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Construction report: 10 projects that will change the innovation landscape in Boston and Cambridge

Posted by Scott Kirsner  July 25, 2012 08:23 AM

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If you drive around Boston and Cambridge, you can't help but notice that the construction cranes are clustered in three neighborhoods these days: Kendall Square, the Innovation District, and Longwood Medical Center.

What exactly will be in all those new buildings? Here's my report on ten projects, all currently underway, that will upgrade our city's innovation infrastructure. You'll notice that most of it is being driven by life sciences companies like Biogen and Novartis, and also healthcare delivery institutions like Boston Childrens Hospital.

Add it all up, and the cost of these ten projects is just north of $3.2 billion bucks. Wow.

Kendall Square

1. Alexandria Center at Kendall Square - 225 Binney Street
Seven buildings spread across 11 acres. Will include Biogen Idec's new headquarters, shops, 220 apartments, restaurants, and a new park. (Biogen also has another building under construction at 17 Cambridge Center which will include about 180,000 square feet of lab and office space.)
Size: 1.73 million square feet
Completion: First building finished by 2013
Cost: $500 million


2. Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research - 181 & 211 Massachusetts Avenue
Lab, office, and retail space on a campus designed by architect Maya Lin, right across Mass Ave from Novartis' existing Cambridge R&D facility, build around the old Necco factory.
Size: 550,000 square feet
Completion: 2015
Cost: $600 million


3. Broad Institute - 75 Ames Street
Expansion of the genomic research center, which brings together researchers from Harvard, MIT, and their affiliated hospitals. This new building will connect to the Broad's main building at 7 Cambridge Center.
Size: 250,000 square feet on 12 floors
Completion: 2014
Cost: $343 million


4. Pfizer Cambridge R&D - 610 Main Street
Research teams focused on cardiovascular, metabolic, and endocrine diseases, as well as neuroscience.
Size: 230,000 square feet
Completion: late 2013
Cost: $300 million


5. Skanska USA - 150 Second Street
Lab and office space on three floors; no tenants announced yet.
Size: 120,000 square feet
Cost: $70 million


Seaport/Innovation District

6. Vertex Pharmaceuticals - One Marina Park Drive / Fan Pier
Headquarters, research, sales and marketing for the publicly-traded drug company, which is moving from Kendall Square.
Size: 1.1 million square feet in two buildings
Completion: late 2013
Cost: $800 million


7. Boston Innovation Center
12,000 square feet of meeting and event space, plus a restaurant. Will be managed by Tim Rowe of the Cambridge Innovation Center. The BIC is the first part of a larger development called Seaport Square, and it is located just across Northern Avenue from Vertex.
Completion: Early 2013
Cost: $5.5 million


Longwood Medical Center

8. Longwood Center
Will house part of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, among other tenants.
Size: 414,000 square feet on 11 floors
Completion: Fall 2014
Cost: $350 million
(Construction began in the fall of 2008, stopped because of the economic downturn, and resumed in June 2012.)


9. Boston Children's Hospital Expansion - 57 Binney Street
The addition, known as "Skinny Binney," will give Children's about 60 new beds and an expanded radiology department.
Size: 125,000 square feet on 10 floors.
Completion: 2013
Cost: $200 million


10. Mass Eye and Ear - 800 Huntington Avenue
Outpost of the downtown Boston hospital will house outpatient clinics, a surgical center, office space, a small café and an optical shop.
Size: 90,000 square feet
Completion: Fall 2012
Cost: $75 million


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Innovation and technology news that matters, on a new website from the Boston Globe, featuring Scott Kirsner and other original reporting.

About Scott Kirsner

Scott Kirsner was part of the team that launched in 1995, and has been writing a column for the Globe since 2000. His work has also appeared in Wired, Fast Company, The New York Times, BusinessWeek, Newsweek, and Variety. Scott is also the author of the books "Fans, Friends & Followers" and "Inventing the Movies," was the editor of "The Convergence Guide: Life Sciences in New England," and was a contributor to "The Good City: Writers Explore 21st Century Boston." Scott also helps organize several local events on entrepreneurship, including the Nantucket Conference and Future Forward. Here's some background on how Scott decides what to cover, and how to pitch him a story idea.

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