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Old 07-06-2006, 09:40 AM   #1
KentXie
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Northeastern eyes dorms

Northeastern eyes dorms: New towers would house 2,000By Scott Van Voorhis
Boston Herald Business Reporter
Thursday, July 6, 2006


Northeastern University is poised to roll out plans to house nearly 2,000 students in a trio of high-rise dorms.

University officials are slated to file plans with City Hall next week for two dorm towers in Roxbury and a third where an administrative building now stands on its main campus.

The move comes 18 months after Northeastern triggered an uproar among its neighbors after proposing a new dorm tower within feet of a Fenway condo complex.

Working with a community task force, the university went back to the drawing board.

The new proposal, by contrast, has been well-received, based on recommendations by the panel of neighborhood residents and officials, said Fred McGrail, a Northeastern spokesman.

The dorm-building drive comes amid pressure by City Hall on Northeastern to put more students in housing controlled by the university. That issue took center stage after the student-fueled Super Bowl riots.

?A lot of work has gone into this,? McGrail said. ?We have gotten to the point where we feel we can move forward.?

Northeastern?s Roxbury dorm plan - which would house 1,200 students - calls for a pair of 22-story towers connected by a 12-story mid-rise on a parking lot near the Ruggles T station. Another building would house administrative staff and retail shops while, separately, a hotel is planned nearby.

A second dorm complex - housing another 600 students - would be built on the nearby main campus where the Cullinane administrative building now stands.

Meanwhile, Northeastern is eyeing yet another, longer-term plan for a complex where its Gainsborough Garage now stands across from Matthews arena, McGrail said.
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Old 07-06-2006, 11:51 AM   #2
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NU dorm sites relieve neighbors


An 18-month debate led to high-rise plan

By Cristina Silva and Emma G. Fitzsimmons, Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent | July 6, 2006



Northeastern University, after 18 months of debate with community groups, said yesterday that it would propose building two high-rise dorms on sites surrounded mostly by commercial buildings.

The compromise plan, developed with a community task force, relieved some area residents who had feared that Northeastern would build the dorms too close to their homes in neighborhoods that they say already are heavily populated with boisterous undergraduates.

Next week, Northeastern will submit its proposal for approval to the Boston Redevelopment Authority. It could take months of public hearings and talks with city officials before the plan gets a final nod, a BRA spokeswoman said.

The dorms, slated for completion within five years, would end a nearly two-year struggle between university officials and residents on how and where the school should house its students. Community leaders and city officials demanded the school monitor its students more closely and provide housing for them on campus after a 21-year-old man was killed during rioting near the campus after the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2004. James Grabowski, a 21-year-old North Shore Community College student, died after being hit by a sport utility vehicle.

About half of Northeastern's 14,000 undergraduates live on campus. Under the proposal, Northeastern will provide housing for another 1,800 students by converting an administrative building on campus into a 22-story dorm and building another dorm of the same height on a parking lot near the Ruggles T stop.

Both sites are on the Roxbury side of the campus, which also borders the Symphony neighborhood. The Ruggles Street dorm would be near a public housing project and the Boston Police Department headquarters.

Northeastern revealed its plan to a community task force last week to cheers and cries of relief, said Jeffrey Brody, who attended the meeting.

``I couldn't believe it," said Brody, a resident of the Symphony area for the past 21 years who opposed an earlier proposal that would have put the dorms closer to his neighborhood. ``It has been a very long process of negotiation and back and forth with the community, and finally we have a happy ending."

Northeastern officials said they are eager to break ground as soon as possible and are happy with the locations the community encouraged them to build on.

``After a long process and a lot of back and forth, we think we have reached a good place," said Fred McGrail, a university spokesman.

Eugene Ramey, who cuts hair at a barbershop a few blocks from one of the dorms, said he was pleased with the location. ``If they come down here and get a hair cut, it's fine with me," Ramey said. ``I could use the business."

Shamice Brown, who works across the street at a day-care center in the police station, said one of the dorms will eliminate some parking, but she does not mind.

