Harvard University first expanded into the Boston neighborhood of Allston over 100 years ago with the construction of Harvard Stadium in 1903 and the Harvard Business School Campus in 1927.
Beginning in the late 1980s, Harvard began to expand its landholdings in Lower Allston and North Brighton beyond the traditional boundaries of its institutional campus. Utilizing such proxies as the Beal Companies, this property was purchased without knowledge of the City or the Allston and Brighton community. This expansion sowed distrust among many Allston-Brighton residents concerned with the University’s motives and tactics regarding development in their community.
As of 2022, Harvard University and its subsidiaries, including the Harvard Allston Land Company, own approximately 360 acres of land in Allston and Brighton. These landholdings represent ⅓ of Allston and 50% of land located within the boundaries of the Boston Planning and Development Agency’s ongoing Western Avenue Corridor Study and Rezoning effort. Harvard now owns more land in Allston than in Cambridge.
In total, Harvard has amassed approximately 170 acres of land in Lower Allston and North Brighton that is available for commercial development. Harvard has expressed its intent to develop the majority of this land utilizing ground lease agreements. To date, Harvard has continually sought to separate itself from its proposed ground lease projects, placing total responsibility for required community outreach, mitigation, and benefits for projects constructed on its land on its development partners.
Images used on this page with permission from the Brighton-Allston Historical Society.
Harvard-owned Land in Allston-Brighton