A Center of Gravity for a Campus Extension
Harvard University’s Offices of the Provost and Executive Vice President engaged U3 Advisors to develop a vision for a University-wide conference center as one component of their expanding presence in Allston – the Boston neighborhood across the Charles River from their historic Cambridge campus. Through surveys and interviews, U3 gathered data from individual Harvard schools and business units in order to assess demand and price sensitivity for convening space and related lodging. U3 supplemented the school data with information from local hotel operators about Harvard-generated demand, their relationships with the University, and the broader lodging landscape. U3 also conducted a peer benchmarking and best practices exercise, meeting with a select set of academic and corporate organizations to identify key considerations in facility design, development, and operations. Integrating the two work streams, U3 provided Harvard’s central administration with several significant options for developing a University-wide conference and hotel facility – as well as a range of challenges, including significant variation in price sensitivity across Harvard schools. The University is continuing to evaluate options for what may be one of the most significant University-wide real estate projects in decades.