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Old 06-14-2012, 09:24 PM   #821
AmericanFolkLegend
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

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Harvard et al. are being naive beyond belief with BP. They need it clean and funded to be cleaned before they can begin to begin thinking about re-zoning. Total do not pass Go, do not collect any permit of any kind situation.
Harvard hasn't been naive about anything. They have a environmental insurance policy that covers all their recent Allston purchases. Even the "Swiss Baker" site that is now being built near Barry's Corner was loaded with PCB's. Harvard knew it. The insurance company pitched in and the site has been remediated. None of the sites they purchased were insurmountable (I know).

I'm responding aggressively because I feel like F-Line usually posts, fact-based (or at least analysis-based) posts that I appreciate/agree with. And the last couple posts are neither.
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:41 PM   #822
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
...which has been a longstanding problem with this site already. It's reclaimed tidal flats. Just because the mud got packed flat enough to support the weight of a road/railbed and has been flood-controlled for a century doesn't mean that it has ceased being a tidal flat. Anything that leeches into that soil is...going out with the tides, as it were, into the river. Nature of the beast.

Shifting that soil around to build stuff in and of itself causes an elevated river contamination risk, so they can't do ANYTHING with this site until the soil is cleaned or capped. It's not nature of planned use or anything...can't put a shovel into the ground at all until there's a containment and/or decontamination plan in place. One of the parties in this public-private partnership is going to have to come up with a better plan than hoping the decontamination fairy shows up one night to make the evil stuff go away. Until they contend with this and how to fund it, there is no square-one for this site. It sits empty.


How many years has this been in planning, still no one has said boo about how they're going to do this or at what (and whose) cost? Say what you will about Northpoint's pace, but they didn't sit on their hands for 15 years waiting for the decontamination fairy to make it all go away. That site had a slow, quiet, but steady progression of containment caps and soil decontamination crawling across the landscape as soon the last derelict RR structures got ripped out. And planned well in advance. Harvard et al. are being naive beyond belief with BP. They need it clean and funded to be cleaned before they can begin to begin thinking about re-zoning. Total do not pass Go, do not collect any permit of any kind situation.
F-Line the flow of contaminats into the River is essentially due to bulk erosion carried by surface water run off combined with shallow ground water underground diffusive motion -- you don't need to wory about deep penetration into an aquifer. As a result you can wall off the perimeter with sheet piles, dig down a couple of feet to create room for the cap removing the material for burial somewhere or you could probably thermally process the material on site {mostly petroleum and organic solvents) and cover the clay with impervious fabric + backfill to the same datum as today.

This is not rocket science or nuclear physics nor is it the nature of the problems with the Cape and its aquifer, nor the Industriplex with Arsenic and other inorganic and heavy metals.

But I think the use of the tracks for rail-based housing is probably the most innovative re-use
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Old 06-15-2012, 05:29 AM   #823
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

An interesting article from the Crimson from 2003 re: both BU and Harvard bidding for the railroad yard. The mention of the level of contamination is speculation.
And given the price per acre. the price for a heavily contaminated site would have been discounted.

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/20...set-sights-on/

Now if it had been the site of a coal gas plant,.....
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Old 07-03-2012, 11:20 AM   #824
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Get your last photo ops of Beacon Park in action. Domestic freight transloading moves to Worcester officially on Sept. 1. All that'll remain after that are the engine house and the yard sandwiched between the toll plaza and Storrow (should stay open into 2013 because CSX still hasn't found a replacement refueling/maintenance facility in MetroWest), the 2 customers attached to the yard (Houghton Chemical and Romar Transportation), and bare trace yard freight for inside-128 customers through Fall until the new facilities in Worcester and Westborough are 100% done (probably squeezed under the Pike Viaduct so they can completely de-staff the main yard and operate strictly from the engine house). International freight already went to Worcester on April 1, and they are on-schedule to divert everything east of Framingham by year's end except for the daily to Everett terminal and irregular-schedule consists of multiple locomotives to the engine house for refueling.

