Curious What Will Ever Happen To “Faces” In Cambridge

By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TV

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) — It’s one of the most infamous eyesores around, and a lot of WBZ viewers are asking us to find out what’s going on with the old “Faces” disco on Route 2 in Cambridge.

Dan from Burlington Declared his Curiosity saying: “I drive by it all the time and it’s a wasteland.” And Karen from Arlington adds: “It seems like it could be developed into something useful.”

Well, as we learned, the eyesore may finally become a thing of the past.

Thousands of commuters pass by the rusted, boarded up mess on Route 2 just before the Alewife Station every day.

WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports.


It’s been 20 years since the disco ball stopped spinning at Faces, and the old nightclub has been deteriorating ever since.

The last time there was hope of getting rid of the mess was about two years ago, but the economy tanked and so did the development plans. But now, a sale is in the works and for the first time in a long time, it looks like a deal could work.

“What they’re going to develop is a four- to five-story, 227-unit rental apartment building,” says Rich McKinnon, a Cambridge developer. McKinnon is working with the primary developers, Criterion Partners from Bedford. It’s a $60 million proposal.

“It’s going to allow the city of Cambridge to present a good face to people coming here from the west,” says McKinnon. “You don’t want to say welcome to Cambridge and have a burned out disco,” he adds.


The city has been disappointed before, but the head of Community Development says this time it’s different.

“We’re very optimistic. It’s a great site. It’s on the edge of a lovely urban wildlife area. It’s near the T. It’s a great opportunity for housing,” says Susan Glazer of Cambridge Community Development.

Getting rid of the eyesore may also help spur the development of the Cambridge Discovery Park next door, where there are plans to add three office buildings to the two already constructed.


The old Faces disco could come down as early as next spring.

“The City Manager wants to sit on the bulldozer and do the demolition himself,” says McKinnon.

Some people are concerned about the Alewife Reservation, which is next to the site. They want to make sure the conservation area is protected. You can expect that to be a part of the permitting process.

If approved, the project will take about two years to complete.

More from Paula Ebben
  • Christine Murphy

    It’s about time! No doubt this dump is also infested with all manner of rodents, insects and such; I would not want to be a business that is near it. I hope they really go through with tearing it down this time.

  • Kris Haight

    I hate to say it but a Filene’s style hole would be better looking than whats there now. I always wondered how long ago that club closed, nice to know it was a disco in the 70s. Glad to see its going away and finally something useful will be built.

  • Kathy from Fall River

    The answer of what to do with the Faces nightclub site in Cambridge is in the question. Plans to redevelop the site fell through two years ago due to the economic downturn. The dismal economic climate still affects far too many of us. I would love to see the site become a homeless shelter or some kind of organization that provides food, shelter, counseling and hope.

    • d27s

      Then ALL the guys that hold the signs down at the lights can walk to “WORK”…
      They make MORE in a day than you do!
      Except, you don’t go to the liquor store next to Whole Foods and buy beer and pay for it in singles and change!


    Yeah we all love a homeless shelter in our backyard the clientele are so nice and neat

    • C Reynolds

      I grew up in Cambridge in the early 90s, and still live in the same neighborhood today… I always looked at that site as a damn shame that would hopefully someday be restored to something similar to what it was. Honestly, I’d rather continue to look at it the way it is then to see more condo/apartment buildings. I’m tired seeing everything turned into Condos.

  • mike

    you would have a better chance of a homeless shelter in the fall river area

  • JK

    If they build a 200 unit rental housing building there they are going to cause an even worse traffic problem.

  • John Joseph Grimes

    Those of us who grew up in Cambridge have been complaining about this “Welcome to Cambridge” ghetto since the early 90’s. The owner of the property has another business a few hundred yards away but hasn’t given a damn about the situation since it went vacant. Why didn’t he simply raze the shell and take down the sign? That is the $64,000 question.

  • cynic

    I have a really funny story about Faces when it was “Faces”……. Too bad I can’t tell it here….

    • Mann

      Cynic, I’ll bet you do, hahaha!

  • Michael

    Have you guy’s been on Route 1 in Norht Attleboro? You will find the old Jolly Cholly’s sign an land still standing. and they closed up in 1981.

  • parlourbells

    Images from possibly the last photo shoot at the abandoned Faces nightclub (possibly) at

  • taxedout

    If it’s like anything else in this state, the cost to build will Triple in one year and it will have to be done over with Toll hike mioney!!!

  • DStein

    Don’t get your hopes up! The last paragraph in the article is the big red flag in all of this. The environmentalists are no doubt going to insert themselves in the permitting process and scare off the developer with all sorts of restrictions that will inevitably make the project unprofitable. Don’t believe me? Then ask yourself why this piece of prime real estate has sat empty for 20 years….long before the current economic collapse. Anyone familiar with construction in Cambridge knows you’re in trouble before you even get out of the starting blocks. Unless you’re Harvahd or MIT.

  • tsal

    My husband and I met over 30 years ago at the bowling alley next door at our weekly company bowling league. Before it was faces it was owned by a childhood friend. I hadn’t been down to that end of Route 2 in years and was surprised to see it still rotting when my husband and I drove by recently.

  • 1stackmack

    i think we have anough about something entertaining or whatever..

  • 1stackmack

    hi tsal.long time no here.i’m still stuck with a comuter system that won’t let me type on line at this new site and the web site you gave me.some day i have to get to red line to get my sum 50 car videos locked in there.

  • kayla johnson

    no more condos it will be madness. right off a busy road . are they nuts? they should put a nouther night club there are barely any in boston

  • taxedout

    If they build a cndo I bet Obama’s auntie will get the Penthouse!!!!

  • T Koen

    I myself would love to turn the place into a theater the Cambridge Playhouse maybe if I had the money not housing enough housing some entertainment venue!

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