Behind the loan: Harvard University’s forthcoming Enterprise Research Campus

A liquidity-constrained environment has not slowed down well-capitalized managers.

The forthcoming Harvard life sciences center (Source: Tishman Speyer)

New York-based manager Tishman Speyer in June obtained a $750 million construction loan from Montreal-based CDPQ affiliate manager Otera Capital for the first phase of development of Harvard University’s forthcoming Enterprise Research Campus. The construction loan on the development was the largest of its kind originated this year, kicking off work on the 900,000-square-foot site on June 26. Select buildings are scheduled to open in 2025 and early 2026.

“With financing now in place, we are set to realize a collective vision for the ERC as an inclusive community driven by innovation and human connection,” Rob Speyer, chief executive officer at Tishman Speyer, said in a statement. “Together, we are creating a destination within Allston that will inspire local residents, families and visitors along with students, researchers and entrepreneurs.”  

Notable in the project’s capital stack is a $30 million equity investment from 150 Black and Latino individuals and households as part of a Tishman Speyer and Harvard Allston Land Company initiative to create more inclusionary ownership with the campus.

The nine-acre first phase of the project will include a pair of laboratory buildings, a 343-unit rental apartment building and a hotel. Tishman Speyer also plans to build a conference facility for Harvard University. The planned David Rubenstein Treehouse, which will be constructed from timber, is named for the Carlyle Group’s co-founder and co-chairman.

As part of an agreement with the City of Boston and Boston Development & Planning Agency, 25 percent of all new rental units in the first phase of the ERC’s development will be designated for individuals and families earning 30 percent to 100 percent of area median income. Boston’s existing housing development policy only requires 13 percent of new units to be scaled for affordability by comparison.

The research campus will feature street-level retail space and two acres of open space for public events, including farmer’s markets, concerts and fitness classes. Tishman Speyer plans to populate the storefronts with small, local, minority- and women-owned retailers.

Breakthrough Properties – the joint venture between Tishman Speyer and Los Angeles-based investment manager Bellco Capital – will develop, lease and operate 444,000 square feet of laboratory and office space in two of the campus buildings.

To round out the campus’s ESG components, the firms will be targeting LEED Gold certification by creating what they describe as climate-resilient and eco-friendly buildings using low-carbon construction methods. 


  • 2019: Tishman Speyer, Harvard University announce plans for a life sciences center
  • 2022: Architectural plans are approved for the Enterprise Research Campus
  • 2023: Otera Capital funds a $750 million construction loan
  • 2025: The first buildings are slated for opening