Since its inception this blog has been a story about CityRetail’s focus, Cambridge MA, retail real estate development, and place-making generally.  CityRetail itself is a six-year story that started years before I penned the first post herein on January 4, 2010 (first post here: http://www.cityretail.com/hello-world-2/) and as things stand today there is still much to talk about and more work to do.  But this will be my last blog post. I will be stepping away from CityRetail over the next few weeks and CityRetail as you know it will be changing.  Though, as I think about it, in certain ways CityRetail is actually just returning to where it started…

CityRetail (or more accurately, what would become CityRetail) started as an in-house effort by Twining Properties to lease its own 25,000 SF of retail space at the Watermark Building in Kendall Square. It has since grown into something far bigger. Over the last three years CityRetail has played a crucial role in the transformation of the Kendall Square neighborhood.  And CityRetail’s reach has extended well beyond just one 25,000 SF chunk of retail space.  The result has been that Kendall Square is, by all accounts, a significantly better and more interesting place.  As Paul McMorrow of the Boston Globe wrote this past January:

“The old, boring, dark Kendall Square is gone.  The square today is teeming with interesting, eclectic restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops.  As absurd as it might have sounded a few years ago, Kendall is now a hot food destination.  It’s buzzing with Cambridge’s residents, students, and tech workers.  It’s drawing diners from the suburbs. A place that lay fallow for so long has been transformed almost overnight. Small, local, independent businesses have been driving Kendall Square’s dramatic turnaround.  That’s by design.”

[Full Article here:  http://graffitosp.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/22hip-at-the-square22-kendall-mcmorrow-opinion-boston-globe.pdf]

Paul’s right — it has been by design.  And for me, personally, it has been a special endeavor that has consumed the last half-decade of my professional life.  I have gained more from this project than I could have ever expected — mentors, a mentee, friends, a healthy obsession with urban exploring, and, most importantly, a career.  But now it is time for my next adventure: Graffito SP (“SP” = Special Projects).

GSP will give me a platform to combine my passion for community economic development, place-making, food, arts and entrepreneurship under one roof. Unlike CityRetail, GSP’s capabilities will extend well beyond retail brokerage work.  With Dave Downing, who has been my trusted co-pilot at CityRetail since 2008, we will carry on much of CityRetail’s current third party advisory and brokerage work, but with a renewed focus on larger and more complex place-making projects with a select handful of clients.  Dave will remain in Boston/Cambridge full-time and I’ll continue to split time between New York City and Cambridge.  We’ll be rolling out some new initiatives in the next twelve months and making some strategic investments in real estate, staff and technology.  It’s going to be great.  www.graffitosp.com

And what about CityRetail?

CityRetail will be folded into Twining Properties and function as an in-house retail leasing group (sound familiar?).  It will spearhead retail projects for Twining Properties and Twining’s capital partners in exciting urban neighborhoods such as Central Square, Cambridge, MA, where Twining Properties recently acquired five surface parking lots and a handful of buildings spread out over 2.3 acres of land at the intersection Main Street and Massachusetts Avenue. CityRetail will move forward with the same vision that started Twining Properties down the path of creating its own retail team as it did in 2007.  In this respect, the CityRetail story is indeed returning to familiar place and, like me, is ready for its next adventure.  www.twiningproperties.com

Onward and upward,

/Jesse

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A week ago Dave joined me in NYC for a Brooklyn exploration.  It was our second time in the past 18 months to take a day off together and dedicate 12 hours to a sort of food crawl / retail exploration.  Last year was Manhattan.  I took Dave to my favorite coffee and fast order spots – I’m not sure if I’m proud or embarrassed to admit it but we ate or drank something at every stop.  We walked 11.8 miles and hit the following spots: Blue Bottle Coffee, Doughnut Plant, Café Grumpy, Balthazar, Rice to Riches, Num Pang, Luke’s Lobster, Mamoun’s, Dorado Taco, Eataly, Ace Hotel, Chelsea Maket, Shake Shack and Levain Bakery (check out my twitter feed on December 22, 2011 to take a peak if of interest: twitter.com/baerkahn).  It was intense and a lot of fun.  And a great way to keep us on our toes as we do our thing in Cambridge and Boston.

