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Old 07-18-2013, 01:17 PM   #921
Matthew
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Funny thing is that I walked over the Cambridge Street overpass yesterday just as a CSX train was pulling into Beacon Park, to my surprise.

Good to hear that they are starting the environmental testing. Not looking forward to how long that's going to take to sort out.

I have heard that both Harvard and DePaola are really interested in straightening the Pike and going with open-road tolling. So I think that rumor has legs.
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Old 07-26-2013, 04:03 PM   #922
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

http://www.bostonredevelopmentauthor...07-26-2013.pdf

Harvard Allston IMP.
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Old 07-29-2013, 12:31 PM   #923
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

I've finally got around to reading this - spurred by the post on UHub.

If Harvard isn't going to do anything productive with its Allston land, can it be compelled to give it up?

This IMP hits all the fancy buzzwords including but not limited to "greenway" and yet there's absolutely no vision (the massing and future layout of Barry's Corner is completely bungled) and no clear benefit for Harvard either. This IMP strikes me as a fancy placeholder so that they can continue to landbank here (with a planning horizon counting in centuries, not years).
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Old 07-29-2013, 01:28 PM   #924
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

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I've finally got around to reading this - spurred by the post on UHub.

If Harvard isn't going to do anything productive with its Allston land, can it be compelled to give it up?

This IMP hits all the fancy buzzwords including but not limited to "greenway" and yet there's absolutely no vision (the massing and future layout of Barry's Corner is completely bungled) and no clear benefit for Harvard either. This IMP strikes me as a fancy placeholder so that they can continue to landbank here (with a planning horizon counting in centuries, not years).
No, they can't be compelled to give it up.

A lot of Barry's Corner is a placeholder because Harvard effectively controls only two sides of the corner. There are privately owned parcels on the SE and SW parts that block Harvard development. Harvard cannot presumptuously set out designs for property it does not own.

If you look at the stuff Harvard did between the last IMP and the current draft IMP, then the IMP is a placeholder, and projects not included in a current IMP can be proposed and be approved individually as amendments to the IMP. So the IMP is not fixed in stone.

The land Harvard acquired on the north side of Western Ave and west of N. Harvard St is not covered by the IMP. Harvard would probably like to acquire the Smith playground/ball fields and build the city a replacement elsewhere. That would allow Harvard to further develop Barry's Corner. Harvard and WBZ were at one point going to exchange property. Harvard would love to acquire the WBZ property on Soldiers Field Rd.
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Old 07-29-2013, 01:33 PM   #925
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Harvard is already building the Samuels project on the northwestern corner of Barry's corner and has committed to some small improvements to Smith Field. Those are part of a separate Article 80 process, not part of the IMP.

Harvard landbanking is the sort of thing that a "land value tax" (applied to non-educational parcels, assuming you keep the non-profit exception) would address well.
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Old 07-30-2013, 05:04 PM   #926
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Harvard owns the land and they need to have a place to grow in the future. Why is that a bad idea? It doesn't lead to a full buildout today, but they don't have the money or need for that today. What are they supposed to do, buy individual lots as they need them? Move to Weston? I understand the desire for a better current situation, but I think it ignores the financial and educational realities.
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Old 07-30-2013, 05:43 PM   #927
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Boston needs to grow too. Having large sections of the city be cordoned off and sitting vacant for fifty years is unhealthy.
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:01 PM   #928
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

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Harvard owns the land and they need to have a place to grow in the future. Why is that a bad idea? It doesn't lead to a full buildout today, but they don't have the money or need for that today. What are they supposed to do, buy individual lots as they need them? Move to Weston? I understand the desire for a better current situation, but I think it ignores the financial and educational realities.
Or they'll just be forced to add density to a part of Cambridge that desperately needs it... Harvard would need to build up.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:41 PM   #929
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

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Or they'll just be forced to add density to a part of Cambridge that desperately needs it... Harvard would need to build up.
The Inn @ Harvard at the top of Harvard Square (Junction of Quincy, +Mass/Harvard Aves', and Bow St.) is closed for renovations. That 'hotel' I always felt at only three stories was awfully short. It'll host Dunster House while that building goes under renovation.

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The Inn at Harvard to close in July, significant layoffs expected
February 12, 2013 03:49 PM
http://www.boston.com/yourcampus/new...d_layoffs.html

IMHO Harvard Square is going to go vertical. It's the next major stop along Mass Ave. to grow upwards. MIT is going up. Central is going up. Inbetween Harvard and Central has been going upward. Harvard is next.
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Old 07-31-2013, 06:22 AM   #930
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

The Inn @ Harvard is closed because it is going to be used as swing space for Harvard students moved out of the residential houses while the residential houses undergo a supposedly multi-billion dollar renovation. The Inn @ Harvard will be closed for more than a decade. Harvard hopes to be able to renovate a single residential house in 14 months tome, with generally doing the oldest houses first.

