Campus & Community

Gordon to head new Allston development organization

4 min read

Christopher M. Gordon, director of Capital Programs and Logan Modernization for the Massachusetts Port Authority, has been named chief operating officer (COO) for Harvard’s Allston development, President Lawrence H. Summers announced Thursday (Sept. 22). Gordon will oversee the creation of a new Harvard organization that will implement Harvard’s evolving plans for an extended campus in Allston.

Gordon is expected to assume the new Harvard post in October.

“Chris Gordon is nationally recognized as a leader in his field, has successfully managed large-scale development projects and has an impressive understanding of our academic setting,” said Summers. “He will bring a wide range of experience to the table as we advance our thinking about Allston this year and he, and his group, will play an important role in helping us over time to realize our unfolding aspirations for Allston.”

The COO will help shape a new Harvard organization with responsibility for organizing and implementing the real estate development activities that flow out of the academic and master planning processes bearing on the University’s eventual development of its extended campus in Allston. This will include a focus on the expected first-phase development, likely to be carried out over the next 10 to 15 years. Within the new organization, Gordon will oversee a full range of physical planning and construction activities related to Allston, while coordinating with existing University departments that have responsibilities in the Allston planning process. He will also serve as a development adviser to University leadership.

“I can think of no greater or more important challenge than working to ensure the success for Harvard, Boston, and the Allston community of Harvard’s 21st century campus,” said Gordon. “I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to lead such a seasoned team that has already accomplished so much successful planning and consultation.”

The new organization will split the Harvard Planning and Allston Initiative functions: The Allston Initiative will be absorbed into the Allston development group under the COO’s leadership, while Harvard Planning, within the Office of the Vice President for Administration, will continue to help Schools and departments meet local planning and regulatory needs.

“As we come closer to the day when our planning efforts for Allston will ripen into a first phase of actual development, it is important that we organize and prepare ourselves to carry out real estate development on a far more ambitious scale than Harvard has typically done in the past,” said Sally Zeckhauser, vice president for administration. “As programmatic priorities come into sharper focus and master planning concepts become more concrete, we will need the capacity to translate plans into actual buildings and related infrastructure. Chris Gordon and his group should do much to enhance Harvard’s capacity to deliver in physical terms on the exceptional academic promise that Allston holds for the future of the University and the surrounding community.”

During his decade at Massport, Gordon oversaw capital programming and projects at all Massport facilities, including the successful completion of the $4.4 billion Logan Modernization Project, which included physical components and development intricacies such as those Harvard faces with the Allston project. As director of capital programs, he oversaw a $500 million annual budget.

In addition to his duties at Massport, Gordon is a lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he has taught a nationally recognized graduate-level project development course for the past 12 years. In 2001, Gordon was honored as the “Person of the Year” for the United States by the Construction Management Association of America. In 2003, he received the Manuel Carballo Governor’s Award for Excellence in Public Service.

Gordon holds civil engineering degrees from the University of Maine (B.S.) and MIT (S.M.). He is married to Cici Gordon, a public relations executive, has two children, Tucker, age 11, and Tate, age 5, and is a resident of Winchester, Mass.