The Garage in Harvard Square will be renovated next year. It’s the latest shift in the neighborhood’s changing landscape.

courtesy garage.jpg
The Garage, on Mt. Auburn Street in Harvard Square, will be redeveloped to include retail spaces on the ground floor as well as offices.

By Gal Tziperman Lotan Paris AlstonJeremy SiegelJune 8, 2022Morning Edition


After 50 years as a retail and cultural hub in the middle of Harvard Square, The Garage will soon be redeveloped.

“We love the building,” said John DiGiovanni, president of Trinity Property Management. “It was and is a very cool place. But what I would say is cooler than The Garage is Harvard Square.”

DiGiovanni said the old building — which dates back to 1860, when it was a horse stable — is not accessible for patrons with disabilities. He also hopes the redesign will reinvigorate the property to bring in new customers, and that “40 or 50 years from now people will be talking about how cool [the new] place was.”

Construction plans filed with the city show developers plan to begin renovations in 2023, rebuilding the interior while preserving the masonry facades on Mt. Auburn and Dunster streets. Trinity Property Management is working on getting restaurants, retail businesses and office tenants into the new building, though leases have not yet been signed.

But some current tenants and frequent visitors to The Garage are concerned about what this project means for the future of the neighborhood. Comedian, podcast host and Harvard Square frequenter Ken Reid joined GBH’s Morning Edition this week to reflect on his memories of the shopping center.LISTEN 8:26Ken Reid on Morning Edition | June 7, 2022

Reid grew up in Melrose and would ride the Orange Line to spend time at The Garage, where he recalls digging through crates at record stores looking for gold, getting artisan coffee in the pre-Starbucks world, and renting films like “Eraserhead” from Videosmith.

“Almost nothing of the Harvard Square I grew up with exists. Frankly, almost nothing of the Boston I grew up with exists,” he said. “That’s not necessarily for the worse … but it is losing character.”

Reid said The Garage stood out for its unique businesses that customers couldn’t find elsewhere, especially before the Internet. Now he expects some current Garage tenants will shift to online businesses, while he hopes others will find new physical spaces.

One current tenant, Chameleon Tattoo & Body Piercing, is already raising money for relocation expenses.

“We’re working with the owner of the building to hopefully relocate us somewhere in the Harvard Square area,” said Rueben Kayden, a senior tattoo artist who will take over the storied shop after the move as the current owner retires. “That’s the ultimate goal. But that comes with a lofty price.”

Kayden, who has been tattooing at Chameleon for 17 years, said he’s been leaning on the shop’s community. Moving costs may end up clocking in around $80,000-$100,000, he said, not including rent. But Trinity Property Management is working with the business, and clients are offering help in whatever ways they can. Some are donating money, others with carpentry or plumbing skills have offered their time.

“It’s about keeping the culture of tattooing alive in Harvard Square,” Kayden said. “Small businesses are closing constantly, and I feel that there isn’t much flavor left in Harvard. We’re one of the last artistic endeavors available in the area. And it became my personal mission to make sure it stays alive and stays true.”

WBZ News Radio

Boston Calling 2022 Ends On High Note

– The three-day festival has wrapped up and cleaning crews have now taken over Harvard Athletic Complex. More than 50 artists performed at Boston Calling, including headliners Metallica and Nine Inch Nails. It’s the first time the music festival returned to the stage after the Covid-19 pandemic and it wasn’t without a few bumps in the road.

Friday night event organizers announced another change in the line-up, after a positive COVID case for their Saturday night headliner, The Strokes. Instead, Friday night’s headlining band, Nine Inch Nails, would play a second set on Saturday night.

The Crimson

Today’s Scoop: Ben and Jerry’s Reopens in Harvard Square

Ben and Jerry’s reopened its Harvard Square location on Dec. 21 following a nearly two-year-long hiatus.

The shop — once located inside The Garage shopping mall on John F. Kennedy St. — closed in 2020 at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Its new location sits across the street at 35 JFK St., formerly David’s Tea.

Bloomberg Radio

Baystate Business: ER’s Under Stress

Bloomberg Baystate Business for Thursday, January 6th, 2022 – Bloomberg News reporter and Boston Bureau Chief Carey Goldberg on the latest Covid surge straining hospitals around the country (2:39) – Anne Mostue reports on blood testing innovations from local biotech companies (8:47) – Adam Sachs, CEO, Vicarious Surgical, on his company, awards for worker satisfaction, and return to office (15:02) – Bloomberg News reporter Mark Gurman on the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) going on in Las Vegas (22:37) – Dr. Melisa Lai-Becker, medical director at Everett Hospital, on the impact of Covid on her hospital (31:46) – Bloomberg Opinion columnist and markets editor John Authers on the Fed minutes that moved the markets (49:54) – Janet Wu reports on business activity in Harvard Square (57:18) – Denise Jillson, President of the Harvard Square Business Association, on the closing of the historic Brattle Square Florist shop, and how her members are impacted by Covid (1:05:00) – Greg Reibman, President of the Charles River Chamber of Commerce, on the office park for hybrid workers in Needham, and their members view of vaccine mandates (1:16:06) – Bloomberg Radio meteorologist Rob Carolan on the approaching snow storm (1:23:49) Hosts: Tom Moroney, Joe Shortsleeve, and Kim Carrigan Producer: Dan Pierce

Jan 06, 2022

Bloomberg Baystate Business

Janet Wu Interviews Dick Friedman, Part Two

Janet Wu sits down with the developer behind Boston’s new Four Seasons, The Charles Hotel, The Hyatt Regency Cambridge, and The Liberty Hotel, to name a few.

Dick Friedman has a number of new projects, and they have surprising locations.

Bloomberg Baystate Business

Janet Wu Interviews Dick Friedman, Part One

Janet Wu sits down with the developer behind Boston’s new Four Seasons, The Charles Hotel, The Hyatt Regency Cambridge, and The Liberty Hotel, to name a few.

Dick Friedman has a number of new projects, and they have surprising locations.