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After three months on the market, Harvard Square properties housing businesses including Crema Cafe, Felipe’s Taqueria, Flat Patties, and Cardullo’s Gourmet Shoppe have been sold to Asana Partners for more than $100 million.
Asana Partners, a North Carolina-based real estate investment company, bought the properties for $108 million from the Dow and Stearns family trust, which has owned the real estate for a century, according to the Boston Globe. Purchased buildings include 1-8 Brattle, home to Cardullo’s Gourmet Shoppe, and 17-41A Brattle St., which hosts Felipe’s Taqueria, Crema Cafe, Flat Patties, and Rebekah Brooks Jewelry.
The properties have been up for sale since September 2017. In the months following the Dow and Stearns trust's decision to list the properties, some students and Harvard square residents said they feared the sale might cause Felipe's, Flat Patties, and Crema to leave the area. In particular, some locals said they worried large multinational firms might buy the properties, driving up rents for current businesses.
But Denise A. Jillson, executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association, said she thinks Felipe's, Flat Patties, and Crema are here to stay. She said Asana Partners spoke to the Business Association Monday afternoon and “expressed their desire to be here for a very long time.”
“It feels good, it feels comfortable,” Jillson said of the deal. “Having reached out to all of the tenants in the building a couple weeks ago, knowing that their intent was to protect the buildings, and then reaching out to the Business Association almost immediately before the ink was dry, makes us all feel very, very optimistic that they are in fact in for the long haul and will be engaged and responsible community partners.”
Thomas J. Brush, co-owner of Felipe’s, director of Flat Patties, and a partner in Crema Cafe, also said he remains hopeful for the future of his businesses.
“I don’t anticipate any problems with our continuing to stay here and being a part of the Harvard Square community for the near future,” Brush said. “We’ve been successful businesses that have been here in the Square, and I anticipate, whoever the new owners are, and whoever is managing the building, that they will continue to support and allow our businesses to stay here.”
Harvard professor and Harvard Square Neighborhood Association leader Suzanne P. Blier, though, said she felt less certain.
“It’s been long recognized that this property would be sold,” Blier said. “I think the comments on the outset are positive, at the same time, things change over the decades.”
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