Should Harvard’s development for the corner of North Harvard Street and Western Avenue in Allston be designated “Allston Square” rather than “Barry’s Corner,” which is how that section was generally known before it was demolished in the 1960’s? That suggestion, made by a local resident, has provoked a lively discussion on Google groups community forum. Does the neighborhood need a re-branding? How should the history of the fight that led to the forced removal of 71 families be honored? For a history of the area, check out this excellent article by Bill Marchione.
The Charlesview Residences, which were built to replace the Charlesview Apartments development that Harvard purchased and plans to demolish, which in turn were built to replace the Barry’s Corner neighborhood that was flattened by an urban renewal scheme, will have its ribbon cutting ceremony tomorrow at 12 noon at 400 Western Avenue.
After meeting with local residents, Mayor Menino has sided with the Harvard Allston task force on the issue of relocating a number of university services to 28 Travis Street. The city’s position makes approval of the move and construction of future buildings dependent on a number of conditions, described on Boston.com. The school seems inclined to go along.
How about getting the university to sell some of its Allston property? It recently unloaded the Arsenal on the Charles in Watertown. Other developers would be able to move faster, and it would be good to have some balance with not all uses oriented to one owner.
The Harvard Allston task force voted Tuesday night to support the plan to relocate the Campus Services facility, but only if the school agrees to move the facility again once the Western Avenue science complex is complete. The building would be home to a number of functions, including managing Harvard’s fleet of vehicles.
The Beacon Park rail yards next the Mass. Pike in Allston are now unused and empty, as shown in this photo. Harvard owns the 91 acres that are occupied by the pike and the rail tracks, which they refer to as “Allston Landing South,” but would need state approval for any development, according to the Crimson article.
Some history of the site, courtesy of the Brighton Allston Historical Society.
Harvard will be moving its engineering school to Allston, according to the Crimson, which interviewed president Drew Faust. Until now, the public plans were to use the property now occupied by the Charlesview Apartments as a parking lot. The private plans were clearly quite different from what was submitted to the BRA last fall, and presented to the community. What other surprises are in store?
CORRECTION: The engineering school will relocate to the Western Avenue planned life sciences center site, not the Charlesview location, according to Kevin Galvin of Harvard. Harvard Magazine has an overview of the school’s Allston history.
Not the only cheating scandal going on at the university, eh?
Harvard has been both high-handed and underhanded in its treatment of Allston. Underhanded, with its surreptitious acquisition of acres of property. High-handed, with its shabby behavior. Emptying out the properties it acquired and letting them sit vacant for years, greatly harming the vitality of local business areas. Not to mention lots of vacant building look awful.
How will the BRA react to this? The city’s planning agency can’t plan if a developer deceives it.
Harvard University, with an endowment of $32 billion the nation’s richest school, also heads the list of debtors, with $6 billion owed. The school recently unloaded the Arsenal office complex in Watertown for $168.5 million, which it purchased for $162.6 million in 2001. The school was on a buying binge, and clearly had no plans for the property. Lots of money, but no vision, no plan.
Harvard’s plans continued to be met with skepticism at last night’s Harvard-Allston Task Force meeting. Residents voiced again their concerns about relocating storage and maintenance facilities to Travis Street, as well as the school’s overall approach, citing a lack transparency as to what their plans are.
The architect originally hired to design the new science complex on Western Avenue is being wooed to rejoin the project, which was put on hold in 2009.
The next meeting of the task force is Wednesday, February 6, at 6PM in Cumnock Hall Room 102, at Harvard Business School.
Neighbors have written the Boston Redevelopment Authority, expressing their displeasure with Harvard’s latest plans for North Allston. It doesn’t sound like they will get much satisfaction from the BRA, based on comments from their point person for the site. Can we ask where is the mayor on this?
Harvard’s submission for developing its tracts of land in Allston were released today by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. The Globe article refers to Allston as a “dreary section of the city”, but the biggest drag on the neighborhood has been Harvard’s practice of purchasing property, emptying it of tenants, and leaving it vacant for years. And let’s not forget the huge hole on Western Avenue, the someday site of a science complex.
Harvard University has announced its latest ideas for North Allston. A hotel and conference center and basketball stadium are proposed, along with additional buildings for the business school. Construction would occur over a ten-year period. The university will submit its plans to City Hall next week.
Harvard seems to be using a dog’s breakfast model for developing its Allston demense, tossing in various uses and structures with no real vision of how it will all work together. There was no hint of a basketball stadium until the team became much more successful in recent years.
Close to 100 people attended the Harvard Allston Education Portal’s end of semester Showcase, an event that demonstrated the projects of about 20 local kids mentored by Harvard students. The event also allowed attendees to get a peek at the Annex, a new space that triples the area available for programming.
The owner of Stone Hearth Pizza, which opened on Western Avenue last November, really likes his landlord, Harvard University. Meanwhile, some Allston residents aren’t happy with the university’s refusal to provide any plans at all for the Charlesview Apartments site it owns. The buildings will be cleared once residents can move into the relocated, and expanded, complex under construction by the Western Ave. Star Market/Shaws. What residents would like to see is an arts and cultural center, originally proposed in 2007, but Harvard is being cagey about that, too.