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Harvard picks Tishman Speyer to redevelop 14 acres in Allston

The parcel will host what the university has dubbed its Enterprise Research Campus—and it’s going to be “hyper-social”

Rendering of a public square outside of an office complex. Rendering via Tishman Speyer

Ending one of the louder parlor games in Boston-area real estate, Harvard announced on December 19 that it had selected Tishman Speyer, the Manhattan-based development giant that owns most of New York’s Rockefeller Center among numerous other holdings, to develop a 14-acre parcel in Allston.

Harvard already has initial regulatory permission from the Boston Planning and Development Agency for 900,000 square feet on the parcel, which will join a ream of other development in Allston, some of it Harvard-driven.

For instance, the 14 acres—which is due to host what Harvard’s calling its Enterprise Research Campus—will be located next to its new science and engineering complex on Western Avenue and across the street from the Harvard Business School. The ERC plans call for a mix of 400,000 square feet of office and lab space for research-focused companies, green space, 250,000 square feet of residences, and a 250,000-square-foot hotel and conference center, according to the university.

The school and its chosen developers, as well as architect firm Studio Gang, are trying to think outside of the box as far as the ERC’s design, according to Harvard. That hotel and conference center, for one thing, will be known as the Treehouse, and would serve as a kind of welcome center for the complex—or, as the school describes it, “a hyper-social building for local, regional, and global populations.”

Studio Gang and Tishman Speyer also say they will aim for a low-carbon footprint for the buildings.

“Capturing the spirit of innovation of the Enterprise Research Campus, our design will transform a former industrial site into a fertile new ground for the exchange of ideas and creative expression,” Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang’s founding principal, said in a statement. “We envision a neighborhood brought to life with low-carbon buildings and resilient green spaces that foster community and connect people to their natural environment.”

The exact parameters of the 14-acre project are still in flux. For instance, it’s supposed to include around 300 apartments in its residential portion, though it’s unclear how many of those will be designated affordable.

It’s also important to note that this phase is only the beginning—Harvard owns another 22 acres next to it. Stay tuned.