The last Harvard IMP had Harvard building a new residential house for undergrads on the Allston side of the river and moving the athletic venues to near Barry's Corner, and in part, the relocated athletic venues would use land now being developed by Samuels. Some Allstonites thought poorly of this proposal, because it would draw rowdy undergrads to Barry's Corner, who were going to hockey games, basketball games, etc., even though it would animate Barry's Corner. The Allstonites don't want Harvard undergrads in Allston, south of the stadium.
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With regard to landbanking, Harvard-owned acreage in Allston is shrinking. The land swap of land with Charlesview resulted in a net loss of Harvard-owned land in Allston. The swap of land with the Boston Skating Club will also, I believe, result in a net loss of land for Harvard. Some Allstonites are unhappy with this second swap, because the new skating club will be bigger, and draw more users and spectators.

On the many parcels of land that Harvard owns on the north side of Western Ave. west of N. Harvard St., there are no vacant parcels. Nearly all of this land is currently leased. (This property is generally not included in the draft IMP.)

Available land for the business school on the east side of N. Harvard and north of Western Ave is apparently so scarce that Harvard will demolish two current HBS buildings and build new, larger buildings on their sites. So no landbanking in this whole quarter of Harvard's Allston holdings.

Which leaves the large swath of empty land basically east of the old WGBH studios on Western Ave., and from Western Ave. down to and including the former CSX yard. Harvard can do little planning for most of this land until it and the state and city decide what to do with the Mass Pike interchange and the Allston tolls. The latest IMP includes a curious reference that CSX still holds a perpetual right-of-way for some of this land. If so, CSX would have a say (and financial interest?) in how the land is eventually developed.
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Old 07-31-2013, 09:16 AM   #931
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Harvard still plans to build a Basketball Arena at Barry's Corner. Just north of the Samuels project.

The new Skating Club site would have been prime TOD real estate when the "Boston Landing" station is finished. But now it will be surrounded by a sea of parking instead, most likely.

Most of the vacant land along Western Avenue east of Barry's Corner is in no way connected to any scenario involving the Mass Pike.
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:32 AM   #932
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Correct. The vacated parking lot between Western and Rotterdam across from the Business School was the CSX truck parking lot. They can have at that parcel whenever they want. Ditto the warehouse between Rotterdam and the Pike on-ramp. That company completed its relocation to Hopedale several months ago.

Everything between Cambridge St. and Western is fair game today. The only places they can't develop are the train yards themselves on the other side of the Pike. Not without a ton of environmental remediation and some plan for bringing an acceptable street grid into there. But pretty close to half the freed-up acreage is on the Rotterdam-Western side, so they've got many years of building out to do.
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:59 AM   #933
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

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Harvard still plans to build a Basketball Arena at Barry's Corner. Just north of the Samuels project.

The new Skating Club site would have been prime TOD real estate when the "Boston Landing" station is finished. But now it will be surrounded by a sea of parking instead, most likely.

Most of the vacant land along Western Avenue east of Barry's Corner is in no way connected to any scenario involving the Mass Pike.
I believe a concern about the new Skating Club is that with three rinks, there will not be enough parking.
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Of the now-vacant land east of Windom and Rotterdam streets, and south of Western Ave. -- much of it previously occupied by Romar trucking -- specific buildings for this land are not covered by the IMP. However, the IMP signals that this land will (presumably) be leased to the private sector for R&D buildings, or, in Harvard phrasing: "enterprise research". As I understand it, Harvard does not want to build buildings, and then lease both building and land.

Directly on Western Ave, the IMP indicates Harvard intends to build a hotel, with small conference center. There are no specifics for other strips of vacant land along the south side of Western Ave., aside from the hotel, because there are two new streets proposed, one of which would link Western Ave to the Allston tolls.

The city will mandate that Harvard not increase traffic on what is largely residential Windom St., so there will be two new streets to the east of Windom St.

Once the state, the city, and Harvard decide what the new configuration of the Pike at the Allston tolls will be, Harvard can start drawing in the street lines and marketing parcels of land to the private sector for new research buildings. Harvard has sketched 13 potential sites for enterprise research, each roughly between 20,000 - 30,000 sq ft in size.

