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M.I.T.’s Volpe Center plans still largely a mystery despite mega-sale closing

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School, feds formalize $750M deal

Talk about waiting until the last minute: The Obama administration had hoped to hand off the 14-acre Volpe transportation hub in Cambridge’s Kendall Square for redevelopment before Barack Obama left the White House.

The feds reached a deal with M.I.T. in early November, and that $750,000,000 deal has now closed—barely 72 hours before Obama becomes a private citizen again.

Yet, the closing brings little closure to what is one of the biggest real estate questions of 2017: Just what does M.I.T. have in mind for what’s often described as one of the most desirable development sites in the U.S.?

Under the deal with the federal government, the school does have to build another transportation center—and that construction has to happen before anything else can get underway.

As for what then, it certainly looks like the university is leaning toward a mixture of housing, offices, laboratories, retail, and parkland. An executive vice president at M.I.T. tells the Globe’s Tim Logan that it has “a big vision” for the Volpe site.

M.I.T. is still seeking input from the surrounding Kendall Square area, and it could be years before the post-transportation-center work gets started. Sit tight.