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South St. Future in Doubt For Advocate, Harvard

News Analysis

By Andrew S. Chang

A new undergraduate housing complex near the Square?

Although University officials say that there are no immediate plans for such construction, they also say that new housing is a future possibility.

And a stretch of Harvard-owned property along South Street--across from the Kirkland House annex--would be a likely candidate if the College decides to construct new housing.

Many of the properties on South St. will become vacant in the next few years as current construction projects--the Barker Center for the Humanities, renovations of Boylston Hall and the new athletic complex in Allston--are completed.

And the Harvard Advocate's expected lease agreement with the University seems to leave the literary magazine's future on South Street in question enough that the Advocate's trustees have reportedly begun to look for a new home for the publication.

Housing Construction?

"Housing is one of the possibilities" for the South Street properties, said Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III in an interview yesterday. But Epps cautioned that such a notion is "just a hypothetical."

According to Advocate Publisher Charles C. Savage '98, Epps recently told him the College might use the land to build a new undergraduate House.

But in yesterday's interview, Epps said he believes that there would not be enough space on the block for a full House.

"I don't think you have enough space to build a new House," he said. "If you wanted, you could build something along the lines of [the upperclass housing on] DeWolfe Street."

Thomas A. Dingman '67, associate dean for human resources and the House system, said the College does not plan to add students to future incoming classes and any additional housing construction would be to "decrowd" students.

"Students report that they wish they had more privacy, more space," Dingman said.

Dingman also added that he is "doubtful" if "the College could make [housing construction] a high priority given the cost."

Dingman and Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68 echoed Epps' remark that there are no formal plans for new housing construction.

"There has not been a lot of talk about it at all," Dingman said.

Prime Location

University officials acknowledge that the existing buildings along South Street--from the corner with JFK Street to the corner with Dunster Street--could be demolished to make way for new construction if needs arise.

"Except for 17 South St., there's not any remarkability to any of the buildings," said David A. Zewinski, associate dean for physical resources and planning in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS).

Seventeen South St. has historical signifance as a former icehouse, Zewinski said. The building currently houses offices for Harvard Planning and Real Estate (HPRE), which is negotiating the lease with the Advocate. HPRE main offices are located in Holyoke Center.

The remaining buildings--with the exception of the Advocate House--contain FAS departments that will move to new locations within the next two years.

According to Zewinski, the Committee on Folklore and Mythology and Modern Greek Studies--both of which currently occupy 69 Dunster St.--will move to the new Barker Center for the Humanities when construction of the complex is completed this fall.

The Department of Linguistics and the Committee on the History of American Civilization--which are currently housed in 77 Dunster St.--are slated to move to Boylston Hall when renovations are complete by September 1998.

And the Department of Athletics, which currently occupies 60 JFK St., will move across the river upon completion of the new athletic complex.

But the buildings will remain standing for the immediate future and Harvard has "developed several varying plans" to fill them, Zewniski said.

"Right now, we're thinking that physical resources, which is currently in market-rate space, would go to 60 JFK [St.]," Zewinski said.

He added 69 and 77 Dunster St. will be used as "swing space" when renovation of Boylston begins this fall.

"The main objective is to eliminate FAS [departments] from spaces that we rent at market rates," he said.

FAS only pays operating and maintenance expenses--about $10 to $15 per square foot--on Harvard-owned property, compared to $25 per square foot on rented property, according to Zewinski.

Advocate Uncertainty

The University's reluctance to sign a long-term lease with the Advocate for 21 South St.--the property on which the literary magazine's two-story Advocate House sits--also suggests that Harvard may have long-range plans for the land.

Students at the Advocate said last month that the magazine's trustees were seeking a 50-year lease, but the agreement--which Epps said yesterday is almost complete--will likely be much shorter.

"It's almost certain that we'll sign a 15-year lease," Epps said yesterday.

And the upcoming lease agreement will likely include a provision for the College to relocate the publication to another location if academic needs for the space arise.

"If conditions change, and everybody understands that, it's not that you back out of the lease...but we will find a place for the Advocate at Harvard," Epps said.