Unlike Harvard, CSX is doing everything right on-schedule.


Summer freight schedule to the yard from RR.net: http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewt...99099#p1059560.
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Old 07-10-2012, 01:45 PM   #825
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

another crane about to join the fray!
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:18 PM   #826
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

that was fast!
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Old 07-10-2012, 07:50 PM   #827
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

I keep forgetting about Tata Hall! I'm almost never over in that area (who is?) and if I am I'm usually on the other side of the river. Hmm...
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:34 PM   #828
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

i am. maybe some photos to follow.

and as for swiss baker, i have a letter from the president of harvard saying the property would be up and running fall 2011.
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:02 PM   #829
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Harvard's still sketchy plans for developing Barry's Corner.

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/20...orner-allston/
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:15 PM   #830
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

First comment:

Quote:
I understand that Allston is part of the city of Boston but Harvard is in Cambridge. The residents and interests of Cambridge should be considered too. We're fighting our own battles to try to keep development on a human scale and to be a benefit to the neighborhoods and not a blight and an intrusion.
#facepalm
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:00 AM   #831
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Looks like some movement at Barry's Corner. Six story mixed use building with 300 residential units.
http://www.thecrimson.com/article/20...ner-architect/
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:20 AM   #832
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

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Some worried that due to the growth of online retail, the complex cannot support the suggested amount of storefronts. They suggested that more housing be included instead. But others thought the plan already called for too many housing units packed into too small a space.
Weren't the neighbors complaining about how dead everything in the area is since Harvard bought it. Like yesterday, that was the complaint. Today: 300 units is too dense and the macroeconomic climate can no longer support brick and mortar stores.
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:25 AM   #833
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

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Originally Posted by AmericanFolkLegend View Post
Weren't the neighbors complaining about how dead everything in the area is since Harvard bought it. Like yesterday, that was the complaint. Today: 300 units is too dense and the macroeconomic climate can no longer support brick and mortar stores.
I think there is a Boston zoning restriction the precludes Harvard, as a university developer, from having certain uses, e.g., no bars, no pool halls, etc. And remember, there were certain factions in Allston who opposed a beer and wine license for the pizza place that occupies the former gas station on the southeast corner.

The main problem, IMO, is a significant majority of the residences in this part of Allston are not owner-occupied, and the absentee landlords really don't give a rodent's behind. So the homeowners that are interested often have divergent, contradictory, and changing views. That plus Harvard doesn't yet own all the parcels in the so-called 'keystone' block, which is the SE corner of Barry's Corner. The other problem is that the residents fail to acknowledge/accept the stone's throw away presence of the Arsenal malls.
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:37 AM   #834
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

The problem is that many North Allston residents think of it as a suburb and not part of the city. Therefore many of the residents attempt to exclude outsiders and block development of all kinds. Thus the current result.
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Old 07-25-2012, 02:53 PM   #835
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

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For comparison, Manfredi mentioned the Charles Square area on the Cambridge side of the Charles River, which hosts Legal Sea Foods in the summer and an ice rink in the winter.
So their takeoff point is this sterile corner of Harvard Square?

At least AIM for something better so the inevitable, disappointing result isn't that bad.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:01 PM   #836
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

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So their takeoff point is this sterile corner of Harvard Square?

At least AIM for something better so the inevitable, disappointing result isn't that bad.
So right. They chose to compare to a boring, underutilized, underveloped portion of Harvard square.
But I wonder if that wasn't intentional given the audience. Families ice skating and suits having drinks is probably less threatening to some of the Allston NIMBY types, than eclectic restaurants, book stores and boutiques.
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:22 PM   #837
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Tata Hall today...sorry I know these are pretty crappy:



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Old 07-31-2012, 03:25 PM   #838
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

This shot of Tate Hall is from yesterday. While walking south on Western Ave I noticed a new sign in the window of 168 Western Ave. "Coming soon! swissbakes" I'm not sure this building is owned by Harvard, but somone has been sprucing it up over the past couple of months. If I'm correct I think this is Barrys Corner Area (???).

