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Old 11-25-2007, 01:37 AM   #181
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

I've also been disappointed by Campbell's polite but bland style of commentary. Campbell's pieces never take strong positions on actual development proposals or controversies and, therefore, lack bite. Maybe he seeks to remain above the political fray, but, by doing so, he weakens the effectiveness and relevance of his voice. I admire his efforts to educate readers and make them think about cities, buildings, and general design principles but wish he would connect those abstract ideas to the current debates about the city's future.

Frankly, this city needs a more forceful advocate for good architecture and urban design.
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Old 11-25-2007, 02:25 AM   #182
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

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Originally Posted by aws129 View Post

Frankly, this city needs a more forceful advocate for good architecture and urban design.
Agreed. That is why this forum exists.
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Old 11-25-2007, 08:46 AM   #183
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Meanwhile....

Quote:
Group assembles community benefits request for Harvard
By Richard Cherecwich, Staff Writer
Wed Nov 21, 2007, 11:43 AM EST

Allston, Mass. - The Allston-Brighton North Neighbors Forum, a new group focused on Harvard?s expansion into the neighborhood, has drafted a community benefits package it will present to the Harvard-Allston Task Force next week.

The forum?s benefits package is tied to the construction of Harvard?s 537,000-square-foot science complex and includes a K-8 community school, a new community health center building, green space benefits, a community fund and a plan for integrating Harvard?s Allston campus and the community. The group will present only the first three parts ? the school, health center and green space ? to the task force on Monday, Nov. 26. They will wait to present the remaining parts until after a community discussion.

?The goal tonight is to lock down our community benefits, present it to the task force and hopefully it will be included in a package with the BRA,? said Tim McHale, one of the group?s organizers, at a meeting Tuesday night.

The university has proposed $21.2 million in community benefits in connection to the science complex, including the creation of a community education portal, economic and workforce development programs, green space enhancements and money earmarked for the city housing trust fund.

Harvard officials have not attended either of the two forum meetings, and the group will extend a formal invitation to its next meeting on Dec. 4.

Kevin McCluskey, Harvard?s director of community relations, said neighbors have the right to hold discussions about the development, and whether or not the school receives the forum?s proposal is up to the task force.

?Our commitment is to continue to work through the task force process,? McCluskey said. ?We think it?s been an effective vehicle for community participation, and it is a group that has been established by the city to advise the BRA in this process.?

The largest difference between the two benefits proposals is the creation of the permanent, 500-student school, which would also function as a community center. Harvard?s proposed education portal would offer tutoring and enrichment for students, and a survey will be conducted to determine the needs of the community.

?The education portal is not sufficient for the needs we see in the community,? said Erica Herman, principal of the Gardner School.

Herman said the proposed school has the support of the mayor and needs the community to request it from Harvard.

The forum?s plan also includes a new 40,000-square-foot building for the Joseph M. Smith Community Health Center. It is the only health center in A-B and currently operates out of a 10,000-square-foot building, which is inefficient for the number of patients it serves.

?If you take us away, you?re going to pull away the safety net for this community,? said Liz Browne, deputy director of the center.

The original forum proposal asked for $8 million from the school for the building, but that was ultimately revised, and there will be no dollar amount presented to the task force. Harvard?s benefits package for the science center currently has no health element.

Not all of the 40 people in attendance Tuesday agreed with all the points in the benefits package.

?You?re asking for an $8 million building because they want to build four buildings?? said John Walsh of Allston regarding the original Smith Center proposal. ?I think you?re asking for too much.?


At the Nov. 14 task force meeting, residents complained about the inability to talk during the meeting. BRA planner Gerald Autler said residents should take their concerns to the task force members, who could in turn take them back to the meetings.

?To me, this is a very efficient process of doing that,? said Brent Whelan, a task force member and forum organizer. ?I heard more community voices tonight than I?ve heard in the past six months at task force meetings.?

The Harvard-Allston Task Force will meet Monday, Nov. 26, at the Honan-Allston Library, 300 N. Harvard St., from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

The Allston-Brighton North Neighbors Forum will meet Tuesday, Dec. 4, at the Gardner School, 30 Athol St., from 6-8 p.m.
http://www.wickedlocal.com/allston/news/x224442338
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Old 11-25-2007, 07:33 PM   #184
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Quote:
Quote:
Frankly, this city needs a more forceful advocate for good architecture and urban design.
Agreed. That is why this forum exists.
Unfortunately, neither Campbell nor this forum have much influence...
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Old 11-26-2007, 06:52 AM   #185
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

^^^
I don't think you build a new 500 student K-8 school in Boston for $8 million or $21 million these days.

There are many large hospitals that don't have emergency rooms that are 40,000 sq. ft.

