The controversy over the Treelands-Bindery project which last June provoked the first outside disruption of Commencement in Harvard's history has once again become a focus of University attention.
The Corporation has commissioned the Architects Collaborative (TAC) to prepare preliminary drawings for 278 units of student and faculty housing to be built on the present site of Treelands and the Bindery beginning this summer.
The Treelands-Bindery site has been the subject of controversy ever since the Riverside Planning Team disrupted Commencement last June to demand that Harvard build housing for low-income families at this location.
According to the agreement reached at that time, Harvard promised to procure a site for building low-income housing before going ahead with its plans for the Treelands-Bindery location. Harvard has since acquired 1.6 acres on Howard Street in the Riverside neighborhood and is developing them for community housing concurrently with its Treeland-Bindery operation.
Sandra M. Graham, president of the Riverside Planning Team, said yesterday that she is dissatisfied because Harvard has failed to complete the purchase of one house on its Howard Street property. Graham said, "I don't know why Harvard University is dragging its feet and not buying this house. We've canceled all appointments with the land developer until Harvard acquires every bit of the property in black and white."
A University spokesman said yesterday, "Harvard has every intention of seeing community housing built on Howard Street. We're doing our best to complete acquisition proceedings as quickly as possible."
"The commitment to build community housing on Howard Street is a real one; there won't be any backsliding on the University's part," the spokesman added.
Treelands and the Bindery are two adjacent lots located on the corner of Western Avenue and Memorial Drive in Cambridge. Treelands is currently a small nursery, and the Bindery is used in part by the School of Design.on this site, to lessen considerably the number of graduate students and faculty people now renting apartments on the open Cambridge housing market." a University spokesman said yesterday.
Balconies at Best
The spokesman continued, "To be effective and to satisfy the needs of the tenants, community housing should be lower-density. With high-density, at best tenants can get balconies, but there are no yards and there are far too many people."
Harvard hopes the Massachusetts Health and Education Facilities Authority will finance the Treelands-Bindery project. By providing below-market-interest rate bonds. Authority sponsorship would help keep rents down.