Volpe redo means 1,400 more living spaces as well as 60% of office, lab, retail, MIT says

Kendall Square could see another 1,400 dwelling units and 1.7 million square feet of office, research and development accompanied by ground-floor retail as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology redevelops the federal government’s John A. Volpe National Transportation Center facility.

MIT presented its intentions today in a noon meeting on its campus. It agreed to pay $750 million for the parcel last month, and estimated a “maximum total price” to design and deliver the new federal facility at $510 million.

Steve Marsh, of MIT’s investment management company, speaks Thursday. (Photo: John Hawkinson)

The replacement Department of Transportation building will be sited on the northwest corner of the Volpe parcel, bounded by Binney Street and the Sixth Street walkway. The new building and its surrounding green space buffer will occupy about four acres of the 14-acre parcel, and will take four to five years to construct, said Steve Marsh, in charge of real estate for MIT’s investment management company.

Presented by architect David Manfredi of Elkus Manfredi, the institute’s conceptual plan calls for eight additional buildings – four residential and four commercial – after the federal building is complete. The buildings will range between 135 and 500 feet tall, and there will be more than three acres of “publicly beneficial open space,” of which at least two will be contiguous: a broad green corridor through the site next to an extended Fifth Street. That is in addition to the green space on the federal parcel.

MIT anticipates 40 percent of the site will be devoted to housing; along with at least 1,400 dwelling units will come some 280 designated as affordable housing, following the city’s anticipated 20 percent inclusionary housing set-aside rate.

Marsh said it was early in the process, but the team working on the conceptual plan for the area included Elkus Manfredi Architects and local Cambridge-based Reed Hilderbrand landscape architects. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is the architect for the federal parcel, and Marsh said the firm would also work on the larger site. “We will certainly have their perspectives on how the hand and the glove fit together,” he said, naming SOM’s lead for the project as Mustafa Abadan out of its New York office.

Marsh said he anticipated more information being released in the next few months, if not more quickly.

City councillor Dennis Carlone praised the overview, saying “The tone was absolutely right. Given all the parameters, it’s a good start.”

But O. Robert Simha, former director of MIT’s Planning Office, sounded a note of caution about the team. Referring to Manfredi, “Just look at the stuff he’s done. Well, that’s what they do. And then you look at other people and you can see, there’s a difference. He’s one of a classic category of commercial architects.”

The institute was definitely the highest bidder for the parcel, said Joe Maguire of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, calling its $750 million offer “high enough that it really put it out of reach for someone that is looking for return on investment. MIT is doing this irrespective of rate of return.”

As a footnote, Marsh said that the institute would also be buying the Red Cross building at 139 Main St., next to the existing One Broadway parking garage, which will be the site of a new Main Street building. MIT intends to use it for office space, Marsh said.

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One Response to "Volpe redo means 1,400 more living spaces as well as 60% of office, lab, retail, MIT says"

  1. HRASHID   Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 9:19 pm

    MIT Assumes and Ascends itself up upon the Catbird Stool!

    Cambridge’s Massachusets Institute of Technology (MIT) Joins Cambridge’s Regional Departments of GSA, DOT, HUD,HHS, and ICH,etc. are Hiding the Truth from the Local Homeless Sector and Mosaic! Equity is Just,Fair Inclusion in Society which All Participate, Prosper, and Reach Full Potential,not Exclusion of the Homeless!

    Today (2/16/17) the Massachusetts Institute of Technology held two identical community meetings to discuss the redevelopment of the Volpe site. The first at 12 noon at MIT, and the second at 5:30 PM at the Boston Marriott Cambridge Hotel in Kendal Square. I would like it to be known today, that from day one I went on official municipal record, condemning the proposed deal to rid the Volpe Center of 14 acres of property, both land and facilities, as legally unfair and unethical as it pertained to the local homelessness sector and mosaic. The land and facilities in question has been laying dormant for sometime now. Responsibilities under Title V were initially violated by four regional federal entities, by not informing the local homelessness sector and mosaic, that suitable federally owned real property, categorized as underutilized, un-utilized, excess, or surplus was available, at no cost to the homelessness sector and mosaic.

