A Short Introduction to Harvard's Diverse Ownings

When most students think of Harvard, they think of places they know--the Yard, the Science Center, even the Quad. But hidden in Harvard's array of holdings are a forest, a villa in Italy and cottages in Maine.

Who knew?

"What Harvard owns is divided into two portfolios," says Director of University and Commercial Real Estate Scott Levitan. "One is the group that has educational value for the University. But there are also real estate holdings that the management company deals with."

That second component comes into play with some of Harvard's more eclectic holdings.

Outside of the Cambridge area, there's the Harvard Forest; Red Top, where Harvard crew trains for its annual race with Yale; and the Harvard Depository, the mysterious source for Harvard's overflow library books. (For more holdings, please see box at left.)

Within Cambridge and Boston, though, the University faces development constraints that make large-scale constructions like these difficult.

The 'Red Line Agreement' between the City of Cambridge and Harvard determines a specific area beyond which Harvard cannot expand, making most of Harvard's development take place on land it already owns.

"When you thinks of expansion, you think of buying more land," says Director of Residential Real Estate Susan Keller. "But we only have a certain amount of parcels left in Cambridge."