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Friday, July 15, 2022

ALLSTON-BRIGHTON ACHIEVES LANDMARK COMMITMENTS FROM HARVARD WITH ADVANCEMENT OF ENTERPRISE RESEARCH CAMPUS

 ALLSTON-BRIGHTON ACHIEVES LANDMARK COMMITMENTS FROM HARVARD WITH ADVANCEMENT OF ENTERPRISE RESEARCH CAMPUS 

 

A product of the community’s mobilization, ERC includes 25% income-restricted rentals, $25M for an Allston-Brighton Affordable Housing Trust, community needs assessment and comprehensive planning funds

 

Boston, Mass. – At its monthly meeting on Thursday, July 14, the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board of Directors voted to approve Phase A of the Harvard Enterprise Research Campus (ERC) in Allston. Encompassing 9.4 acres within an existing 14.2 acre Planned Development Area (PDA), the Phase A of the ERC will consist of approximately 900,000 square feet of development that is to include laboratory, office, residential, hotel, conference, and retail use. With this approval, Phase A of the ERC advances landmark commitments, mitigation, and benefits to affordable housing and future planning processes in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood from both Harvard University and development partner Tishman Speyer. 

 

Approval of the Phase A proposal is the first step taken by Harvard in its stated plans to develop a significant portion of the University’s extensive landholdings in Allston and Brighton for commercial purposes. Harvard University owns approximately 170 acres of developable land in North Brighton and Lower Allston; with properties totaling a cumulative 360 acres, the University is the largest single landholder in Allston-Brighton. Following an extensive review process informed by the Harvard Allston Task Force (HATF), community members, and neighborhood activists, approval of Phase A sets a precedent for future development planned for Harvard land in Allston and Brighton. 

 

“I am grateful to Mayor Wu, Chief Jemison, Representatives Moran and Honan, the Harvard Allston Task Force, and community members for their advocacy throughout this project’s extensive review process,” said Allston-Brighton City Councilor Liz Breadon. “Our collaborative efforts have helped to produce a much-improved project that better serves the needs of Allston, Brighton, and Boston residents. Most significantly, this process allowed the City to commit to a comprehensive Allston-Brighton neighborhood planning process, complementary community needs assessment, and, in conjunction with Harvard, future planning processes for the remaining 22-acres of the ERC and the over 50-acre Beacon Park Yard.”

 

“Thank you to the residents, advocates, and activists fighting for Allston and Brighton,” said State Representative Mike Moran. “With the dedication of the Harvard Allston Task Force, the Allston Civic Association (ACA), and the Coalition for a Just Allston Brighton (CJAB), we have achieved this transformative community benefits package from Harvard University, laying the groundwork to ensure that all future phases meet the needs of our neighborhood.”

 

Harvard and Tishman Speyer have committed to designate 25% of the 345 housing units included in Phase A’s residential component as on-site income-restricted rental units through the City of Boston’s Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP); this commitment represents the largest percentage of income-restricted units included a single project by a private developer in Boston to date. These 86 on-site IDP rental units will be made available to households between 30% and 100% of the Area Median Income (AMI). Significantly, this expanded range of unit affordability better reflects median incomes in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood, which sit at approximately 50% to 60% of AMI. 

 

“This is both transformative and historic. The housing affordability commitments made in Harvard’s Phase A proposal will have a tremendous impact and will help correct for past errors,” said At Large Councilor and Harvard alumna Ruthzee Louijeune. “We now have an excellent precedent for how private stakeholders, community leaders, activists, and cities can work together to address our housing crisis and infrastructure challenges. I’m proud of our Allston residents and advocates, and I’m encouraged by the steps my alma mater is taking to be a better neighbor.”

 

"I applaud the Coalition for a Just Allston-Brighton, the Allston Civic Association, community leaders, and the residents in Allston and Brighton who advocated for the increase of the much-needed affordable housing in our city,” said At Large Councilor Erin Murphy. “The time to act is now, and I stand with the people of Allston-Brighton and my colleague Councilor Liz Breadon. We will continue to work together to create a more affordable, equitable, and inclusive Boston.”

 

Harvard University has also committed a total contribution of $25 million to seed the creation of an Allston-Brighton Affordable Housing Fund, the structure of which is to be further defined by the BPDA, Allston-Brighton elected officials, and community members. This Fund will be used to support efforts towards the production and preservation of affordable, income-restricted housing in Allston and Brighton. Harvard will also donate a parcel of land located at 65 Seattle Street in Allston for the production of affordable homeownership opportunities. 

 

"We are thrilled that our City Councilor was able to help facilitate this agreement which will allow us to move forward with our next phase of work,” said Cindy Marchando, Chair of the Harvard Allston Task Force. “The community has not changed its vision of a transformative, inclusive, diverse environment where people can afford to live and continue thriving. We look forward to working collaboratively on making sure all residents have access, affordability and opportunity in mind!" 

 

“I want to thank Councilor Breadon and her staff for their efforts on behalf of our community, working in collaboration with the various stakeholders, to forge an agreement to proceed with Phase A of the Enterprise Research Campus,” said Anthony D’Isidoro, Harvard Allston Task Force member and President of the Allston Civic Association. “The agreement provides a firm foundation for subsequent phases to pursue additional guarantees for an equitable resolution to a once in lifetime opportunity to transform a 36-acre site into a special welcoming destination with an impeccable quality of life.”

 

In addition to these commitments to housing affordability, Harvard University has also made significant commitments related to future planning processes in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood. Harvard will participate in City-led planning and rezoning efforts for the remaining 22 acres of the Enterprise Research Campus and the 50 acre Beacon Park Yard, and will contribute $1 million towards these planning efforts. Harvard has also agreed to contribute $1 million towards an Allston-Brighton Community Needs Assessment, which will be utilized to inform future community benefits and planning processes. 

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