This group has had trouble deciding what it wants.
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Old 11-30-2007, 05:43 AM   #186
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

The Charlesview site is to become a musum and culture complex of buildings. Palmer is wrong about the location of the postponed museum building. That site is on the southwestern side of Barry's Corner; the Charlesview is the northeast side.

I walked by the Charlesview one Sunday morning this Fall taking pictures of the science complex site across the street, and counted three Beemers parked in spaces closed to Western Ave. (Just an observation, not a randomized survey.)

Quote:
Harvard University in Allston housing deal
School to build new Charlesview complex

By Thomas C. Palmer Jr., Globe Staff | November 30, 2007

Harvard University yesterday finally struck a deal to relocate residents of a large affordable housing complex on land that is central to its expansion across the Charles River into Allston.

The purchase of the Charlesview Apartments complex near Harvard Stadium caps a year of negotiations with residents in which the university agreed to build a new, larger residential development a half-mile up the Charles River.

Situated at the apex of North Harvard Street and Western Avenue, Charlesview is at one end of a large section of Allston the university has targeted for a massive, multiyear expansion. Harvard originally envisioned several art and cultural buildings for the site, but in March elected to postpone plans for an art facility after neighbors objected that it was ill-suited for the location, known as Barry's Corner.

So far, Harvard has received city approval to build a $1 billion science complex along Western Avenue.

Charlesview is a 36-year-old, 213-unit housing project for mostly low-in come residents. It will be replaced with a new complex of 213 units, plus 69 additional affordable apartments, and 118 condominiums. It will also include a community center for residents and the neighborhood at large, and 11,500 square feet of retail space.

"It's really great," said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. "Residents of the 1971 urban renewal project are going to be moved to well-landscaped units. It's going to be a wonderful new life for them."

The location also satisfies a goal Charlesview directors outlined a year ago - that residents have better access to shopping; the new complex will be adjacent to a Shaw's Supermarket.

Most of the 10-building complex will be on the south side of Western Avenue, between Litchfield Street and a McDonald's restaurant. But two new buildings, possibly including townhouses, will be located on land Harvard now owns on the other side of Western Avenue, stretching north to Soldiers Field Road near the Telford Street Bridge, with a view of the Charles.

Financial terms of the deal, which has not yet closed, were not disclosed. But a representative of The Community Builders Inc., a nonprofit organization that negotiated with Harvard and will manage development of the new site, said it will cost several hundred million dollars.

Harvard is obligated to pay the amount it will cost to replace the 213 relocated units.

The new Charlesview will have at least 450 parking spaces, mostly underground, and large amounts of green space between buildings on the site, which is 6.9 acres, compared to 4.5 acres at the old Charlesview.

"It is going to be developed and maintained by Charlesview, but the idea is to reconnect back to the existing neighborhood," said Felicia Jacques, development manager for the project. "There is a sense of openness."

CBT architects of Boston will design the buildings, the tallest of which - closest to the river - is tentatively slated to be 10 floors. Others will range from four to six stories. The project must be approved by the City of Boston before construction can begin.

"This helps advance the mayor's agenda to create additional affordable housing in this neighborhood," said Kevin A. McCluskey, Harvard's director of community relations. "It also makes redevelopment of Barry's Corner, a goal of the neighborhood, more likely as Harvard develops around it."
http://www.boston.com/business/globe..._housing_deal/

Excerpted from a story in the Harvard Crimson
Quote:
Felicia Jacques, the development manager for The Community Builders Inc.?Charlesview?s developer which has led the negotiations since 2004?said that the agreement will prove beneficial for the apartment?s residents.

Charlesview?the grey, monolithic apartments that were erected in the 1960s?was identified by the federal government as a troubled property in need of repairs in 1995. Jacques said that the future site will allow the community to relocate to up-to-date facilities that give them access to green space while remaining affordable.

?We?re very excited to get started on building this new affordable housing for North Allston and Brighton,? she said.
...

Jacques said that Community Builders will submit a proposal to the Boston Redevelopment Authority by the end of the year. Construction of the new complex is expected to take two and a half to three years.
http://www.thecrimson.com/article.aspx?ref=521026
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Last edited by stellarfun; 11-30-2007 at 05:52 AM. Reason: add commentary from the Harvard Crimson
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Old 12-12-2007, 04:38 AM   #187
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

From today's Boston Globe. The accompanying graphic showing Harvard-owned land is so ludicrously out-of-date that you wonder what kind of editorial oversight exists these days in that newspaper. (I've not included it.)
Quote:
Harvard rethinks Allston

Faust seeks deliberative, inclusive approach to expansion plans

By Linda K. Wertheimer, Globe Staff | December 12, 2007

The president of Harvard University, Drew Faust, showing restraint on a major expansion that her predecessor relentlessly promoted, plans to reexamine proposals to move two graduate schools and other operations from Cambridge to a new campus across the Charles River in Allston.