Advocate leaders said they are upset by the provision that may force the magazine to move against its will.

"I fail to understand the real meaning of a so-called lease if the landlord can end it at any time at his discretion," Savage said.

The lease negotiations come at a time when the Advocate is set to begin renovations on the Advocate House, which is in need of $60,000 in repairs.

Advocate trustees hosted a fundraiser--attended by alumni including Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. '38, Norman K. Mailer '43, Conan C. O'Brien '85 and Epps--on New York's East Side last Thursday to raise money for renovations to the building.

"We're ready to go ahead" with the renovations, said Advocate President Daley C. Haggar '98, who is also a former Crimson executive.

Haggar and Savage said that the president of the magazine's trustees, Douglas A. McIntyre '77, has suggested that the trustees are already looking for a new home for the Advocate.

"I trust [the University] not to give us some apartment in the Quad," Savage said

"Except for 17 South St., there's not any remarkability to any of the buildings," said David A. Zewinski, associate dean for physical resources and planning in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS).

Seventeen South St. has historical signifance as a former icehouse, Zewinski said. The building currently houses offices for Harvard Planning and Real Estate (HPRE), which is negotiating the lease with the Advocate. HPRE main offices are located in Holyoke Center.

The remaining buildings--with the exception of the Advocate House--contain FAS departments that will move to new locations within the next two years.

According to Zewinski, the Committee on Folklore and Mythology and Modern Greek Studies--both of which currently occupy 69 Dunster St.--will move to the new Barker Center for the Humanities when construction of the complex is completed this fall.

The Department of Linguistics and the Committee on the History of American Civilization--which are currently housed in 77 Dunster St.--are slated to move to Boylston Hall when renovations are complete by September 1998.

And the Department of Athletics, which currently occupies 60 JFK St., will move across the river upon completion of the new athletic complex.

But the buildings will remain standing for the immediate future and Harvard has "developed several varying plans" to fill them, Zewniski said.

"Right now, we're thinking that physical resources, which is currently in market-rate space, would go to 60 JFK [St.]," Zewinski said.

He added 69 and 77 Dunster St. will be used as "swing space" when renovation of Boylston begins this fall.

"The main objective is to eliminate FAS [departments] from spaces that we rent at market rates," he said.

FAS only pays operating and maintenance expenses--about $10 to $15 per square foot--on Harvard-owned property, compared to $25 per square foot on rented property, according to Zewinski.

Advocate Uncertainty

The University's reluctance to sign a long-term lease with the Advocate for 21 South St.--the property on which the literary magazine's two-story Advocate House sits--also suggests that Harvard may have long-range plans for the land.

Students at the Advocate said last month that the magazine's trustees were seeking a 50-year lease, but the agreement--which Epps said yesterday is almost complete--will likely be much shorter.

"It's almost certain that we'll sign a 15-year lease," Epps said yesterday.

And the upcoming lease agreement will likely include a provision for the College to relocate the publication to another location if academic needs for the space arise.

"If conditions change, and everybody understands that, it's not that you back out of the lease...but we will find a place for the Advocate at Harvard," Epps said.

Advocate leaders said they are upset by the provision that may force the magazine to move against its will.

"I fail to understand the real meaning of a so-called lease if the landlord can end it at any time at his discretion," Savage said.

The lease negotiations come at a time when the Advocate is set to begin renovations on the Advocate House, which is in need of $60,000 in repairs.

Advocate trustees hosted a fundraiser--attended by alumni including Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. '38, Norman K. Mailer '43, Conan C. O'Brien '85 and Epps--on New York's East Side last Thursday to raise money for renovations to the building.

"We're ready to go ahead" with the renovations, said Advocate President Daley C. Haggar '98, who is also a former Crimson executive.

Haggar and Savage said that the president of the magazine's trustees, Douglas A. McIntyre '77, has suggested that the trustees are already looking for a new home for the Advocate.

"I trust [the University] not to give us some apartment in the Quad," Savage said

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