Sunday, January 08, 2012

Harvard University attacks affordable tenants, brags it is benefitting them

1. Harvard empire building - general environmental.
2. Harvard empire building - Allston.
3. Harvard empire building - attack on the needy.
4. Western Avenue / Brighton Mills Shopping Center today.

1. Harvard empire building - general environmental.

Possibly the biggest environmental problem on the Charles River is the empire building of Harvard University.

In the analysis of traffic in the BU Bridge area, I provided a map showing the interrelationship of Harvard’s expansion with the problem of the Charles River White Geese and other resident animals. See

Harvard University plans to move the Harvard Medical School to the current location of the Cambridge / Allston exit from I90, the Massachusetts Turnpike and to the adjacent rail yards, Beacon Yard.

Key to their move is moving the I90 exit to the Grand Junction rail bridge under the BU Bridge.

A whole bunch of bizarre and commonly destructive activities are planned or have been done which can very readily be explained as rearranging the north side of the Charles River to receive the relocated exit. The explanations commonly provided are downright bizarre and Harvard always moves secretly.

2. Harvard empire building - Allston.

Just as the environmental destructiveness of Cambridge is associated with other really rotten behavior, as found in legally binding decisions in Monteiro v. Cambridge, Harvard’s behavior has a very real dark side.

So, naturally, Harvard puts out things praising itself.

The relocated Harvard Medical School appears to be very much a long range plan spinning off Harvard’s creation of a new Harvard campus in Allston, which includes the Med School.

Harvard has long owned and occupied the Harvard Business School and Harvard Stadium. These are located between Western Avenue and the Charles River across the Charles River from the Harvard Houses, Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School, and Harvard Square, Cambridge. The Western Avenue Bridge across the Charles River is the second bridge west of the BU Bridge.

Harvard secretly bought a very significant part of Western Avenue in Allston, which is the extension of Western Avenue in Cambridge. Harvard also secretly bought a very significant part of Watertown on the extension of Western Avenue over the Charles River to the west, in Watertown.

Harvard’s plans include a significant hub at the intersection of Western Avenue and North Harvard Street in Allston. North Harvard Street by another name is one of the streets which come together in Harvard Square, Cambridge. On the Allston side of the Charles River, North Harvard Street adjoins Harvard Stadium (on the west) and Harvard Business School (on the east). On the Cambridge side, by a different name, it adjoins Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School (on the west) and the Harvard Houses (on the east).

The studios of WGBH TV, a hub of educational television for perhaps 50 years, were located on the river side of Western Avenue next to Harvard Business School and in a connected building on the south side of Western Avenue. Harvard now owns both buildings. The building on the south side is in the middle of a massive Harvard construction zone. The future Harvard Medical School will be a bit south / east of this construction.

The main WGBH building is separated by one building from a sprawling affordable housing complex built in the 70's. This complex, the Charlesview affordable housing complex, occupies almost all of the area near Harvard’s planned hub at North Harvard and Western.

Harvard has long owned the property on the northwest corner.

3. Harvard empire building - attack on the needy.

There was a very major problem from Harvard’s point of view in the Charlesview housing.

Rumors were that the owner did not want to sell.

One of Harvard’s secret purchases included the Western Avenue / Brighton Mills Shopping Center, a few blocks west of the key Western Avenue / North Harvard Street intersection on the south side of Western Avenue.

Harvard did not rent out stores in the main part of the shopping center as the tenants moved out. Harvard turned the Western Avenue / Brighton Mills Shopping Center into a ghost town by failing to replace departed tenants. Harvard created a situation where the main part of the shopping center, a block long strip shopping area building, was decrepit.

All Harvard did not destroy in the Western Avenue / Brighton Mills Shopping Center through its landbanking were (1) a free standing McDonald’s building facing on Western Avenue, (2) a large super market, Shaw’s / Star Market, set way back from Western Avenue at the far end of but not connected to the destroyed shopping building, and (3) a free standing building at Western Avenue and Everett Street containing a pet store.

This was the shopping center for the needs of the needy folk living in Charlesview. The only other shopping center within walking distance is Harvard Square. Harvard Square has, for many years, not been a viable place for general daily living needs, especially as far as people living in Charlesview would be looking for.

Golly gee.

The owner of Charlesview agreed to move to the Shopping Center.

4. Western Avenue / Brighton Mills Shopping Center today.

Construction zone. The area which used to hold all those emptied stores has been cleared preparatory for construction.

The McDonald’s is gone. The McDonald’s was a traditional facility, normal size and alignment.

There seems to be a replacement building going up, apparently a much larger McDonald’s. It looks like it will have its back to the moved Charlesview complex.

The super market (and I would invite correction) seems to have changed its name twice.

It was a Star Market. Star Markets were bought by Shaw’s. Shaw's has changed most of the Star Market stores to the Shaw’s name and greatly expanded their size. I am quite certain that this Star Market was expanded and I think its name was changed to Shaw’s. The “Star Market” name has continued on smaller stores in the Cambridge area and perhaps further.

Right now the name Star Market name is back. Could Harvard have forced a decrease in the size of the store to fit its plans?

Quoting from Harvard’s website:


The new Charlesview will be constructed on nearly 9 acres of Harvard-owned land in the Brighton Mills Shopping Center, just a few blocks up Western Avenue from the current Charlesview, which the University made available in a mutually beneficial land exchange for the current 4.5-acre site. It will be built in two phases. Phase 1 includes 260 units of affordable housing and home-ownership opportunities, as well as a half-acre park, 14,000 square feet of retail, and a community center. Phase 2 will include 80 home-ownership units.


The full Harvard article may be read at

It is not at all surprising that the report omits a lot.