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Kendall Square plans to put on party shoes

Students tend to depart the desolate square at night, but development plans near MIT hope to spur nightlife.  

Every Wednesday after class, a group of MIT business school students go out for beers in Beacon Hill.

“Although MIT Sloan is right in Kendall Square we don’t go to Kendall,” said Leland Cheung, 32, who also sits on Cambridge’s City Council. “We start walking across the bridge and go all the way into Beacon Hill to find a bar.”

While many see Kendall as the most innovative square mile in the world by day, Cheung said it’s dead at night. Which is why an outside consultant will help revitalize Kendall Square, with MIT and developer Boston Properties splitting the $350,000 fee.

“We’re looking to build on that [innovative reputation] to make Kendall more of a destination that people want to go to all day long,” Cheung said.

Kendall has become a destination for foodies who wait as long as an hour for weekend brunch at the Friendly Toast.

“We have a 24 hour license in Portsmouth and we get a good bar rush,” employee Nate Doyle said.

MIT is redesigning the plaza at its Kendall entrance to include more shops and restaurants. An outdated zoning code prohibiting restaurants and bars from occupying many of the buildings also makes it difficult to compete with Harvard and Central squares’ nightspots.


“It’s not like Harvard Square where you think ‘Oh, I’ll just find a place,” Cheung said.

 
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