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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Lawrence chooses Waltham, ’Deis to sell Newton home

Published: May 19, 2012
Section: Featured, News

Brandeis will sell its university-owned home on Beaumont Avenue in Newton and rent an apartment in the renovated Waltham Watch Factory for President Fred Lawrence and his wife, Kathy, officials announced earlier this month.

After the board of trustees voted in March, authorizing the university to sell the Newton residence at 66 Beaumont Ave. where former president Jehuda Reinharz and his wife Shulamit lived for most of his 16-year tenure, Hammond Residential in Chestnut Hill listed the house, assessed at $2.21 million for $2.25 million on May 1.

Lawrence, who will move into the two-bedroom, 2.5-bath Crescent Street apartment featuring a study/office and a great room, had previously lived in a Cambridge apartment rented by the university. The university will sign a three-year rental agreement for the Watch Factory apartment, Senior Vice President for Administration Mark Collins said in a press release. The story was first reported in the Justice and published on the university’s website on May 1.

Lawrence will move into the historic and newly renovated second-floor apartment overlooking the Charles River in July. The factory, originally built by the Waltham Watch Company in the 19th century, includes 22 buildings covering more than 400,000 square feet. Redevelopment of the property includes commercial, residential and retail space.

The new living situation will provide Lawrence, who maintains a busy travel schedule but also regularly attends student social, cultural and athletic events, with an easier commute home. Walking along the Charles River will replace driving on traffic-congested streets of Cambridge.

“Brandeis is a big part of this city and we’re excited about joining the Waltham community as residents. It will be more convenient for students, faculty, staff, trustees and friends of the university to join us at our home,” Lawrence said in a university press release. “It is something we really enjoy and this will allow us to do more of it. On a personal note, it will give me the opportunity to walk to and from campus, especially on Shabbat.”

In addition to Reinharz, the university’s first president, Abram Sachar, lived at the Beaumont Avenue property during his presidency and chancellorship, according to the press release. Built in 1910 and acquired by Brandeis in 1948, the university sold the home in 1990 after the Sachars moved and then acquired it again when Reinharz was president. Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt and the Dalai Lama each visited the home.

The university also owned a residence at 1395 Commonwealth Ave. in Newton, purchased by Carl Shapiro in 1983, where former presidents Evelyn Handler and Samuel Thier lived. Former presidents Morris Abram and Charles Schottland lived in a university-owned home in Weston. Former president Marver Bernstein lived in his own home in Weston.

As dean of the George Washington University Law School, Lawrence said he walked from his Georgetown apartment along the Potomac River to get to work. Come July, he will reinstate the tradition along the Charles.

“I often walked along the Potomac when I worked in D.C., so it will be great to be able to walk here as well,” he said in the press release. “I am really looking forward to it.”