A $1 billion science complex, which will house a stem cell institute, will stay on track for a ground-breaking early next year. But everything else, including plans for building four undergraduate dorms in the Boston neighborhood, will be reviewed, Faust said in a phone interview Monday.

The new president said she intends to meet with deans and faculty during the next several months to develop the best proposal for the new and the old campuses. She said the university will take pains to consult more widely and deliberately with faculty and community members and, if necessary, revise the plan before giving the final version to the city next fall. Several professors have expressed concerns that the current Allston plan could dilute the cohesive quality of student and academic life on the Cambridge side of the river.

"For the last several years, the university leadership has been in transition," Faust said. "I can own a project and look at it in a deliberative way. . . . We're looking at everything again."

Faust's message to faculty leaders in re cent weeks that she will take a deliberate, inclusive approach in Allston is a stark contrast to the confrontational and fast-moving style of her predecessor, Lawrence Summers. Harvard professors, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, and an Allston community leader welcomed the idea that the university will fully scrutinize the plan, which would transform the north part of Allston from a largely blue-collar neighborhood to a sister campus.

"We were really rushing headlong into Allston," said Orlando Patterson, a sociology professor. "There was a strong sense of a lack of consultation. That was the major, major problem with Larry. There was a simulation of consultation, but people got the impression that the decision was already made."

Summers, who resigned in 2006 after clashes with faculty, rattled professors as his administration unveiled a series of proposals for Allston beginning in 2003, including plans to develop 4 million to 5 million square feet in Allston over the next 20 years. Several professors said that under Summers, details were scarce about the plans and discussion university-wide was minimal with few formal ways for the full faculty to participate.
Summers, though, did appoint task forces to recommend ideas for each major aspect of the plan, including housing, professional schools, and science.

The blueprint, the first phase of a 50-year plan, described generally in a proposal submitted to the city early this year, included moving all or part of the Graduate School of Education and School of Public Health across the river as well as adding the undergraduate dorms and building a university art museum in Allston, which has since been delayed.

Harvard also has proposed moving hundreds of researchers and staff from the Longwood medical area to the emerging campus.

The mayor, while pointing out that he would have liked to see the Allston art museum built on schedule, gave Faust credit for her strategic approach.

"She wants it done the right way. Sometimes, you rush projects," Menino said. "She wants to listen. It's just a wiser way."

In a meeting with chairs of the school of Arts and Sciences two weeks ago, Faust made it clear "that this huge project of moving full steam ahead in Allston is something the university needs to rethink," said Diana Eck, the department chairwoman for the study of religion.

Eck, who is also the house master of Lowell House, an undergraduate dormitory, said Harvard should not move four dorms to Allston, in part because needed repairs to deteriorating residence halls in Cambridge should be given priority over the construction of dorms.

Eck said she also worried about splitting up where undergraduates live because one of Harvard's strengths has been its strong, cohesive residential life.

Others agreed. "I'm really in favor of keeping everything with the word undergraduate attached to it on the same side of the river, together . . . and not move some people across the river," said Eric Mazur, a physics professor.

Harvard's decision to delay the building of the museum in Allston and instead first renovate the Fogg and Busch-Reisinger museums in Cambridge was part of Faust's desire to slow the process and review the overall Allston plan, said Steven Hyman, provost.

"The notion that we could at the same time manage an enormous renovation of the Fogg and give our full attention to building a contemporary art museum in Allston just didn't make a lot of sense," Hyman said. "In this more deliberative mode, we'll be able to look at the needs for university art museums and see whether we can build an ideal shared facility at a time scale that will be easier for the community to accept."

Many Allston residents have been eager to see more planning and inclusiveness from the university, said Harry Mattison, a member of Menino's task force on Allston.

Residents want the university to provide more for the community in its proposals, including more access to physical fitness facilities, a university-run public school on the campus, and more access to university-run transportation, Mattison said.

"Being careful and making better decisions is a great thing to do," he said. "We want to see this done right the first time because that's what we're going to live with for the next 100 years in our neighborhood."

In the interview, Faust emphasized that the university will continue with the Allston expansion because the school needs more laboratory, residential, arts, and academic facilities but has no room for physical growth in either Cambridge or Longwood. But to succeed, Harvard must include wide consultation, she said.

"What are our academic dreams, and how does Allston help realize them? What would be in Cambridge? What would be in Allston?" Faust said. "Every school is now involved."
http://www.boston.com/news/local/art...llston/?page=2
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Old 12-12-2007, 08:02 AM   #188
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Quote:
Residents want the university to provide more for the community in its proposals, including more access to physical fitness facilities, a university-run public school on the campus, and more access to university-run transportation, Mattison said.
Isn't that what Bostonians are suppose to get from paying all their taxes?

