Brattle St. Development Will Host Record Outlet

A new retail record store will rise phoenix-like from the ashes of the soon to be demolished Cherry, Webb & Touraine building at 38 Brattle St., developers of the project said yesterday.

The new store will be an outlet of the London-based "HMV" record chain, said Daniel V. Calano Jr, president of Prospectus, Inc., which is developing the site.

HMV currently operates two large stores in New York City, but the Brattle St. outlet would be its first entry into the Boston market. Calano said that record company will move into the new building upon is expected completion 18 months from now. It will be the Square's ninth retail record outlet.

Originally, the Cherry, Webb & Touraine department store was scheduled to return to the site. In late March, the rumor of a change in plans prompted the City Council to pass a resolution cautioning against overdevelopment of the location.

Joint Projects

The new construction at 38 Brattle St. is being conducted in close conjunction with the renovations at next-door 40 Brattle St. Prospectus initially considered plans to join the two neighboring sites, but Sam Plympton, owner of 40 Brattle St. said that the two projects were being conducted independently.

Renovations will begin at the Brattle Theater building on May 15, at which time the master-lease expires and all tenants will vacate the building.

Although major improvements are planned for the infrastructure of the building, significant changes to the exterior will not be allowed. The city holds a property right--known as an "easement"--which allows the Historical Commission to prevent alteration of the structure's external facade.

Current occupants of the building include the landmark Brattle Theater, which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, and the Algiers Coffee House, a popular meeting place for students and city residents.

None of the tenants have been guaranteed that they will be allowed to return when the improvements are completed, but Plympton said that a draft lease had been negotiated with the theater.

Marianne Lampkey, a spokesperson for the theater, said that she is pleased with the progress of the talks so far. "We have not felt negative about any of the negotiations we have had," she said. "Hopefully, when we reopen, it will be a bigger and better place."

But all of the shops will have to close temporarily in any case. According to Plympton, the renovations are expected to last four months. Julian E. Barnes contributed to the reporting of this story.