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New agreement established to build residence hall

Northeastern University, the YMCA of Greater Boston and Phoenix Property Company have reached an agreement that will result in the construction of a 720-bed residence hall that will be available to house Northeastern undergraduates. The new residence hall will be built on YMCA property, which faces St. Botolph Street and is directly adjacent to Northeastern’s campus.

The YMCA property on Huntington Avenue consists of three wings: the Hastings Wing, 316 Huntington Avenue, and St. Botolph’s frontage, which is in the rear of the building and houses the YMCA’s gym. Under the agreement, Phoenix Property Company will purchase two of the wings—the Hastings Wing and St. Botolph’s frontage—from the YMCA for $21.5 million. Phoenix will invest $75 million to build a residence hall with 720 beds on St. Botolph’s frontage.

“I applaud Northeastern University for this creative solution that will fulfill its commitment to the city and the neighborhood to increase the amount of university-approved housing for undergraduate students. These new dormitories will have the same high standard of student accountability that is maintained in other Northeastern dorms,” said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. “The project is a great example of how Boston institutions can work together to solve problems and create jobs in our city.”

Pending neighborhood support and city approvals, the residence hall would open in September 2013. The building will be 16 stories in height, which is comparable to Northeastern’s Village H building, and provide 590 dorm-style beds and 130 apartment-style beds available for Northeastern undergraduates.

Northeastern also announced that beginning next fall it will implement a plan requiring all freshmen and sophomores to live in university-approved housing.

“All of this is possible because of Mayor Menino’s tireless work to champion the interests of the city and its universities,” said Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern. “We believe that housing more of our students in university-approved settings is a true win-win. It’s good for our students and fulfills a commitment the University made to our surrounding neighborhoods. We look forward to working with the mayor and our neighbors to make this project a reality.”

The addition of 720 university-approved beds exceeds Northeastern’s 2006 commitment to house an additional 1,800 undergraduates. The majority of this commitment was met with the opening in fall 2009 of International Village, a 1,200-bed residence hall at the intersection of Tremont Street and Melnea Cass Boulevard.

“Today marks the continuation of a long, shared history between two venerable institutions in Boston – the Y and Northeastern University,” said Kevin Washington, president and CEO, YMCA of Greater Boston. “This is an opportunity that will maximize an underutilized asset for the Y while helping to support the City of Boston’s vision for more university-supervised student housing.”

Phoenix Property Company has a proven track record building and running residence halls for college campuses. Currently, it provides housing for students at the University of Maryland, Texas Christian University, Florida State, UCLA and the University of Texas.

“We are thrilled to be part of this agreement with two great Boston institutions,” said Jason Runnels, executive vice president of Phoenix Property Company. “Phoenix Property Company has a strong track-record of developing student housing around the country. We look forward to working with the YMCA, Northeastern, Mayor Menino and other community leaders to make this exciting project a reality.”

The agreement provides the University the option to purchase the residence hall from Phoenix Property Company in the future. It also provides an option for the University to purchase the Hastings Wing, where the University currently leases four floors for classroom space and 88 dorm-style beds. The top two floors of the Hastings Wing house the Cardinal Medeiros housing program, which assists people in transition. The Cardinal Medeiros program is expected to continue its operations in the Hastings Wing, renting the space from Phoenix Property or Northeastern instead of the YMCA.

The YMCA will continue to own the third wing, 316 Huntington Avenue, where its headquarters are located. The agreement gives Northeastern the “right of first offer” should the YMCA decide to sell the 316 Huntington Avenue wing in the future.

The agreement leverages the strengths of each organization and enables Northeastern, the YMCA and Phoenix Property Company to accomplish more together than each could accomplish independently.

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