Last edited by PaulC; 12-12-2007 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 12-12-2007, 12:07 PM   #189
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

In Boston, "community review" = community shakedown. It's really disgusting, actually.
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Old 12-12-2007, 05:33 PM   #190
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Not only did the Globe draw a badly out-dated map of Harvard-owned property, but the reporter seems to have drawn some erroneous conclusions or inferences:

Quote:
President Faust affirms commitment to Allston

Cambridge, Mass.
December 12, 2007


I was quite surprised to awake to a front-page headline in Wednesday?s (Dec. 12) Boston Globe declaring ?Harvard Rethinks Allston.? Let me be clear: Harvard is not ?rethinking? Allston. I am unequivocally committed to moving aggressively and ambitiously forward, and to making our unfolding plans a reality.


Our Allston properties represent a historic opportunity for both the University and the community. As we look forward, we are advancing from a high-level planning framework to a phase in which we will be making increasingly refined judgments about how to elaborate our ideas and make them real. We plan to start construction very soon on our first science complex, which will house vital new initiatives at the leading edge of discovery. We are stepping up our planning for other parts of our enterprise that we envision will make their future home in Allston, focusing on the same broad mix of uses ? professional schools, the arts, science, housing, athletics, and so forth ? that we identified several years ago.


We are working continually to ensure that our physical plans are driven by our most thoughtful and creative academic aspirations, not just for Allston but for the University more generally ? and that we have a sound financial plan underlying them. We are intently planning for the transportation and other infrastructure improvements essential to having our extended campus thrive. And we continue to consult regularly with key constituencies, both inside and outside the University, as we move from concept toward reality.

All these activities are just what one should envision for an undertaking so complex ? and so extraordinarily important.


Harvard?s extended campus in Allston will be built not in a day, but over decades. Our challenge at each stage will be to make progressive judgments that propel us forward while recognizing that this will be a decades-long process. Allston remains a paramount priority for me and for Harvard, and we are fully committed to making the most of it.
http://www.president.harvard.edu/spe...2_allston.html
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Old 12-13-2007, 03:42 AM   #191
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

The Herald sticking it to the Globe:

Quote:
Allston growth on track
Harvard president reaffirms big plan

By Scott Van Voorhis

Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard University?s president, yesterday offered a strong public endorsement of the Ivy League school?s ambitious Allston building plans.

Faust, in a written statement, said she plans to move ahead aggressively on plans to build out Harvard?s long-planned Allston campus, including a centerpiece, $1 billion science complex.

Construction on that 589,000-square-foot complex, which will serve as a hub for research into a range of chronic diseases, is expected to kick off next month, Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced on Tuesday.

Faust, in her comments, indicated she plans no break with the sweeping Allston development plans put forth by her controversial predecessor, Larry Summers. But Faust also appears to signal she will bring a more deliberative style to the process than Summers, whose abrasive manner often made him a lightning rod for critics.

?I am unequivocally committed to moving aggressively and ambitiously forward, and to making our unfolding plans a reality,? she said.

Faust, in her comments, disputed a published report that Harvard is ?rethinking? its Allston plans.

Along with its science complex, Harvard continues to assemble a master plan to guide its other Allston projects for the decades ahead, everything from professional schools to housing.

That master planning process is likely to continue for another two years, a spokeswoman for the Boston Redevelopment Authority said.

?We are stepping up our planning for other parts of our enterprise that we envision will make their future home in Allston, focusing on the same broad mix of uses - professional schools, the arts, science, housing, athletics, and so forth - that we identified several years ago,? Faust said in a statement.
http://www.bostonherald.com/business/general/view.bg?articleid=1050492
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Old 12-14-2007, 03:43 PM   #192
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Hi Everyone,

Certainly a lot of strong opinions here!

Many of you seem upset by the idea that Harvard's expansion into Allston might be accompanied by improvements that are not directly related to Harvard's institutional expansion. Is this objection based on the principle that a developer should never do anything beyond the footprint of what they are building? Or is it specific to Allston that residents here should not seek comparable benefits just like our neighbors do in cities and towns across Massachusetts and beyond?

Really nobody in Allston is trying to "stop" Harvard's expansion. That isn't possible and isn't in anyone's best interest. What many of us are trying to do is suggest that Harvard's expansion could be done in a way that benefits Harvard, Allston, the City, etc. And the idea that anything Harvard does will improve the community is not consistent with Harvard's past expansions - a science campus built like the Business School might be nice for Harvard but it would certainly fail to create the vibrant urban neighborhood that would contribute to the area's quality of life and regional economy. Harvard's Science Complex will be a lovely piece of architecture well-suited for a suburban office park and completely out of place if we are trying to create a dynamic city scene.

How should Harvard, whose studies include how to "enhance the public contributions of private enterprise", engage with its new neighbors? Does it matter how many Harvard professors live in Allston? Should we strive for an integrated community where Harvard and non-Harvard people eat at the same restaurants and send our children to the same schools and daycare?

Sure, the City of Boston should have enough money to pave its sidewalks and plant street trees. It should have the money to build new schools comparable to the surrounding communities. But Boston is not able to do these things (for whatever reason). Might it be in Harvard's best interest to help Allston become an asset to the university for reasons other than a surplus of under-developed land?

Here are some other viewpoints from the Boston area and beyond:
http://www.thecrimson.harvard.edu/ar...spx?ref=519239
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/edi...ege_expansion/
http://www.upenn.edu/compact/locally.html
http://www.clarku.edu/community.cfm

You folks know a lot about architecture and urban design. It would be great to learn more together about how this knowledge can contribute to one of the largest and most transformative development projects in recent (or not so recent) history.

Harry
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Old 12-14-2007, 07:48 PM   #193
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

I don't see how the downsizing and postponing of the art museum will help Allston vibrate.
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Old 12-15-2007, 05:14 AM   #194
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

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Originally Posted by Harry Mattison View Post
And the idea that anything Harvard does will improve the community is not consistent with Harvard's past expansions - a science campus built like the Business School might be nice for Harvard but it would certainly fail to create the vibrant urban neighborhood that would contribute to the area's quality of life and regional economy.
1. Nowhere in Harvard's mandate will one find "guaranteeing the river views of its neighbors" or, for that matter, "being responsible for the quality of life of Boston's neighborhoods." Harvard owns lots of land in Allston. As a landowner, it can do whatever it wants with its properties so long as it operates within zoning laws. That doesn't mean it should, but it can.

What Harvard should do is to exercise its mandate -- to provide the best-quality education to as many people as possible. And the more it does that, the better off the entire region is, even if that involves building new facilities in Allston; Harvard, not the McDonald's and 7Eleven that "Barry's Corner" has thus far hosted, is a major cultural, historical and economic Boston icon.

As a member of the community who does not necessarily directly benefit from anything at Harvard, my personal interests lie more with the Allston residents than with Harvard. I would obviously like to see Harvard build an Allston campus where all are welcome and where there is something of wider interest for the community (e.g., a world-class art or science museum, or a commercial area worth its salt). Harvard is going to lengths to do just that, and that fact can only reflect well on it.

2. Since Harvard has taken it upon itself to integrate itself better with the city and community and become the linchpin of a "vibrant" neighborhood, why shouldn't it be trusted to do just that? Barry's Corner hasn't been able to turn itself around as successfully as it has deserved in the last 35 years. If the area now features mainly gas stations and convenience stores, then why shouldn't Harvard be given a chance to enliven the area and make it something more than it is now? Is a desire to preserve living-room views of the Charles really reason to impede progress? (And who spends their time admiring the views from their apartment, anyway?)

3. As many of us mentioned in the Bulfinch Triangle post, real-world dynamics shape any development. We may dream for something worthy on Bulfinch Triangle, but the guys with the money wanted to build monolithic slabs. That's our tough luck.

Similarly, Harvard owns this land and wants to develop it. What other developer with $35 billion in their pocketbook would possibly want to undertake the transformation of an area with neighbors who once defeated plans to build a Renzo Piano museum because it would affect their views of the Charles River and where the main sign of commercial activity is currently a couple of gas stations? Good luck finding anyone else in the current market willing to turn that land into something that benefits the rest of Allston, Boston, Cambridge, Watertown and far beyond.

Conclusion: Harvard is the best, most realistic hope for Barry's Corner to realize its potential, and the university is trying harder than it might to develop the area in a healthy manner. Thwarting the construction of art museums is no way for neighbors to show they care about some greater good, as opposed to their own river views, status quo, pride, etc. etc.

And if the question is Harvard's ability to integrate the surrounding community, let the facts speak for themselves: Harvard Square is one of the best-integrated university campuses in the country. Harvard is already planting trees in Allston, pledging money for community buildings, building new apartment blocks to move people out of crummy old housing (!!!), and so on. The university's plans for Allston all entail helping the neighborhood create a viable commercial district. And Harvard, even if it doesn't bring its advertised 15,000 jobs into Allston, will create more jobs than nothing. Given what we've seen in Harvard Square and current efforts to involve the community (Harvard has hosted numerous community meetings), there is no good-faith reason to suspect this non-profit center of education of chicanery.
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Old 12-15-2007, 08:32 AM   #195
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Mattison View Post
Hi Everyone,
Welcome, Harry.

Quote:
Certainly a lot of strong opinions here!
You'll find those anywhere development issues are discussed. You have your share also, don't you?

Quote:
Many of you seem upset by the idea that Harvard's expansion into Allston might be accompanied by improvements that are not directly related to Harvard's institutional expansion. Is this objection based on the principle that a developer should never do anything beyond the footprint of what they are building?
I think it's based on the principle that you should be able to develop your property as you see fit --provided it's done within the law.

Quote:
Or is it specific to Allston that residents here should not seek comparable benefits just like our neighbors do in cities and towns across Massachusetts and beyond?
Allston isn't being singled out. A wee bit of paranoia in that thought?

Quote:
Really nobody in Allston is trying to "stop" Harvard's expansion. That isn't possible and isn't in anyone's best interest.
Oh, it is possible, and it has been done; you look in vain across the river for the world-class museum that could have replaced the plant nursery. I agree that it's not in anyone's best interest.

Quote:
What many of us are trying to do is suggest that Harvard's expansion could be done in a way that benefits Harvard, Allston, the City, etc.
Suggestions are good (though it helps if they're good suggestions); heavy-handed coercion is not so good. Bullies don't make friends.

Quote:
And the idea that anything Harvard does will improve the community is not consistent with Harvard's past expansions - a science campus built like the Business School might be nice for Harvard but it would certainly fail to create the vibrant urban neighborhood that would contribute to the area's quality of life and regional economy.
Are you setting up a straw man here?

Quote:
Harvard's Science Complex will be a lovely piece of architecture well-suited for a suburban office park and completely out of place if we are trying to create a dynamic city scene.
That I'm willing to believe.

Quote:
How should Harvard, whose studies include how to "enhance the public contributions of private enterprise", engage with its new neighbors?
By harnessing the best minds in planning and urban design with insight and wisdom. It has not done this.

Quote:
Does it matter how many Harvard professors live in Allston?
Not especially.

Quote:
Should we strive for an integrated community where Harvard and non-Harvard people eat at the same restaurants and send our children to the same schools and daycare?
The straw man being set up here is the bugaboo of some kind of unspecified segregation. You probably belong to some organization yourself. Does it bother you that its facilities are not availble to the public?

Quote:
Sure, the City of Boston should have enough money to pave its sidewalks and plant street trees. It should have the money to build new schools comparable to the surrounding communities. But Boston is not able to do these things (for whatever reason).
The solution to this is to eliminate rampant waste and corruption --and maybe raise taxes, if necessary? It's not getting the private sector to make charitable contributions.

Quote:
Might it be in Harvard's best interest to help Allston become an asset to the university for reasons other than a surplus of under-developed land?
Rhetorical question. Do bears shit in the woods?

Quote:
You folks know a lot about architecture and urban design.
Enthusiasm gets you there. Join us.

Quote:
It would be great to learn more together about how this knowledge can contribute to one of the largest and most transformative development projects in recent (or not so recent) history.
Yes, it would. Let's do that together. Come back often and early.

Hope you become a regular, Harry.
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Old 12-15-2007, 10:44 AM   #196
Harry Mattison
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Hi,

Thanks for welcoming me into your group.

Regarding the art building, what many us did was suggesting that Harvard (who has 250,000 pieces of art in storage) had much more suitable pieces of property where a much bigger and better museum could be built. What Harvard proposed for 224 Western Ave was mostly a private office building and storage facility with a small percentage of space for display of art. The bold visions for major cultural institutions envisioned in Harvard's Allston Life Task Force report have a lot of community support. Another quiet building that closes at 5:00 (like Harvard's Teele Hall next door) is not a good fit for the revitalization of Barry's Corner.

How is Harvard "going to lengths" to "build an Allston campus where all are welcome and where there is something of wider interest for the community"? I have been looking for evidence of such commitment and it would be interesting to know where others have found it.

Who said Harvard's mandate includes "guaranteeing the river views of its neighbors"? The Renzo Piano museum was proposed in Cambridge. Nobody in Allston had anything to do with its demise. Based on the little bit I know about it, it seemed like a nice design.

"Harvard is the best, most realistic hope for Barry's Corner to realize its potential"
Yes, it is also the only hope for Barry's Corner. When Harvard bought the Citgo station and it closed, there was no protest in Allston. But we hope that it won't sit empty for years like many of Harvard's other property here.

Yes, Harvard Sq is a great urban place. Harvard Business School is not. So Harvard has a mixed track record in this area. How is "the university is trying harder than it might to develop the area in a healthy manner"? What in Harvard's plans "entail helping the neighborhood create a viable commercial district"? I think Waldorf and Joe Schmoe got is right back in May with their concerns for Harvard's plans for Barry's Corner.
"The athletic fields are too close and will suck the life out of the planned square. Plus, "Barry's Corner" seems to be surrounded with the academic buildings and the housing is located too far away to provide life."

Yes, Harvard and everyone else "should be able to develop your property as you see fit --provided it's done within the law". Boston's law includes a process designed to incorporate public review. Allston residents agree with you and have consistently said that Harvard's development should be done within the law. The legality of Harvard's IMP amendment is highly questionable.

