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MIT takes next step in advancing Kendall Square Initiative

Institute files application for Cambridge Planning Board review.
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Main Street in Kendall Square
Caption:
Main Street in Kendall Square
Credits:
Photo: Patrick Gillooly

Following recent community meetings to provide the campus and broader Cambridge communities with an update on MIT’s Kendall Square Initiative, the Institute has triggered the next phase of the review process by filing its Project Review and Planned Unit Development special permit applications with the Cambridge Planning Board.

The special permit process will examine all aspects of the proposal — including design, infrastructure, transportation, parking, and the public realm experience. The Institute’s proposal to create a vibrant mixed-use development features six new buildings on MIT-owned parking lots in the East Campus/Kendall Square area, including three for research and development, two for housing, and one for retail and office space. The Cambridge City Council approved MIT’s rezoning petition in April 2013, which defined the parameters of the proposed development.

“Today’s filing represents a key step forward in getting to an exciting future for Kendall Square,” Executive Vice President and Treasurer Israel Ruiz says. “It will likely take six to 10 years to complete this vision, but I am really thrilled about how Kendall Square and MIT’s East Campus will be positively transformed in the coming decade.”   

The Initiative will produce 500 net new housing units for graduate students and for market use, more than 100,000 square feet of new and repositioned ground-floor retail, and nearly 3 acres of new and repurposed connected open spaces — in addition to providing research and development space. The anticipated investment in the development of these projects will be at least $1.2 billion.

“We’ve come a long way, and I’m pleased with this thoughtful and robust proposal,” Provost Martin Schmidt says. “The critical involvement of the leadership of the School of Architecture and Planning helped us to crystalize our vision for East Campus. I want to express the Institute’s appreciation to Dean Hashim Sarkis and J. Meejin Yoon, head of the Department of Architecture, along with many of their colleagues and Associate Provost Karen Gleason, for guiding us to the current proposal. It has been an impressive team effort with a sound result.”

“As a bold new gateway to MIT, Kendall Square opens a new frontier for us to reimagine the relationship between town and gown,” Sarkis says. “Public spaces open into the campus and allow students, professors, residents, and visitors to mix. I am very excited for that future to be set in motion and believe we have all the right ingredients in place for it to unfold.”

The MIT Investment Management Company (MITIMCo) is leading the public review effort on behalf of the Institute, under the direction of the provost and the executive vice president and treasurer. “The first Cambridge Planning Board hearing to review MIT’s proposal will likely take place in September,” MITIMCo Managing Director Steve Marsh says, noting that the process has been under way for six years. “The full review process will take several months.”

More information about the project can be found on the Kendall Square Initiative website. Questions, comments, and ideas can be sent to kendallsquare@mit.edu.

Press Mentions

Cambridge Chronicle

Erin Baldassari writes for The Cambridge Chronicle about MIT’s plans for six new buildings in Kendall Square. “As a bold new gateway to MIT, Kendall Square opens a new frontier for us to reimagine the relationship between town and gown,” said Hashim Sarkis, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning.

WBUR

WBUR reports on MIT’s plan to create six new buildings in Kendall Square. Three of the buildings would be used for “research and development, two for housing and one for retail and office space.”

BostInno

Sam Henken writes for BostInno about MIT’s Kendall Square Initiative. "This project is really important to the academic mission of MIT," said Provost Marty Schmidt. "MIT as an institution really focuses on how we can take the ideas on this campus and move them out so they have impact."

Boston Globe

Tim Logan of The Boston Globe writes about MIT’s plans “to turn a string of Kendall Square parking lots into six new buildings for lab space, offices and apartments,” describing it as “the latest bid to turn the bustling innovation district into a 24/7 neighborhood and meet soaring demand from both companies and residents to be there.”

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