840 Columbus Avenue is a proposal to develop a mixed-use academic and residential building on a University-owned surface parking lot. In partnership with the American Campus Communities, the current plan includes 124,000 SF of academic space, nearly 18,000 SF of community gathering and resource space, and 800 beds of student housing. When approved and built, this mixed-use project will support academic goals of the University for innovative learning spaces, community economic development, and fulfillment of Northeastern’s commitment to the City of Boston to deliver 1,000 net new student beds as part of the 2013 Institutional Master Plan.
The community economic development program will occupy the first floor of the building with access from all three sides of the site: Tremont, Melnea Cass and Columbus. In conversation with the community, the many Northeastern programs that focus on education, small business development and social and economic resilience have been developing plans for the space. Floors 2 through 5 will serve as an interdisciplinary hub for innovative teaching and learning with a variety of flexible spaces for changing needs. Starting at the sixth floor the building sets back from the street edges and provides apartments for approximately 800 students. These new beds will address student housing preferences and enable the university to return some of the student housing properties embedded in the Fenway neighborhood to the open market.
The site for the Project lies at the edge of the Northeastern campus in Roxbury and as such offers a unique opportunity to bring together initiatives that share a university and surrounding community purpose. With the site’s history as part of urban renewal, the ground floor program occupying most of the block will be dedicated for partnerships and University programs that support economic development for the neighboring community. The space will house multiple programs that will address critical needs and areas of interest expressed by the community in the following four categories: 1) educational access, 2) jobs and workforce development, 3) small business support, and 4) building capacity for existing community organizations that address economic development.
A joint design workshop was held on April 16th, 2021.
More information about the project, including public presentations, meeting recordings, the Draft Project Impact Report (DPIR), and public comments can be found on the Boston Planning and Development Agency’s project website.