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Harvard Square newsstand, on verge of eviction, gets offer for a new location

Crimson Corner may get a new home just around the corner on Brattle Street. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe Staff

Crimson Corner, the outdoor newsstand being forced out of its iconic Harvard Square location to make way for a pizza chain, may get a new home just around the corner on Brattle Street.

Colliers International, which manages the building on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Brattle Street where the newsstand operates, said Tuesday that it offered owner Chris Kotelly a lease for 35 Brattle St. The firm announced the offer for the new location, across the street from the Brattle Theatre, a day after the Globe reported that Crimson Corner was being forced out of its current space.


Kotelly, a third-generation owner of the newsstand business started by his grandfather under the name Nini’s Corner 54 years ago, confirmed that his lawyer had received the tentative offer from Colliers. He has not had a chance to go over the details and has not accepted.

Kotelly said he wants to remain in Harvard Square but tempered his enthusiasm until he has a chance to review the lease terms, especially given how much retail rental rates have skyrocketed in the square lately.

“I know they were asking a pretty substantial amount of money for that end of the square,” Kotelly said. “I don’t know if they would lower that. I would have to give it some consideration, how much it is, what the size of it is, etc., etc.”

The space at 35 Brattle is owned by the same group that owns Crimson Corner’s building, according to Colliers.

In an e-mail statement Tuesday, Dennis Callahan, executive vice president of commercial property management at Colliers International Boston, said the company is “seeking an alternative location for Crimson Corner within our property, as it is an iconic and historic location that is important to the local community and contributes to a diverse local tenant mix.”


Kotelly said 35 Brattle St. might pose challenges for his business, particularly when it comes to foot traffic, because there is little sidewalk space to display the newspapers and magazines that currently attract customers and onlookers.

Although the location being offered by Colliers may not be ideal, especially compared to his current spot next to the Harvard Coop and across the street from the Harvard MBTA stop, Kotelly said he is glad for this turn of events.

“It is good,” he said. “I’m not complaining at all. This is so personal and emotional for me.”

Kotelly was notified in December that his newsstand needed to be out of the building by the end of January. He has since gotten an extension to stay until the end of February and said he plans to request another one for the month of March.

Developers plan to replace Crimson Corner with &pizza, a restaurant chain based in Washington, D.C.

The recent development boom in Harvard Square may claim its other landmark newsstand, Out of Town News. As part of a planned $5 million redesign and renovation of the square’s brick plaza, Cambridge officials suggested that the city-owned kiosk used by Out of Town News be transformed for public use.

But city officials said they are still in the process of gathering public feedback on the future of the kiosk, a process that will continue at least until fall. Out of Town’s owner, Mike Patel, said that his lease with the city is month-to-month, and that he hopes the newsstand is allowed to stay in the kiosk.


Katheleen Conti can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKConti.