Barry’s Corner Breaks Ground
Officials from Harvard and the City of Boston as well as a few Allston residents braved the bitter cold to gather today at the Harvard-Allston Education Portal for a ceremonial groundbreaking for the Barry’s Corner Residential and Retail Commons project, a mixed-use complex to be built on a 2.67-acre parcel of land located at the intersection of North Harvard Street and Western Avenue in Boston’s North Allston neighborhood. The project will include the construction of two buildings with residential space on their upper floors, residential, amenity, and retail uses on the ground floors, and basement parking.
The ceremony also served as a farewell to Boston mayor Thomas Menino, LL.D. ’13, who has a longstanding relationship with the University and will be leaving office in 24 days. Menino spoke on the importance of unity, and praised Harvard as well as members of the Harvard-Allston task force for working together through many long and sometimes tense meetings in order to create a shared vision for Barry’s Corner.
“This is the first mixed-use building on Harvard property,” Menino said. “It’s a $150-million project and it will help the community grow. This is a first-class team and a first-class community—that’s how it gets done, folks. Let’s continue to work together.”
After the audience viewed a short video created by Harvard depicting the new Barry’s Corner as well as an overall vision of the University’s Allston campus in the next 20 years (see Economic Realities in Allston), President Drew Faust took the podium and spoke of her excitement over the future of the Allston campus. “This is a great day, and I hope you enjoyed that little glimpse of what awaits us all in the future of Allston and the very important role that Barry’s Corner will play in that future,” she said. “That future is possible because of the strong partnership that exists between Harvard and the City of Boston and that partnership has no greater champion than Mayor Menino.”
She then recalled her many fond memories of working closely with Menino, including a special moment during last year’s Commencement when he was awarded an honorary degree and received a standing ovation “like none other.” “As I walked through the campus with Oprah on one side of me and Mayor Menino on the other, people were rushing up to Mayor Menino,” Faust said. “He was the one whose hands they wanted to shake.”
Leslie Cohen, executive vice president of development for Harvard’s main contractor Samuels & Associates, then discussed a few details of the project—slated to begin construction on Monday. The 3,600 square feet of new public open space as well the 45,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, she said, will make Barry’s Corner a lively destination and a “new hub for Allston retail, residence, and recreation” that will include cafés, outdoor movies, music, and other social activities.
“This project will be a unique space that reflects all that is great about this community,” Cohen said. “As we move forward to find our retail tenants we will make sure that those tenants fit the needs and the wants of the Allston community.”