time landlord the Spee, a Harvard final club.
"The membership approved this change unanimously, and we're very happy about it," said Thomas E.L. Dewey '85, president of the Spee Club.
"The basement was unused, and we see ourselves as following the lead of other clubs that have begun to rent space in their buildings," said Dewey.
"There was never anyone down here anytime I came although it was obviously used," said Patricia Baudoin, assistant manager for Schoenhof's. "Actually, it was pretty disgustingly dirty," she added.
But with the offices and plumbing dismuntled and the addition fixtures, carpeting, and $60,000 invested in the woodwork alone, the Spee basement has changed drastically.
Baudoin said that the Niles Co. offered places to all of the tenants at the Mass. Ave. site, but that the anticipated rent increase of 300 percent in the new building was "too high for any book store."
She said that the Spee rent was "slightly higher than the old rent but "within reach."
Join the Crowd
At least three other clubs at Harvard now rent out space to Square businesses. The A.D. club on Mass. Ave. leases part of its ground floor to Briggs and Briggs Music, while the D.U. Club rents space to the J. Press clothing store at its Mt. Auburn Street house.