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Kendall Square is a neighborhood in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with the "square" itself at the intersection of Main Street, Broadway, Wadsworth Street, and Third Street (immediately to the east of the secondary entrance to the Kendall/MIT subway station). It may also refer to the broad business district that is east of Portland Street, northwest of the Charles River, north of MIT and south of Binney Street.
Originally a salt marsh on the Charles River between Boston and Cambridge, Kendall Square has been an important transportation hub since the construction of the West Boston Bridge in 1793, which provided the first direct wagon route between the two settlements. By 1810, the Broad Canal had been dug, which would connect with a system of smaller canals in this East Cambridge seaport area.
The area became a major industrial center in the 19th century, and by the beginning of the 20th century was home to distilleries, electric power plants, soap and hosiery factories, and the Kendall Boiler and Tank Company. The square was named after the company, which in turn was named after one of its owners, Edward Kendall. When the Longfellow Bridge replaced the West Boston Bridge in 1907, it included provisions for a future rapid-transit subway link to Harvard Square and Boston (now the Red Line); the original Kendall subway station was opened in 1911. In 1915, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology moved to its new Cambridge campus, located south of Kendall Square between Main Street and Massachusetts Avenue. Since then, the proximity of MIT, whose campus eventually expanded into Kendall Square, has influenced much of the development of the area.
The genesis of Kendall Square's prominence as a technology hub was the Space Race, but it was a decidedly indirect route. When President John F. Kennedy made his bold claim that the United States would be the first nation on the Moon, he maneuvered to have several of the area's older industrial manufacturing and other dirty businesses removed by eminent domain. Kennedy's idea was to make Kendall Square the headquarters for the NASA mission control center, but his then Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson had this proposed project moved to Houston, Texas. In 1964, Kendall Square got a much smaller NASA Electronic Research Center instead, but President Richard M. Nixon would shut it down only five years later.
Former Massachusetts Governor John A. Volpe, who served as US Secretary of Transportation (DOT) from 1969 to 1973, succeeded in getting the former NASA buildings rededicated to a new DOT research center, which was later named the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center in his memory. For the next twenty years, other large parcels of Kendall Square, which had also been cleared in anticipation of a much larger NASA complex, were an unoccupied post-industrial wasteland.
In the 1990s and 2000s, the area between Kendall and the new CambridgeSide Galleria was transformed from an industrial area into a collection of office and research buildings, housing over 150 biotechnology and information technology firms as of 2011[update]. In 1997, the surviving industrial buildings between Third, Binney, Fifth, and Rogers Streets were declared the Blake and Knowles Steam Pump Company National Register District.
High-tech firms are lured by the proximity of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus on the south side of Main Street. MIT owns some of the commercial real estate in the square, and has been actively constructing space for new high-tech tenants as well as rebuilding its own facilities fronting Main Street. Nearby MIT facilities include the Stata Center and the MIT Sloan School of Management, as well as many other buildings of the eastern end of the MIT campus. The MIT Press Bookstore is a regional attraction, offering a complete selection of Press titles for browsing and retail purchase, plus a large selection of complementary works from other academic and trade publishers, including magazines and academic journals.
The Cambridge Center office development is closest to the Kendall Square intersection. The Cambridge Innovation Center, a shared office space for startups and venture capital firms founded by Tim Rowe and currently occupied by almost 400 small startup businesses, is also close by at One Broadway. Many other high-tech firms are in two multi-building office complex parks, One Kendall Square and Technology Square, both located about half a mile west of the traditional location of Kendall Square. The One Kendall Square complex is located between Broadway and Binney Street (on the other side of which is the Kendall Square Theatre).
Additionally, the "@Kendall Square" development is located one block north of Kendall Square, and includes a mixed-use "live, work, play" community that weaves parks, an ice rink, a farmers market, and a recreational boating basin through a series of office, lab, residential and retail buildings. Buildings within the @Kendall Square development have won numerous design awards including the AIA California Council's 2004 Architectural Design Merit Award, the Boston Society of Architects' 2004 Interior Architecture/Interior Design Honor Award, the Chicago Athenaeum 2004 American Architecture Award, the AIA 2004 Excellence in Sustainable Design Award, and the AIA COTE 2004 Top Ten Green Projects Award.
As of 2014[update], the US Department of Transportation building complex and its surrounding parking lots and open land constitute one of the largest remaining areas not already subject to 21st century development. The Boston Globe published an article describing possible plans to repurpose the 15 acres (6.1 ha) DOT property for future redevelopment. This would require federal approval for relocation of the DOT center, probably to a more compact building with underground parking. A related article described some ideas on how to use the DOT land more effectively.
Several hotels are located in Kendall Square, including the Boston Marriott Cambridge, the Cambridge Residence Inn, and the Kendall Hotel. Several more hotels are located within walking distance. There have also been several large condominium developments.
Restaurants in the area include The Friendly Toast, Tommy Doyle's Irish Pub & Restaurant, Cambridge Brewing Company and Legal Sea Foods, popular locations for business gatherings. A food plaza on the first floor of the Marriott Hotel, and food trucks parked in lots near the corner of Main and Vassar Streets (weekdays lunch only), sell fast food at low prices, with a variety of cuisines (Asian, Italian, Mexican, etc.) to choose from.
The Kendall Square Association is the official business and civic development organization for Kendall Square, and was formed by approximately 80 organizations in February 2009. Its motto is "We share more than a future, we share a sidewalk".
Notable local entities
- Akamai Technologies
- Art Technology Group
- AT&T Inc.
- Biogen Idec
- Bitstream Inc.
- Broad Institute
- Cambridge Innovation Center
- Computer Sciences Corp.
- Charles Stark Draper Laboratory ("Draper Lab")
- Equity Residential (Third Square Apartments)
- EMC Corporation
- Endeca Technologies
- Forrester Research
- ITA Software
- John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
- Square Association
- Kendall Square Residents Association
- Kendall Press
- Mali Health Organizing Project
- Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institution
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Millennium Pharmaceuticals
- The MIT Press
- The MIT Press Bookstore
- Moshe Safdie and Associates, Inc.
- Vaxess Technologies
- Vertex Pharmaceuticals
- Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
- World Wide Web Consortium
Resident diplomatic missions
- Kirsner, Scott (February 2, 2014). "Making better use of parcel in Kendall Square". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
- "What to do with 15 acres in Kendall Square?". Boston Globe. February 2, 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
- Third Square, 285 Third Street: http://www.equityapartments.com/massachusetts/boston-apartments/cambridge/third-square.aspx
- Archstone, 195 Binney Street: http://www.archstoneapartments.com/Apartments/Massachusetts/Boston/Archstone_Kendall_Square/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=ppc&utm_term=apartments%20kendall%20square&utm_campaign=Boston+Archstone+Properties
- Watermark Cambridge, 350 3rd Street: http://watermarkcambridge.com
- Weisman, Robert (2007-06-21). "Room to grow for Microsoft". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-07-16.
- British Consulate-General: Boston (Cambridge)