"We see the potential for campus and other uses," Carleton said. "But it is a long-range process."
Grogan said any final sale to BU would most likely not be made for "three or four years."
The University offered $151,751,636 for all 48 acres of MTA land at a blind auction on June 29, but had to undergo financial verification before the sale could be completed, answering mandatory questions such as whether the University has ever filed for bankruptcy or been convicted of a felony.
University and MTA officials now have 45 days to complete paperwork on the sale.
MTA officials were enthusiastic about the sale, hoping the funds from Harvard will offset deficits from Boston's Central Artery project--known as the "Big Dig"--which has had massive cost overruns.
The MTA board approved placing the money from the sale in a reserve fund to be invested before it is used for future construction costs.
"The likelihood of getting more money for this project from the state or federal level is nonexistent," said MTA Chair Andrew S. Natsios. "There's just no more stomach for it."