Tate Hall Boston 7/30
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:45 PM   #839
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

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Originally Posted by BeeLine View Post
This shot of Tate Hall is from yesterday. While walking south on Western Ave I noticed a new sign in the window of 168 Western Ave. "Coming soon! swissbakes" I'm not sure this building is owned by Harvard, but somone has been sprucing it up over the past couple of months. If I'm correct I think this is Barrys Corner Area (???).
Harvard owns the property. Former car dealership/repair facility I think. Harvard gave the Swiss baker a SWEETHEART lease (huge TI budget and construction management help). Plus Harvard spent a ton cleaning up the site (though I understand that was covered by insurance). The baker kind of dropped the ball and started demanding all these other random things and finally Harvard was like, "You have 6 months before you need to start paying rent. Figure it out." I'm happy to see the bakery will actually happen.
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Old 08-09-2012, 01:28 PM   #840
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Re: Harvard - Allston Campus

Select quotes from Brookline Machine Shop "Market and Financial Programming Test Fits"* presented at the Harvard-Allston meeting.

Market findings

"Demand for ownership housing development at the site is expected to be consistent with demand being expressed today both in the immediate neighborhood and other neighborhoods surrounding the Harvard campus -- with the potential to draw a spectrum of end-consumer types including students, young professional singles and couples, small families (with 1 or 2 kids), empty-nester/downsizers (under 75) and seniors (75+)."

"Buyers in all these categories are expected to be 'value seeking' and price sensitive with expectations set by prices being achieved in the immediate neighborhood (under $450k) and in analogous neighborhoods surrounding the Harvard campus. Riverside/Cambridgeport sale activity provides a reasonable indication of the high end of the market price potential at the site (transactions for the most analogous projects/units here are over $450k)."

"The vast majority of prospective owner households in the market today are 1 and 2 person households. As a result, the greatest depth of demand and the core of the market opportunity is concentrated in the one and two bedroom unit typologies which are able to satisfy a broad range of buyer types. While larger 3 and 4 bedroom units also have the potential to draw demand, this market niche is relatively shallow and comes with more challenging economics (high unit costs drive prices above what the current market can easily shoulder). Likewise smaller studio unit demand also exists but this market niche is also narrow and less able to meet the diverse demands of the market."

"The current market favors rental development over ownership. But the market is evolving - both in a macro (the condo market is beginning to improve in the middle price brackets) and the micro sense (more effective housing demand will develop as buildout continues in the neighborhood)."

Financial findings

"The site is small with a maximum development potential of 1.0 FAR (30,500 GSF) - so no economics of scale. Fixed costs of development must be "amortized" over a small number of program feet which drives the cost per SF of development higher -- along with the price per foot needed to deliver feasibility."

"And the costs of development in an urban environment tend to be higher to begin with -- based on recent costs study completed for DHCD -- the cost is expected to fall between $200 and $300 per SF (all in) with surface parking and before profit. The cost of underground parking (estimated at $35,000 per space hard cost and over $40,000 per space with hard and soft costs) was not judged to be feasible in any program scenario."

"The current market is value seeking [...] in this context the size and price per SF are inversely proportional with smaller units commanding higher prices per SF (and improved feasibility margins) and larger units commanding lower prices per SF (with more challenging feasibility margins)."

"Based on our understanding of the current local/regional real estate market and its associated economic opportunities/constraints, a reasonable development response could be in the following range:
  • Development scale -- 30,000 GSF development; with net saleable SF of between 20,000 and 25,000 SF of living area
  • Unit Mix -- 2 bedroom units (40% to 60%); with (30% to 50%) ones and <10% threes.
  • Unit sizes -- one bedrooms between 700 and 900 NSF; two bedrooms between 900 and 1200 NSF; and three bedrooms between 1200 and 1600 SF; overal average between 1000 and 1200 NSF.
  • Unit count - 18 to 25
  • Parking -- surface"

*from Byrne McKinney & Associates Inc.
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