Kendall Square at MIT

Cambridge, MA
Official construction updates during the creation of 1 million square feet of new space in Kendall Square.
450 grad & 290 other
/ R&D 888,000 SQ FT
115,000 SQ FT
Open Space
Over 1.8 acres

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TOPICS: Programming, Retail, Transit and Parking, Bicycles and Pedestrians, Access/Impact During Construction, Sustainability


1 . What activities are going to be in the programmed open space?

  • We see the open space as an opportunity to open the best of MIT and our local innovation hub to the world each day through interactive activities, large and small events, art and technology installations, and a full calendar of daily programming. We envision a lively destination that draws people from across MIT, the Kendall area, and beyond in a meaningful way throughout the year. We envision all kinds of activities such as farmer’s markets, fitness classes, food trucks and festivals, lectures, hackathons, community gatherings and more. Activities will be planned and coordinated by a new Director of Open Space Programming at MIT. A Retail and Open Space Advisory Committee will help us in working with the community to shape the programs that occur within the space.

2. Do you have plans for public art?

  • Yes, we are dedicated to public art and are working closely with the MIT List Visual Arts Center in curating pieces that will be unique, defining moments of the open space and architecture.

3. What is the MIT Forum?

  • The MIT Forum will be a 200 seat auditorium and event space in Building 4 that will be used for MIT admissions meetings and presentations, community events, and other activities. The space is designed so that events can spill out into the open space and engage the community year-round.


1. What retailers will be in the future space?

  • We are extremely excited about the future of Kendall Square, and MIT is committed to ushering in enhanced and flexible retail and dining options. We are planning for a thoughtful mix of retail that will serve the neighborhood and the MIT community. We look forward to working closely with the Retail and Open Space Advisory Committee that will be established.
  • We have heard the need for an urban grocer and a pharmacy, so we are designing the future retail spaces to accommodate those uses and talking to potential tenants.
  • During this initial phase, some of your favorite spots – Au Bon Pain, Sebastian’s, Dunkin Donuts and Firebrand Saints – remain open for business, and will soon be joined by new dining options at 610 Main Street, including Sulmona Italian Bistro and Café Luna.

2. Will you relocate the existing Main Street retailers?

  • We are working closely with current retailers to plan for closures and relocations on an individual basis. Some will be leaving at the end of their leases and some will be relocated within the neighborhood during construction and in the new and redeveloped buildings once completed.
  • The various phases of construction will impact existing retail tenants at different times throughout the development. It is our goal to keep Main Street as active as possible during construction and we will work with our retail partners to keep access as long as possible and provide new forms of temporary activation. Updates on retail relocations and closures will be posted on this site.
  • The food trucks have been relocated nearby. Specific relocation sites may change over time. Check this website for the latest information on where to find your favorite food truck:  
  • Retail at 238 Main Street and One Broadway will remain open as long as possible. We are also excited to welcome a rotating roster of pop-up retailers at One Broadway starting from December 2016 through March 2017.

3. What are you doing to make retail more inviting to the community?

  • The retail spaces at the ground floors of the existing buildings along Main Street will be updated to better engage a broad community audience while still providing the much needed goods and services that they offer today. The first floors of E38 and E39 will be reconstructed to meet the sidewalk level and be fully accessible to pedestrians while preserving the historic nature of these buildings.
  • Where possible and applicable, we will encourage retail tenants to utilize operable storefront designs that allow for merchandise and dining to occur on the sidewalks and open space.
  • We will work with retailers to have extended hours to provide greater convenience to the community, and make Kendall Square a true retail destination.

Transit and Parking

1. What changes are being made to the T station?

  • We are in discussions with the MBTA to build a new entrance to the Kendall Square MBTA station on the south side of Main Street. The goal will be to draw pedestrians into the open space and to create a civic space along Main Street while providing easy access to the T with improved accessibility. The other entrances will remain in their current state.

2. Where will the parking be located?

  • Existing surface parking and loading facilities will be relocated to a new garage beneath the open space. In addition, a new, landscaped surface lot will continue to serve visitors to the MIT Medical Department. Parking at Building 1 will be above the retail.
  • The project will create 49 new retail parking spaces in the garage.

Bicycles and Pedestrians

1. What are you doing to improve bicycle and pedestrian connections and access? Are you adding bike lanes and bike facilities?

  • The project was carefully designed to improve pedestrian and bicycle access and safety. Loading and trash facilities will be below grade to limit their impact on the public realm. The open space will serve as an extension of the Infinite Corridor, strengthening campus connections.
  • The City is creating a new crosswalk on Main Street that will connect MIT's Sloan School with the new pedestrian connection between Building 1 and the Red Cross building.
  • A new cycle track on the east side of Ames Street will also be built to connect the existing cycle track north of Main Street, providing a contiguous path to the Charles River waterfront.

2. Where will the bicycle parking be located?

  • The project will add 208 short-term bicycle parking spaces throughout the open space. In addition, there will be 826 secure-access long-term bicycle parking spaces within the parking garages for building occupants. There will be repair facilities and lockers for bicycle commuters.

Access/Impact During Construction

1. What are the hours of construction?

  • Construction hours are weekdays 7am – 6pm, and Saturdays as needed 9am-6pm.

2. What roads will be closed during construction?

  • We are planning single lane closures on Carleton, Amherst, and Wadsworth streets during utility work with one-way traffic. Hayward Street will be fully closed. Some pedestrian pathways will be re-routed.

3. How will I get to the T Station during construction?

  • The T station on the South side of Main Street will be accessible from Main Street throughout construction. Access from Carleton Street will be maintained as long as possible.

4. How long will the construction of the project take?

  • The initial site and utility work phase will be complete in late 2017. Garage construction will commence in early 2017.
  • We estimate 7 to 10 years for the entire development. We expect the first buildings and garage to be completed in 2020.


1. What sustainability strategies are you implementing?

  • MIT is dedicated to delivering a project that is sustainably designed, energy efficient, and environmentally conscious. We’re committed to earning points as a LEED Master Site to be filed along with individual building projects, and projects will certify under the more stringent LEED v4 system for LEED Gold Ratings. In fact, Kendall Square at MIT will be one of the largest LEED v4 collections of buildings on the east coast and will incorporate the latest energy standards and sustainability initiatives.
  • We’ve learned a lot through engaging with City committees and initiatives such as the Net Zero working group, and we’re committed to continually revising and reevaluating design strategies to stay at the forefront of technical developments and improve environmental performance throughout this project. Our buildings will be designed to exceed local energy standards and the open space will achieve up to 70% annual average reduction in site runoff through storm water reuse and site infiltration.