Cambridge's Favorite Monkey to Remain in Harvard Square
Regency Centers and World’s Only Curious George Store owners reach agreement on new lease
The World’s Only Curious George Store has reached an updated lease agreement with Regency Centers that will allow it to remain in Harvard Square. The store will remain in its current location at the corner of JFK and Brattle Streets in The Abbot Buildings until Regency receives city approvals for renovations and begins construction. Curious George will move to a temporary location in another part of the building during construction.
“Curious George is a product of Cambridge and our home in Harvard Square is critical to both our identity and the success of the store,” said shop owner Adam Hirsch. “We are pleased that Regency Centers was willing to work with us to find a creative solution and look forward to continuing to delight residents and visitors alike with our quirky mix of Curious George products, books, children’s toys and other items.”
Regency Centers has proposed a historic restoration of both the Abbot Building (1-7 JFK Street) and 18-24 Brattle street, along with updating the adjacent site (9-11 JFK Street) to include a new four story building consistent in both scale and design with adjacent historic properties. As part of its updated design and plans for the building, Regency Centers is proposing a phased approach to construction, creating a space for the relocation of Curious George during renovations.
“Harvard Square has long been known for the strength of its independent retail, which is a draw for residents and visitors alike; I’ve been clear since day one that keeping Curious George in the Abbot building would set the tone for the kind of project this would be,” said Marc McGovern, Vice Mayor of Cambridge. “I applaud the Regency Centers team for listening to the community and taking the time to find an appropriate way to move forward with their project that includes Curious George.”
“As we began speaking to people throughout Cambridge, everyone from Vice Mayor McGovern to the Harvard Square Business Association and the Harvard Square Neighborhood Association let us know that Curious George is truly a store like no other and a key part of the fabric of Harvard Square,” said Sam Stiebel, Vice President of Investments for Regency Centers. “Given that one of our priorities for this project is maintaining a dynamic and interesting retail mix in Harvard Square, we knew it was imperative to find a way to maintain Curious George as a tenant in our building. This is a positive step for everyone.”
Regency Center’s updated proposals for the updated Abbot buildings require review by the Cambridge Planning Board, which is currently underway. A timeline for renovation and construction is contingent on final project approval. “As we enter the holiday shopping season, we want to be clear: Curious George is open for business, as are the other great retail shops in Harvard Square. Come visit us,” said Hirsch.
“Our team is looking forward to sharing the updated plans for this project with the Planning Board and community,” said Stiebel. “These are very special historic buildings and we expect to be a positive long-term steward of both the physical assets and the important retail spaces they contain.”