The March 30 ribbon cutting celebration for 99 Bishop Allen Drive. Photo by Minjee Lee.
When 99 Bishop Allen Drive was put up for sale in 2019, the future of our nonprofit hub—home to 11 critical nonprofits serving the community—was in jeopardy. But this week, our building, affectionately called Nonprofit Row, reopened after over a year of renovations as a bright, forever home for the nonprofit sector.
We’re indebted to the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority (CRA), who listened as our president Geeta Pradhan represented our fellow nonprofit tenants’ concerns two years ago and quickly rose to the occasion to help devise a solution—buying the building and preserving it as a sustainable, accessible, affordable, and lasting hub for the nonprofit sector.
“Unaffordability is pushing people and organizations out of our city,” said Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui at the ribbon cutting yesterday. “The nonprofit community in this space will now have the opportunity to continue serving our Cambridge residents for years to come, and I’m so grateful to everyone who helped make this happen.”
The effort to safeguard 99 Bishop Allen garnered the support of the Mayor, City Council, City Manager, Central Square Business Improvement District, the nonprofit sector, local businesses and other community partners, and over 600 people who signed a petition to save “Nonprofit Row.”
“There is nothing that compares to working together to solve a problem,” said Geeta, thanking a wide range of actors. “This building, this moment highlights Cambridge’s willingness to stand by its values in the face of change.”
Tom Evans, the CRA’s executive director, expressed his gratitude to the renovation work crews who worked tirelessly to complete the building on time and on budget. “This was a tremendous effort by a lot of people,” he said. “What was most important to us was we create a community office space that is welcoming, comfortable, and has light, and that would stand for another 50 years.”
We are so thankful to our city leaders, the CRA, our fellow nonprofit tenants, the nonprofit and business sector, and countless more—from our Board members to our property managers at TSNE to the construction crews who worked to make our building beautiful, even during a pandemic. Through the power of community, we ensured valued nonprofits can continue serving Cambridge in perpetuity, and that’s worth celebrating.