2013 Year in Review


Construction crane at Pfizer building at 610 Main Street

Cambridge: The Innovation City

2013 was another exciting year of growth and development for Cambridge. 4.2 million square feet of major housing and commercial development projects broke ground and tenants occupied another 1.6 million square feet of major projects. At year end, a strong portfolio of new projects in the pipeline bodes well for continued economic expansion and population growth.

There was a significant growth in residential development , with over 3,000 units of new housing completed or in construction at year end. Much of this development is in the growing Fresh Pond and Concord-Alewife neighborhoods. The city was able to create or preserve 108 affordable rental units and added 181 new affordable inclusionary housing units, growing the affordable housing program in Cambridge.

In addition to the boost in housing development, Cambridge has 1.6 million square feet of commercial development under construction, with an additional 4.3 million square feet planned. The development pipeline includes Alexandria Real Estate's 910,000 square feet of commercial space in Kendall Square, the redevelopment of the 595,000 square feet Sullivan Courthouse in East Cambridge, and the 228,000 square feet expansion of University Park at 300 Massachusetts Avenue for Millennium Pharmaceuticals.

This past year also marked the passing of new planning and zoning initiatives. The city and its award winning planning consultant Goody Clancy completed an extensive planning study for the Kendall and Central Square neighborhoods. The city council passed zoning proposed by MIT to create a Planned Unit Development (PUD) district in Kendall Square. The new PUD district called for the addition of over 2 million square feet of development. Commercial uses will occupy at least 980,000 square feet of the district and housing will occupy at least 240,000 square feet, with the balance comprising MIT institutional or additional residential uses. The Council also passes zoning changes enabling the construction of the 200 Massachusetts Avenue building by Forest City.

Cambridge continues to see the growth of life sciences, technology, and startup companies. In 2013, the city saw over 1.1 million square feet of new commercial leases. These included the expansion of Akamai into 51,129 square feet at One Kendall Square, Twitter's new 47,600 square feet at 141 Portland Street, Ispen Pharmaceuticals new 62,600 square feet at 650 East Kendall Street, Intuit's move to 61,000 square feet at 150 CambridgePark Drive, and Nuance Communication's new 27,000 square foot headquarters at 675 Massachusetts Avenue. Cambridge startup companies (both in life science and tech) raised over $200 million in series A and B funding in 2013, and six of the seven IPOs in Massachusetts came from Cambridge companies.

Innovation and coworking centers emerged as a Cambridge strength in 2013. The city is now home to fourteen coworking spaces from Concord/Alewife to Kendall Square. Highlights include Cambridge Innovation Center's expansion into 52,000 square feet of space at 101 Main Street, Lab Central's 27,000 square feet biotech-capable shared lab facility, WorkBar's new 13,000 square feet coworking space in Central Square, and NGIN Workplace first ever coworking space at 210 Broadway. In addition to coworking spaces, Johnson and Johnson, Glaxo Smith Kline, IBM, and Aramco all opened research centers in and around the Kendall Square innovation district.

Following another successful outreach effort at the annual BIO conference, the largest biotechnology conference in the world, three new companies have located here, with another 21 in various stages of locating to Cambridge. The city also helped recruit and retain a variety of large and small businesses through the year, representing 88 companies and organizations and with the creation of over 650 jobs.

Development was not the only exciting change here in Cambridge. 2013 marked the signing of the historic Community Compact for a Sustainable Future by City of Cambridge, Harvard University, and MIT. The compact is aimed at leveraging the intellectual and entrepreneurial capacity of the business, non-profit, education and municipal sectors in Cambridge to contribute to a healthy, livable and sustainable future. The three signatories also announced they have already recruited the participation of an initial group of major business partners including Akamai Technologies, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research and Whole Foods.

The city added new stations to Hubway, the Greater Boston bike sharing system, and is now the only community in the system to keep stations open year round. In partnership with the state's Department of Conversation and Recreation, Cambridge purchased the former rail right-of-way known as the Watertown Branch to create a regional off-road connection from the Charles River to the Minuteman Bikeway.

2013 Groundbreaking Highlights:

  • 75-125 Binney Street: 339,000 square foot office and R&D building
  • 160-180 CambridgePark Drive: 398 housing units
  • 165 CambridgePark Drive: 244 housing units
  • 20 Child Street (North Point Building N): 355 housing units and 8,000 square feet of new retail
  • 563-603 Concord Avenue: 61 units of housing and 7,000 square feet of retail
  • 159 First Street: 115 housing units
  • 10 Glassworks Avenue (Maple Leaf Building): 104 housing units
  • 450 Kendall Street: 53,000 square foot office, retail and R&D building
  • 1797-1801 Massachusetts Avenue: 74,500 square feet expansion on the Art Institute at Lesley University
  • 219 Monsignor O'Brien Highway: 123 room hotel
  • 240 Sidney Street: 96 housing units
  • 7-11 Temple Street: 40 affordable housing units
  • 22 Water Street: 392 housing units

Cambridge in the News: