Tishman Speyer lands $750M in financing for Harvard research campus

Largest construction financing package of 2023

Tishman Speyer's Rob Speyer and rendering of Harvard research campus (Getty, Tishman Speyer, Boston Planning & Development Agency)
Tishman Speyer's Rob Speyer and rendering of Harvard research campus (Getty, Tishman Speyer, Boston Planning & Development Agency)

After years of planning, ground is ready to be broken on the first phase of the Harvard Enterprise Research campus in Boston after Tishman Speyer secured $750 million in financing, the largest packaging construction financing package of 2023.

The mixed-use development, spanning 900,000 square feet, is a collaborative project between Tishman Speyer and the Harvard Allston Land Company, according to a press release.

The financing package, led by Otera Capital, is reported to be the largest in the United States thus far in 2023. With all the necessary permits now obtained, construction for the first phase of the ERC is set to commence next week, and the buildings are expected to open their doors to the public between late 2025 and early 2026.

The initial phase of the ERC will cover 9 acres and will include two laboratory buildings dedicated to scientific research and development, a 343-unit rental apartment building, a hotel, and the David Rubenstein Treehouse, made of mass timber, which will serve as a conference facility for the campus. 

Adjacent to Harvard Business School and Harvard Science and Engineering Complex in Allston, the ERC will also feature street-level shops, restaurants, and over two acres of open space for public events like farmer’s markets, concerts, and outdoor fitness classes.

Affordable housing is a major part of the plan. As part of an agreement with the City of Boston and the Boston Planning and Development Agency, 25 percent of the new units in the first phase will be affordable to individuals and families with incomes ranging from 30 percent to 100 percent of the Area Median Income.

 The commitment goes beyond Boston’s existing 13 percent inclusionary housing development policy, ensuring that a diverse range of local residents can afford to live in the ERC.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

In partnership with Bellco Capital, Tishman Speyer’s joint venture, Breakthrough Properties, will develop, lease, and operate 440,000 square feet of laboratory and office space in two ERC buildings, catering to biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies at various stages of development.

The ERC project, planned by renowned master planning and architectural firms, is also noteworthy for its focus on diversity and inclusion. Over 30 percent of pre-construction costs and more than 15 percent of total construction costs have been awarded to minority- and women-led firms. Additionally, Tishman Speyer will curate a ground floor experience that highlights small, local, minority-owned, and women-owned retailers.

The ERC aims to be environmentally sustainable and is targeting LEED Gold certification. It will prioritize low-carbon construction methods to create climate-resilient, eco-friendly buildings that contribute to the region’s sustainable future.

Tishman Speyer has been busy this year. Earlier this month, it secured an extension on a $485 million loan for its office building at 300 Park Avenue months after the loan was sent to special servicing.

The firm secured an extension of its CMBS loan backed by the 26-story Midtown office tower — debt that was set to mature in August. The extension adds just one year to the maturity date, but Tishman has an option to extend it to August 2025.

The loan went into special servicing in March because of “imminent balloon/maturity default,” according to Trepp, which tracks securitized mortgages.

Ted Glanzer