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With Harvard’s Science and Engineering Complex set to hold classes for the fall 2020 semester, the University is more than halfway through completing its Institutional Master Plan, a ten-year development plan for its Allston campus that was first approved in 2013.
The Science and Engineering Complex will serve as a home for facilities of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, with expected daily visitors including more than 900 undergraduate students and 400 SEAS graduate students. It is located next to the Harvard Business School and Harvard Innovation Labs.
In addition to the new complex, the Institutional Master Plan includes now-completed additions to the Harvard Business School campus, including the 75,000-square-foot Chao Center, the 81,000-square-foot Klarman Hall, and the 4,500-square-foot Schwartz Pavilion.
Other projects outlined in the plan that have yet to be completed include the Gateway Project, which will include 300,000 square feet of mixed-use building space, as well as further renovation to the Soldiers Field Park graduate student housing complex.
University spokesperson Brigid O’Rourke wrote in an emailed statement that Harvard looks forward to continued progress on developments in Allston.
“Harvard is in the midst of many ongoing activities in Allston and is enthusiastic about the programs and physical improvements that have emerged through intensive and ongoing consultation with the Allston community and City of Boston,” she wrote. “The growing corridor of research and creativity along Western Avenue will no doubt contribute to a thriving neighborhood.”
In addition to the Institutional Master Plan, Harvard has also released plans for its Enterprise Research Campus, for which real estate firm Tishman Speyer was named the “preferred developer” in December. The research campus will host research and commercial space. It will be located on Western Avenue next to the Science and Engineering Complex.
“We’re very optimistic that the timetable that we set out should be able to be achieved,” Harvard Allston Land Company CEO Thomas P. Glynn III said. “We think the project, when it’s completed, will be one that will make people in the Harvard community proud.”
Some Allston residents have raised concerns regarding Harvard’s expansion in the neighborhood, specifically regarding housing and transportation issues.
Anthony P. D’Isidoro, an Allston resident and member of the Harvard-Allston Task Force, said he and his neighbors still have reservations, especially given the City of Boston’s approval process for the Enterprise Research Campus.
“We still weren’t happy with the specificity that Harvard was dealing with in terms of affordable housing and transportation,” D’Isidoro said of the approval. “Harvard needs to really step up to the plate in Allston to help promote affordable housing."
Glynn said the University has invested in affordable housing developments in Allston.
“The city requires 13 percent of any project to be affordable housing,” Glynn said. “We wanted to do more than 13 percent.”
O’Rourke also wrote that Harvard has devoted resources to increasing access to affordable housing.
“Earlier this year Harvard announced that it would recommit $20 million to an initiative aimed at increasing the amount of affordable housing in Greater Boston,” O’Rourke also wrote in a statement.
As the University expands its footprint into Allston, Harvard students anticipate spending more of their time across the river.
Victor L. Qin ’21 said he expects to have classes in Allston starting next semester and has been involved in the move through the Harvard College Engineering Society.
“I’m on the board of the Harvard College Engineering Society, so I’ve been working closely with administration on what the Allston move might look like for undergraduates,” he said.
Qin described a sense of “general cautious excitement” surrounding the Allston campus.
“People are very excited about the Allston campus. What they’re not excited about, obviously, is transportation worries, food, and other concerns with Allston,” he said. “That being said, I know that there are plans in place to alleviate those concerns.”
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