``Northeastern is a very good school," Brown said. ``I think they should have a dorm in Roxbury so they're in the community."

But a few Roxbury residents complained that the university had catered to the demands of the residents of the Symphony neighborhood because it put the dorms -- and the noisy students they sometimes house -- closer to their less affluent neighbors.

``I'd rather have a supermarket, a YMCA, or a Boys and Girls Club," said David Ocasio, 36, who lives in a public housing development on Whittier Street. ``They could build housing for poor people."

The Ruggles Street dorm would feature two 22-story towers and 1,200 beds, McGrail said. The building would also have space for retailers and should be open by 2009.

Northeastern would tear down Cullinane Hall, an administrative building on Huntington Avenue, and put up the other 600-bed dorm, which has one 22-story tower, in its spot by 2011.

The university is also seeking approval to eventually build a dorm on Gainsborough Street, where a Northeastern-owned parking lot now sits, McGrail said.

A few students reached yesterday were split on the new dorms' location.
Victoria Fabiano, 19, who will be a junior this fall and who lives in an apartment on Columbus Avenue near campus, said she would not want to live in the proposed dorm on Ruggles Street, because she doesn't think the area is safe.

``The closer you live to Ruggles, the less safe it is," she said. ``When I was a freshman, we never went to the other side of campus."

George Gottschalk, 21, who will also be a junior, disagreed.

``It is right across from the Police Department," said Gottschalk, who lives in Somerville. ``I think that is pretty safe."

Cristina Silva can be reached at csilva@globe.com.
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Old 07-06-2006, 12:07 PM   #3
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It's good to see that most people think positively about the new plans. Too bad it says it will takes months before anything can happen.
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Old 07-06-2006, 04:39 PM   #4
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YAY!
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Old 07-07-2006, 10:02 AM   #5
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NU News has articles galore on this.

Quote:
Roxbury parcel a lose-lose for students, community
Issue date: 7/5/06 Section: Editorial

Stop a Northeastern student in the street, and ask them why they chose this school over the many options Boston has to offer for higher education. The first thing they'll say is "co-op," and then they'll talk about the campus.

One of Northeastern's biggest draws is that it is a self-contained campus in the middle of the city. It feels like a campus community, and doesn't sprawl across three T stops. However, if Northeastern wins its bid to purchase Parcel P-3 and build 1,400 beds, it will be the first step toward the deterioration of that small-campus feeling.

Parcel P-3 is located across from police headquarters on Tremont Street. If you're having trouble picturing it, it's near the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center. If you thought housing on Columbus Avenue was a hike, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Look Northeastern, we get it. We get that you need more on-campus beds. And we get that no matter where you propose to build, the community cries foul. But Parcel P-3 is not the answer. It seems that every time you build new beds, you build bigger, fancier and pricier. But no one wants to live on Mission Hill and pay a West Village price.

People move to The Hill because it's cheap. People pay outrageous on-campus housing costs because it's convenient. Parcel P-3 will be neither. It will not be a desirable housing choice for students, and more than just about any proposal to date, it really will be encroaching on a community that clearly doesn't want us there.

Other proposals on the table for the parcel of land include a National Center for Afro American Artists or a big-box store in the vein of Target. Both other proposals would also include office space and enrich the community. Is it any wonder that Roxbury leaders are so staunchly against Northeastern's proposal? And let's face it, how sweet would it be to have a Target within walking distance?

While there is no doubt Northeastern needs to expand and provide more on-campus housing, it should be closer to home. Potential housing at the YMCA would be a perfect option, staying within the bounds of the beautiful campus we're so proud of. And while housing at the Y wouldn't provide as many beds as Parcel P-3, it would be a start.

In all the politics of bed-counts and community relations, let's not forget the people who will be sleeping in those beds. Parcel P-3 is certainly not a student-centered option, and it isn't really a win for anyone.
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Old 07-07-2006, 10:11 AM   #6
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This NU News article's describing something a little different than the Globe & Herald:

Quote:
Plot for a parcel
Public forum sheds light on NU's plan for Roxbury
Ricky Thompson
Issue date: 7/5/06 Section: News

Local residents and city officials attended a public meeting two weeks ago to discuss the future of a seven-acre plot on Tremont Street - one that may include a 1,400-bed residence hall.

