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MIT replace's Alexander's

[mk1]By Betty McLaughlin

Alexander's Restaurant, formerly at 254 Main Street in Kendall Square, lost its lease on the MIT-owned property this fall. The restaurant closed Oct. 18 amidst complaints by owner William McLaughlin that he got "a raw deal."

In place of Alexander's, Au Bon Pain will open its doors sometime early in 1986, according to MIT Director of Real Estate Phillip A. Trussell. The exact date has not yet been set.

McLaughlin's lease expired at the end of June. The Institute then chose to solicit bids for rental of the property from him and several other food vendors, according to Walter L. Milne, assistant to the chairman and the president.

MIT asked each potential tenant to make a presentation outlining how they planned to renovate the property, what food services they would provide and how much rent they were willing to pay, Milne said. Au Bon Pain, a chain of French bakeries, was selected as the new tenant after MIT evaluated the presentations, he added.

McLaughlin agreed with Milne's account of the bidding procedure. He added that MIT requested that plans for satellite locations be included in the presentations.

The manager of the building Alexander's occupied told him "everything was cool" with the restaurant's presentation, McLaughlin said. The building manager added that the Institute would suggest improvements to the restaurant's presentation if it was unacceptable, according to McLaughlin.

"I was getting bad vibes" toward the end of the summer, McLaughlin said. MIT returned his initial presentation, he added, requesting that it be resubmitted formally.

McLaughlin claimed that his first submission was a formal proposal. Ultimately, McLaughlin's presentation was rejected and Au Bon Pain's was selected.

After more than seven years of tenancy, McLaughlin "left with regrets." He added that he was willing to do whatever MIT required to renew his lease.

He speculated that MIT chose Au Bon Pain over Alexander's Restaurant because of the issues of satellite locations on campus and the large chain's "clout."