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Allston Land Company CEO Discusses Vision for Harvard's Enterprise Research Campus

Construction work continues on the Science and Engineering Complex in Allston. The building is on pace to open by fall 2020, and will be located next to the Enterprise Research Campus.
Construction work continues on the Science and Engineering Complex in Allston. The building is on pace to open by fall 2020, and will be located next to the Enterprise Research Campus. By Brendan J. Chapuis
By Peter E. O'Keefe, Crimson Staff Writer

Allston Land Company CEO Thomas P. Glynn III said Harvard hopes to emulate successes — and learn from challenges — with Kendall Square's recent development boom in planning for Harvard's Enterprise Research Campus.

Harvard established the ALC in fall 2018 to manage the ERC, a University project intended to facilitate collaborations between Harvard-affiliated research projects and “research-focused” companies. The project is set to initially occupy 14 acres of Harvard-owned land near the new School of Engineering and Applies Sciences campus in Allston, and may eventually span up to 36 acres.

Harvard opened a submission process for real estate developer proposals this summer, and has yet to makes its selection. Glynn said that his vision for the campus is to include residential buildings, green space, and public art pieces along with company offices.

“To Harvard students, the Enterprise Research Campus will offer them a chance for internships with cutting edge companies in life sciences, technology, and maybe other regions,” Glynn said.

“I think for the Allston Community, the things that it brings are, you know, more employment opportunities, and more opportunities for a lot of the work that Harvard has done over the years to make sure we have some win-win projects,” he added.

Glynn said that in developing the ERC, there are “lessons to be learned” from MIT’s Kendall Square development. He said that Harvard has advantages that will allow it to provide students, faculty, and Allston residents with a more complete set of amenities.

“We think that we have the advantage, since we own all the land, we can plan public realm and public art up front, which we think will make it a more hospitable, community-oriented campus at the end of the day, which was not a choice that MIT had,” Glynn said.

Concrete details of the ERC’s public artworks will not be determined until a developer is chosen, but Glynn brought up several examples installments that the ALC hopes to emulate.

“We've been doing a study of successful public realm art projects,” he said. “An example of that is 'The Bean' in Chicago.”

He said the ALC hopes to attract people to the new campus with the art that is selected.

“We want to make sure that we've gotten smart about what projects have been successful, what projects do create, you know, a magnet for citizens of all ages and all incomes," he said. "There are pretty things, but that doesn't mean that they really work for the public realm, you know, becoming kind of a magnet or making the project more of a destination."

Beyond public art and employment opportunities, the ERC plans to aside 20 percent of developed land as green-space.

“We're trying to make sure that we have something that everybody can be proud of,” Glynn said.

–Peter E. O’Keefe can be reached at peter.o’ Follow him on Twitter @CrimsonOKeefe

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