Amid massive changes and construction projects in Harvard Square, Cambridge’s iconic Curious George store will relocate down the road to Central Square (at an address yet to be determined) and come under new ownership. Owner Adam Hirsch will reportedly sell the business to Astra Titus, who plans to maintain the Curious George retail operation while building it into a “hangout” for local parents by adding community events and activities with the hope that local cafes will also pop up in the space.
Titus is drawing inspiration, per Boston Business Journal, from Dedham’s Blue Bunny, a bookstore that is also an espresso bar and cafe. (It’s not an uncommon duo; take Porter Square Books in Cambridge’s Porter Square, for example, which is home to Cafe Zing, or the many Barnes & Noble locations that incorporate cafes.)
This store is the only one of its kind in the world, and it has long occupied a coveted corner space in Harvard Square at 1 JFK St. The entire building is undergoing renovations and several other businesses, including Sweet Bakery, have already departed, along with other establishments nearby, like Crema Cafe, Tealuxe, and Night Market.
Speculation surrounds the status of a handful of other establishments whose fate in Harvard Square, if not the Cambridge area, remain unknown, including the likes of Flat Patties, which is likely to close later this year, and Mr. Bartley’s Burgers. The burger-focused restaurant has been a mainstay in the area for nearly 60 years, but its owners are currently negotiating a new lease with Harvard for the space at 1246 Massachusetts Ave., and the results won’t necessarily be favorable.
The changes for local businesses comes alongside an influx of out-of-town chains — like New York-based Milk Bar and Bluestone Lane, and D.C.-based &pizza. But there’s been a bit of local growth, too: Salt & Olive Market recently moved to 36 JFK St., Black Sheep Bagel Cafe opened last summer, and Harvard’s Smith Campus Center is now full of local businesses like Saloniki, Whole Heart Provisions, Blackbird Doughnuts, Bon Me, and Pavement Coffeehouse.