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Kendall Square: Silicon Valley of Massachusetts

By: Sandra Choy

 

In the Real Estate Development studio, we were given an assignment to “de-engineer” a development.  Our team consisted of 3 CRE students (Sandra Choy, Bernardo Sacchini, Matt Wallace) and 1 DUSP student (Rong Chen) and we were given the Cambridge Center site at Kendall Square.  Kendall Square has the highest density per acre in terms of IT and biotech firms in the United States, surpassing that of the Silicon Valley.  We performed a site visit and background research to understand the history and the reasons behind the buildings and the overall development.  Then we tested our visions and ideas through brainstorming sessions, drawings, information gathering, and financial modeling.  Cambridge Center is owned and managed by Boston Properties, one of the largest REITs in the United States.  Through the strong alumni relationship at the CRE, we met with a MIT MSRED alumni who is the Senior Project Manager of the development team at Boston Properties.  It was a valuable experience for us to interact directly with an industry expert who can provide us with realistic perspectives on the development – its opportunities, challenges, visions, and limitations.  We integrated the practical information into our “de-engineering” assignment, and enhanced our overall design with a team vision grounded in reality.