The crowd that turned out for the three-hour meeting, held June 22 at the Boston Water and Sewer Commission in Roxbury, filled the room to capacity as three teams of developers presented their plan for the property. Half a dozen teenagers held court in the back of the packed conference room, wielding signs with slogans like "We need places to go," and "More opportunities for youth residents." Others stood at the entrance, handing out buttons in support of Tremont Center.

The site at stake, known as Parcel P-3, is located across the street from police headquarters and has been mostly vacant for almost half a century. But by the end of the year, the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) is set to decide which developer will have the right to build there.

Northeastern has agreed to provide funding for one proposal, Tremont Center, which was submitted by Madison Park Community Development Corp. and Trinity Financial.

The deal includes leasing 300 units of apartment-style housing to the university, in exchange for $20 million it has pledged to subsidize the costs of construction.

Moving toward the center

Tremont Center is projected to be more than 240,000 square feet of commercial and retail space and would stand between eight and 15 stories tall at its highest point.

The center would include four areas of open space, including a central green with a pavilion that could be used for outdoor community events, and a semi-private courtyard to be shared by the student residents.

It will have more than 200 underground parking spaces, available to the general public at comparable rates to other garages in the area, and 85 new surface spots.

A transfer of wealth

Under the proposal, Northeastern plans to contribute an additional $2 million to establish an on-site business assistance and employment resource center, aimed at helping local residents prepare for jobs in the health care and educational industries.

In addition to student housing, the proposal includes 111 units of family housing. Half will be sold as market-rate, for-sale condos, 25 units will be sold as affordable, for-sale condos, and what remains will be used as affordable rental units.

Community expansion

Tremont Center will include a new home for the Health Careers Academy, a Horace Mann charter school operated from Hayden Hall, and the Whittier Street Health and Wellness Center, a federally-funded, non-profit community health center that leases space from Northeastern in the Renaissance Park building.

Established in 1998, the charter school, which caters to those who aspire for careers in health professions, has maintained a partnership with Northeastern that allows for its approximately 185 students to use the university's science laboratories, physical education facilities and visual arts studios.

Preservation of local history

The proposal also calls for the construction of a community cultural center, comprising a restaurant and jazz caf? and an exhibition space highlighting the musical, artistic and political history of Roxbury, as well as a 100-seat black box theatre and more than 60,000 square feet of commerical or office space - of which almost 30,000 square feet would be leased to Northeastern for administrative and educational functions.

A large LED screen will display the center's announcements and attractions from the front of the building.
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Old 07-07-2006, 10:23 AM   #7
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An older NU News article, including discussion of competing proposals. It's long, so I'm only including the beginning and choice quotes from the middle.

Quote:
Roxbury site may yield 1,400 NU beds
Stephen Babcock
Issue date: 6/7/06 Section: News


Media Credit: Photo courtesy/Boston Redevelopment Authority
An artist's rendering of a proposed final residence hall. Northeastern has submitted one of three proposals for the site, located on Tremont Street across from the Boston Police Department.

A 1,400-bed residence hall may be built across from Boston Police Headquarters on Tremont Street if Northeastern's proposal to develop the seven-acre lot is accepted.

Under the proposal, which was one of three finalists chosen by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) earlier this month, Northeastern would build the residence hall, and provide $20 million to subsidize the costs to construct the rest.

The development would include 200 units of neighborhood housing, four commercial buildings, a youth center and a new location for the Whittier Street Health Center, which already leases space at the Northeastern-owned Renaissance Plaza on Columbus Avenue.

"The university is the sole funding source," said Jeff Doggett, associate director of government affairs for the university. "Without us in the deal, it just doesn't work."

Doggett said Northeastern was approached by Madison Park Community Development Corp. and Trinity Financial to provide funding for the deal.

