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Harvard University to Establish Land Company in Allston


Nitin Nohria, Dean of Harvard Business School, to Chair Governing Board; Thomas P. Glynn to Serve as Chief Executive Officer

ALLSTON – Harvard University today announced its intention to form a land company in Allston. The new LLC will be a subsidiary of the University, and will oversee the planning and development of the University’s Enterprise Research Campus (ERC) in Allston. Harvard Business School Dean Nitin Nohria will serve as Chair of the Governing Board; former Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn will manage day-to-day operations as Chief Executive Officer.

The ERC is part of 36 acres Harvard University owns south of Western Avenue in Allston that was previously occupied by transportation company CSXT. The University envisions the ERC as becoming a center for innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship, bringing together partners from across Greater Boston and beyond. Plans for the area include spaces for a range of research-oriented companies, social ventures, businesses, and startups. The ERC is strategically located on the University’s growing academic campus in Allston, adjacent to the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, slated to open in fall 2020, and the Harvard Business School (HBS) and Harvard innovation labs.

“Allston will be Greater Boston’s next epicenter of research, discovery, and innovation, and we want to speed progress toward that goal,” said Harvard President Larry Bacow. “The new land company will focus the University’s efforts to strengthen and expand partnerships throughout the region, especially among our peer institutions, local hospitals, and businesses and investors. Its work will have a long-lasting impact on the development of our campus—and the broader community—and spark and shape future enterprises that will change the world in ways that none of us can predict.”

The entity will be managed by a governing board chaired by Nohria. Nohria, who holds degrees in chemical engineering and management, has been a member of the HBS faculty for 30 years and dean of HBS since 2010.

“The Boston area has always been an extraordinary hub of innovation, and we are now presented with an opportunity to add to this amazing innovation ecosystem,” said Nohria. “I feel privileged to be part of the group thinking about the future of Harvard in Allston, and ensuring that we’re continuing to contribute to the economic and intellectual vitality of the region. This is a truly unique opportunity, and we’re committed to getting it right.”

Glynn assumes his position as CEO following decades of experience in both public and nonprofit sectors. He announced his departure as CEO of the Massachusetts Port Authority in August, and departed earlier this month. He also served as general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and as well as the Chief Operating Officer of Partners HealthCare. Glynn has experience in a diverse group of enterprises, including hospitals, universities, and government, all of which are integral to ensuring the success of the ERC. He will assume his new position on Monday, December 3.

“The possibilities of what can occur here will have deep and lasting impacts across every sector of this region — from scientific discoveries, to economic investment, to critical infrastructure improvements,” said Glynn. “As a former member of the Harvard Corporation’s Committee on Facilities and Capital Planning, I had the chance to follow the progress that’s happening in Allston. It is a great opportunity to work with great people, and I can’t wait to get started.”

Earlier this year, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) approved a planned development area (PDA) master plan for an initial 14 acres of the Enterprise Research Campus, which will include new infrastructure, streets, and open space supporting an approximately 900,000-square-foot, mixed-use development of office and lab space, residential units, and a hotel and conference center.

“The companies we hope to attract to the ERC might be places where our students find exciting internships and jobs. They may inspire students to create new companies. They may be research enterprises with which our scholars will forge productive collaborations,” continued Nohria. “We also want the ERC to be a vibrant neighborhood where cultural institutions thrive and people enjoy living and working.”

In addition to the ERC and Science and Engineering Complex, Harvard has recently completed 10 exciting projects that are all part of an unfolding plan to enliven the area with academic, residential, and commercial activity. Simultaneously, Harvard is deeply engaged with the Allston community through an array of educational and enrichment programs at the Harvard Ed Portal and a range of public realm, housing, and scholarship initiatives and opportunities.

The efforts of the new land company will serve to complement the transformation already underway across campus and throughout the neighborhood.