The Boston Planning and Development Agency board officially approved plans for a development on Harvard-owned land at 176 Lincoln St. on Feb. 16 — a key step in the city’s review process prior to breaking ground.
Berkeley Investments — the developer who won the bid to lease the land at 176 Lincoln St. from Harvard — plans to “reimagine” the 5.2-acre site along the I-90 Massachusetts Turnpike into an “innovation village,” per its website. Berkeley Investments aims to create affordable art and work units, residential apartments, 2,000 new permanent jobs, research labs, and offices, its website adds.
Allston-Brighton residents are expected to have access to publicly open spaces, estimated to encompass 38 percent of the project site, according to the project website.
“With our 176 Lincoln project, we are investing in and contributing to Allston-Brighton’s momentum toward becoming one of the top economic, cultural, and residential centers in Boston and the entire Northeast,” Berkeley Investments wrote in a Feb. 16 press release announcing the project’s approval.
Members of the project’s impact advisory group and others involved in the development convened at a public meeting last month to comment on the project prior to the BPDA’s approval.
Chandler Rosenberger, a member of the project’s impact advisory group, lauded the developers’ “responsiveness” to the “neighborhood concerns.”
Rosenberger added that after residents expressed concerns over parking and potential traffic noise, Berkeley revised its proposal and returned it to the impact advisory group with further updates.
“It addressed all of our concerns,” Rosenberger said of the revised project plans.
In a letter to BPDA Senior Project Manager Sarah Black on the day of the project’s approval, Boston city councilor Elizabeth A. Breadon, said she supports the 176 Lincoln St. project, citing proposed affordability, open space, compliance with zoning regulations, and the construction of two new streets adjacent to the project site.
Breadon also praised the lease agreement between Berkeley Investments and non-profit workshop Artisan’s Asylum. Berkeley Investments “committed approximately 8,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space” to the non-profit, Braedon wrote.
“Provided that all agreed-upon mitigation measures and benefits are documented in the project’s Cooperation Agreement, I support this project,” Breadon wrote.
Some residents of the Allston area expressed concerns regarding the proposed development.
Allston resident Cindy Marchando said while she supports the project, she believes many of the benefits Berkeley Investments has offered are merely mitigation efforts.
“If you dissect a lot of what they consider community benefits, you would actually see it’s more of a mitigation,” she said.
Marchando also raised concerns around Harvard’s relationship with the project, alleging the University is “hiding behind the developer” to advance its interests without having to associate itself with the development.
“Harvard had the same behavior of hands off — we’re just leasing the land and the developer is responsible for everything else,” she said. “That for us is Harvard hiding behind the developer and not paying their shared dues on this project.”
Harvard spokesperson Amy Kamosa did not comment on Marchando’s allegations.
Morgan Pierson, a senior vice president at Berkeley Investments, said in an interview that Harvard only leased the land at 176 Lincoln St. and is not involved in the project’s planning.
“Harvard is the landlord in the sense that they own the ground,” he added. “The design is 100 percent from Berkeley Investments and we’re very proud of that effort.”
Pierson also said Berkeley Investments aims to address as many residents’ concerns and requests as possible.
“What our goals are for these is to try and meet as many of the requests and desires of the community members that we can while also delivering a feasible project,” Pierson said.
—Staff writer Kate Delval Gonzalez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.