GentriWatch: BRA Board OK’s Harvard’s Sprawling Allston Complex

Plus, a Roche Bros. for Brighton Center.

Welcome to GentriWatch, where we look for signs of gentrification happening around the city.



Briefly stalled by the Great Recession, Harvard will get back to work on Western Avenue.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority’s board of directors approved the school’s ambitious plans for a $1 billion Science and Engineering Complex. Construction on the site, originally intended as the future home of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, began in 2007 and was suspended two years later due to the economic downturn.

Harvard submitted plans to the BRA in November to pick up where it left off. Designed by German firm Behnisch Architekten, the 556,850-square-foot project would include classrooms, laboratories, and other facilities for Harvard’s John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).

Dubbed “Boston’s latest hot neighborhood” by the Globe, the area surrounding Western Avenue known as Barry’s Corner was once a battleground between opponents of urban renewal and the BRA in the early 60’s. It has since become a prime target for eager developers.

The BRA board also gave Harvard the green light for its $183.5 million renovation of the Soldiers Field Park Housing Complex, which currently houses more than 700 students.

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Brighton Center Parsons Crossing

Rendering via Boston Redevelopment Authority

At the same meeting, the BRA board approved the “Parsons Crossing” project, which would bring a Roche Bros. to Brighton Center.

The $14 million project, by Kandu Development, LLC, includes a 54-unit apartment complex on two parcels at 245 Washington Street. In addition to 14,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space for the supermarket and a bank, Kandu will renovate the existing two-story home on Parsons Street.

Of Parsons Crossing’s 54 units, seven would be made available as required by the city’s Inclusionary Development Policy. Kandu has committed $10,000 to help fund local parks and a future Hubway station in Brighton Center, as well as an additional $10,000 toward local youth sports.

Notice something changing in your neighborhood? Let me know:, @KyleClauss.