Madison Park is the same development company that partnered with the university to finance construction of Davenport Commons in the late 1990s.

In the Davenport deal, Northeastern agreed it would provide neighborhood housing on the lower levels of the Columbus Avenue residence halls.

One proposal, submitted by the National Center for African American Artists, includes about one million square feet of office and retail space, a hotel, 300 units of affordable and neighborhood housing and a 3,000-square-foot jazz cafe.

Eighty percent of the space would be commercial and retail, but the revenue generated would be used to build the Elma Lewis School of Performing Arts and museum space.

The third proposal, also known as Heritage Common, was submitted by Taylor Smith Properties and Weston Associates, and calls for 100,000 square feet of office space, 140 housing units, a hotel and space for a big-box retailer in the vein of Target.
...
City Councilor Chuck Turner, who represents the area in Roxbury that includes Parcel 3, said he and two other elected officials, State Senator Dianne Wilkerson and State Representative Gloria Fox, with representatives from Madison Park and Trinity Financial to convince them to kill their proposal.

He called the university's plan "insane," specifically because of the inclusion of university residence halls.

"Clearly their submission shows they have no respect to the community," Turner said. "Fifteen-hundred students on the Roxbury side of Columbus Avenue will just lead to more interference in the community."

He described students as a "battering ram" of gentrification, saying they create a community that dissuades new families from moving into the area.
...
"Is this some divine right of Northeastern to expand? I don't think so," he said. "Why should we feel that Northeastern's expansion is an imperative for our community?"
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Old 12-22-2006, 01:11 PM   #8
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from the BRA website:


Northeastern to Add 1,800 New Dorm Beds to Its Campus, Marks Important Milestone for Long-Term Housing Plan As part of Mayor Menino?s long-term commitment to improve and maintain the quality of life for Boston?s neighborhoods by housing more students on campus, the BRA Board approved two new residence halls on Northeastern University?s campus at today?s public hearing. The dorm approval comes as part of the university?s Institutional Master Plan (IMP) process, and will result in the creation of approximately 1,200 new dorm beds in the short term, with additional 600 beds planned for a future phase of construction on a separate site.

The first of two new residence halls to be created under a third amendment to Northeastern?s IMP, known as Residence Hall I, will be located at the intersection of Tremont Street and Ruggles Street. The second approved residence hall, known as Residence Hall K, is to be located at the current site of the school?s Cullinane Hall on St. Botolph Street, and will add an additional 600 dorm beds to the campus. This second residence hall will be constructed in place of the current building only after Hall I is completed, at which time it will house the current uses of Cullinane Hall. The amendment also includes information on four potential future projects that include additional student housing as part of Northeastern?s long-term housing strategy.

Under Mayor Menino?s leadership, the third amendment approval comes after a two-year community process to determine the best possible solution for moving Northeastern students out of rental housing in surrounding neighborhoods and into supervised housing on the school?s campus. In addition to 1,200 new beds, Residence Hall I will contain lounge areas, study spaces, seminar rooms and classrooms, exercise and laundry facilities, dwelling units and offices for resident director and resident assistants, a full service dining facility and other common areas. The 495,000 square-foot project will also include significant upgrades to an adjacent plaza that will create a larger and more pedestrian-friendly space.

The $200 million project will create approximately 350 construction jobs and approximately 65 permanent jobs. Construction is expected to begin in 2007.


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Old 12-25-2006, 09:08 PM   #9
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From the Globe story:

From the Globe story this past July:

City Councilor Chuck Turner, who represents the area in Roxbury that includes Parcel 3, said he and two other elected officials, State Senator Dianne Wilkerson and State Representative Gloria Fox, with representatives from Madison Park and Trinity Financial to convince them to kill their proposal.

He called the university's plan "insane," specifically because of the inclusion of university residence halls ...

... He described students as a "battering ram" of gentrification, saying they create a community that dissuades new families from moving into the area ...

... "Is this some divine right of Northeastern to expand? I don't think so," he said. "Why should we feel that Northeastern's expansion is an imperative for our community?"


