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TOPICS: Programming, Retail, Transit and Parking, Bicycles and Pedestrians, Access/Impact During Construction, Sustainability

Kendall Square at MIT



1 . What activities are going to be in the programmed open space?

We see the open space as an opportunity to open the best of MIT and our local innovation hub to the world each day through interactive activities, large and small events, art and technology installations, and a full calendar of daily programming. We envision a lively destination that draws people from across MIT, the Kendall area, and beyond in a meaningful way throughout the year. We envision all kinds of activities such as farmer’s markets, fitness classes, food trucks and festivals, lectures, hackathons, community gatherings and more. Activities will be planned and coordinated by the new Director of Open Space Programming at MIT, Jessie Smith. A Retail and Open Space Advisory Committee is helping us in working with the community to shape the programs that occur within the space.

2. Do you have plans for public art?

Yes, MIT has an extensive public art program and we are working closely with the MIT List Visual Arts Center to curate pieces that will be unique, defining moments of the open space and architecture.

3. What is the MIT Forum?

The MIT Forum will be a 200 seat auditorium and event space in Site 4 that will be used for MIT admissions meetings and presentations, community events, and other activities. The space is designed so that events can spill out into the open space and engage the community year-round.


1. What retailers will be in the future space?

We are extremely excited about the future of Kendall Square, and MIT is committed to ushering in enhanced and flexible retail and dining options that will fill in the gaps of goods and services the neighborhood needs. We are planning for unique concepts by strong, local operators and to extend hours beyond the work day.

In response to demand for a pharmacy we are designing retail space that will accommodate that use. Plus, we are very excited to be opening a new grocer at One Broadway in 2019 as well as a new all-day dining concept.

Some of your other favorite spots such as Au Bon Pain, Sebastian’s, and Dunkin Donuts remain open for business, in addition to the new dining options at 610 Main Street, Sulmona Italian Bistro and Café Luna.

2. Will you relocate the existing Main Street retailers?

We are working closely with current retailers to plan for closures and relocations on an individual basis. Some have left as leases ended and some will be relocated within the neighborhood during construction and in the new and redeveloped buildings once completed.

The various phases of construction will impact existing retail tenants at different times throughout the development. It is our goal to keep Main Street as active as possible during construction and we will work with our retail partners to keep access as long as possible and provide new forms of temporary activation. Updates on retail relocations and closures will be posted on this site.

The food trucks have been relocated nearby. Specific relocation sites may change over time. Check this website for the latest information on where to find your favorite food truck:

3. What are you doing to make retail more inviting to the community?

The retail spaces at the ground floors of the existing buildings along Main Street will be updated to better engage a broad community audience while still providing the much needed goods and services that they offer today. The first floors of E38 and E39 will be reconstructed to meet the sidewalk level and be fully accessible to pedestrians while preserving the historic nature of these buildings.

Main Street, the open space and Broad Canal Way will feature a varied retail mix, outdoor seating and options for all audiences. The new One Broadway will feature an inviting and active ground floor with a corner restaurant, grocer, and spaces where the community can meet and gather, modeled after the best hotels.

Where possible and applicable, we will encourage retail tenants to utilize operable storefront designs that allow for merchandise and dining to occur on the sidewalks and open space.

We will work with retailers to have extended hours to provide greater convenience to the community, and make Kendall Square a true retail destination.

Transit and Parking

1. What changes are being made to the T station?

MIT is working with the MBTA to design and fund a new T head house that achieves our goal of being accessible to all and making Kendall Square a place where people want to go to gather. The new T head house will create an inviting entrance to the MIT campus and the neighborhood for riders upon exiting the station. The other entrances will remain in their current state.

2. Where will the parking be located?

Existing surface parking and loading facilities will be relocated to a new garage beneath the open space. In addition, a new, landscaped surface lot will continue to serve visitors to the MIT Medical Department. Parking at Building 1 will be above the retail.

Kendall Square at MIT

Bicycles and Pedestrians

1. What are you doing to improve bicycle and pedestrian connections and access? Are you adding bike lanes and bike facilities?

The project was carefully designed to improve pedestrian and bicycle access and safety. Loading and trash facilities will be below grade to limit their impact on the public realm. The open space will serve as an extension of the Infinite Corridor, strengthening campus connections.

The City is creating a new crosswalk on Main Street that will connect MIT's Sloan School with the new pedestrian connection between the residential building to be constructed at 165 Main Street and the office building at 139 Main Street.

A new cycle track on the east side of Ames Street will also be built to connect the existing cycle track north of Main Street, providing a contiguous path to the Charles River waterfront.

2. Where will the bicycle parking be located?

The project will add 208 short-term bicycle parking spaces throughout the open space. In addition, there will be 826 secure-access long-term bicycle parking spaces within the parking garages for building occupants. There will be repair facilities and lockers for bicycle commuters.

Access/Impact During Construction

1. What are the hours of construction?

Construction hours are weekdays 7am – 6pm, and Saturdays as needed 9am-6pm.

2. What roads will be closed during construction?

Access to Wadsworth Street from Main Street is closed to all traffic, with pedestrian access maintained through 2020. Wadsworth Street from Memorial Drive to Amherst Street is currently open to one-way traffic. Carleton Street provides access to MIT Medical and its parking lot. Some pedestrian pathways have been re-routed and may move during the course of the project. See project updates for more details on current road closures.

3. How will I get to the T Station during construction?

The T station on the South side of Main Street will be accessible from Main Street throughout construction.

4. How long will the construction of the project take?

The initial site and utility work phase will be complete in late 2018. Construction has commenced on the garage, the graduate student residence, and 314 Main Street with expected completion in 2020.We estimate 7 to 10 years for the completion of the entire development.


1. What sustainability strategies are you implementing?

Preserving the innovation ecosystem goes beyond buildings and amenities; we are implementing the most advanced sustainability measures to ensure that we are good stewards of the neighborhood now and for generations to come. We’re committed to earning points as a LEED Master Site to be filed along with individual building projects, and projects will certify under the more stringent LEED v4 system for LEED Gold Ratings. In fact, Kendall Square at MIT will be one of the largest LEED v4 collections of buildings on the east coast and will incorporate the latest energy standards and sustainability initiatives.

We’ve learned a lot through engaging with City committees and initiatives such as the Net Zero working group, and we’re committed to continually revising and reevaluating design strategies to stay at the forefront of technical developments and improve environmental performance throughout this project. Our buildings will be designed to exceed local energy standards and the open space will achieve up to 70% annual average reduction in site runoff through storm water reuse and site infiltration.

Mindful of the impact created by the added workforce and visitors to the neighborhood, we invested heavily in bike and pedestrian infrastructure, including widening sidewalks, the addition of a bike facility and contributions to the Grand Junction path and the MBTA to bolster this transit-oriented development and encourage non-vehicular travel. The two acres of open space and the transformed retail landscape ensure walkability for residents and tenants.