Report: Middle East owners purchase Cambridge building that houses their rock clubs and restaurants


When people of the Boston music scene gather around dinner tables tomorrow afternoon and evening for Thanksgiving dinner, there will be one additional thing to be grateful for: the solidified future of the Middle East in Cambridge.

According to a report from Luke O’Neil earlier this evening, the Sater brothers have purchased the building that houses their restaurant and live music venue complex, a move that appears to cement the 27-year-old Central Square landmark as a permanent fixture of its neighborhood. The Middle East at 472 to 480 Massachusetts Ave. currently boasts two rock clubs (the 195-capacity “Upstairs” and 575-capacity “Downstairs”), two separate eating areas, and the ZuZu nightclub and restaurant space.

Here’s word from O’Neil’s piece:

Joseph and Nabil Sater, the longtime owners of the renowned Middle East club in Central Square, have purchased the building that houses the venue’s multiple stages and restaurants…

The fate of the club, which has played host to a who’s who of the music world since it began holding rock shows back in 1987, has been in question of late. Earlier this year it was feared that the end may be in sight for the club, with the Saters needing to come up with a reported $7 million to purchase the building.

In October 2013, the Saters began having “community meetings” to gather input from Cambridge residents and leaders about possibly building several stories of condos and office spaces above the Middle East. That added construction would have offset the cost of the reported $7 million purchase price.

The report tonight doesn’t hint whether or not those plans are still in order (the condo plan always appeared to be a necessity to purchase the building), but it does put to rest, at least temporarily, any rumors that the Middle East will be closing anytime soon.

  1. Joseph and Nabil honor the late Billy Ruane by advocating ROCK MUSIC at its cultural center, The Middle East of Cambridge

  2. Buying and holding are two completely different things. The owners themselves have said significant reconstruction would be needed in order to make this purchase financially feasible for them. This move could actually accelerate the demise of the clubs. Between lack of experience in developing such a property and the changing mood of both the city and the residents in terms of big box development, I wonder if they will actually be able to pull it off.

  3. I’m worried about the condos those. They had this problem in Providence for Foo Fest when people from the ‘burbs lived in a building, complained about the noise from a one day festival. They should make artist studios there and not market it too lawyers, doctors and people who want to pretend to be hip or Ally McBeal or Carrie.

  4. The Saters are great business people and great bosses, and I’m so excited that they will continue to invest in this space, no matter what they do up top.

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