What "heavy-handed coercion" or bullying has happened in Allston?

I don't follow the suggestion that I am setting up a straw man re the HBS campus. Based on what we have seen in the Science Complex, the IMP, and 2 years of meetings, I think it is a very real possibility that Harvard will create a civically boring campus. People at Harvard have similar fears and Prof. Peter Galison's "Allston Dreams" is worth a read.

I'd be happy to pay higher taxes to support better schools, parks, etc. but I don't think that is going to happen any time soon.

It is true that "Harvard has hosted numerous community meetings". They even buy pizza for us! How many people on this group have been to any of them? The next one is January 9 at 6:30 at the Honan Library (300 N. Harvard St).

And if you haven't read the North Allston Strategic Framework for Planning, it is the planning document that resulted from years of community meetings with the BRA and Harvard. The commitments (or suggestions of commitments) that were made then and are now being abandoned by the BRA and Harvard is causing many of the problems in this relationship.

Regards,
Harry
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Old 12-19-2007, 07:53 AM   #197
stellarfun
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Harry, welcome to the board.

I'll put in my two cents worth.

My feeling is that the North Allston community, along with Harvard in its IMP, ought to focus on three areas with respect to Harvard's expansion into Allston. As a community, what do North Allston residents expect the non-academic areas to look like in 25 years, and what would they hope these looked like? I?ll surmise that there?s probably a big disconnect between the two, and, if so, what steps ought Harvard and the city of Boston take to realize the hope, rather than the reality of the expectations. Let me suggest focusing on three areas.

The first is housing. The immense growth of Harvard, the more modest westward creep of BU along Comm Ave, and the potentially significant westward expansion of MIT into Cambridgeport, will, over time, put great pressure on current homeowners and property owners in North Allston.

Housing presently is reasonably priced, for Boston. It is unlikely to remain so. While Harvard Square it will never be, Barry's Corner can become a center for the arts, culture, and sports, plus a transportation nexus. If it does, the nearby neighborhood will offer a lot of pluses for people who study or work at Harvard, BU, and MIT. Homes will sell for more, assessments will go up, and so will taxes. North Allston will become less affordable for many, perhaps most, of its long-term residents. (Though those who sell and make a nice capital gain doing so might welcome the demand for housing.) Has the community even considered what might be done -- perhaps through Harvard-funded linkage monies that could subsidize some of the future property taxes of those who qualify income-wise -- to allow Allston homeowners to continue living in their homes?

The second is transportation
: I think Harvard's IMP ought to propose a location for a transportation mini-hub at Barry's Corner. This hub would allow ready transfer between north south routes from Comm Ave into Harvard Square and east-west routes along Western Ave. into Cambridge, plus any Harvard-operated shuttles to Longwood or elsewhere. My suggestion would be to build a smaller version of the T's Kenmore Square station at Barry's Corner, and I'd place it on that island where the Cumberland Farms gas station is. And yes, Harvard should build it.

A second transportation feature, much further into the future, that Harvard and the city ought to examine is connecting the east part of the Allston campus with BU and Comm Ave. (Such as building a street (or pedestrian or modal transportation pathway) over the Mass Pike between Ashford St. (the BU side) and the east end of Harvard's property. I was surprised looking at the city of Boston's property ownership maps, that Harvard's Allston property abuts BU's property along Ashford St. for a thousand or more feet. (I also realize the current IMP says nada about the property that Harvard owns that abuts BU, its as if development there is post 2051.)

The third is community-oriented retail:
Harvard?s draft IMP fails to address what might/should happen with all the property it owns and is acquiring at Barry?s Corner. Harvard is silent when it should be pro-active about creating a cluster of community-oriented retail and businesses at and near Barry?s Corner

Let?s look at the Harvard-owned property in Barry?s Corner about which Harvard says little. Harvard owns nearly all the pentagon shaped property where 7/11 and the shuttered Citgo station are. It owns the property southward of that, including the red brick building that Shawmut construction is rebuilding. (What?s that to be used for?) Dollars to donuts it will soon or eventually buy the Dunkin Donuts property, which is across the street from the Cumberland Farms gas station and which direct abuts Harvard?s now-deferred museum support facility. At a minimum, Harvard should commit to developing these three parcels as commercial buildings with retail and services on the ground floor. (Eventually, I would expect that the five residential parcels on the SW corner of N. Harvard & Kingsley, and the
eight residential parcels on the west side of N. Harvard & Franklin and south of Dunkin Donuts to be bought by somebody, if not Harvard, and converted to commercial.)

