The Middle East in Cambridge can give way to a hotel – but not without music


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

The Middle East, on Mass. Ave. in the central square of Cambridge. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

The Middle East, the musical home of Cambridge with a rich history of performances by up-and-coming artists and seasoned professionals, could change its tune.

The historic site’s owner has filed plans with the Cambridge Historic Commission to raze the existing one-storey building and build a six-storey hotel with around 120 rooms on the site, with retail on the ground floor , a restaurant and bar floor, as well as live music venues in the basement and at street level.

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

The Middle East in Cambridge can give way to a hotel – but not without music
This rendering of the proposed hotel at 6 Brookline St. in Cambridge was included in plans filed with the city. – City of Cambridge

The Historical Commission was originally scheduled to consider the request on Thursday evening, although its agenda indicates that the claimant had asked for the hearing to be postponed.

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

He told WBZ-TV on Wednesday that it was too early to tell if the plan would work. Still, he stressed the club was changing – not closing.

Sater opened the famous place with his brother as a Lebanese restaurant in the 1970s.

Over the next decade, Bill Ruane, the music promoter, convinced the duo to allow live music in their space, located right next to the now late rock venue, TT the Bear’s Place.

Eventually, the brothers purchased the Middle East property in 2014 – along with TT the Bear’s excavations – for $7.1 million in 2014. Since then, the Saters have opened a venue, Sonia, in the former TT . the Bears.

The hotel’s plans come after the future of the Middle East was thrown into question in early 2020 when Sater put the resort up for sale. He said Cambridge Day at the time, however, he hoped to seek an arrangement that would allow the clubs to remain open.


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