Real Estate

Middle East in Cambridge may give way to 6-story hotel — but not without music

Early plans for a hotel show a vision for a new configuration of venues at the Central Square hotspot.

Jim Davis/Globe Staff
The Middle East, on Mass. Ave. in Cambridge's Central Square. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

The Middle East, the Cambridge music venue with a rich history of performances from up-and-coming artists and seasoned pros alike, may be changing its tune.

The owner of the storied venue has filed plans with the Cambridge Historical Commission to raze the existing, one-story building and construct a six-story, approximately 120-room hotel on the site, complete with ground-floor retail, a top-floor restaurant and bar, and basement and street-level music venue spaces.

Owner Nabil Sater, of Sater Realty LLC, filed the demolition application for 6 Brookline St. on Aug. 15, files show.

This rendering of the envisioned hotel at 6 Brookline St. in Cambridge was included in plans filed with the city. – City of Cambridge

The Historical Commission was initially slated to review the application on Thursday evening, though its agenda noted the applicant requested the hearing be postponed.


Sater did not immediately return a request for comment on Thursday morning.

He told WBZ-TV on Wednesday though it was too early to say whether the plan would work out. Still, he emphasized the club is changing — not closing.

Sater opened the famed venue with his brother as a Lebanese restaurant in the 1970s.

In the following decade, Bill Ruane, the music promoter, convinced the duo to allow live music in their space, situated right next to the now-late rock venue, T.T. the Bear’s Place.

Eventually, the brothers bought the Middle East property in 2014 — along with T.T. the Bear’s digs — for $7.1 million in 2014. Since then, the Saters have opened a venue, Sonia, in the former TT. the Bear’s.

The hotel plans come after the future of the Middle East was questioned in early 2020 when Sater listed the complex for sale. He told Cambridge Day at the time, however, he hoped to seek an arrangement that would let the clubs stay open.


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