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Harvard to raise $6B, jumpstart Allston plan

Harvard University is reportedly launching a $6 billion capital fund-raising drive, boosting the odds that the school’s long-stalled Allston expansion will finally get going.

Harvard vice president Tamara Rogers said the university expects to formally start the campaign next year, aiming for support from the university’s “extraordinarily generous alumni (and) friends.”

The school declined to release details, but the Harvard Crimson student newspaper quoted sources as saying the school aims to raise at least $6 billion. University provost Alan Garber told the paper the Allston project would “figure prominently” in the fund-raising campaign.

Harvard has long planned a big expansion across the Charles River from Cambridge and into Allston. The school quietly bought up 350 acres of local land over the years, but halted work on a $1 billion Allston science center in 2009 because of the recession.

That angered neighbors by literally leaving a big hole in the ground. Harvard has recently taken steps to restart its Allston expansion. The school will soon outline long-term plans for the science center, and pick a developer for a residential and commercial development at Barry’s Corner.

Allston residents hope Harvard’s fund-raising effort gets the school’s local projects moving. Harry Mattison, a long-time skeptic of Harvard’s plans, said neighbors want “the great research and life sciences center that Harvard (promised) — not the 6-acre abandoned construction site we have now.”

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