Suf­folk ‘stop­gap’ plan: Brighton

Seeks lease to ease hous­ing crunch

Boston Herald - - BIZSM@RT - By DONNA GOOD­I­SON — dgood­i­son@boston­her­ald.com

Suf­folk Univer­sity is propos­ing a “stop­gap” so­lu­tion to its need for stu­dent dorms: Leas­ing a 180unit apart­ment build­ing to house up to 350 stu­dents in Brighton, a 20- to 25-minute MBTA ride from its down­town Bos­ton cam­pus.

Suf­folk filed plans with the city to lease the pri­vately owned res­i­den­tial build­ing at 1047 Com­mon­wealth Ave. as a dorm. Bos­ton Univer­sity is in its sec­ond and fi­nal year of leas­ing the prop­erty to house its stu­dents while ren­o­vat­ing its Myles Stan­dish Hall and An­nex stu­dent res­i­dences.

Suf­folk’s pro­posal is a “short­term, stop­gap mea­sure to ad­dress pent-up de­mand” for un­der­grad­u­ate hous­ing as Suf­folk works on a new long-range plan that will ad­dress stu­dent hous­ing needs, ac­cord­ing to John Nucci, the univer­sity’s se­nior vice pres­i­dent of ex­ter­nal af­fairs.

“As with our other hous­ing, this would be man­aged by and su­per­vised by the univer­sity,” Nucci said. “Su­per­vised hous­ing is not only bet­ter for the stu­dents, but ... the city as a whole. It ... frees up hous­ing for fam­i­lies and other res­i­dents.”

A pro­posed change to Suf­folk’s in­sti­tu­tional master plan, filed with the Bos­ton Planning & De­vel­op­ment Agency yes­ter­day, in­di­cates Suf­folk is eye­ing a twoyear lease of the Brighton build­ing from Au­gust 2018 to June 2020, with one two-year re­newal op­tion.

“It’s cur­rently used for stu­dent hous­ing, so there’s no change in use,” Nucci said. “There’s no in­crease in beds. There is no in­creased im­pact on the neigh­bor­hood.”

Suf­folk houses just more than 1,200 stu­dents — about 24 per­cent of its nearly 5,000 un­der­grad­u­ates — in four dorms on Bea­con Hill and in Down­town Cross­ing and the The­atre District.

“Where our cam­pus is lo­cated is be­com­ing pretty well-de­vel­oped by this point,” Nucci said of the de­ci­sion to lease in Brighton.

“There aren’t many op­por­tu­ni­ties,” he said. “What’s im­por­tant is not the dis­tance from the cam­pus, what’s im­por­tant is the time it takes to com­mute, and this is a 20- to 25-minute com­mute.”

Suf­folk’s fu­ture stu­dent hous­ing likely will be more tran­sit line ori­ented than “down­town-cen­tric,” he said.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh has been push­ing for more univer­sity- and col­lege-owned dorms to re­lieve hous­ing pres­sures on res­i­dents. In its 2008-2018 master plan filed with the city, Suf­folk’s goal was hav­ing hous­ing for about 50 per­cent of its un­der­grads.

Cam­bridge’s Ur­ban Spa­ces LLC and New Jer­sey’s Michaels De­vel­op­ment Co. orig­i­nally built 1047 Com­mon­wealth Ave. with the in­tent of rent­ing its apart­ments rather than leas­ing it as a dorm.

The city re­port­edly had as­sur­ances that it would re­turn to reg­u­lar apart­ments once BU’s Myles Stan­dish ren­o­va­tions were done. Ur­ban Spa­ces re­ferred ques­tions to Michaels, which did not re­spond.

STAFF FILE PHOTO BY MATT STONE

NEED­ING ROOM: Suf­folk Univer­sity, whose build­ings in­clude this one at 8 Ash­bur­ton Place, is propos­ing a two-year lease at a 180-unit apart­ment build­ing in Brighton to ease a stu­dent hous­ing crunch.

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