The Middle East opened in Central Square as a Lebanese restaurant back in 1970. Since then, it's expanded to include multiple restaurants and performance spaces, including the 575-person Middle East Downstairs, one of the city's best-known rock clubs. But its time may be almost up, Cambridge Day reports, if owners Joseph and Nabil Sater can't raise $7 million to buy the building and turn it into something more profitable. The landlord died recently, leaving the Saters two years to buy the property from the landlord's family, and the Saters have a proposal that could make the deal financially feasible, but it's going to require a huge amount of work.
They want to build a four- or five-story residential space with 50-100 units right on top of the Middle East, the Saters told a community gathering last night. It would allow the existing dining and performing space to remain unchanged, while its continued existence would be supported by relatively high-priced condos or apartments overhead. The plan is to create something "beautiful," not just a clunky skyscraper. Outdoor dining could be carved out around the second floor, for example, and there could be gardens on the rooftop. The Saters have begun consulting with engineers as well as an acoustics firm, but there is much to be figured out before the transformation can even enter the real planning stages.
· For Middle East to rock on, owners want you to move in overhead [CD]
· All coverage of The Middle East on Eater [~EBOS~]