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The week in business


Harvard hires N.Y. developer for Allston project

After years of planning, Harvard University took a major step toward building out its vast holdings in Allston, announcing Thursday it has selected a prominent New York-based real estate firm to develop the next large section. The firm, Tishman Speyer, beat out a score of local and national developers for the high-profile gig to build a 900,000-square-foot, mixed-use complex on 14 acres along Western Avenue. The winner will likely get a leg up when Harvard eventually looks to develop the rest of its land holdings in Allston that it has accumulated over three decades. Harvard’s ambitious goal: nothing short of building another Kendall Square on the Boston side of the Charles River, a high-tech hub with a mix of innovative businesses and academics that would be the envy of any city. For now, though, Tishman Speyer chief executive Rob Speyer said his focus is on building out the 14-acre portion of what Harvard has dubbed its Enterprise Research Campus, across from Harvard’s business school and next to its soon-to-open engineering complex. Tishman Speyer itself has a track record in Boston, with control of some 3 million square feet of offices and other space in the city. Perhaps most notably, the firm developed Pier 4, the recently completed mixed-use project in the Seaport where the legendary Anthony’s Pier 4 restaurant once stood. — JON CHESTO


LogMeIn to be sold to two private equity firms for $4.3 billion

LogMeIn Inc., a Boston-based maker of software that manages remote access for companies, has agreed to be purchased by two private equity companies in a deal valued at $4.3 billion. Francisco Partners and Evergreen Coast Capital Corp., an affiliate of Elliott Management The deal gives LogMeIn 45 days to solicit alternative proposals that might bring a higher price. LogMeIn, located in the Seaport, makes “software as a service” products that run in the Internet cloud and are mainly used by businesses. These include its namesake LogMeIn product line, to let technical support workers remotely control a user’s computer, and GoTo, a suite of services for remotely managing online meetings. For consumers, the company makes LastPass, a program that helps computer and smartphone users manage passwords for all of their online accounts. Elliott Management is known as an activist investor that frequently buys stakes in businesses it perceives as underperforming. Elliott then seeks to compel restructurings, mergers, or other tactics intended to boost the value of its holdings. Its targets in the Boston area have included athenahealth, a Watertown maker of electronic health care software, which it and another private equity firm acquired for $5.7 billion last November. Elliott also forced the Cambridge Internet content-delivery company Akamai Technologies to expand its stock buyback program last year, and in 2011 pressured the Boston data-archiving company Iron Mountain to restructure. The company’s investment in the Hopkinton data-storage titan EMC helped goad that company into accepting a $67 billion buyout from Dell Technologies in 2015, one of the largest tech company mergers in history. — HIAWATHA BRAY



Cambridge officials approve new zoning for redevelopment of CambridgeSide mall

The Cambridge City Council on Monday cleared the way for a major redevelopment of the CambridgeSide shopping center into a campus of retail, housing, and office space. The council voted 6 to 3 to approve new zoning for the mall, which will enable its owner, New England Development, to convert an above-ground garage, a shuttered Sears store, and other areas into housing, offices, and laboratory buildings, while creating more ground-level open space on the massive block. The zoning allows New England Development to add 575,000 square feet to the complex, in buildings as tall as 155 feet, but requires that 30 percent of that new space be housing, with 65 percent of the housing set at prices that are affordable to lower- and middle-income residents. New England Development also pledged $90 million in community benefits, including $9 million in funding for the nearby East End House, a social services agency. — TIM LOGAN



Prices at the pump could jump under climate initiative

Gasoline prices could increase by as much as 17 cents a gallon under an ambitious plan to reduce carbon emissions from cars and trucks that Massachusetts and nearly a dozen other states issued Tuesday. Though the effort, called the Transportation & Climate Initiative, has been more than a year in the making, the draft agreement provides the first clear parameters of what motorists along a long stretch of the East Coast from Virginia to Maine, with some 52 million registered vehicles, could pay to fight global warming. Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Katie Theoharides noted that motor vehicles are responsible for more than 40 percent of global-warming pollution in the region. The proposal aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes by 20 percent to 25 percent over a decade. TCI could be more or less expensive for motorists depending on how aggressive states are in meeting those emission targets: anywhere from an extra 5 cents per gallon to 17 cents per gallon at the pump, officials estimated. Wholesale suppliers of motor fuels would be required to buy pollution allowances through periodic auctions, with the proceeds going back to the states. Suppliers could then buy and sell those credits, and also decide how much of their costs to pass along to consumers. Each state still has to make a final decision to participate in the compact. In Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker has been an enthusiastic promoter of TCI, and has pledged to use the proceeds — estimated to be around $500 million a year — for transportation projects starting as soon as 2022. But there was at least one important dissent Tuesday: New Hampshire, where Governor Chris Sununu balked at the concept, issuing a statement contending that New Hampshire residents would end up paying to fix crumbling infrastructure in other states. — JON CHESTO and ADAM VACCARO



250,000 homes could be added by building around MBTA stations, study finds

Housing-starved Massachusetts could add a quarter-million homes just by building more around MBTA stations. That’s the upshot of new data being released this week by the Massachusetts Housing Partnership, a nonprofit that advocates for affordable housing. Researchers at the organization studied and mapped development patterns around 284 stations on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s rapid transit and commuter rail lines and found that more than 517,000 houses and apartments are within a half-mile of a station. About 253,000 more could be added if land around all of the transit system’s stations averaged 10 housing units per acre, instead of the current 6.4. Ten units per acre is about the density of the neighborhood around Forest Hills Station at the end of the Orange Line, Wonderland Station on the Blue Line in Revere, and Savin Hill Station on the Red Line in Dorchester. That’s far less than in the most densely populated areas around T stations: Symphony and Boylston on the Green Line and Charles/MGH on the Red all top 50 units per acre. But 10 units per acre is far more than in the sparsest areas, in outer-suburban towns like Kingston, Grafton, and Littleton, where stations are ringed by parking lots and open space. — TIM LOGAN