Allston Project Moves Forward

Daniel M. Lynch

At the end of last spring, the new Charlesview housing site in Allston was only marked by some ground level foundation and the steel frame of an underground garage. Now, a few months later, the sight is impossible to miss, marked by a completed steel frame of three mid-rise buildings and several smaller townhouse buildings.

The project, which was slated to be finished in the fall of 2013, has remained ahead of schedule according to Jeffrey J. Beam, the project manager for The Community Builders Inc., the organization supervising the construction.

Beam added that consultants to the project are currently considering moving in the first tenants to the new buildings in the spring of 2013.

He attributed the project’s rapid progress over the summer to a “good, coordinated team.”

“We had good communication and a good plan of execution,” Beam said.

In 2007, Harvard reached a land-swap agreement with Charlesview’s board of directors. The University received the site of the current Charlesview residential complex, a five-acre plot that abuts Harvard Business School, in return for a parcel it owned near the Brighton Mills shopping center, the site for the new Charlesview complex.

Some of the brick and windows have been installed, which gives the community a better sense of how the project will appear upon completion, said John Viola, the Charlesview project supervisor at John Moriarty and Associates, the construction firm associated with the new Charlesview project.

“You can get a sense of how the buildings will look when they are finished,” Viola said.

Viola also said that he believed that residents of the current Charlesview site would begin to be moved in on a staggered schedule, as more and more buildings will look when they are finished,” Viola said.

Viola also said that he believed that residents of the current Charlesview site would begin to be allowed to move in on a staggered schedule, as more and more buildings are being completed.

Beam echoed this statement, but said there would be an emphasis on making sure that Charlesview residents still felt that they were part of a residential neighborhood.

“The goal is to not have people living in a construction site,” Beam said. “We want to be able to complete an entire city block and then shrink the construction site so those people are actually living in a normal, functional, completed set of buildings while the other buildings are setting up.”

The new housing complex will consist of 240 mixed-income units, which will be spread across 22 buildings made up of anywhere between 2 and 84 units.

Additionally, it will contain a number of parks and public recreational spaces.

These recreational areas are consistent with some of the original goals of the new site, which, in addition to providing housing, are also meant to help “reinvigorate pedestrian and commercial activity in this [Allston-Brighton] neighborhood,” according to the master plan for the project filed by The Community Builders with the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

Both Viola and Beam said that they are optimistic that progress will continue along as it has been with relatively few hindrances.

“We’re through the hardest part,” Viola here. “From here, it’s smooth sailing.”

—Staff writer Mercer C. Cook can be reached at mcook@college.harvard.edu.

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