The Volpe Site: MIT’s Development Project Underway

Cambridge’s Kendall Square neighborhood will see new developments to its 14 acre John A. Volpe Transportation Systems site very soon. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has begun plans to construct 1,400 residential units and 1.7 million square feet of office.

280 of the 1,400 housing units will be reserved as permanent subsidized affordable units; however, retail spaces have also been proposed for the ground level locations.

The eight buildings would include four buildings dedicated to residential housing and four for commercial buildings. Showcasing a range of heights, these spaces could be anywhere from 135 feet to over 500 feet.

Thursday afternoon, MIT came forth with an early outline of their plans at a community meeting. Last month, MIT had announced agreement to acquire this specific site, confirming that they would also build a new federal GSA facility. This new GSA facility would stand in the northwest corner of the Volpe site, according to the managing director of MIT’s Investment Management Co. real estate, Steve Marsh. Bounded by Binney Street, Third Street, and Broadway, the Volpe site is located across the Boston Marriott Cambridge.

One of the many aims of the project centers around the ability to take advantage of a central location for the public. Resting in the heart of Kendall Square, this area presents great potential for the Volpe site to maximize public satisfaction.

David Manfredi, the architect who presented the site’s plans, emphasizes the importance of this space as a connector.

“The opportunity here is to make another one of those great connections,” he explains. “It’s much more than a walkway. It’s a place.”

Not only can the project provide opportunities to residents and workers planning on occupying the buildings, but it can also act as a way to build the community in the surrounding areas. Manfredi aims to supply a connection between the East Cambridge neighborhood and the Kendall Square Red Line station and the Charles River.

Estimating a project spanning four to five years, Kendall Square might not see this vision of community connection for a while; however, MIT prides itself in ensuring an improved future. They express immense investment into the project and will soon be hosting a follow up meeting to discuss next steps.

 

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