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Harvard-owned Allston parcel now has nine developers competing over it

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The school expects to pick a final winner for the rights to the 14-acre footprint before 2020

A glassy, multistory engineering and applied sciences school under construction.
Harvard’s new engineering and applied sciences school under construction in February 2019.
Boston Globe via Getty Images

Advancing one of the more closely followed parlor games in Boston-area real estate, Harvard has narrowed the number of development teams competing to develop the first 14 acres of an Allston parcel along Western Avenue that the school envisions as helping host what it calls its its Enterprise Research Campus.

Harvard apparently saw strong interest. And why not? The right to develop this footprint—one of the largest developable sites left in Boston proper—could be just the start for a winning builder. Harvard also owns an adjacent 22 acres as well as the approximately 100-acre Beacon Park Yard farther south (once thought to be a site for Amazon’s second HQ).

Taken together, the winning developer this year could position itself to score one big parcel after another for years.

The nine developers and teams still in the running represent “an all-star cast,” per the Globe’s Jon Chesto: New England Development; Wexford Science & Technology and Accordia Partners; Bulfinch Companies and Harrison Street; DivcoWest; HYM Investment Group; Lendlease Group; Carpenter & Company and Longfellow Real Estate Partners; National Development and Alexandria Real Estate Equities; and Tishman Speyer with Bellco Capital.

As for what will fill the 14 acres, that’s yet unclear. Preliminary plans call for a sizable project: 400,000 square feet of office and lab space, 250,000 square feet of apartments, and a 250,000-square-foot hotel and conference center. There would also be retail and restaurants.

Plus, there’s a familiar refrain heard around this future project, which would go up next to Harvard’s new science and engineering campus. That is, it’s supposed to be another “next Kendall Square”—a tech-heavy area with housing thrown in. Stay tuned. Harvard’s supposed to pick a final developer before 2020.