Also in today's Globe we hear from Harvard President Drew Faust...
"The university has a spotty record for leasing the retail and industrial spaces that it bought so eagerly, and stealthily, in the late 1990s. It might suit the university's long-term strategy to sit on empty or underutilized properties for 50 or 100 years. But it doesn't suit the city."
...and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino on Harvard's need to be a better neighbor
Faust said the university is committed to renting out or sprucing up its vacant lots and buildings. "We certainly recognize that sentiment," Faust said.
She acknowledged that Harvard's slowdown in development across the Charles River should be accompanied by new efforts to make university-owned properties more attractive and useful to the community.
"He plans to send Faust a letter today, specifying conditions that he said would protect and advance the interests of both the university and Allston.
"We want to insure . . . that the actions by Harvard in the community are universally understood to be responsible actions of an institutional partner committed to the community, and not a series of ill-considered, opportunistic pursuits precipitated by the weakened economy," the letter says.
Menino is asking Harvard for a timeline for completing community improvements in Allston and a report on the condition of its Allston properties, along with plans to keep them in use while development is delayed.
"There's lots of abandoned property over there," Menino said in a phone interview yesterday. "What is Harvard's commitment to the neighborhood?""