Harvard Releases 50-Year Expansion Plan

The Associated Press
Friday, January 12, 2007; 6:18 AM

BOSTON -- Harvard University plans to expand across the Charles River from its Cambridge campus and to build new academic buildings, student housing and a public square in a project that is expected to cost several billion dollars and take 50 years to complete.

The university released its long-range plan for university-owned land in the Allston neighborhood on Thursday, opening a public process to review development plans.

"This plan is intended give the city of Boston and the community a preliminary sense of the kind of development that will take place in Allston over the next 50 years," Harvard President Derek Bok said.

The initiative was launched by Lawrence Summers, who resigned as Harvard president last year and was replaced by Bok on an interim basis.

Harvard plans an initial 20-year development phase on a portion of the more than 200 acres of university-owned land in Allston, which is already home to Harvard Business School as well as athletics and administrative facilities. If approved by Boston officials, the first phase would add as much as 5 million square feet of academic space.

By the end of second phase of 30 years, the development projects are expected to have generated as many as 12,000 permanent jobs, in addition to thousands of construction-related jobs, Harvard said.

The plan includes steps to limit energy consumption and create more than 30 acres of new open space on land now covered by asphalt.

"This is not just about bricks and mortar," said Christopher Gordon, chief operating officer of the Harvard University Allston Development Group, which oversees the university's planning in Allston.

The announcement Thursday came nearly a year after Harvard released an initial piece of its long-range Allston plan: a 10-year project for a 500,000-square foot complex for stem cell research and other arts and science initiatives. Some of those projects are expected to begin this year.

© 2007 The Associated Press