Firm Commitments?

Did anyone find "firm commitments" in Drew Faust's recent Allston letter? Apparently someone at the Globe did.

Huge all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant coming to Western Ave
"Maki Maki will offer seating for 180 people and will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner"

Formerly Allston-bound School Deepens Ties Elsewhere

From the Harvard School of Public Health 2003 Annual Report
The planned relocation of the Harvard School of Public Health to a new campus in Allston a decade from now presents us with incredible opportunities--and an urgent necessity--for thinking about the future of public health.
From yesterday's - As Harvard expands in Mission Hill, new questions on Allston plans
Harvard University employees are moving into a newly restored Mission Hill building – one of three century-old former church complex facilities previously slated for demolition.

The university has a 10-year lease at the site that will house nearly 200 administrative workers for the Harvard School of Public Health.

Former New Balance CEO now owns site of proposed Lowe's

The New Balance plans for "a sports complex, hotel, park, movie theater, office buildings, and community space, along with a commuter rail station and access to the turnpike" always sounded better to me than a low-density, low-job creating Lowe's that would have duplicated the products available at the Watertown Home Depot and many smaller nearby retailers.

The New Balance idea of creating new on- and off-ramps to the Mass Pike though seemed strange to me, and of course the devil is in the details. For example, the New Balance and WGBH buildings could have done much more to animate the Market St / North Beacon St area and for some reason they haven't spurred much new development to enrich the area around them.

But it will be great to see eventually see that Guest Street land transformed and hopefully it starts a trend that Harvard and other property owners in the area might follow.

Group led by New Balance chair buys, intends to develop 15-acre Brighton plot -

Faust, Berkeley, Whelan, and Mattison on Harvard/Allston

"However, some residents – albeit thankful for the school’s positive steps forward – say until Harvard resumes work on its bigger promises for developing that area – most notably a $1.4-billion science center complex stalled since late 2009 – the university will not have the complete trust and backing of the Allston community.

“There’s a great deal of anxiety in the community on this [science center] site, and until that gets resolved that anxiety won’t go away,” said Paul Berkeley, a member of the Harvard Allston Task Force, a city-appointed group created to provide civic feedback to the school as its Allston campus expands."

Another Allston editorial from the Crimson

"Harvard needs nothing short of a defining vision for this project and must retool its approach to developing Allston to actualize the vibrant community it initially vowed to create...

Additionally, Harvard should be consulting the residents themselves even more than they do already. We are no experts on the specific needs of the Allston community, but there are those who are—and, to a certain extent, they have been struggling to make their voices heard.... President Faust has reassured the community that Allston remains a priority. But words mean only so much, and at some point they need to be translated into measureable plans."

City approves Harvard Innovation Lab project in Allston

Don't know if Harvard or the BRA considered any of the community input about the project or the City's Environment Departments concerns about Harvard's transportation and parking plans.

City approves $20M Harvard Innovation Lab project in Allston -

Stone Hearth gets its Beer & Wine license

I wonder when they will start renovations on the building...

Allston Pizzeria Wins Beer and Wine License News The Harvard Crimson

Charlesview construction to start in April

Construction on Charlesview Complex Set to Begin News The Harvard Crimson

Globe op-ed urges Harvard action in Allston

Thanks to Paul McMorrow for reminding Globe readers that Harvard can and should move forward with its Allston construction.

If Menino can leap, so can Harvard

Harvard’s vaunted new $1 billion Allston science center was supposed to be the centerpiece of the university’s new, modern face. It was to be the anchor of a gleaming, interdisciplinary, forward-looking empire. But construction ground to a halt in December 2009, and there’s no telling when work might resume. The science center site was supposed to be the opening round in the revitalization of a corner of town that never recovered from BRA bulldozers. Instead, the fenced-in site radiates decay.

Cutting-edge research brings in money, but Harvard isn’t chasing a profit in Allston. All it’s trying to do is strengthen its institutional standing as much as possible, and maybe not be an awful neighbor along the way.

Allston residents question Harvard's priorities

Residents fear that with the University focusing on the renovation of undergraduate housing, Harvard’s holdings in Allston will not be developed any time in the near future.

“Allston’s always the first priority after other things,” local resident and Harvard-Allston Task Force member Bruce E. Houghton said.

Crimson Envisions Allston Capital Campaign

Nice to see that the editors of the Crimson think Havard should put more emphasis on raising money to re-start Harvard's Allston expansion.

Capitalizing on Community - Opinion - The Harvard Crimson

"Recent revelations that Harvard has quietly begun fundraising for a capital campaign have prompted speculation on the extent and direction such a program would take...

recently administrators and donors have said that the primary focus is raising money for the upcoming House Renewal project...

although the capital campaign should include internal improvements, it must prioritize above all else resuming development on the Allston campus and restoring the local community...

There is no reason that the capital campaign cannot have both internal and external ends, but the Allston community must take precedence."

Last Chance to Support an Anderson Bridge Bike/Ped Underpass

It's not often that we have a chance to help make an improvement in our neighborhood that our grandchildren will enjoy. But the reconstruction of the Charles River bridges is one of those special opportunities - these 75+ year old bridges are getting major repairs for the first time and it will probably be another 75 years before they are rebuilt again.

So wouldn't it be great to do better than just rebuild the existing bridges and promote public health and safety at the same time? The Anderson bridge, which connects North Harvard St in Allston with JFK Street in Cambridge, can be rebuilt with an underpass that will allow walkers, joggers, rollerbladers, and bicyclists to travel without interruption along the river instead. Sort of like the Eliott Bridge underpass but with better lighting, better drainage, and better design!

Please CLICK HERE if you'd like to support this effort by adding your name to the Charles River Conservancy letter below.

For information on writing your own letter, CLICK HERE.

"Less clarity" for Harvard's Allston Plans "Shrouded in Uncertainty"

Harvard is getting started with a multi-billion dollar fundraising campaign whose top priority is renovating undergraduate housing in Cambridge. Plans for Allston are much less clear:

"several members of the FAS administration say there is less clarity about the fate of Harvard’s properties in Allston.

According to one administrator with knowledge of discussions surrounding the capital campaign, Allston will play a significant role in the capital campaign as plans to establish the Allston properties as a center for science research remain on the table. Administrators have also entertained the idea of building one or more residential houses in Allston, but exact plans for the development’s future remain shrouded in uncertainty."