So after last year’s success it was determined that this would be an annual thing.  This year: Brooklyn.  We walked from Carroll Gardens to Greenpoint with only a short ride on the G in-between to get us from Fort Greene to BedSty. It was a 10 mile walk.  Here are the details (pasted from my twitter steam) and pics:

1st Stop: Black & Gold. Carroll Gardens. Antiques+Records+Coffee. Morning Coffee #CityRetailBKcrawl pic.twitter.com/iYroZOXFCs

2nd Stop: milk bar. Carroll Gardens. Pre breakfast snack. Savory Bagel Bomb. #CityRetailBKcrawl pic.twitter.com/pjDU8LNWno

3rd Stop: Mile End Delicatessen. Borum Hill. Smoked meat scramble, fish, eggs, bialy, etc. #CityRetailBKcrawl pic.twitter.com/r2862uJWfm

4th stop: Sun in Bloom Kitchen. Park Slope. Spicy Lemonade. #CityRetailBKcrawl pic.twitter.com/5u8lmDMegz

5th Stop: Barclays Ctr. Touring food ops & retail with Owners Rep. Super cool. No joke here. #CityRetailBKcrawl

@daveydowning: @baerkahn #barclayscenter pic.twitter.com/swuyMo0xer#CityRetailBKcrawl

6th Stop: Greene Grape. Market. Cookie & soda for @daveydowning. Inspiration for @chefnookie #CityRetailBKcrawl

7th Stop: Annex. Fort Greene. Tiny coffee shop. Got cold brew (blue bottle coffee). #CityRetailBKcrawl pic.twitter.com/svluKDANnb

8th stop: City Line. BedSty. Sneakers. #CityRetailBKcrawl pic.twitter.com/yJ6d36Nub7

9th stop: Moore St Retail Market. EAST Williamsburg(ie no hipsters here yet). Catfish fried thing #CityRetailBKcrawl pic.twitter.com/dPJYsl1SVp

10th stop: Roberta’s. Bushwick. Pizza, brussel sprouts, beer, gelati. #CityRetailBKcrawl pic.twitter.com/GRtymI91R3

11th Stop: oops. Fette Sau closed. Williamsburg. #CityRetailBKcrawl

11th stop (redo): meat ball shop. Williamsburg. Sliders, beers. @daveydowning struggling? See pic #CityRetailBKcrawl pic.twitter.com/TXMlG44HPS

12th Stop: Toby’s Estate. Cafe + Roastery. Williamsburg. Pour over #CityRetailBKcrawl pic.twitter.com/3Z84TMI1aX

13th stop: brouwerij lane. Beer. Beer garden. Beer merchant. Greenpoint. #CityRetailBKcrawl pic.twitter.com/rg4HzulbES

14th stop: Lobster Joint. Greenpoint. Oysters. #CityRetailBKcrawl pic.twitter.com/9sqXkNR3Ri

….and couldn’t resist… (Still 14th stop) #CityRetailBKcrawl pic.twitter.com/9JcBvCUcpX

Leaving Brooklyn –> Long Island City. #CityRetailBKcrawl done eating. I think. pic.twitter.com/gU8OZ07RMc

So… where to next year??

 

 

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I’ll have a full (and proper) 2013 update soon but for now I wanted to share two news projects we are working on this year.  One is in our usual stomping ground – Kendall Square; at 75 Ames Street in the new Broad Institute building – and the other is across the river in Boston.  It takes a special sort of project to get us out of Cambridge and this one at 120 Kingston Street is one of them.  With 120 Kingston, The Boston Innovation Center and Midway Studios as our three (and only) Boston projects, I am confident asserting that we are working on a few of the most important and exciting place-making and retail projects in the City of Boston for 2013.

