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Harvard breaks ground on big Allston project

The Enterprise Research Campus is set to include lab space, green space, and housing

The Harvard Allston Land Co. and Tishman Speyer on Wednesday hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the first phase of the future Harvard Enterprise Research Campus along Western Avenue in Allston.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Harvard University on Wednesday celebrated the groundbreaking of its future Enterprise Research Campus, a mixed-use development off Western Avenue in Allston that will be home to labs, hundreds of apartments, and a hotel.

Developer Tishman Speyer in June secured a $750 million construction loan from Otera Capital, an arm of Canadian pension fund manager CDPQ, in what is among the largest such deals in the United States this year.

The ERC’s first phase is on 14 acres and will include 510,000 square feet of lab space developed by Tishman’s biotech development arm Breakthrough Properties, along with a three-acre Allston Greenway and a timber-framed “Treehouse” — a Harvard conference center named for private equity billionaire and philanthropist David Rubenstein.


Boston Mayor Michelle Wu left and Harvard University President Claudine Gay at an event Wednesday celebrating the start of work on Harvard's new Enterprise Research Campus in Allston.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu on Wednesday credited Harvard and Tishman Speyer’s community commitment, including Harvard donating land at nearby 65 Seattle St. for housing and $25 million toward an affordable housing preservation fund in Allston-Brighton, along with promising ice time for the neighborhood’s youth hockey league at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center.

Some 25 percent of the ERC’s 343 apartments will be set aside for those making between 30 percent and 100 percent of the area median income — $44,520 to $148,400 for a family of four — a record-high percentage for a market-rate project in the city.

“We are so grateful for our partnership in building a Boston that is truly reflective of and responsive to the priorities of our communities,” Wu said. “As we continue to grow as a city, this project is both proof of, but also a blueprint for, our ability to ensure that the benefits of Boston’s growth are shared by everyone.”

Cindy Marchando, chairwoman of the Harvard Allston Task Force, heralded the project’s $30 million in equity from Black and Hispanic investors as one of the largest inclusionary investor initiatives in the city’s history.


The ERC symbolizes the “immense power of community partnership,” Marchando said.

Catherine Carlock can be reached at Follow her @bycathcarlock.