Construction plans outlined in town-gown report


In its annual report to the City of Cambridge, MIT noted that "the $1.4 billion building program of the last several years is drawing to a close," but outlined some further demolition and construction plans, including a potential Music and Theater Arts Teaching Laboratory.

The eighth Town Gown Report summarizes data on MIT's population, taxable and tax-exempt land, parking facilities and monetary payments to Cambridge. The report was presented to the city on Feb. 1 at a meeting before the city's Planning Board.

The section on future plans of the Town Gown Report includes the following projects planned (some only tentatively) over the next five to seven years:

• The proposed Music and Theater Arts Teaching Laboratory, a teaching facility for musical and theatrical disciplines that would be used primarily for rehearsal and teaching. Plans call for a building of approximately 36,000 square feet on what is now a parking lot at the corner of Albany Street and Massachusetts Avenue. "The project will be considered for further design work pending progress on fundraising," the report says.
• Demolishing the Hayward Garage and temporarily replacing it with surface parking, pending a future decision on how to use the parcel.
• Relocating the occupants of Buildings E32, E33 and E34 elsewhere on campus and demolishing those buildings. The site will have an underground parking garage tied to an academic project yet to be determined.
• Consolidating the Department of Physics (now spread throughout 13 buildings on campus) in one area through a project involving space-swapping with other departments plus renovation and new construction. About a third of the program space will be provided by new construction of a building in the courtyard framed by Buildings 2, 4, 6 and 8, and demolition of Building 6A. Construction is expected to begin later in 2005.
• The ongoing Vassar Street redevelopment project, half of which is already complete.
• Additional student housing--Cambridgeport and West Campus locations are under consideration but there are no plans for any specific site.
• The last two projects associated with the Evolving Campus program, the Media Lab Extension (renamed the Media Arts and Sciences Project) and the East Campus Project involving the Sloan School and School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, both conceived of as fully private gift-funded projects, have been delayed while fundraising proceeds.

The complete report can be downloaded from the web site of MIT's Office of Government and Community Relations.

PILOT agreement

At a Feb. 8 meeting with the City Council's Committee on University Relations, City Manager Robert Healy told City Councillors and MIT's Executive Vice President John Curry that the new PILOT agreement signed by MIT and the city in December has helped the city with its bond rating by providing Cambridge long-term revenue protection and predictability.

Healy noted that Fitch Ratings, which assigns bond ratings to municipalities, highlighted the new agreement in its annual review of Cambridge's finances. Cambridge is one of 12 U.S. cities with three Triple A ratings from the nation's three major credit rating agencies.

The PILOT agreement was lauded in The Boston Globe and the Cambridge Chronicle, which praised it as "historic" in an editorial.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 2, 2005 (download PDF).


Topics: Administration, Cambridge, Boston and region

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