So take a look as these two packages and spread the word.  Oh, and happy New Year.

75 Ames Street, Cambridge, MA:  75 Ames St _ Kendall Square _ CityRetail & Broad

120 Kingston Street, Boston, MA: 120 Kingston _ Boston _ CityRetail Package

 

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In keeping with our tradition of working on exciting, challenging and transformative projects in emerging urban neighborhoods, CityRetail is pleased to present the following opportunity at 15 Channel Center in Boston’s historic Fort Point Channel neighborhood.

Midway Studios – Request for Interest

Midway Studios is an 89-unit Live/Work Artist Building in Boston’s historic Fort Point Channel neighborhood.  As detailed in the below PDF (see links and pics below), Midway Studios is currently offering for lease a unique 15,000 SF divisible two-story multi-use studio space.  Ownership invites you to explore this opportunity and express your interest by responding to the following on or before December 1, 2012.

A) Use

Midway Studios seeks uses that are consistent with the special culture of innovation and creativity in Fort Point Channel.  Preferred uses are detailed in the attached document.  Midway Studios asks all interested parties to carefully detail:

  1. What is your planned use(s)?
  2. What is your vision for the physical space and how will you utilize the various distinct areas within the 2-story Pavilion?
  3. How many square feet does your use(s) require (if not the entire space)?

B) Economics

There is no tenant improvement allowance available from Midway Studios for this project but the space benefits from significant improvements made by ownership and prior tenants.  Utilities, certain offices, lighting, bathrooms and separately zoned HV/AC systems are fully built out and ready for use.  Midway Studios asks all interested parties to carefully detail:

  1. What is your estimated cost for additional improvements to the premises?
  2. How do you plan to finance this project?
  3. What is your proposed initial Gross Rent (rent inclusive of real estate taxes, common area charges and other typical operating expenses) and length of Term? Please note that Tenant shall be financially responsible for its respective use of all utilities and reasonable annual rent escalations.

Below is a flyer and links containing images, floor plans and other details about this opportunity.  Please review carefully — And in doing so we think you’ll discover quickly that this is a super unique opportunity in one of the most beautiful urban spaces that CityRetail has seen in a long time!

Thanks for considering and contact us with any and all questions.

Midway Pavillion Spaces-hi-res (link to hi-res PDF – 2 pages)

 

 

 

 

 

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I’m working from home today in NYC and just got back from running a few errands here on the Upper West Side.  One of my stops was at Bank of America on the corner of 81st and Broadway.  See pic below.  This branch opened earlier this summer.  It is massive and occupies probably four or five thousand square feet.  I walked into the actual bank space (I’d only been to the ATM area previously) and was blown away by the emptiness.  It was laughable. And it was generic – I could have been anywhere in the country. It was a pity to stand in thousands of square feet on a prime-time corner in Manhattan with less than 10 other people (employees and customers combined) in the entire place at 9:45am on a Friday morning.

After leaving Bank of America I walked 2 blocks to Irving Farm Coffee Co, one of the better cafes in Upper Manhattan that also opened earlier this summer.  The cafe is located on 79th St between Amsterdam and Broadway.  In contrast to BofA, Irving Farm was bustling.  People were meeting, working, eating and buying…  The cafe is half the size of the Bank of America pictured above but it employs at least three times as many people, is open many more hours and serves far, far more people.  Oh, and it sources it’s coffee direct or fair trade from farms in South America and Africa, buys it’s dairy from local farms, it’s baked goods from local bakeries and most of it’s other food product (eggs, produce, etc.) from other small local businesses.

So I ask you, would you rather have Bank of America or Irving Farm in your neighborhood? What is better for our economy?  What creates better ‘place’?

 

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Tatte Fine Cookies and Cakes opened last week in Kendall Square.  It’s fantastic – the design, the food, the team.  The story of how this deal came together is classic CityRetail stuff and speaks to our strategy over the past four years in Kendall Square and the ongoing evolution of Kendall Square into a dynamic mixed-use urban place.