What is "our" community???? Is that racist speak for black vs. white???

Northeastern IS a part of that community, and one that not only employs many people from the neighborhood but works to be a good neighbor, by bringing people into the area.

The INSANE proposal would have been to bring in a 300 person jazz club ... or, even worse ... a TARGET?????

WTFFFFFFFFFFF???????????
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Old 12-25-2006, 09:11 PM   #10
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Error ...

The article I quoted from appeared in the Northeastern News, apparently.
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Old 12-25-2006, 09:16 PM   #11
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Why not have both dorms and a jazz club? The more live music in our city, the better.

(Historically, this area had many jazz clubs, before the proposed I-95 tore down lots of buildings.)
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Old 12-25-2006, 09:17 PM   #12
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Yeah this is clearly a black-white thing.

Chuck Turner is this ancient black guy with whiskers. Asking Northeastern to refrain from building anything on the parcel is not an attempt to hault gentrification, but an attempt to stop the eventual whiteification of the neighborhood. This area is one of the crappiest in the city and any new non big-box south-bay like development would only help.

Northeastern owns that parcel. There were plans floating around for a long time about building a hotel high rise on it and offering commuter shuttle service to Longwood (which is actually damn close when you think about it). This would've provided Northeastern with some serious revenues. Building a dorm is definitely a concession.
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Old 12-25-2006, 11:47 PM   #13
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Quote:
Northeastern IS a part of that community
Exactly. NU goes back to 1898, well before ANY of these people who are talking were around
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Old 12-26-2006, 12:43 AM   #14
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All I'll say is nobody better not touch Wally's. That place is a motherf***** institution.
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:21 PM   #15
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The Nimby's in this city are out of control. This would be a great project. The thought of a big box store here depresses me.
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Old 12-27-2006, 01:42 AM   #16
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That part of Boston is in dire need of some gentrification. As a recent NU alum, I would hate to see these students move closer to the projects. But it is nice to see how Tremont is sprucing up farther and farther west. Chuck Turner needs to stay in Mendela and keep his racist mouth shut... Oh wait, its still Roxbury.
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Old 12-27-2006, 09:03 AM   #17
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i feel Turner is racist too

Turner's campaign motto was "I'm black, I'm bold, and I'm beautiful'.
Sounds pretty racist to me. How can he represent any non-black in the city?
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Old 12-27-2006, 10:09 AM   #18
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Re: i feel Turner is racist too

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulC
Turner's campaign motto was "I'm black, I'm bold, and I'm beautiful'.
Sounds pretty racist to me. How can he represent any non-black in the city?
Actually, his motto was "Bold, Bald and Bright". While I don't particularly care for his personality; as a constituent, I have found his office to be responsive whenever I have had an issue to address (and I'm not black).
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Old 12-27-2006, 10:49 AM   #19
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Turner

Hi I remember hearing on the news that he said black. Maybe the newscaster was wrong or perhaps Turner changed it latter. I was irritated at his at least racial insensitivity so I'm sure I remember correctly.
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Old 01-02-2007, 10:36 PM   #20
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oppisition is good

It appears that some people that have posted support for this project either do not live in the area or did not attend NU. First, logistically the proposed dorms are not located within the general campus. Currently there are dorms located on the other side of Ruggles (on Columbus ave.) and they are a hassle to get to and from. Not the best location when walking at night. So the propose location would be even worse.

NU has been around long before the current ?community? was established, but it was contained to one building and then expanded by absorbing an adjacent college. Also NU was a commuter school. Please let me know if I am wrong, but I believe over 50% of all NU dorms contain a permanent Boston resident (non NU student) because of there rapid expansions and dissolving the family community around them.

It is not a black or white thing, but the project in that area should represent the community it is located in and it is not NU.

I have a lot issues with this proposed development site, especially after they demolition a Jazz/Blue club landmark, to let weeds and crab grass grow.

Chuck and his supporters are doing the right thing by showing opposition to this project.
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