What the Middle East residential expansion will mean for Central Square


When it came to planning the new development proposal that would add 100 homes atop the Middle East in Central Square, owners Joseph and Nabil Sater crowdsourced. That is, they held old fashioned town meetings for residents and other business owners to give input on an expansion that would dramatically alter the iconic stretch of Massachusetts Avenue where this restaurant and nightclub complex has operated for 40 years.

One thing on the community’s must-have list is more affordable housing — 20 percent instead of the standard 10 percent of space designated to most new developments. “They want solar energy and they want more space to live in, too,” Joseph Sater says. “They also want a garden on the roof — a community garden to grow vegetables.”

Rooftop vegetable growing is around four or even five years away, Sater estimates. But the basic plan is set and the ground floor — Middle East Upstairs and Downstairs, ZuZu and the bakery —  will remain as-is and open throughout the process. The second floor will serve as a public space where new tenants, like galleries, will act as a noise buffer between the residences upstairs and the clubs below. Once a compatible developer is found, the project will move to the city-permitting phase.

With the community behind the project, Sater hopes for fewer headaches down the line.

“We don’t want to upset any of our neighbors or the other businesses in the area. We say good morning to these people. We don’t want them to be uncomfortable with any of this. The Cambridgeport community is home for us,” he explains.

Another headache they hope to avoid is increased congestion in the already traffic-choked Central Square. “We want to work out a way with the city to provide scooters or bikes,” says Sater. “We don’t want residents to bring in cars. The Red Line is a minute away. People don’t want more cars.”

The Saters have already put a toe in development waters, turning a disused armory in Somerville into a community and arts center. Sater chuckles dryly, because that project was tiny compared to this. So why take on such a huge challenge?

“We had no choice: The property owner died and the estate wanted to sell. Another developer would have torn the whole place down. We aren’t ready to retire and close the Middle East.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Newest java joint in bastion of hipness is…

Little may represent the change the neighborhood is undergoing right now like the arrival of the first Starbucks. The chain which is ubiquitous in Manhattan, opened a Williamsburg store at…

National

Black and white are the new orange at…

By Brendan O'Brien(Reuters) - Black and white are the new orange in a Michigan county where the sheriff has made a wardrobe change for jail…

National

Traps set after reports of giant snake on…

New Jersey animal control workers have set traps to snare a reported 20-foot-long serpent slithering through the waters of Lake Hopatcong.

Local

NYPD: Stroller carrying 2-year-old rolls onto Queens subway…

A 2-year-old girl in a stroller rolled onto subway tracks in Queens on Monday morning, police said.

Entertainment

‘The Leftovers’ recap: Season 1, Episode 4, ‘B.J.…

Last week’s episode of “The Leftovers” was apparently a fluke, because this week’s episode returns to focusing on the Garveys and it is so boring.…

Movies

Interview: Luc Besson says 'Lucy' is very different…

Filmmaker Luc Besson talks about his new film "Lucy," how it's different than "Limitless" and his crazy first conversation with Egyptian actor Amr Waked.

Music

Weezer releases first new song since 2010

Weezer releases "Back to the Shack," their first new song in almost six years.

Movies

Benedict Cumberbatch plays a different kind of genius…

The man known worldwide for his portrayal of London's eccentric private detective Sherlock Holmes is trading his Belstaff coat for tweed this fall. Benedict Cumberbatch…

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

MLB

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according…

Yankees looking at trade for Cliff Lee, according to report

NFL

Giants lineman Chris Snee to retire: Reports

The Giants report to training camp on Tuesday, but Chris Snee may not be there when they do.

NBA

Carmelo Anthony talks about his charity work in…

As he is used to doing every year, NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony is going to visit Puerto Rico to do work for his foundation.

Tech

RocketSkates let users roll with a motor

Los Angeles company Acton has raised funds on Kickstarter to roll out a nifty alternative – motor-powered "RocketSkates."

Tech

Knicks star Carmelo Anthony becomes a tech entrepreneur

He's been an All-Star, an Olympian, and a celebrity spokesperson. Now NBA player Carmelo Anthony is adding the position "tech entrepreneur" to his resume. Along…

Tech

Ulises 1 is the world's first singing satellite

A group of artists and engineers in Mexico have unveiled Ulises 1, the world's first opera-singing satellite.

Home

Wallscape on a budget

Skip the wallpaper and ombre an accent wall instead.