What is Harvard going to do at 224 Western Ave (the "Verizon" building)?

Back in April, Harvard proposed "to renovate the approximately 25,000 square foot former Verizon building at 224 Western Avenue in Barry’s Corner, adjacent to the Harvard Business School’s Teele Hall, to provide interim space for a variety of arts and culture initiatives. Harvard anticipates that the renovation will result in art studio/work spaces in addition to a number of flexible spaces that can serve as gallery, rehearsal, and small performance venues on an as-needed basis. The aim is to establish a near-term cultural presence in Barry’s Corner that will attract both Harvard affiliates and members of the local community, and to begin to build a constituency for more-permanent arts and culture facilities as part of Harvard’s future Allston development."

Since then we have not heard any details about this renovation while planning briskly progresses for the other two projects (science center and art museum).

Last night, Harvard's tranportation consultant minimized the traffic impact that 224 Western Ave would have, saying that it would be used for storage. When Harvard was asked to clarify this, they said, oh no it really will be actively used for art and cultural activities.

Harvard has a long history of proposing projects that do not get built (see page 6 of the April 2006 IMP Notification Form) and it would be too bad if this turns out to be another one.

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