Nantucket Nectars Rents D.U. Building

Tom and Tom of Nantucket Nectars may be juice guys, but a showdown tonight before the Cambridge Board of Zoning Appeal will decide whether Harvard is a juice school.

Tom Scott and Tom First, founders of the popular juice company, signed a 15-year lease with the Fly club six weeks ago for the use of the former D.U. club building at 45 Dunster St. across from the Office of Career Services.

The entrepreneurs have already moved the headquarters of their multi-million dollar startup company into the space and plan to open a juice bar after renovating the building's first floor.

But in order to build the bar, the company must receive a zoning variance, since the former D.U. building is in a residential zone.

Harvard University, which has land abutting the property, opposes the variance and has petitioned the Zoning Board to deny the appeal.


Scott Levitan, director of University and commercial properties at Harvard Planning and Real Estate, sent a letter to the zoning board on behalf of the Harvard Corporation. In the letter, dated April 15, Levitan called the proposed juice bar a potential noise disturbance to Dean of Freshman Elizabeth S. Nathans, who lives next to the site.

"We have concluded that despite best efforts to maintain the current character of the street, it would be impossible to locate this use at the proposed location without deleterious effect to the quality of life for the resident of the adjacent property," Levitan wrote.

In the letter, Levitan went on to say that Harvard "welcome[s]" Nantucket Nectars "as neighbors" and regrets that the University must oppose their plans.

Paul Conti (who, like Tom and Tom, has no corporate title but appears naked on the Nantucket Nectars label), heads the juice-bar project for Nantucket Nectars. Conti says the company did not foresee Harvard's opposition to their juice dreams.

First said the company has pledged to maintain the location's character, which he and Scott said attracted them in the first place.

"We really wanted to be in Harvard Square because of its style and because of its activity," Scott said.

Conti said their project has the support of J. Press, a retail clothier which shares the 45 Dunster St. property, and University Typewriter Company, which abuts the property.

According to Conti, Nantucket Nectars has offered Harvard several concessions. He said the company is willing to put a fence around the proposed juice bar, to limit its open hours and even to set up an advisory board with Nathans as a member.

Conti said Harvard officials rejected these proposals but offered Nantucket Nectars a space in the Holyoke Center arcade, which he said the company does not want.

Conti said the company plans to renovate the old D.U. building, turning its muddy driveway into a "tranquil green" on which students and others can rest while they sip their 20-ounce "smoothies," Conti said.

The juice guys said they are especially eager to set up a retail shop in the unique milieu of Harvard Square.