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Construction on Cambridge’s Giant NorthPoint Project to Move Forward

42-acre site is city’s largest build-able parcel

Work is set to start in earnest on a 42-acre site between Interstate 93 and the Museum of Science in Cambridge’s NorthPoint area. San Francisco-based DivcoWest bought the land, the largest build-able parcel in Cambridge, nearly a year ago.

The site is already approved for an astounding 5 million-plus square feet of development. DivcoWest’s first phase would include an office building as big as 390,000 square feet and a retail center. The Cambridge Planning Board is expected to sign off on the proposal this month, per Tim Logan at the Globe.

The start of construction would signal the biggest leap forward yet at the 42-acre site. Under current approvals, DivcoWest could build around 2,800 apartments and as much as 2.1 million square feet of office, research, and retail space.

That would in theory make NorthPoint a competitive counterpoint to Cambridge’s Kendall Square and Boston’s Innovation District (as most of the office space will likely be geared toward tech and biotech firms). First, though, NorthPoint needs some infrastructure, including retail and a better-organized street grid.

DivcoWest has begun work on the latter already. Now comes the retail and some offices. Apartments next? In housing-starved Cambridge, they would go super-fast.