In April 2010 my colleague, Dave Downing, emailed Tzurit Or of Tatte Fine Cookies and Cakes in Brookline about opening a second location in Kendall Square.  Tzurit was one of a handful of local bakers on our target list for the neighborhood.  In fact, over the past several years we have emailed, called and bothered hundreds of the area’s best restaurateurs and retailers about coming to Kendall Square.  Since there was not much retail in Kendall Square in 2007/08 (and none on Third Street) we had lots to work with and lots of target lists – drycleaners, day care centers, cafes, gyms, bike shops, urban grocers, yoga studios, etc. and, especially, restaurateurs.  By the beginning of 2010 we had some traction and it was time to fill some holes – a bakery was front and center.  Dave was all over it.

So we did our thing – we looked for the best that already existed and started from there. Tatte was, therefore, an obvious target.  But the problem then was that Kendall was not an obvious target for Tatte…

Things started to change in mid 2010 though – Kendall Square, generally, reached a sort of tipping point from a “place” perspective; or at least more and more people started to appreciate the potential. The recession was in full swing but Kendall was booming:  corporate giants like Google and Microsoft were not just locating in KendallSq but were growing in Kendall Square; Genzyme, the world third largest biotech company and one of the neighborhood’s most recognized tenants was rumored to be on the trading block (it sold in early 2011 for $20 Billion); MIT was about to open a new building for the Sloan School of Management smack in the middle of KendallSq; the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) was bursting from its seams and building-out two new floors at One Broadway; Android, a CIC based startup turned Google acquisition, became the best selling smartphone platform in the world; big-name VC’s were looking for space; Consulates were moving in; The Kendall Square Association was just getting off the ground with a stellar new Executive Director, Travis McCready; The City began eyeing strategies for responsible growth in Kendall Square; and The Boston Consulting Group declared Kendall Square the most innovative square mile on earth… Yeah, not bad.  And in regards to the ground floor, earlier in the year my team put some points on the board when EVOO and Za opened in January 2010 and we were announcing new deals at a pretty steady rate through 2010.  No doubt our emails, calls and botherings of the restaurant community during 2008 and 2009 were paying off.  Chefs and restaurateurs that we previously toured were coming back for second looks and, at a minimum, seeing Kendall Square in a new light – they were all starting to get it… We weren’t dragging people to Kendall anymore; it was more like a steady but careful push.

So in October 2010, six months after Dave’s first email to Tzurit, we got an email from our close pal and collaborator Michael Staub, who was also working with Tzurit, explaining that Tatte was actively looking for a second location in the South End or Back Bay and was just starting to talk about Kendall Square as a possibility…. (more on Michael in a later post, as he has been instrumental in the recent restaurant explosion we are seeing in Kendall).

A week after Michael’s email we toured Tzurit; three weeks later we got her our first of many draft lease proposals; and through 2011 we – Tzurit, Michael, Cafco Construction, CityRetail and BioMed Realty Trust, our client and the Landlord – engaged in a one-year back-and-forth, on-again-off-again lease negotiation. It was tough but it was needed. And we came out of it with a deal; a good deal.  BioMed stepped up to the plate and did what it had to do get a best in class retail tenant – they gave the Tenant some money to build, were reasonable with rent commencement timing and structured a very rational deal.  BioMed, a publically traded REIT, found a way to make a deal with a small local bakery and vice-versa.  This is not an easy task; for either side.  But it happened. And it’s happening all over Kendall Square; because Landlords like BioMed are committing to making Kendall Square a better place.

So go visit Tatte and when you see Tzurit thank her – thank her for coming to Kendall Square… if she’s not too busy. Oh, and get a pear juice, sandwich, sweet brioche and pistachio tort. Damn good stuff.

