Moran bill seeks info from Harvard

Kudos for A/B Rep. Moran for seeking more transparency from our neighbor and other large institutions that enjoy the privilege of being tax-exempt.

Boston Biotech goes to Fan Pier

I used to think that the Harvard/Allston/Genzyme area was going to be a big part of Boston's future as a bio-tech leader. Maybe the State and City tried to bring Vertex Pharmaceuticals to Harvard's vacant foundation, but instead the South Boston waterfront is becoming the place for Boston biotech to go.

City draws Cambridge drug firm to Fan Pier - The Boston Globe
“This is a jump-start for the entire waterfront,’’ said Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who has been trying to remake the area into an “Innovation District’’ by offering incentives to companies to locate there. “Vertex has made the decision to be on the forefront of the Innovation District, and that decision will lead other companies to follow suit...

Vertex would occupy about 1.1 million square feet, filling a pair of 18-story buildings at Fan Pier, with an option to expand into a third to be built there. Vertex’s portion of the $2 billion Fan Pier complex is estimated at $800 million, according to state officials....

Boston will provide Vertex with an $11.8 million reduction in property taxes through 2018. The state, meanwhile, will provide $10 million in tax breaks in exchange for Vertex creating 500 additional full-time jobs by 2015. Massachusetts will also borrow $50 million for roads, water and sewer, and other necessary infrastructure, to be repaid with tax revenues generated from Vertex’s buildings."

Last night's Task Force meeting & Harvard's lack of community metrics

The presentation that Harvard gave last night about "Community Connections" to the Innovation Lab was like a person saying "I'd like to start jogging to get in better shape". Harvard's presentation sounded good, but they offered no goals, no commitments, no measurements, nothing quantifiable, nothing measurable as it relates to the Allston community.

If you want to get in better shape, you can do a lot better than just saying "I will start jogging".
You could actually make a real plan with goals and a program to measure your progress.
You could say "I will jog 3 days a week for a total of 2 hours"
You could set goals like "I will jog a mile in 8 minutes by April 1" and "I will complete a 5k in 20 minutes by May 1"

The folks at Harvard Business School certainly know about planning, metrics, and measurement. For example, HBS offers a $3,400 course called "Performance Measurement for Effective Management of Nonprofit Organizations" that teaches "how to use organizational performance measurement to enhance the organization's ability to deliver on its mission".

Harvard has a good start on mission statement for the community's place at the Innovation Lab. A meaningful next step would be for Harvard to show that is it "committed to implementing effective performance measurement and management systems" that it recommends for other organizations.
I-Lab Spurs Excitement and Distrust in Allston | The Harvard Crimson

66 Bus meeting tomorrow

The MBTA will be introducing the Key Bus Route Improvement Program at 3 meetings this January. The Allston meeting is:

Wednesday, January 19
6:00 - 7:30 PM
Honan-Allston Library

Harvard renovating in Cambridge, less $ for Allston construction

In light of Harvard's decision to cut in half its capital spending, the fact that Harvard is moving forward with undergraduate housing renovations in Cambridge will make less Harvard money available for development in Allston.

Might money for Allston development on Harvard property come from some other source?

Upcoming zoning hearings

8 Glenville Ave & 909 Beacon Street -

Know anything about this Allston hit & run?

Hit-and-run victim’s parents seek public’s help in finding suspect - The Boston Globe
"Boston police are looking for a silver Jeep Grand Cherokee with front-end and possible headlight damage that struck 6-year-old Melissa around 8:20 p.m. Saturday.

She was walking with her parents at Cambridge Street and Harvard Avenue."

All I want is a room some where...

Far away from the cold night air,
With one enormous chair.
Oh, wouldn't it be loverly?

- Eliza Doolittle, My Fair Lady

We learned at this morning's Harvard Allston Coffee Hour more about what Harvard plans to offer, and not offer, in terms of community connections at its proposed 125 Western Ave Entrepreneurship Center.

Harvard's plan is to provide meeting rooms and parking spaces to government agencies like the Small Business Administration to offer their services on Western Ave. Harvard does not intend to have its professors, staff, or students directly involved with Allston businesses. If, in the future, the SBA were to reduce its programs at 125 Western Ave Harvard made clear that it has no intention of filling that gap.

This is much less than what business schools like Syracuse are doing, where the school is directly involved in efforts to strengthen small businesses in the community where the school is located.

Upcoming Zoning Hearings

165 Chiswick Road
50 Chestnut Hill Avenue
28 Quint Avenue
1 Egan Way
48 Trapelo Street

Pagliuca still sees Allston as home for "Next Big Thing"

During his 2009 Senate campaign, I was impressed by Steve Pagliuca's interest in a productive use for Harvard's dormant Science Complex site on Western Ave. While campaign proposals often fade from view after the election, it is great that Pagliuca (who happens to have an MBA from Harvard Business School) has an op-ed in today's Globe and it still promoting the subject.

The next big thing - The Boston Globe
"A key piece of this plan should be to help Harvard accelerate the development of a life sciences cluster in Allston. In 2005, Larry Summers, then president of Harvard, envisioned that this life sciences cluster would be “what Florence was to an earlier era through what it was able to do in the arts, a center of a central intellectual activity of mankind.’’ We need to make that vision a reality."
Also, the Harvard Crimson placed Allston at #9 in its list of top 10 news stories of 2010.