And Harvard in the final IMP certainly ought to address what its long-term plans are for all the property it has bought west of Barry?s Corner, particularly on Soldiers Field Rd. and the north side of Western Ave. I?m quite sure that Harvard already has an acquisitive eye on the Boston Skating Club parcel, and would buy WBZ ?s property if that station ever decided to a WGBH and build a new broadcast center elsewhere. With the Skating Club and WBZ in hand, Harvard would then own pretty much everything between Western Ave / Soldier?s Field Road east to N. Harvard St. That?s a stretch of land longer than what it already owns along Western Ave. between N. Harvard and Storrow Dr.

Several final thoughts

You can't construct a new 500 pupil K-8 school in Boston for anything near $20 million, and a 40,000 sq ft. community health center would probably be bigger than the ER of most every hospital in Greater Boston. IMO, those types of community proposals probably reflect a lack of community consensus on what to do with the $20+ million in linkage money that Harvard has offered withe science complex, so almost any idea is put forward. BTW, is it the expectation that Harvard will pay about two percent (of cost) in linkage monies for all its future construction in Allston? That probably comes to another $100 million in today's dollars.
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Old 12-19-2007, 08:56 AM   #198
Harry Mattison
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Hi stellarfun,

Thanks for sharing these thoughts. You make many insightful comments and clearly you know the local issues very well.

There have been suggestions that some form of property tax relief could help local residents stay in their homes as higher assessments translate into property taxes increases. We also would like to see A LOT more housing built (detached homes, multifamily units, and multiple stories of apartments/condos above 1st floor retail) to help the supply come closer to meeting the demand. First-time homebuyer assistance is also being considered to help the next generation stay in Allston/Brighton instead of having to leave the neighborhood where they (and in some cases their parents and grandparents) grew up. Harvard has great expertise in housing affordability and it sure would be nice for Harvard to proactively help here.

The lack of transportation improvements proposed by Harvard to date has been a big disappointment.

Many (if not all) of the homeowners on N. Harvard and Franklin near Western Ave did offer to sell their homes to Harvard when the Art Building project was on the table, but Harvard didn't bite.

Rumor in the neighborhood is that WBZ will move to Lincoln Street to the big empty warehouse at the corner of Everett that Harvard bought last year.

Regarding the proposed new school, the 144,000 sq ft Orchard Gardens K-8 school for 750 students was built in Roxbury in 2002 for $24 million according to Architectural Record. So $20 million for a 500 student school doesn't seem too far off.
http://archrecord.construction.com/p...d/overview.asp

One question I have is why you compare sizes of hospital ERs and multi-service outpatient facilities? Seems like apples to oranges. The Smith Health Center has 62,000 patient visits a year and the 40,000 sq ft number is from the independent consultant that they hired to review their operations.

Harry
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Old 12-19-2007, 01:40 PM   #199
nico
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Check out the article "The Dangerous Wealth of The Ivy League" in December's edition of Business Week. Wasn't sure whether to post this in the NU, BU, or Harvard Thread, but b/c of the title of the article I decided on this one.

There are a few photos on-line, but the one you want to see, I could only find in the magazine. It's a photo of "Whitman College" which is an amazing new dorm complex that Princeton built w/help from EBay's Meg Whitman who gave $30 million toward the project. Amazing b/c it's new. Couldn't believe that this was built recently...the quality/materials are amazing. This is the quality we should expect from Harvard seeing as how their endowment at $34.9 billion and gifts of $614 million dwarf Princeton's $15.8 billion and $254 million respectively.
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:00 PM   #200
stellarfun
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Mattison View Post
Hi stellarfun,
....
Regarding the proposed new school, the 144,000 sq ft Orchard Gardens K-8 school for 750 students was built in Roxbury in 2002 for $24 million according to Architectural Record. So $20 million for a 500 student school doesn't seem too far off.
http://archrecord.construction.com/p...d/overview.asp

One question I have is why you compare sizes of hospital ERs and multi-service outpatient facilities? Seems like apples to oranges. The Smith Health Center has 62,000 patient visits a year and the 40,000 sq ft number is from the independent consultant that they hired to review their operations.

Harry
Harry, Concord has recently approved a $29+ million bond to construct a new K-5 elementary school, 24 classrooms, 22 students per classroom, or roughly similar to the 500 student K-8 school the Allston-Brighton community seeks. I think K-8 schools cost a bit more per pupil because the 6-8 grades require a larger gym, bigger library, science classrooms, etc.

Re: the health center. If I assume a center is open 300 days a year, 10 hours a day, that would mean an average of 200 patient visits a day. If I assume there are 30 patient exam/consultation rooms -- giving a capacity of 300 patients a day, one hour visit per patient -- at 200 sq ft each, thats 6,000 sq ft. Tripling that space for a waiting area, health care provider offices, special exam rooms, etc. would give me about 20,000 sq ft. By way of comparison, North Shore Medical Center in Salem had 90,000 ER visits in 2004. That ER is 25,000 sq ft.
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