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The Boston Redevelopment Authority board voted Thursday to unanimously approve Harvard’s controversial proposal to move its campus services facilities to 28 Travis St. in North Allston, according to a report in the Boston Globe.
The approval of the plan means that Harvard’s mailroom services, Harvard University Information Technology, Harvard University Police Department training facilities, recycling and storage, and “fleet management services” will temporarily relocate from 219 Western Ave. to 28 Travis St. before the start of the 2013-2014 academic year. At recent Harvard-Allston Task Force meetings, Allston residents have repeatedly voiced concern that the Travis Street location is an inappropriate site for the facilities because it is too close to a residential neighborhood.
The board approved the relocation proposal, which has been repeatedly revised over the past few months in response to community feedback, under the condition that Harvard complies with a list of terms outlined at the meeting, according to the Globe.
Under these terms, Harvard must begin planning in April for the construction of Rena Park—a public space adjacent to the Travis Street facility—and begin work on the park in 2014. Harvard must also prohibit vehicular activity at the Travis Street location between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. The terms also state that Harvard must finalize plans for again moving campus services to a different location within one year of completing its planned science complex, according to the Globe.
These terms are similar to conditions submitted by the Task Force last week as well as those proposed by earlier this week by Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino.
If Harvard fails to abide by these requirements, the BRA may restrict occupancy permits for Harvard’s development projects in the future.
The facility at 28 Travis St. is part of Harvard’s larger plans for development in Allston. The University also plans to construct a new science complex, a new basketball arena, and a hotel and conference center, among other things, over the next 10 years. Harvard previously halted construction in Allston following the 2009 economic downturn. The 28 Travis St. facility will be Harvard’s first completed project in Allston since the University announced that it was resuming construction in the area last summer.
The relocation of campus services to Travis Street will open up the 219 Western Ave. site for the development of a residential and retail commons at Barry’s Corner, which sits at the intersection of North Harvard Street and Western Avenue. Plans for the commons are slated to go before the BRA board for review next month.
—Staff writer Marco J. Barber Grossi can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @marco_jbg.
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