Harvard has acquired a lot of land in Allston over the last few years.
The University had a 50-year plan to expand across the Charles river into Allston, a small blue-collar town in Massachusets over the Charles river across from Harvard.
One of the new lots was going to be the building ground for a new science complex, a “hub of stem cell research and interdisciplinary science,” says the Harvard Crimson.
Then Harvard lost 30% of its endowment last year and abandoned the lots, including the Allston Science Complex. Harvard’s president Drew Faust announced today that the school would halt construction on the building indefinitely. Townspeople are not happy.
The Crimson has a list of a lot of the school’s efforts to improve the surrounding area, many of which the townies might see as condescending (like a public service program and plans to “green” the community) or just improvements that really benefit Harvard (by boosting its property values).
The Boston Herald found Harry Mattison, who said he’s not surprised by today’s announcement.
“We knew Harvard was abandoning the Allston-Brighton neighbourhood,” Mattison told the Boston Herald. “Now, they’re finally willing to say it to our face.”
Another Allston resident, the town’s mayor had called Harvard’s vacant lots “a blight to the neighbourhood,” back in February, when the university announced that it would slow construction.
Harvard had to know that an Ivy busting in and taking over a small blue-collar town would piss town folk off.