    The four regional federal entities in neglect of their responsibilities in this matter are the regional general Service Administration (GSA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Inter-Agency Council on Homelessness (ICH). At the cost of circumventing federal homeless mandated rights’, under Title V and a Quasi mixture of other Civil , Human and Fair Housing Rights, etc., the then city municipal administration and policy makers, went along and ahead with this nebulous exchange deal with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to finance a new building for the Regional Federal Transportation Center, approving the up zoning for it.

    The Homeless Sector and Mosaic was completely eliminated through these up-zoning land use policies changes, and the need to address homelessness and poverty housing, according to Title V Mandates, etc, that is the need to address homelessness and poverty on vacant government owned land and facilities. The mentioned regional federal entities, totally circumvented any mentioning or participation of a homelessness sector and mosaic, in any of the steps it or they took to closed this deal with MIT, now resulting in direct legal violations of Title V, and other federal civil rights mandates, that pertain to creating homes for homeless peoples with unused government property. The regional federal entities involved failed to fairly and accurately, report their Title V eligible property, as required under both the statutes and Orders.

    Title V of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act makes vacant federal properties available at no cost to use as facilities to assist homeless people. The regional federal entities did nothing to make their vacant properties available to the homeless, but instead criminally sold the land and facilities to MIT in a nebulous real estate deal. The homelessness sector and mosaic have a right of first refusal to acquire surplus property, that was questionably circumvented, ignored or denied, at no cost before the property can be offered to state or local government, or be sold to generate revenue for the federal government.

    When the federal government no longer has use for a property, the property is usually declared to be surplus. the “Volpe Center administration” circumvented and removed, the local homeless sector and mosaic, from the planning equation for the Volpe Center, in violation of federal mandates. What has actually been accomplish by these said regional federal entities are blatant acts of disparate impact, discrimination, and oppression of the local homelessness sector and mosaic.

    The revised Volpe Up-Zoning was and is not not part and parcel, of any instrumentation, for the collective advancement of Cambridge’s homelessness sector and mosaic, as a matter of fact the Volpe Center and relating regional federal entities are in direct violation of federal Title V of the Mckinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11411-11412). In violation because surplus federal properties are mandated to help end and eradicated homelessness. The Volpe Center Cartel is in Violation of federal homelessness laws and rights, and in betrayal and violation, of the public trust, etc., by exclusion of the homeless sector and mosaic in the midst, of and right before the eyes of the public at large.

    Once again I repeat the homeless mosaic and sector have a right of first refusal to acquire surplus property, at no cost before the property can be offered to state or local government, or be sold to generate revenue for the federal government. When the federal government no longer has use for a property, the property is usually declared to be surplus. the “Volpe Center’s Administration” participated in the circumvention and removal of the local homeless sector and mosaic, from the planning equations for the Volpe Center, in violation of federal mandates. The “Mckinney-Vento Act,” was intended to expand and coordinate, federal resources and programs, to address the critically urgent needs’ of Homeless Americans. the “Title V” surplus federal property program is central to this overarching mission. Title V is a proven vehicle for assisting America’s homeless with no cost to taxpayers.

    The regional federal entities directly involved are out of concord with the mission statement of their home offices or departments, and have been led to participate in a local disregard for federal “Title V” and other civil rights, etc. mandates, instead of notifying the public that there was vacant land and facilities, available for addressing homelessness needs, they circumvented this to publicized that a new federal building was in need, and have succeeded in currently acquiring MIT to foot the bill.

    Finally, MIT may now be involve in this blind and blatant disregard of the civil and human rights, of our most vulnerable members of the community, the homeless sector and mosaic, because it receives federal funding, and other sources of federal aid and assistant, administered to its daily operations as an institution of higher education and learning, etc., therefore MIT may also find itself guilty of being in non compliance to and with government mandates, stemming from participating in the exclusion and disregards of the homelessness sector and mosaic federal, etc., mandated rights as American residents and citizens. Equity is just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential, not Exclusion of the Homeless (https://www.cctvcambridge.org/node/458561).

    Thank you.
    Yours In Peace,
    Mr. Hasson J. Rashid
    Cambridge, MA 02139

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