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One Broadway FAQ

Please note: To access communications after Jan. 11, 2007, as well as full archives, please refer to the MITIMCO web site for One Broadway.

Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding the fire, environmental health and safety, and re-occupancy of One Broadway in Cambridge. The FAQ accompanied a memo sent Jan. 11, 2007, from the real estate office of the MIT Investment Management Company to tenants and employees in One Broadway.

1. Why did the transformer explode?
We do not know. NStar owns and maintains the transformers, and is conducting an investigation. So far we have not been told why it exploded. We also do not know what the NStar workers were doing in the vault. Questions regarding the transformer should be referred to NStar.

2. Why was smoke in the stairways after the incident?
The fresh air supply duct from outside the building serves both the stairways and the vault. When the fire occurred, the stair fans sucked air from the vault into the stairways through the shared intake. While this design met code requirements when it was installed by the previous owner in 1990 and meets current code for existing buildings, MIT has taken steps to ensure this problem cannot happen again.

3. What is MIT planning to do to prevent this from happening again?
We have sealed off the transformer vault so that it will no longer be served by the shared fresh air supply duct, and we have installed a new duct to serve the stairways exclusively.

As we implement a plan for permanent power, we will explore other ways to enhance the safety of the building.

4. What is the environmental status of One Broadway?
EH&E has conducted extensive testing since Dec. 8 to assess the environmental conditions at One Broadway. We distributed a final, comprehensive EH&E report on environmental conditions to tenants on Friday, Jan. 5 and it is available at /newsoffice/2007/EHE-DataSummaryReport.pdf.

In this report, EH&E concluded that the building is safe for re-occupancy based on its sample results and inspections.

5. Did EH&E conduct environmental testing in tenant spaces?
EH&E inspected tenant spaces and determined that they were not affected by the fire. Nevertheless, EH&E conducted sampling in some of the tenant spaces and concluded that they are safe to re-occupy.

6. When will see EH&E's final report on health risks?
EH&E was also asked to conduct a comprehensive exposure and health risk assessment based on the results of testing after the fire. This report, a health risk characterization to address questions asked by tenants about potential exposure during the fire to soot and smoke, will be released very shortly.

EH&E's preliminary conclusion is that the health risk associated with this event is minimal. A copy of this report will be posted on the internet when available.

7. What is the long-term plan for permanent power?
We are working with professional engineers to develop a plan for permanent power and we will provide information concerning the plan when it becomes available. The three NStar transformers in the building will need to be replaced and the switchgear, also damaged by the explosion and fire, will also need to be repaired or replaced.

As we work to implement the plan for permanent power, there may be further generator shutdowns. In an attempt to minimize business disruptions, we will make every attempt possible to schedule these on weekends. The next shutdown is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 20, 2007.

8. Will MIT be making upgrades to the HVAC systems?
We will be making upgrades to certain HVAC systems. Upgrades are not necessary or required by code, but we are exploring new fans and ductwork to further improve the operation of the stairwell ventilation system.

9. Is the building safe to re-occupy?
The building is equipped with the safety systems required by code and all of the appropriate approvals from city agencies have been received to allow re-occupancy. MIT will make additional improvements to these systems to improve safety.

MIT has conducted a code review of the building and completed a comprehensive test of the life safety systems in the building to make sure everything is working properly.

10. Will our rent be abated for the period the building was closed?
The rent abatement period for direct office tenants and Zigo will extend from Friday, Dec. 8, 2006 to Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2007. Rent will commence on Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2007.

The rent abatement for the remaining retail tenants will extend from Friday, Dec. 8 to Thursday, Jan. 4, 2007. Rent will commence Friday, Jan. 5.

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