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Rudenstine Ponders Relocating to Princeton Area

By Joshua E. Gewolb, Crimson Staff Writer

In his strongest public statement to date about his future plans, President Neil L. Rudenstine said on Monday there is a 50 percent chance he will move to Princeton, N.J. when he steps down in June.

But Rudenstine--formerly the provost of Princeton University--said that although he has purchased a house there, he has not yet decided where to live.

"It shouldn't be read as, 'We're going back to Princeton,'" Rudenstine said. "We have not made up our minds about work or living. It's 50-50, Cambridge or Princeton."

In August, Rudenstine closed on a $840,000 residence in a wealthy residential community a few blocks from the Princeton campus. He discussed the purchase on Monday only after learning that it had recently been entered into the public record.

Rudenstine anticipates that he will leave his official University-owned residence sometime in June. In earlier interviews, he said he has looked for properties in Cambridge but has found prices to be prohibitive.

Rudenstine has leased the house to a family of five on a short-term basis since October. But he has built flexibility into the lease agreement should he choose to move into the house in June.

"We will leave when he returns, I assume after the school term finishes," said Rudenstine's tenant.

Rudenstine and his wife have not owned a home since selling another property in Princeton in the late 1990s.

"After two years of looking, which started before I decided I would leave the job, we thought we had to have something," Rudenstine said. "We

decided we should have some house, whether we ended up living in it or

not."

Since the time that Rudenstine began looking, the real estate market in Princeton has boomed. Local real estate agents say that in past four or five years, the price of housing there has doubled.

Rudenstine said he is unlikely to reach a final decision on his future plans until April.

He said he has considered a return to teaching English, though he is worried about catching up with developments in the field since he left full-time scholarship in 1968, four years after he got his doctorate.

Rudenstine also said he has many suitors in the foundation world--he served as executive vice president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for three years before accepting the Harvard presidency.

The deed on the white, clapboard-and-brick house at 41 Armour Rd. was recorded on August 16.

"It's an extremely uncharming...ordinary-looking, mundane American house," Rudenstine said. "It has no obvious distinctive architectural or other qualities."

But the house can only be called modest by comparison to the surrounding neigborhood, experts on Princeton realty say. Two to three blocks away on Hodge Road, houses are in the $2 to $3 million range. Former Princeton President Robert F. Goheen is less than a block away.

"It's in an area near the university that's populated by a lot of professors and tree-lined streets," said Sandy Duffy, an agent with Coldwell Banker in Princeton. "For the neighborhood that surrounds it, it's probably one of the smaller houses."

--Staff writer Joshua E. Gewolb can be reached at gewolb@fas.harvard.edu.

--Staff writer Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to the researching of this article.

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