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- Jun 12, 2019

Facade Panel Install Reaches Top Floors for MIT's 290-292 Main Street

Facade panels install is reaching the top floors of the new 28 story MIT building at 290-292 Main Street. The building, at the heart of Kendall Square, will feature around 450 units of graduate student housing on the upper floors along with office and retail space below. Underground parking for over 1450 cars will be available on-site. Construction is expected to be complete in late 2020.

292 Main Street June

- Feb 13, 2019

First Step on Volpe Parcel Planned for 2019

Since the Cambridge City Council approved MIT’s rezoning petition for the 14-acre U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Volpe site in October 2017, a team of architects and landscape planners has been working to imagine a new home for the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in Kendall Square.

As part of its January 2017 agreement with the federal government, MIT will build a new headquarters for the U.S. DOT Volpe Center on approximately four acres. The building site is located in the northwest corner of the parcel, next to Binney Street and Loughrey Walkway, which runs between Broadway and Binney Street. The new facility will consolidate operations that are currently carried out in six different buildings on the site.

The federal government, working through the General Services Administration (GSA), and MIT engaged architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill to design the new building, which is slated to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold level. The design includes robust sustainability and resiliency features, including solar panels on the roof that will supply at least 30 percent of the building’s hot water demand, and high-efficiency heating, ventilation, and cooling equipment. The team designed the building’s massing, glazing, and interior layouts to maximize daylight into the building, and designed fins on the exterior façades to minimize heating and cooling loads. In addition, the site will incorporate best practices in storm water management.

Although the project is not subject to local review, the design of the new 212-foot-tall center was subject to the federal government’s rigorous review process as part of the GSA Design Excellence Program. This process also considered design guidelines recommended by the City of Cambridge, included peer reviews, and ultimately was approved by the GSA’s regional chief architect and the chief architect of the U.S.

MIT Managing Director of Real Estate Steve Marsh says: “This is a very complex project that is being executed on behalf of the United States government. The collaboration with the federal government has gone very well, and we are pleased with the outcome of the building and landscape design processes. I believe that the new U.S. DOT Volpe Center will be a welcome and vibrant addition to the broader Kendall Square community.”

Inviting and engaging public spaces, including seating areas and walkways, will surround the federal headquarters. A primary goal of the public space is to bring the East Cambridge neighborhood and Kendall Square community together through a new north-south connection. The development of this currently inaccessible site, which comprises predominantly asphalt surface parking, will promote access to and from the residential neighborhood, the Charles River, the MBTA, and the many retail and restaurant offerings in Kendall Square.

In order to achieve this sense of openness and connectivity, the GSA and MIT engaged artist Maya Lin, known for her large-scale, site-specific outdoor earthworks, in coordination with landscape architecture firm Reed Hilderbrand, to create an engaging and inviting public landscape. Central to the open space will be Lin’s landscape-integrated art piece — a physical and visual representation of the Doppler effect, manifested in undulating grassy mounds that depict sound waves.

The incorporation of a Maya Lin art piece within the site is part of the Federal government’s Art in Architecture program which commissions artworks for new buildings nationwide.      

Since the outset of the project, the GSA has been focused on constructing a headquarters that is inviting and reflects the context of the site’s surroundings. GSA Regional Commissioner of the Public Buildings Service Glenn Rotondo says: “We are committed to creating a public realm that is well-integrated within the community.”

Once completed, the new U.S. DOT Volpe development will include primarily below-grade vehicular parking and ample bicycle parking. In addition, over 100 new diverse native-species trees will be installed using current best practices in planting, and an extensive landscaping program will be available for the public to enjoy. Even though the federal government is exempt from Cambridge’s local tree ordinance, the tree replacement plan is designed to materially exceed the current local requirements for large projects. To prepare the site for construction, 21 private trees will be removed that are within the building’s footprint or security perimeter. Twenty of those trees are Norway Maples, an invasive species that Massachusetts prohibits from being sold, planted, or propagated. In addition, two street trees will need to be relocated or replaced to accommodate a curb cut required by the project.

Enabling utility work on the Federal site is ongoing, and construction of the garage and building is expected to start later this year and take approximately three years. Once the new John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center is up and running, the Institute will be able to commence redevelopment of the remaining 10 acres of the original U.S. DOT Volpe parcel. MIT’s proposal for that portion of the site, which was presented to the community during the rezoning process, features housing (including 280 affordable units), commercial and lab space, retail, open space, a community center, and a job connector.

