The University filed suit against Cambridge in Middlesex District Court last week to obtain higher payment for a plot of land which the city took by eminent domain in 1980.
Cambridge paid $430,000 for the 1.2 acre plot called Sacramento Field, located between Garfield St., Mass. Ave., and Oxford St. University officials said yesterday.
Harvard is now asking for a total of $2.5 million for the property. City Solicitor Russell Higley said yesterday.
"We gave them a fair and valid price," Higley said. He added that Harvard probably hopes to "take it into court and let the jury decide."
"The issue is not the dollar value but the method of appraisal," said Jacqueline O'Neill, assistant to the vice-president for community and government affairs.
O'Neill said Harvard's suit does not specify the amount now requested for the land.
The city claimed the land in order to provide recreational space for the neighborhood north of the Law School.
It may cost the city between $10,000 to $20,000 for a legal defense, Higley said.