The Harvard Crimson :: Opinion :: Utility Before Ownership
The Greenhouse Restaurant and Coffee Shop, which had been in business in Harvard Sq for the last 30 years, closed last week. The Crimson Editorial Board is absolutely right in their concerns about the retail future of Allston. They "hope that Barry’s Corner will not end up with another four banks to facilitate student withdrawals, but rather see appealing shops and eateries that will benefit students, faculty, staff, and Allston community members alike."
Harvard has spent hours and hours telling us about parts of their proposed buildings that the general public will never see. But Harvard seems to have minimal interest in the true public spaces of the buildings. We are told "maybe there will be a cafe" or about a cafeteria that might exist. But a Starbucks or an institutional cafeteria are not going to make Barry's Corner and the rest of Western Ave a special and interesting place.
If Harvard wants more support for its plans in Allston, a great place to start would be a serious focus on the public areas that will host businesses that will serve and enrich the Allston and Harvard communities.