Kendall Square may soon get a ‘pop-up park’

Aerial view of proposed "pop-up park" on Kendall Street in Cambridge. (Courtesy Glenn KnicKrehm, Constellation Center.)
Aerial view of proposed "pop-up park" on Kendall Street in Cambridge. (Courtesy Glenn KnicKrehm, Constellation Center.)

I wrote last week about the long-delayed Constellation Center project, which aspires to build a $300 million performing arts center in Kendall Square. The project’s acre of fenced-off land is basically the front yard of the Genzyme Center and the Watermark East apartment complex, just off Third Street. (See the map below.)

The property’s owner, Glenn KnicKrehm, says that he’s now working to landscape the site, remove the fence, and create a temporary park while he continues to develop and raise money for the Constellation Center project. Designed by landscape architect Tobias Wolf, the open space would include new pathways, native plantings, small hills, and benches made from reclaimed granite. A sculpture called “Las Furias” that is already on the site will remain.

“The schedule for the popup park depends on the timing of City Of Cambridge’s approval process and the availability of plant material this spring,” KnicKrehm writes in an e-mail. “We would like to begin work as soon as the approvals are received and weather allows.” He says he has the funding to move forward, and preliminary approval from the City of Cambridge. (KnicKrehm first conceived of the Constellation Center project in the late 1990s, and he purchased this land for about $8 million in 2002. Several years ago, he began displaying sculptures on the empty lot, albeit behind a chain-link fence.)

A map of the site is below, along with several renderings done by Wolf’s firm that KnicKrehm provided. Even if it only proves temporary, this would add some much-needed green space to Kendall…

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(Click map to view it in Google Maps.)

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A side view of the proposed “interim landscape plan” from Wolf’s firm.

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Another side view.

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Aerial view of the neighborhood, with the landscape design superimposed on it.

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Aerial view: Genzyme’s building is on the right, and Third Street (near Voltage Coffee and Abigail’s) is on the left.

Scott Kirsner writes the Innovation Economy column every Sunday in the Boston Globe, in which he tracks entrepreneurship, investment, and big company activities around New England.
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