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Tech Coop might relocate

and David P. Hamilton

A possible relocation of the Tech Coop to Kendall Square is at least one and a half to two years away, according to James Argeros, president of the Harvard Cooperative Society (The Coop).

While stating that The Coop is negotiating with Boston Properties, Argeros emphasized that any possible move is still in the planning stages and that no agreement has been signed.

The Coop has been discussing Tech Coop relocation plans with Boston Properties since January 1980, according to Dave Barrett, senior vice president of Boston Properties. Boston Properties is the developer of the Cambridge Center site.

"We had in mind the possibility of designing facilities [in Kendall Square] to attract The Coop," he said. But serious proposals have surfaced only in the past year, he added.

Barrett agreed with Argeros that Boston Properties was still in "active discussion" with The Coop. He was uncertain about when negotiations would be concluded. "It's a complex issue, and each side wants to be sure that it makes the best deal possible," Barrett said.

Boston Properties is still designing the building which The Coop would occupy at Three Cambridge Center, he said. The development corporation has opened the design process to The Coop, he added.

Letting the Coop contribute to the design was "in our best interests," he said. "We are glad to have the opportunity to design a building that will fit the operating specifications of The Coop."

The Tech Coop's lease on its space in the Student Center expires in June 1986, according to the MIT Real Estate Office. One member of the Coop Board of Directors said, "The Coop should not consider itself under any obligation to keep a store in the MIT Student Center," according to the minutes of the June 19 meeting of the Executive Committee.

"MIT may prefer to take over some of the functions of The Coop and run them itself," said another member during the same meeting.

"It's not in [The Coop's] best interest to do anything not in the interests of the MIT community," said Stephen D. Immerman, director of operations for the campus activities complex.

Argeros agreed that "we would not move unless it was good for the MIT community."

Immerman said preliminary investigations are being made into other uses for the space The Coop currently occupies.

"The review is mainly focused on what kinds of services would need to be generated for the next generation of students," he said. "Any major change to the space would need to last for the same amount of time as The Coop ... on the order of 20 years."

"The possibilities for filling the Coop space are practically infinite," Immerman continued. "It's important to think about the things which are essential to the life of the MIT community."

The current plan is to "provide a framework in which the myriad of options and possibilities can be narrowed down such that if The Coop does decide to move, we have an operating context in which we can begin to make decisions," Immerman said.