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Kendall Square Development Racing Against the End of the Obama Administration

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Feds want to select Volpe Center builder before next president

The federal government has requested proposals for redeveloping the Volpe Transportation Center site in busy, busy Kendall Square. It has also set a deadline of mid-September for responses from developers. Why? Because the clock is winding down on the Obama administration and the new sheriff in Washington might nix plans for a truly epic redo at the Cambridge site.

Remember: This is the spot where officials once openly discussed allowing the construction of New England’s tallest tower. It’s also, quite frankly, some of the most desirable real estate in the U.S., a 14-acre expanse in the heart of a world-renowned technology hub, steps from Boston, and across the street from a Red Line stop.

The feds are therefore perhaps understandably keeping a tight lid on things. Per John Hawkinson at Cambridge Day, details of the request for proposals have not been released. What’s more, the city has yet to finalize zoning for that area of Kendall. So it’s not clear what could actually go up beyond the 400,000-square-foot building the feds want to see built.

Stay tuned. This could be one of the biggest projects this decade in the Boston area. Or it could all go poof come Jan. 20.