Establishing priorities

The Institute’s planning process was designed to identify and establish key priorities for the development of MIT-owned parcels in Kendall Square. Participation by the community significantly influenced several key elements of the Initiative, including:


Based on strong recommendations from neighbors, City of Cambridge officials, and MIT’s Graduate Student Housing Working Group, the plan now includes graduate student housing along Main Street in the center of Kendall Square. In addition, a new housing community at One Broadway will be created that will accommodate a mix of incomes and unit sizes. The total number of new housing units could be more than 500 in the two buildings, depending on the configurations and taking into account the removal of the aging Eastgate residence hall.


Of great interest to all stakeholders, new retail development will reflect Kendall Square’s unique character and will focus on local and independent businesses. The plan includes approximately 100,000 SF of new and existing retail space that will provide places for gathering, dining, shopping, and entertainment. Diverse amenities characterized by a welcoming and innovative spirit will be offered for students, residents, visitors, and employees alike.

Open space

Extensive input around the function and feel of open space has led to a plan that establishes open space as a defining element of the Initiative. As envisioned through the rezoning process, the plan recaptures approximately 3 acres of existing parking lots south of Main Street to create a welcoming and connected series of open spaces that will reflect the community’s desire for active programming and recreation. The plan also enables the activation of Main Street, creates enhanced gathering spaces along Broad Canal Way, and establishes a clear path to the river via Wadsworth Street.

Historic integration

Upon the recommendation of the Cambridge Historical Commission, MIT will preserve the existing historical buildings along Main Street by integrating them into the designs for the new buildings. The plan is designed to honor Kendall Square’s important industrial heritage while simultaneously preparing for the groundbreaking work of the future.

Innovation space

Recognizing the need to ensure that smaller start-up companies can continue to thrive in Kendall Square, MIT agreed to maintain innovation space in the district equal to 10% of the project’s new commercial development space for early innovators who are trying to get their ideas off the ground (5% within the district and 5% in close proximity to the district). MIT already plays a key role in providing space for innovation through the Cambridge Innovation Center and recently worked with Lab|Central to create nearly 69,000 square feet of laboratory space for new innovators. We believe that these ongoing efforts and commitments will further strengthen the full innovation life cycle in the Kendall Square environs.