University Wins Land Auction With $151M Bid

Harvard may relocate graduate school to Allston

The University dipped into its swollen coffers yesterday, cementing its plans for future development across the Charles River with a $151 million bid for 48 acres of additional land in Allston.

Known as Allston Landing North, the 48 acres located directly south of the Harvard Business School campus were put up for sale by the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority (MTA) in a blind auction yesterday afternoon at the MTA Transportation building in Boston.

At 2:30 p.m., in the MTA boardroom, the University's $151,751,636 bid for the parcel of land was revealed as the presumptive winner.

After the auction, University spokesperson Joe Wrinn pointed out that the last four digits of the bid price for the land--which Harvard's long-range planners are eyeing as the possible site for one of the University's graduate schools--were 1636, the year Harvard was founded.

Genzyme Corporation--a biotechnology company based in Kendall Square--submitted the only other bid, offering $25 million for the parcel of land nearest its 500 Soldier Field Rd. location. Potential buyers were allowed to bid for one of two parcels of land, or bid on both together.

The University's bid will now go to the MTA Authority Board, which will most likely approve Harvard as the "highest responsible bidder" at its July 11 meeting, after financial verification is complete.

University officials reacted with satisfaction to the tentative purchase.

"It's an extraordinary opportunity," said Vice President for Government, Community and Public Affairs Paul S. Grogan. "It's an historical accident, in a city this densely populated and old, to have the opportunity to acquire property contiguous to existing holdings."

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