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Allston residents at ease with Harvard Business School construction

Several Allston residents said they are not bother by the announcement of Harvard University’s new business and administration building, called the Ruth Mulan Chu Chao Center, which will be constructed in March 2015 as part of Harvard’s new campus extension plan into the area.

Jack Bringley, 59, a sales associate in Allston, said he does not mind the prospect of the new Harvard Business school building.

“I don’t see why the construction or the building itself will affect us,” he said. “Harvard already has another building in the area. It won’t bother me, and if it’s hidden from traffic view than that’s even better.”

On Wednesday, Skanska, a development and construction company, signed a $57 million contract with Harvard Business School to replace an existing business school building called Kresge Hall with a new, four-story building, according to aWednesday press release. Goody Clancy, an architectural firm, was chosen to design the building.

Roger Goldstein, principal for Goody Clancy, said the design plan would have little effect on Allston residents.

“The Chao Center will be built in the middle of Harvard Business School’s campus,” he said. “Because its site is surrounded by buildings, the Chao Center will barely be visible from outside the campus. As a result, once it’s completed it will probably have no effect on anybody in Allston. ”

Paul Hewins, executive vice president of Skanska, said his company would provide preconstruction and construction management services for the new building.

“Located near Soldiers Field in Boston, the new facility is replacing HBS’s Kresge Hall and is targeting LEED Gold certification,” he said. “Skanska is also currently working closely with the Harvard Art Museums to renovate the museums’ new facility on 32 Quincy Street to include the Fogg Art Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum.”

Hewins said the Chao Center would contribute to Allston’s collegiate atmosphere by bringing Harvard business students to the area.

“When complete, the facility will serve both as the gateway to the school for the more than 10,000 executives who attend classes here each year and as a vibrant hub that will enable them to convene with each other,” he said. “Allston currently provides housing to a diverse group of students, families and young professionals, and the facility, when complete, will add a valuable learning institution to the area.”

The building is expected to be 80,000 square feet and would include classrooms, offices and dining spaces, according to the release. Construction will start in March 2015 and completion is expected to be in May 2016.

The new business school contract comes after the Boston Redevelopment Authority approved of Harvard’s Institutional Master Plan on Oct. 18, which allows for the university to expand its campus into Allston. The plan covers 10 years in which 1.4 million square feet of construction will develop. Harvard’s Allston campus currently contains the Harvard Business School and Soldiers Field Park Apartments, which house a number of graduate students.

Several Allston residents said they were comfortable with the announcement of the new building, despite previous tensions over Harvard’s overall expansion into the area.

“I hope it doesn’t affect traffic too much,” said David Spillane, 67. ”I’m retired, so I stay around this area a lot during the day, but I don’t think it’ll be too much of an inconvenience.”

Vanessa Adams, 34, a banker from Allston, said she did not mind the expansion unless it created problems.

“Its great that they’re expanding to Allston,” she said. “They’re [Harvard] a good school, so I see nothing wrong with it. If the construction doesn’t wake me up in the morning than I’m fine with it.”

Tim Dooley, 52, said he is skeptical of Harvard’s master plan.

“It seems overbearing,” he said. “I wouldn’t like to think that they’ll take up too much space in Allston, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

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