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The Boston Globe's Eric Moskowitz talking to Firebrand Saints owner Gary Strack

I spent a day last week walking around Kendall Square with Eric Moskowitz of the Boston Globe.  Eric is writing a 24 (or 18) hours in Kendall Square piece, which should come out in next week’s Sunday Globe.  It was my task to give Eric a peek (and taste) of the developing food and retail scene in the neighborhood. We did a sort of mini food crawl and I left the tour feeling more enthusiastic than ever about the consulting and brokerage work CityRetail has done since 2007 and the work that we hope to do as Kendall Square further develops.  Here’s why:

Eric and I visited 7 businesses.  We started at the Clover Food Truck and then proceeded to Evoo/Za, KIka, Fuji, Xylem, Area Four and ended at Firebrand Saints.  AT EVERY BUSINESS WE STOPPED AT THEIR WAS AN OWNER PRESENT . And let me be clear, I did not call a single business and let them know we were coming.  I’ll say it again and use caps one more time since I’m excited about this: EVERYWHERE WE WENT AN OWNER WAS THERE… This is amazing.

More than anything else, this incredible owner-operator presence that we experience on our tour speaks to Kendall Square’s potential as a great urban place (emphasis added re: use of word “potential” – we still have a ways to go) and gives CityRetail and hopefully our LL clients, the City of Cambridge and East Cambridge residents faith that we are on the right track and should be proud of our work to date. And now that all are on board with the reality that retail and restaurants can work in Kendall Square (this was not a given in 2007), it’s up to all of us that live, work and play in Kendall Square to make sure that we stay the course of growing a retail and restaurant community in a responsible way – that is to say that we continue to put a priority on working with experienced local owner-operated businesses and continue to work collaboratively to meet the growing needs of the community.  So in three years I hope I can write another 7 for 7 post… at least it’s something to aspire to.

P.S. Eric started his day with coffee at Voltage Cafe, where of course Lucy, the owner, was there too.  So I guess it’s actually 8 for 8.

[update 2/27/12 – here’s the link to Eric’s article, which was the cover story in 2/26/12 Boston Globe Sunday Magazine: “24 Hours in Kendall Square

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In my post “Coffee, Seriously” from April 2010 I touched on the relative explosion of the coffee scene in Boston and Cambridge.  Back then I predicted 8 – 12 “serious coffeehouses” would join the scene in the next couple years.  Well, it’s been a year-and-a-half and we are at over 8 and climbing; half of which were CityRetail led/initiated deals…  As follows are 8 select recent openings and some of my (highly subjective) comments.

  1. Area Four (Cambridge, Kendall Square) – CityRetail worked and sourced this deal o/b/o the LL. The cafe is part of larger (and really good) restaurant by Chef Michael Leviton of Lumiere (http://www.lumiererestaurant.com/) in Newton. A4 is one my favorite spots in Cambridge and brought much needed life to Technology Square. House coffee is roasted by Barrington Coffee Roasters. see: http://www.areafour.com/
  2. Blue State Coffee (Boston, Comm Ave near BU) – CityRetail worked and sourced this deal also. BSC has New Haven and Providence locations (2 in each city) and was eager to open in Boston in 2010. BSC is a great concept that incorporates a strong philanthropic component. BSC recently started roasting own coffees. see:  http://www.bluestatecoffee.com/
  3. Render Coffee (Boston, South End) – CityRetail worked for Tenant on this one, which is rare and was a lot of fun for us. Render is one of first cafes in area to use super highly regarded NC based roaster Counter Culture Coffee. This is pour-over only concept and is killer.  see: http://rendercoffeebar.com/
  4. Hi-Rise Bakery & Cafe (Cambridge, Mass Ave near Harvard Sq) -  CityRetail worked and sourced this deal on behalf of Lesley U, which desperately needed a top-notch cafe for a new dorm building on Mass Ave. Before we got involved Lesley had few other options other than national chains… Big, big upgrade from any chain with Hi-Rise and big, big upgrade to the neighborhood generally with this use.  Coffee roasted by Barismo.  See: http://hi-risebread.com/
  5. Voltage Coffee & Art (Cambridge, Kendall Square) – This is my go to cafe in Kendall, which is across the street from the Watermark building and CityRetail’s office at the Cambridge Innovation Center.  This is always my first stop when I get back to Cambridge from NYC. Lucy and Zoey – you rock!! Currently use Barrington and Barismo coffees. Like Render, pour-overs only. See: http://voltagecoffee.com/
  6. Dwelltime (Cambridge, Broadway between Inman and Harvard Squares) – This cafe will be opening really soon and is owned by the team from Barismo (coffee roaster in Arlington), which is one of the top local roasters (and one of the hottest in the country if you talk to coffee fanatics) and also operates a cool little cafe in Arlington, MA.  See: http://dwelltimecambridge.com/
  7. Thinking Cup (Boston, Downtown) – First cafe in Boston area to use Stumptown coffees as house coffee and filled a huge void in pretty much non-existent coffee scene in Boston’s downtown n’hood. See: http://thinkingcup.com/
  8. Jaho Coffee (Boston, South End) – I went here a lot before I moved to NYC and used to really enjoy their cold-brew iced coffee.  Jaho roasts own coffees and while not on same level as some of other roasters referenced herein, they do a really nice job.  See: http://www.jaho.com/
  9. Barrington Coffee (Boston, Fort Point Channel) – First cafe from Barrington Coffee Roasters, which opened less than a week ago. I can’t wait to check this place out.  See: http://www.barringtoncoffee.com/about/boston