MIT is currently advancing other commitments that were codified as part of the Volpe rezoning agreement. The Institute has already provided $500,000 toward the design of the Grand Junction multiuse community path, which will be followed by an additional $8 million contribution for continuing design and construction. MIT staff are currently working closely with the city and other stakeholders to implement this critical infrastructure project. In addition, the Institute is in the process of identifying a site for a new 500-bed graduate student residence hall — a commitment made to the City of Cambridge through the Volpe zoning process.

The U.S. DOT Volpe building and landscape design is being shared with the Cambridge Planning Board tonight at the board’s annual Town Gown public meeting.

via MIT News Office (2/5/19)

- Feb 07, 2019

Facade Install Underway for 290-292 Main Street in Kendall Square

While concrete for the 19th and 20th floor of MIT's 290-292 Main Street is being put in place, facade install has started on the lower floors of the project. The facade features bronzed anodized aluminum panels at slight angles broken up by three-story window groupings. When complete the 28 story tower will include 450 graduate student housing units along with offices space for MIT admissions and a child care facility. Around 10,000 square feet of retail will also be included in the project.

Two existing buildings on the site are undergoing renovations and are being incorporated into the new tower. Construction is set to be complete in 2020.

290-292 main street kendall MIT 1

290-292 main street kendall MIT 2

- Sep 20, 2018

Addition of New Floors Begins at MIT's 290-292 Main Street

Concrete work for the new 6th and 7th floors is in progress at 290-292 Main Street in Kendall Square.  Interior and exterior renovations are also continuing on the lower floors of the existing buildings at the site. When complete the project will be 28 stories and feature 450 housing units for MIT along with 10,000 sf of retail, and parking for over 1,450 cars.

Construction is expected to be complete in 2020.

290 Main

290-292 Main Street
- Jul 06, 2018

Renovations Underway at 290-292 Main Street, Kendall Square

Renovations are underway at 290-292 Main Street in the heart of Kendall Square.  The two existing buildings at the site will be incorporated into the new 28 story tower being built by Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  The building will include around 450 graduate student housing units, a new office for MIT's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program and the school's Admissions Department.  A childcare facility will be located on the building’s second level and around 10,000 square-feet retail will also be on site. The project is expected to be completed by 2020.

Volpe Center Parcel Redevelopment
- Oct 29, 2017

500-foot tower now possible in Kendall Square with Cambridge approval of MIT Volpe Center site zoning petition

The City of Cambridge has approved the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s zoning petition for the 14-acre Volpe Center parcel in Kendall Square, enabling MIT to construct buildings up to 500 feet tall. Preliminary plans call for at least one 500-foot-tall residential tower at the Volpe Center, which would be the tallest building in Cambridge and among the tallest buildings in New England. The 500-foot tower would dwarf MIT’s 295-foot-tall Green Building, Cambridge’s current tallest building.

With Cambridge’s approval of the Volpe Center parcel's up-zoning, the next step in MIT’s development of the site is a Planned Unit Development (PUD) filing with the City, which will further define the buildings, uses and spaces of the future development. MIT’s preliminary plans call for approximately 1.7 million square feet of commercial development, including retail and active street uses, and approximately 1,400 housing units across 10 acres of the parcel. Four acres of the parcel will be used to construct a new home for the Volpe Center per MIT’s agreement with the United States General Services Administration (GSA), the parcel’s current owner. “It’s the mix of commercial, residential, open space, retail, innovation space, active street use, and community space that will allow the Volpe site to ultimately become what we imagine,” said Israel Ruiz, MIT’s executive vice president and treasurer, in a prepared statement. “We’ve spent a lot of time looking at vital innovation centers around the world and know that each of these ingredients must be in place in order to create a highly functioning, nimble, and synergistic community.”

The Volpe Center’s mix of uses will complement Kendall Square’s ever-growing innovation economy. “The Kendall Square innovation ecosystem has demonstrated a remarkable capacity to reinvent itself and evolve over time,” said MIT President L. Rafael Reif in a prepared statement. “In that long evolution, the federal government’s decision to keep the Volpe Transportation Systems Center here with a reinvigorated presence, together with MIT’s plans to redevelop the remaining parcel, point the way to a compelling future. In guiding the redevelopment, our goal is to make the region’s innovation ecosystem even stronger, creating a dynamic and welcoming place to live and work, which will attract the industries of tomorrow and fuel academic and commercial research collaborations — all of which will help Kendall Square thrive over time by sustaining its creative evolution.”

