The Fly Club will likely continue to lease the property at 45 Dunster St. to the Bee Club, bringing an end to nearly a month of uncertainty regarding the future of the building.
The Fly recently sent a letter of intent to the Bee proposing a long-term lease that will last for “more than a couple of decades,” according to John L. Powers ’70, president of the Fly Club’s graduate board.
The two clubs are still negotiating the specifics of the lease, conversations which Powers said may last through the week. But he added that the fundamental aspects of the transaction are “a done deal.”
Over the last month, the Fly entertained offers to sell the space to the Bee, the Chabad House at Harvard, and the Hasty Pudding Club, and hired Boston real estate management firm Colliers Meredith & Grew to help consider the bids. But in the end, the Fly decided to lease the building in order to retain ownership of the property and maintain an amicable relationship with what Powers called their “sister club.”
Despite the significant size of the offers—including a $6 million bid from Chabad—the Fly was hesitant to relinquish its ownership of the property because of the scarcity of Harvard Square real estate and the sense that the real estate market is not at its peak, Powers said.
The Fly Club board was also influenced by the club’s long-standing relationship with the Bee.
“There was also an interest on the part of the Fly of thinking about the larger Harvard community and the stakeholders, and what would be the best in the context of these clubs,” said graduate board member Charles D. Atkinson III ’58.
Powers, who is also a former Crimson sports editor, characterized the lease as one that is mutually beneficial for both clubs.
“We realized we could get what we needed without having to sell, and the Bee could get what it needed with a long-term lease,” he said.
The Fly Club began considering offers to sell the building after the Bee served a notice of termination on their lease to the Fly, effective June 1.
The building at 45 Dunster St.—assessed at $2.7 million by the City of Cambridge—also houses J.Press, the historic upscale men’s clothing boutique.
The Fly took ownership of the building in 1996 after it merged with the now-defunct D.U. Club.
Bee Club President Mariana B. Zobel De Ayala ’11 declined to comment for this article.
—Staff writer Danielle J. Kolin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Naveen N. Srivatsa can be reached at email@example.com.