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Developer to file plans for a 14-acre R&D complex with a hotel, apartments and a conference center on Harvard land off Western Avenue

A New York real-estate firm says it will soon file detailed plans with the BPDA for a mixed-use development at 100 Western Ave., behind the Sanofi Genzyme plant, on land that Harvard had been using as a staging area for its other Allston construction projects, but which the school had always meant to become the core of an "enterprise research campus."

In 2018, the BPDA approved the basic outline of Harvard's plans for the 14-acre site, part of an even larger piece of land Harvard owns between Western Avenue and Cambridge Street.

In a letter of intent submitted last week, Tishman Speyer says it will shortly file specifications for 440,000 square feet of office and research and development space, roughly 330 residential units in two buildings, a 250-room hotel and a 75,000-square foot conference center, along with "activated ground-floor uses," which might mean stores and restaurants in the various buildings.

Most of the parking on the site will be in underground garages; the company did not specify the number of spots, but in past filings, Harvard estimated it would propose 800 to 900 spaces.

The company says it will set aside two acres for "welcoming public open space," that will create "an intimate, porous urban environment that places a focus on the pedestrian experience," with much of that set aside for a greenway that could eventually extend from the Honan-Allston BPL branch on North Harvard Street to the Charles River, as well as "active programming" that will include concerts, festivals and health and wellness classes, at least once we're all cleared for such packed public gatherings again.

The plan also calls for construction of two new roads - one named Cattle Drive in homage to the area's history as a home of slaughterhouses.

Tishman Speyer letter of intent (48k PDF).


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Just what we need: a facility to attract almost a thousand cars.

I thought we learned our lesson about trying to turn Boston into a car- and highway-oriented city.

Voting closed 1

I was working at Harvard when they announced that the School of Public Health (pre-Chan) would be moving to that campus within few years.

That was 2004.

Not quite sure where Harvard lost the thread, but they were very gung-ho about consolidating further flung pieces of their empire into that campus when they first got control of the land.

Voting closed 5

Harvard put all those plans on hold when the recession hit and they had a liquidity problem. Then they got rid of Summers, who had been the main impetus, and got a more cautious president.

Voting closed 12

did Summers lose on derivatives, anyway? :-(

Voting closed 3

Weirdly I was in Google Earth the other day looking at that area (I think after Adam posted about the complex on Soldiers Field Road), and time lapsed it. I was always interested in the apartment complex that harvard torn down and what happened (I rarely go down that way).

And I noticed that in 2005-2006 (according to Google Earth) a huge wearhouse was torn down. This look slike where it is.

15 years later and nada.

Voting closed 6

getting the finishing touches as we type. it’s the first big project on that side of western ave. it’s an amazing building.

the people in the housing that came down (charlesview) were relocated to brand new buildings further up western ave, next to star market.

Voting closed 10

and I remember the apartment buildings across the street(ish), but I honestly can't remember what was at the Continuum/TJs site before.

Voting closed 3

But Google knows. It was a parking lot. https://goo.gl/maps/xsB6VLJGhawwj9YJ6

Except if you're using Google Maps on a phone, where they refuse to show you historical Street View.

Voting closed 3

The tenants negotiated and got the new buildings down by Star Market (further down Western Ave) as a replacement.

Voting closed 2

At one point they proposed movi Nd th Law School to Allston.

Nope. Law professors are too powerful.

So now the plan is to make engineering undergrads haul back and forth from Cambridge to Allston between classes. Somehow the administration thinks there will be time in the class schedule. All to fill some administrator’s need for a grandiose empire expansion

Of course there’s zero benefit for the undergrads, but nobody asked them what they want.

Voting closed 4

BPDA is a tragic joke. Any project like this should have its approval tied to a funding formula that directs MAJOR dollars toward the urgent construction of West Station with electric trains running over the old Conrail/CSX tracks that cross the Charles and connect to MIT, Central, Kendall, Lechmere, Northpoint, and North Station. The tracks are already there and deadhead trains already use it multiple times per day!!! This has been a NO-BRAINER for more than 25 years!

Sadly, we've got a lot of NO-BRAINERS running our local, regional, and state transportation bureaucracies, who can't see past the hood ornaments on their gigantic luxury cars and SUVs.

Voting closed 6