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The Corporation has approved the recommendations of the Allston Work Team (released last June) for various Harvard development projects, and a schedule for pursuing near-term actions. The decisions were outlined in a September 19 letter to the community from executive vice president Katie Lapp:

  • Academic planning for a life-and health-sciences center—what Harvard units would use it, and how—to be built on the foundation for the initial Allston science complex (where work was halted in late 2009), is to be completed by next June. Presumably, new architectural and engineering plans for the re-envisioned complex would follow. But the University indicated that construction will rely on funds raised in the forthcoming capital campaign.
  • By next March, the University intends to issue requests for proposals to third-party developers who would create Harvard-affiliated rental housing and retail facilities at the intersection of Western Avenue and North Harvard Street, beyond Harvard Business School and the Stadium.
  • Following the science and residential initiatives, Harvard will identify partners for the “enterprise business campus” and hotel-conference center envisioned for the 36-acre Allston Landing North site, near the Charles River. Successful planning for these two phases of work should enable Harvard to engage the Boston Redevelopment Authority by late 2012—the first step in creating an institutional master plan that will guide work in the area in coming years.

This roadmap—in scale with the complexity of the development envisioned, and the necessary financing and partnerships involved—probably gives the Allston community a more realistic vision for what might unfold, even if the schedule is slower than neighbors might hope.