Hey, and while I’m at it, here are some of the other great Boston/Cambridge/Somerville cafes that I really like and are doing the “serious coffee” thing really well:

  1. Crema Cafe (Cambridge, Harvard Square) – My sister Liza and my close bud Marley’s spot in Harvard Square. I absolutely adore Crema but I’m a proud and super biased brother.  Crema uses George Howell Coffee Co coffees and just started a guest coffee program featuring some of the other best roasters from around the country (Sightglass, Counter Culture and PT’s have been featured of late).  See: http://cremacambridge.com/
  2. Simon’s Coffee (Cambridge, Mass Ave near Porter Square) – Simon was doing the serious coffee thing before people like me knew what good coffee tasted like. Tons of respect for this cafe, which now uses Barismo coffees. http://dwelltimecambridge.com/
  3. Bloc 11 & Diesel Cafe (Somerville, Union and Davis Square) – two of Somerville’s best cafes owned by same group.  Both cafes serve Stumptown and Inteligensia coffees.  See: http://bloc11.com/ ; http://diesel-cafe.com/
  4. Beantowne Coffeehouse (Cambridge, Kendall Square) – Hidden gem buried outside of Kendall Square at One Kendall Complex. Nice coffee/espresso done by Raos. Ed, owner, has been hip to the coffeehouse thing for decades now.  See: http://beantownecambridge.com/
  5. Pavement & Espresso Royale Cafe (Boston, multiple locations) – Multiple ERC locations in Boston but Pavement – one location – has more robust and focused coffee program than ERC.  ERC has though groomed some of the areas top baristas and cafe operators and the list of alumni is impressive. Both operations use Counter Culture coffees.  See: http://www.pavementcoffeehouse.com ; http://www.espressoroyaleboston.com/
  6. Flat Black Coffee (Boston, Financial District) – This was my favorite spot in Downtown Boston for years when I had an office on Tremont Street in ’07 and ’08 (and before the local coffee scene was as great as it is today).  They roast their own stuff and have a great philosophy about coffee and cafe culture.  See: https://www.flatblackcoffee.com/
  7. Sip Cafe (Boston, Post Office Square) – owned by an alumni of George Howell Coffee Co. and occupies a really funky spot in Post Office Square in Boston.  I don’t get here much but when I do I always have a good time.  See: http://www.sipboston.com/

I could go on for a while here but I think this is a pretty decent starter-list of some of Boston/Cambridge/Somerville top cafes and notable recent openings, though I’ve def missed some spots so please comment below and let’s keep this list going.

