Northeastern University and American Campus Communities of Austin, TX this week filed plans with the BPDA for a 26-story building that would include 21 floors of dorm space atop five floors of academic and office space - and that would let the school sell off other dorm buildings to be turned into tax-generating rental apartments or condos.
In its BPDA filing, Northeastern explained both the need for the new building and the ramifications for the local housing market:
The Project will provide an opportunity for the university to consolidate student beds in a single building offering a more dynamic living and learning community that appeals to Northeastern upper-class students. Across the university’s entire student housing portfolio there are several buildings that are outdated, inefficient, and not particularly attractive to students. Many of these buildings are apartment buildings and rooming houses that were converted for student housing 40 to 50 years ago. To update Northeastern’s student housing offerings and to provide housing that will draw students to live on-campus, the university plans to replace approximately 800 of these beds. These beds will be replaced in the proposed Project so that beds can be returned back to the market in order to increase housing opportunities for individuals and families in Boston and return properties onto the City’s real estate tax rolls. These properties will be sold or ground leased after the new student beds are ready for occupancy; therefore there will be no decrease in student beds provided on campus. The Project and the anticipated property dispositions described above would result in approximately 175 net new beds on campus.
American Campus Communities - which teamed up with Northeastern on an 825-bed dorm building that opened this fall a couple blocks up Columbus Avenue - would operate the dorm part of the building.
The new building would replace an existing 86-space parking lot now used by a nearby Beth Israel Deaconess building; Northeastern is not planning any new parking to go with the building.
Northeastern and American Campus Communities hope to begin 31 months of construction in early 2021.
840 Columbus Ave. project notification form (22M PDF).