MTA Clears Harvard's Allston Land Purchase

The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority (MTA) formally approved the sale of 48 acres of Allston land to Harvard for $151 million Wednesday, opening the way for future University development across the Charles River.

Located south of the Harvard Business School campus, the property known as Allston Landing North has been coveted by the University for future development, including the possible relocation of one of Harvard's graduate schools.

Vice President of Government, Community and Public Affairs Paul S. Grogan said that the purchase will allow Harvard to change the direction of its future development away from the already heavily crowded Cambridge.

"This has great historical significance for the University and for Boston," Grogan said. "In the future, Harvard will become much more of a Boston university."

Grogan also said that the purchase will be one of the lasting achievements of President Neil L. Rudenstine, who has announced he will leave his position next June.

"When people look back on the tenure of Neil Rudenstine, securing this land will be one of his most significant achievements," Grogan said.

But a long planning and negotiation process must occur before the land--which is covered with train tracks and warehouses--can be developed.

CSX Transportation currently has a permanent easement on the land, allowing their trains to run through the area even after the sale. Genzyme Corporation, a biotechnology company, also has a plant on the site.