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At long last, Kendall Square will have a CVS

The drug development epicenter of America finally gets ... a drug store

A CVS store will be coming to Kendall Square later this year, a CVS Health spokesperson said in an e-mail.David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Kendall Square is famously known as the most innovative square mile on the planet, a neighborhood chock full of the world’s preeminent drugmakers — but one that, for years, hasn’t had an actual pharmacy.

That’s about to change.

CVS Pharmacy Inc. has agreed to open a location at 238 Main St., the brick clock tower building immediately east of the Kendall/MIT MBTA Red Line stop. The Rhode Island-based pharmacy giant will open in a shuttered Au Bon Pain on a corner of the building’s ground floor.

Middlesex County records indicate the store will span 10,055 square feet.

“We look forward to welcoming customers to our new CVS Pharmacy store on Main St. and Hayward in Cambridge in late 2022,” CVS Health spokesperson Matt Blanchette said in an e-mail to the Globe.


With six locations, including one at the nearby CambridgeSide shopping mall, Cambridge has among the highest concentrations of CVS locations in the Commonwealth, outside of Boston and Worcester. (Brockton and Salem also have six locations.)

In surveys of people who live and work in Kendall Square, a CVS was the second most-requested retailer behind a grocery store, said a representative from the MIT Investment Management Co., at an event this week for commercial real estate industry association NAIOP Massachusetts. Brothers Marketplace, a small-format brand of Mansfield-based grocery chain Roche Bros., opened on the ground floor of the nearby One Broadway office building in 2019.

The 238 Main St. project is part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Kendall Square Initiative, a long-planned multi-building real estate development transforming multiple surface parking lots surrounding the Kendall/MIT Red Line station. The 238 Main St. building involved adding 12 stories of office and lab behind an existing historic brick building and connecting the two properties by a five-story atrium.

Other Kendall Square Initiative buildings include 314 Main St., an office building for tenants including Boeing, Capital One, Apple, and IBM, along with the future home of the MIT Museum. Three other projects include a 452-bed graduate student residential tower at 290 Main St.; an office and lab at 200 Main St. and an apartment tower at 165 Main St.


Also immediately off the Kendall/MIT Red Line stop — but not part of MIT’s Kendal Square Initiative — is a new 16-story glass office building being leased by Google at 325 Main St., where the former MIT Coop stood. The MIT Press Bookstore opened last year across the street at 314 Main St.

Beyond the Main Street buildings, work is underway to build a new John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. Once work is complete on that government building, MIT can begin a 2.8 million-square-foot mixed-use project on 10 acres on the federally-owned campus, including research and development space, housing, retail, open space, and a community center.

Catherine Carlock can be reached at Follow her @bycathcarlock.