Looking For Land

Harvard To Bid on Allston Railroad Yard

Only three years after the University was criticized by a number of Boston officials and residents for anonymously buying land in Allston, Harvard is vying to further expand its presence in the area--and perhaps to cement plans to eventually relocate an entire graduate school to Allston.

Last week, Harvard publicly announced its intention to submit a bid for 48 acres of land that the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority is offering to the highest bidder. Bids will be submitted on June 29, and the sale will be determined on the spot.

The 48 acres, known as Allston Landing, are contiguous to Harvard Business School. They offer Harvard the opportunity to expand into one of the few undeveloped areas surrounding the campus.

The prospect is an inviting one, according to Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs Paul S. Grogan.

"[The land] is very, very attractive to Harvard," Grogan says.

And even while the actual land is not visually attractive--it is currently covered by railroad yards--the chance to further Harvard's land trust without facing community opposition is too good to pass up.

Crowded in Cambridge

The prospect of development in Allston is especially alluring to Harvard officials because Cambridge development has become so tight. Efforts to expand into the residential neighborhoods abutting most of the campus have become increasingly difficult over the past decade.