As part of the zoning approval, MIT has committed to construct 950 new graduate student housing units, which will allow the Institute to house more than 50 percent of its current graduate student population on campus. MIT broke ground this week on a new 450-unit graduate student housing building in Kendall Square, part of its’ overall Kendall Square Initiative development, and is currently formulating plans to construct a second 500-unit building in the coming years and construct 200 additional units within existing campus buildings; MIT intends to apply for permits for both projects no later than the end of 2020. Upon completion, MIT’s Volpe Center development will generate approximately $23 million in taxes annually for the City of Cambridge on a currently tax-exempt parcel.

290-292 Main Street
- Oct 29, 2017

MIT breaks ground on 28-story Kendall Square tower featuring 450 graduate student housing units

MIT broke ground last week on a new 28-story tower in Kendall Square, which upon completion will become Cambridge’s tallest tower, that will contain 450 graduate student housing units. At 28 stories and 319 feet tall, the tower will surpass MIT’s 295-foot-tall Green Building, Cambridge’s current tallest building. MIT received zoning approval last week to construct buildings up to 500 feet tall at the Volpe Center site in Kendall Square. 

The 28-story graduate student housing tower is the first building of MIT’s $1.2 billion, 1.7-million-square-foot Kendall Square Initiative development to start construction. Completion of the tower, located at 290-292 Main Street adjacent to the Kendall/MIT MBTA Red Line station, is expected in 2020. The building will also contain maker space, retail, an innovation and entrepreneurship hub and space for MIT’s Admissions Office.

The tower will provide MIT with crucial graduate student housing space, benefitting the university and its’ students as well as the Cambridge community at large. “Placing more graduate students in campus housing relieves pressure on the housing market in Cambridge. That’s good for everyone,” said Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons in a prepared statement.

As part of the approval of MIT’s zoning for the Volpe Center site, MIT has committed to construct 950 new graduate student housing units, including the tower, which will allow the Institute to house more than 50 percent of its current graduate student population on campus. MIT is currently formulating plans to construct a second building with at least 500 units in the coming years, and intends to apply for a discretionary or building permit no later than the end of 2020, MIT will also work to add or apply for a discretionary, alteration or building permit to convert existing campus buildings into 200 additional graduate student housing units before the end of 2020.

Volpe Center Parcel Redevelopment
- Jan 19, 2017

MIT agrees to develop Volpe Center Parcel in Kendall Square

MIT signed an exchange agreement with the United States General Services Administration (GSA) on Wednesday (January 18th, 2017) to own and develop the 14-acre Volpe Center parcel in the heart of Kendall Square. MIT will ultimately own a 10-acre section of the parcel. MIT will first develop a new building for the GSA on a 4-acre section of the parcel, which the GSA will own. The GSA selected MIT as the parcel’s developer in November 2016. “When this parcel became available, it felt obvious to us that we should pursue this unique opportunity to work with the City and our Cambridge neighbors to help shape the future of the Kendall Square neighborhood, so that it would serve both MIT and the broader community,” said MIT President L. Rafael Reif in an official statement Wednesday. “It is now clear that our future success depends on making sure that Kendall succeeds as a place – a place where people want to live, work and play, and a place that makes our city stronger, too.”

290-292 Main Street
- Nov 30, 2016

MIT reveals renderings of Kendall Square graduate student housing tower

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has revealed renderings of a proposed 28-story graduate student housing, office and retail tower that would be constructed in the heart of Kendall Square next to the Kendall/MIT MBTA Red Line rapid transit station. The tower is part of MIT’s Kendall Square Initiative, which will construct six new buildings in Kendall Square with a total of 888,000 square feet of office space, 115,000 square feet of retail, 450 graduate student housing units, 290 housing units and over 1.8 acres of open space.

300 Mass Ave
- Apr 30, 2015

The architectural style for 300 Massachusetts Ave will resemble modern-futurism. A wide array of horizontal and vertical lines will make the relatively short stature of the building cut into the skyline. Adding to the interesting design of the building is the stacked boxes look. The exterior of the establishment displays boxy shapes that overlap and contrast in a crowded yet tasteful way. These contrasting forms function to further heighten the building, making it appear taller while highlighting the tan brickwork that is characteristic of surrounding buildings.

Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research
- Apr 30, 2015

The primary function of Novartis is to market and develop products that will prevent and cure disease. With hopes to insure the survival of the human race, the site will positively affect the residents of Cambridge and millions beyond. Drawing in visitors, new retail space and restaurants will grace the bottom of the ground floors of the Novartis buildings. Trees and public space will revitalize the pedestrian and working experience at Novartis. For students and post-grads, the complex will offer close to thousands of biotech jobs and internships. The BLDUP team will be monitoring this construction, please leave your questions or comments below and check back for updates.

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