July 17, 2024

The owners of Cambridge’s iconic music-and-restaurant complex The Middle East have filed plans to demolish the building and build a six-story hotel, with multiple music venues of its own, in its place.
The Cambridge Historical Commission posted the plans on its website. The meeting was planned to take place on Thursday. However, Sater Realty LLC, an entity linked to the Sater family that owns the Middle East, requested that the consideration of its application be postponed. The news outlet Cambridge Day first reported the filings.
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The application calls for the demolition of the one-story building at 6 Brookline St. in Central Square. The site is home to The Middle East, which is divided into “upstairs” and “downstairs” venues, as well as Sonia, which was formerly T.T. The Bear’s, a legendary concert venue in its own right. The building also houses restaurants ZuZu and Corner.
Another document outlines the plans for a new, nearly 54,000-square-foot building on the site. The new building would include about 100 hotel rooms, according to the plans.
The future of The Middle East remains unclear, but the filing shows a more than 4,000-square-foot music venue in the basement — one sketch referred to it as “Middle East” — and a smaller performance space on the first floor. There would also be ground-floor retail space. The sixth floor would feature a restaurant and bar with a deck.
The Sater family and The Middle East did not immediately return a request for comment on the proposal. 
The plans for the new building are from CSQ Realty LLC, an entity linked to the Cambridge commercial and residential real estate developer Patrick Barrett, who opened the 907 Main Hotel in Central Square in 2020.
Reached for comment, Barrett declined to discuss the plans in detail, saying they remain preliminary. The historical commission could consider the application as soon as October, he said.
Sign-off from the commission is just one approval that the Saters and Barrett would need to win the city’s OK to demolish the cultural institution and build the hotel. The proposal will also have to clear the Cambridge Planning Board.
Barrett said he plans to make the new building powered entirely by electricity, with the possible exception of a gas pipe for the rooftop restaurant. Cambridge is one of the Massachusetts cities and towns interested in banning gas hookups in most new construction, under a state pilot program approved by the Legislature this summer. The Cambridge City Council is also considering requiring larger buildings to have “net zero” greenhouse-gas emissions by 2035.

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