Northeastern shrinks proposed apartment construction after critique from Boston residents - The Huntington News

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Introduction of Northeastern University Task Force

Northeast Airlines submitted the revised design of 840 Columbus Avenue to the task force and the Boston Planning and Development Agency on January 28, 2021.

Northeastern University will reduce

After the residents of Roxbury returned to the original design, proceed to 840 Columbus Avenue.

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The complex built in cooperation with the American Campus Community (ACC) will accommodate 975 student beds. The new plan will build 800 student beds. The university reported to the Northeastern University task force and

Or BPDA, at a virtual public meeting on January 28.

Northeast plans to balance this new building by selling some student apartment properties near Fenway and maintain the planned net income of 175 beds. University vice president and head of campus planning and development Kathy Spiegelman said Northeastern has not yet determined which Fenway properties will be sold and is working with Fenway community organizations to determine how these properties will return to the market.

"I don't want this to become a dispute between Fenway and Roxbury. For many years, many people in our work group have been working hard to develop student housing in the center of the campus," Fenway Community Development Corporation Policy and Community Planning Director Supervisor Richard Giordano said. "Now at Fenway, we have at least 3,000 students-6,000 if you count students from other schools. I don’t want this to look like Fenway’s benefit, and Roxbury lost. It's tough here."

Several residents who attended the meeting expressed concern that the price of the new ACC housing would be much more expensive than the housing phased out in Fenway and that it would not be able to successfully keep students on campus.

"It is obvious that no matter what new house we build, its price may never be the same as the price of an old building that does not have to provide the same cost for a new building or other facilities," Spiegelman said.

Gerald Autler, senior project manager of BPDA, responded to these concerns, saying that students showed great demand for LightView leases and maximized its capacity shortly after the opening of LightView leases.

Northeast officials announced the proposal that two local entrepreneurs entered 840 Columbus Avenue as consultants: Studio Luz Architects co-founder Hansy Better Barraza and Mafia founder Heid Turner (Jae'da Turner). Turner is also a Northeast alum.

Barraza showed her modified design for the building's 17,000 square foot community space, which covers almost the entire first floor. Barraza and university officials said that after meeting with dozens of community organizations, they are considering a range of public facilities, including performance spaces, libraries and retail pop-ups or micro-enterprise areas. They said they are still considering various community programming ideas, such as yoga and dance classes.

Roxbury residents attending the meeting raised some concerns about Northeastern's plan: the height of the building will cover the entire community and block sunlight; it will not effectively solve the housing shortage problem; and it will not create jobs for people in marginalized communities. They said Northeast Airlines failed to fulfill its previous promises to benefit Roxbury residents.

Working group member Louis Elisa said: "Everything you said should be ready." "That's why I stopped."

Elisa is also concerned about the experience of Roxbury residents on campus. He feels that the residents of Roxbury will never feel truly welcome in the Northeast.

He said: "Crossing the campus is not as easy as people want. It was interrupted and intercepted by security personnel asking where you are going." "On the 27-foot easement, it would be the same thing. ...If they are not in the school environment, it will be a challenge."

The next step in Northeastern's construction process is to submit a draft project impact report to BPDA. The university hopes to break ground in August this year and open the facility in the summer of 2024.

At the end of the meeting, Altler reminded people that this process is far from over.

"The project was not approved. It will not proceed until it is approved not only by the BPDA board of directors, but also by the Boston District Committee." "The challenge is obvious, but this is the goal of each process, trying to build a consensus around the project. In order to gain support before the board of directors and zone committees."

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