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Harvard Details Plans, Timelines For Allston ‘Hole In Ground’

By Craig M. Douglas, Boston Business Journal
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Harvard's unfinished site on Western Avenue in Allston.

Harvard’s unfinished site on Western Avenue in Allston.

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BOSTON (CBS) – Harvard University has finalized plans to aggressively redevelop its Allston real estate holdings with the construction of a new life sciences center as well as a retail and residential complex along Western Avenue.

The plans were formally endorsed by Harvard President Drew Faust and the Harvard Allston Work Team, a 14-person group of university faculty and administrators, and detailed in a Sept. 19 letter to myriad stakeholders in Boston’s Allston-Brighton neighborhoods.

Harvard said the intent of the Sept. 19 letter was to detail its phased development approach; encourage further neighborhood and community input; and prioritize its plans along Western Avenue.

Indeed, the letter put particular emphasis on Harvard’s plans for its Western Avenue holdings and promised finalized blueprints and project time lines by mid-2012.

The university also detailed longer-term plans for a second phase of development for its Allston Landing North parcels along the Charles River, where Harvard intends to vet construction opportunities for a new hotel and conference-center development.

Much of the university’s redevelopment strategy centers around a new life sciences center.

The plan, as detailed by the Harvard Allston Work Team, is expected consist of 500,000-to-700,000 square feet of laboratory and academic facilities.

Planning for the new Health and Life Sciences Center is forecast to end by the end of the current academic year, with a formal proposal slated for submission to the Boston Redevelopment Authority by June 2012, the university said.

Lisa van der Pool of the Boston Business Journal reports

Harvard said the center and its academic mission will play a central role in its pending capital campaigns.

Meanwhile, Harvard said it will begin next month to formally plot out a residential and retail complex in Allston’s Barry’s Corner neighborhood.

A formal plan, developed with the assistance of Elkus Manfredi Architects of Boston, is expected to be finalized by March 2012, while construction is targeted for early 2013.

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