Harvard preparing to restart expansion plans for Boston neighborhood

Oct. 12, 2012
University's master plan for Allston neighborhood envisions a new basketball arena

From The Harvard Crimson: Harvard University has taken a major step toward restarting construction projects envisioned for the Allston neighborhood in Boston. Future development plans include the construction of a new basketball arena. Harvard had envisioned creating a $1 billion science complex as part of an ambitious development in Allston, but mothballed those proposals in 2009 because of the cratering economy. Harvard is preparing to submit its new Institutional Master Plan for Allston to the Boston city government.


JUNE 2011...from The Boston Globe: Leaders at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., are recommending that the school take a dramatically different approach to its stalled expansion in Boston's Allston neighborhood. They are looking to divide the plan into smaller projects and partnering with outside developers and investors. The recommendations for more modest short-term development could mark a new start for a neighborhood that has been promised a building boom for more than a decade. DECEMBER 2009....from The New York Times: Harvard University says it is indefinitely suspending construction on a high-tech science complex in the Allston neighborhood of Boston because of money problems. The four-building science center, estimated to cost at least $1 billion, was originally scheduled to be finished in 2011. The university's announcement comes 10 months after it said it was slowing the pace of the project to assess whether it could continue. Harvard has since disclosed that its endowment declined 27 percent from June 2008 to June 2009, to $26 billion, and the university has made several cost-cutting moves. ALSO...from The Boston Globe: It remains unclear when the science complex will be completed or what design it will take. In the meantime, university officials are turning their attention to maintaining and renting adjacent vacant properties.

OCTOBER 2009...from The Boston Globe: Harvard University president Drew Faust has indicated that the design of its much-anticipated $1 billion science complex, at the heart of the university’s expansion into Boston's Allston neighborhood, may be scaled back as the school grapples with new financial realities. The university is in the midst of reassessing options for its Allston initiative, including potentially “reimagining,’’ or redesigning, the planned 589,000-square-foot complex.

JUNE 2009...from The Boston Globe: Representatives from Harvard University and the Boston Redevelopment Authority have presented a revised plan for the use of Harvard's property in the North Allston neighborhood. Kathy Spiegelman, chief planner of Harvard Allston Development Group, says Harvard is very interested in "creating connections" between the Charles River and the neighborhood, building more east to west roadways to link North Allston with North Brighton and designating open space for community use, potentially for a school or community center.

MAY 2009...from The Boston Globe: Residents of Boston's Allston neighborhood who've accused Harvard University of land banking can breathe easy - at least for a year. The university has announced it will refrain from buying any new real estate in the community. Harvard's president Drew Gilpin Faust wrote a letter to Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston last week declaring the one-year moratorium.

FROM FEBRUARY 2009: Harvard University president Drew Faust says the school owns nearly all the land it needs to expand in the Allston neighborhood of Boston, but she isn't pledging to put a moratorium on acquisitions in the neighborhood. Residents are upset because the the delays in developing the expansion may leave the neighborhood with vacant Harvard-owned parcels.
To read The Boston Globe article, click here.

EARLIER: Harvard University officials attempted to placate residents of Boston's Allston neighborhood at a standing-room-only community meeting. They reiterated the school's commitment to the neighborhood despite a delay in expanding its campus across the Charles River. The largely hostile crowd accused Harvard of sucking the life out of a neighborhood now littered with empty university-owned storefronts, and implored the school to impose a moratorium on buying property until it completes a state-of-the-art science complex originally slated to open in 2011.
To read The Boston Globe article, click here.

Residents of the Allston neighborhood in Boston believed that Harvard University, with its deep pockets, would help transform their industrial neighborhood into something akin to bustling, iconic Harvard Square in Cambridge. But last week's announcement that the wealthy university would dramatically slow - and possibly halt - its expansion across the river as it copes with the recession has cast a long shadow over Allston's future and left many residents forlorn, their dreams of brighter years ahead dashed.
To read The Boston Globe article, click here.

Harvard University says it will slow its expansion into the Allston neighborhood of Boston because of a steep decline in the university’s endowment and other economic pressures. The university is reviewing its plans for a four-building, $1 billion science center in Allston, which is across the Charles River from the Cambridge campus. It was scheduled to be completed in 2011. The university plans to finish the complex’s foundation and build to ground level, but plans after that are uncertain.To read The New York Times article, click here.

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