The lasting legacy of MITIMCo’s Steve Marsh

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As senior vice president for the Institute’s real estate group, the MIT Investment Management Company (MITIMCo), Steve Marsh has worked closely with the senior administrations of the past three MIT presidents to lead game-changing real estate efforts that helped attract countless industry collaborators to Kendall Square, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

With a keen ability to strategize on innovation cluster development combined with a deep focus on investment execution, he oversaw some of the most complex land transactions and developments in the metropolitan region, furthering the Kendall Square ecosystem. Marsh, who joined MIT in 2000, has announced his intention to retire from MITIMCo in early 2023.

“Not everyone in our community knows Steve’s name, but they certainly know his impact,” says MIT President L. Rafael Reif. “His contributions to making Kendall Square the most innovative square mile on the planet are unmistakable. He has helped strengthen the area’s vibrancy, density, and sense of possibility — an extraordinary gift to the Institute, the city, and the entire region.”

During his tenure, Marsh orchestrated developments throughout Kendall Square, Central Square, and Cambridgeport that resulted in new headquarters for Pfizer, Novartis, Takeda, and space for many other pharmaceutical, life-science, and technology companies. He led the Institute’s multiyear Kendall Square Initiative process to transform six MIT-owned parking lots into 1.8 million square feet of vibrant, mixed-use development including lab and office, market and affordable housing, retail, and open spaces.

Most recently, Marsh led the acquisition and redevelopment process for the 14-acre Volpe site. Once completed, this development will include a new headquarters for the John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, 2 million square feet of research space, 1,400 residential units, retail spaces, a neighborhood community center, open spaces, and a job connector for Cambridge residents.

“Steve is a wonderful colleague and fabulous leader who will be sorely missed at MIT,” says MITIMCo President Seth Alexander. “He has created vibrant residential, commercial, and community spaces out of eyesores and underutilized parcels. His work has contributed to a new sense of vitality and purpose in Kendall Square.” Alexander plans to name Marsh’s successor in the upcoming weeks.

Marsh has served MIT in many other ways, including supporting the expansion of startup and incubator spaces, overseeing academic real estate projects such as the siting and development of the Broad Institute and the construction of the Sidney-Pacific graduate student dormitory, and serving as a longstanding member of the Institute’s Building Committee.

“Steve’s legacy includes a stronger Cambridge innovation ecosystem and welcoming open spaces, restaurants, a grocery store, and a pharmacy within Kendall Square,” says MIT Executive Vice President and Treasurer Glen Shor. “His efforts have also generated significant, sustainable and flexible resources for our budget, likewise advancing our mission.”

Along the way, Marsh has always been mindful of the Cambridge community surrounding the Institute. “Steve really cares about the people who live next to MIT,” says Sarah Gallop, co-director of government and community relations. “He takes the time needed to get to know our neighbors and learn about their hopes and concerns. Steve has worked hand in hand with city and neighborhood leaders to address important community needs in all the major real estate developments that he has led.”

In his 23 years of managing MIT’s investment real estate activities, Marsh has transformed Kendall Square.