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There’s an old school 80s movie called Summer Lovers that is so bad it’s good.  It has absolutely nothing to do with CityRetail or this post.  In truth, I’ve just really wanted to name a post “Summer Lovers” – it has a ring to it – and since today is the last day of Summer I’m going to run with it.  Maybe it’s the same sort of reason Gary Strack named his new restaurant “Firebrand Saints” – it doesn’t really make sense (or does it?) but it does have a ring to it…

When my team’s self-help retail experiment started turning some heads in 2008 by bringing a bit of buzz to the then perceived retail wasteland that was (past tense – emphasis added) Kendall Square, we simultaneously started taking meetings with a few neighboring LLs and outlined our hands-on and grass-roots approach.  One such LL we met with was MIT. MIT had a particular interest in activating 3,000 SF of vacant ground floor retail at One Broadway.  The space was previously an Enterprise Car Rental office and was sandwiched between a Dunkin Donuts (still there) and a Dominos Pizza (recently closed – another exciting project coming there soon though). Our team was subsequently engaged by MIT with the goal of finding a food use that would activate said storefront for maximum hours and appeal to maximum customers; a place where faculty and professionals could have lunch at 11:30am and MIT Sloan students could have a drink(s) at 11:30pm.  From the start I knew we needed somebody with vision, energy and experience.

I got in touch with Chef Gary Strack in early 2009 through my clients/friends at SOSOLIMITED, who have worked with Gary in the past and are the wizards behind the TV programming you’ll see behind the bar in Firebrand Saints.  Gary was on the top of my list from day 1 for this space – he pioneered as chef/owner of Central Kitchen and Enourmous Room in Central Square and has a knack for understanding and facilitating the intersection of art, performance, tech and food… A perfect match for Kendall and it’s still developing retail scene. Gary knew it and so did I.  Now, some 30+ months later, Firebrand Saints is set to open.

This deal has been a special one for me to work on.  It has led to friends and collaborations that have great meaning.  Further, FbS opens just as I transition my home-base to New York City, which seems fitting. As CityRetail and I expand our reach beyond Cambridge (more on this later), this deal as much as any other deal we’ve worked on over the last three years bolsters my claim that CityRetail is a unique group that can package and deliver game-changing and outside-of-the-box restaurant projects.

This project also demonstrates something that so many in the City of Cambridge (both the public and city government) have taken an interest in questioning and criticizing:  MIT’s commitment to retail in Kendall Square.  Let me be absolutely clear: MIT would not have done this deal – could not have done this deal – unless they cared about and were committed to the role of small, local, owner-operated businesses in Kendall Square. period.

So thanks for this MIT. And Gary, now it’s up to you to do what you do best >> create a cool and fun place with kickass food.  Go get ‘em. We are all rooting for you.

 

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Construction just started on an exciting new Japanese restaurant here in Kendall Square.  Folks in the neighborhood have been clamoring for sushi dating back to my team’s start on the Watermark (where Evoo/Za and Bosse City Club are and where Kika Tapas will be) and CityRetail and Alexandria Real Estate Equities, our client and the Landlord on this project, are super pleased to be close to delivering this use (note that Alexandria is also Area Four’s LL, as deal we worked on in 2010).  The restaurant, Fuji, is a second location for a young, aggressive and exciting group out of Quincy, MA.  Fuji’s team is spearheaded by chef/restauranteur, Jimmy Liang.  Jimmy’s team has three other Quincy spots (teppanyaki, hot pot and Chinese – links here) and Jimmy has also been a consultant on several big-name restaurants of late, Shrine at the MGM Grand Foxwoods being one example (article here).  The Fuji team has a proven record locally and brings a fresh new dining concept to Kendall Square – two themes (1, proven; 2, will add value to n’hood) that have guided CityRetail’s advisory and leasing work from day one.

Fuji’s planned opening is mid-October.  Lunch, dinner, catering, full bar and sushi bar.  300 Third Street.  See you there. 

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