The first phase of Harvard University’s Enterprise Research Campus (ERC) in Allston received unanimous approval from the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) board on Thursday. Phase A consists of 900,000 square feet of mixed-use development that includes residential areas, office and lab space, a hotel, a conference center, restaurant and retail locations, and publicly accessible open and green spaces.
First presented as a concept in 2005, the ERC has been discussed in a series of open community meetings and public filings since 2017. Plans include sites for a range of research-oriented companies, social ventures, businesses, and startups, along with a mix of additional uses such as housing, hotel, and retail space that will contribute to an already active neighborhood.
Harvard has also recognized the role the ERC will play in enhancing and broadening its teaching and research mission, as well as the University’s ability to convene and take part in an innovation ecosystem focused on discovery, disease treatment, and impact. The campus is envisioned as an inclusive center for invention, collaboration, and entrepreneurship, bringing together partners from across Greater Boston and beyond.
“Our vision for an Enterprise Research Campus emerged from deep engagement with the Allston community, the city of Boston, and many more stakeholders over many years, and our work together will be stronger for it,” said Harvard President Larry Bacow. “The ERC will be for everyone. It will expand research and teaching opportunities, and drive innovation focused on areas of inquiry that touch all of our lives — climate, equity, and health chief among them. It will introduce new and expanded kinds of work, including a wide variety of jobs and opportunities. It will also invigorate the area with affordable housing options, green and open space, connectivity and transportation, and places to learn and play. We are thrilled that Phase 1 has been approved.”
Harvard has worked closely with developer Tishman Speyer since 2019, when the firm was chosen as the preferred developer for the first 14 acres of the ERC. Tishman Speyer is known for innovative approaches to architecture, place-making, sustainability, and healthy live-work environments, including Rockefeller Center in New York City.
“We worked in collaboration with the Harvard-Allston Task Force, local residents, the Wu administration, the BPDA, and local elected officials to create a blueprint for a vibrant community powered by innovation, inclusion, and human connection,” said Tishman Speyer CEO Rob Speyer. “The Enterprise Research Campus embraces the Allston and Brighton neighborhoods by delivering quality affordable housing, creating shared outdoor gathering spaces, and including locally owned retail and public art. We are grateful to the BPDA board for their unanimous support. We can’t wait to get started.”
The project in its current form took shape through a public review process that included site walks, surveys, focus groups, more than 12 pop-up events, and more than 10 public meetings. Extensive engagement and feedback from all corners of the community and with the city of Boston created improvements and refinements to the final plan in a range of areas including sustainability, transportation, and housing affordability.
“We are extremely grateful for collaboration with Allston-Brighton community members, the city of Boston, and elected officials around important issues and mutual goals, and are proud of the robust efforts and commitments the University is undertaking to advance this shared vision,” said Katie Lapp, Harvard’s executive vice president. “With our neighbors, we value the importance of fostering collaboration along with diversity, equity, and inclusivity in both the ERC and Greater Boston.”