Harvard University breaks ground on first phase of Enterprise Research Park – Harvard Gazette
The first phase of construction on the Harvard Enterprise Research Park (ERC), a nine-acre mixed-use project in Allston, was celebrated with a groundbreaking ceremony on November 1.
The ceremonial shovel of dirt was raised by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, Harvard University President Claudine Guy, Harvard Allston Task Force leaders, the City of Boston, and developer Tishman Speyer.
“It is exciting to be able to be at another historic moment between the cities of Boston and Harvard in a journey and relationship that extends back hundreds of years,” Wu told the crowd of 200 community members in attendance.
The new project is located along Western Avenue, near Harvard University’s Innovation Labs, the Science and Engineering Park, and Harvard Business School. It will include two laboratory buildings, an apartment building with 343 rental units, a hotel, and more than two acres of community-oriented public outdoor space. It will also be home to the university’s first university-wide conference center, the David Rubenstein Tree House, which will bring together industry partners, visiting researchers and guests from around the world to collaborate with faculty and students.
“As this new innovation corridor continues to emerge, we are fueled by some shared principles – harnessing creativity and invention to benefit the world, ensuring opportunities spread, and most importantly, celebrating Allston as a place for everyone,” said Jay. “Every element of ERC is the result of deep engagement with the city of Boston and with this neighborhood. The open spaces, affordable housing, and workforce opportunities that will define this community will lay the foundation for a prosperous future,” she continued.
After an extensive community engagement process, the first phase of the ERC was approved in 2022 by the Boston Planning and Development Agency. Among the noteworthy project offerings is 25 percent dedicated to affordable housing — the highest percentage ever for a market project in Boston.
“No stone was left unturned, and nothing was left on the table in coming together across two critically important institutions to maximize the benefit of our communities,” Wu said. “We are so grateful for our partnership in building a Boston that truly reflects and responds to the priorities of our communities.”
“To the entire Harvard team who worked on this project, thank you for taking the relationship between Harvard and Allston to the next level — where mutual respect and trust are paramount, and shared vision and responsibility are affirmed,” Anthony DiSidoro said. President of the Allston Civic Association and a member of the Harvard Allston Task Force.
Tishman Speyer, the firm selected by Harvard University in 2019 to lead the development of ERC, is known for its innovative approaches to architecture, placemaking, sustainability and healthy live-work environments, including Rockefeller Center in New York City. As its CEO, Rob Speyer, noted in his remarks, the company is ready to create a similarly dynamic and dynamic space with ERC.
“Great development, developing places that draw you in again and again, requires creativity, collaboration and a true commitment to the community, and those are exactly the elements that will make this place so special,” Speier said.
Speyer pointed to the joint effort between Tishman Speyer and Harvard to create one of the largest comprehensive investment initiatives in Boston’s history for the project. The initiative brought more than 150 Black and Hispanic individuals and families into ERC ownership and as a group contributed more than $30 million in equity investment to the project.
“This is one of the few transactions of this size and scope that occurs anywhere in the country, and that is not only because of the power and strength of Tishman, Harvard and the other institutions, but also because all of us and all of you came to work,” said Arthur Jemison, chief planning officer and director of the Boston Planning and Development Agency. Together to make it happen, and that’s one of the reasons we have the funding to do this work.” “It’s consensus that makes decisions happen and makes developments like this happen. As long as we continue to create it together, I have high hopes for what we can achieve.