The leaseholds represent a future revenue stream for Harvard, so Harvard is likely to develop them rather quickly. I believe as this area is outside the submitted IMP, Harvard would need to amend the IMP, or develop another IMP, to cover development of these enterprise research buildings.
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Old 07-31-2013, 12:07 PM   #934
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

That's why I reference "seas of parking" because the Skating Club will probably be forced to construct tons of spaces. It makes no sense. It's right next to a brand new station and there's no good access from the highway. Building all those parking spaces will pump even more traffic down Lincoln Street. I think they really got themselves into a pickle with this one. If "Boston Landing" was going to be rapid transit then maybe they could make a good case for significantly less parking, but it's not and they probably won't be able to.

The hotel is going to be built in the last part of the 10 year IMP which means post-2020. Everything else proposed for Western Ave seems to be long term: beyond 10 years.

Last I checked Harvard is not planning to build Stadium Way quite yet but will reserve the right-of-way for it. But they may be forced to expedite it to keep traffic off Windom Street.

East Drive might have to wait until the disposition of the Allston tolls is figured out but there's plenty of land in between it and Stadium Way that is going to be sitting empty until at least 2020 according to current plans.

The long term plan also seems to indicate that the parking lots north of Western Ave will be redeveloped but I didn't see any specifics.
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Old 07-31-2013, 01:27 PM   #935
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

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...

The long term plan also seems to indicate that the parking lots north of Western Ave will be redeveloped but I didn't see any specifics.
In September when Harvard supposedly launches its oft-postponed capital campaign, there may be a better indication of what future buildings Harvard envisions for Allston, specifically for the B-school. Of the four B-school buildings in the latest IMP, the two replacement buildings are already donor-funded, and the renovation of one building is probably also funded, perhaps internally. That leaves a new faculty and administrative building, with no name. which suggests no identified donor putting his or her name on it. To these four, the capital campaign may identify others.
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Old 07-31-2013, 02:24 PM   #936
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

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In September when Harvard supposedly launches its oft-postponed capital campaign, there may be a better indication of what future buildings Harvard envisions for Allston, specifically for the B-school. Of the four B-school buildings in the latest IMP, the two replacement buildings are already donor-funded, and the renovation of one building is probably also funded, perhaps internally. That leaves a new faculty and administrative building, with no name. which suggests no identified donor putting his or her name on it. To these four, the capital campaign may identify others.
Until the science complex goes vertical, I'm not placing much faith in Harvard getting anything done outside of their private developer stuff (Sameuls, Charlesview).

And the most recent design I saw for the skating club makes the 128 thread look like good urbanism. It's terrible, I would rather have taken my chances with the abandoned building staying there.
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Old 07-31-2013, 03:36 PM   #937
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

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.

And the most recent design I saw for the skating club makes the 128 thread look like good urbanism. It's terrible, I would rather have taken my chances with the abandoned building staying there.
Completely agree. Especially with New Balance already building a rink themselves.

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Old 07-31-2013, 05:57 PM   #938
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

The funny thing is, rumor has it that the Skating Club has nowhere near the required $$ to pull this off ... and skeptics are doubtful that their fundraising apparatus will be able to find sufficient sugar daddies. They would dearly, dearly love to have multiple rinks but their ambitions are bigger than their pocketbook, at least for now.

The logical solution ... it would seem ... would be for the Skating Club to scrap this suburban design ... which seems sort of a homage to their existing dilapidated structure ... and instead partner with someone to build the rink complex as part of a proper mixed use urban development. Add a bunch of residential, put the parking into garages (preferably shielded) in the back where it belongs. As an added bonus, the overall parking ratios could be more modest since the residential needs and club needs peak at different times. As a second bonus, residential as part of the complex might help support a better café or other modest amenities that would be welcomed by club members.

Probably a pipe dream, but were I running SCOB, that would be the angle that I would try to be working right now. As a second choice, I'd be trying to cut an expanded deal with Harvard (or New Balance?) that involved sharing the complex. SCOB has a great history and it is a great resource to have in Boston but the serious skating community is a pretty narrow niche. If they could arbitrage the land value to ensure their future ... and in a perfect world scenario, even create a community setting that would help them attract elite skaters from around the country to train ... that would be a great addition to Boston, never mind the obvious attraction of architecture that doesn't make urbanists cringe.
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Old 07-31-2013, 06:01 PM   #939
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

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Completely agree. Especially with New Balance already building a rink themselves.

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Old 07-31-2013, 06:08 PM   #940
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

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Dear Lord, where are the cows and the hay bales?
And they're closing the identical existing facility a mile up the road in favor of this? WHY?
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