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Guests of honor pose with shovels at the groundbreaking ceremony. Image by: Anna Fisher-Pinkert
December 2, 2016

UMass Boston Breaks Ground on 1,000-Bed Residence Hall

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  • Boston

University of Massachusetts Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley and state and local dignitaries broke ground today on a $120 million, 260,000-square-foot residence hall, achieving a long-held goal of providing UMass Boston students with an on-campus residential option.

The 1,077-bed residence hall — the first-ever student housing on campus — will be located at the intersection of Mt. Vernon Street and University Drive West. It will be available to first-year UMass Boston students, and is expected to open for the fall 2018 semester. 

“This is an historic moment for the University of Massachusetts Boston. On-campus student housing is fundamental to our continued growth and development and is central to the success of our strategic and master plans,” Motley said. “We know that residence halls promote student development, enhance student success, and help to pave the way toward graduation.”

The student-housing complex will consist of two buildings, ranging from seven to twelve stories, offering a mixture of styles ranging from single-occupancy apartments to four-person units.  It will include living-learning amenities such as seminar rooms, study lounges, a 23,000-square-foot dining hall, and other amenities to promote academic and personal development.

The residence hall will be built using a public-private partnership (P3), an innovative development model that is the first of its kind for the UMass system.

“On-campus housing contributes to student success and opportunity while fueling a more vibrant campus life,” said UMass President Marty Meehan. “This collaborative public-private partnership will have a transformative effect and usher in a new era at UMass Boston. We thank our partners in the project as well as the Baker-Polito administration for their support of this new model for student housing.”

Under the arrangement, the UMass Building Authority has contracted with Capstone Development Partners, a national leader in building student housing, to lease a portion of the UMass Boston campus to construct the student housing complex. Capstone will develop the facility, which will be owned and operated by Provident Commonwealth Education Resources, Inc., a nonprofit management entity. UMass Boston will oversee the student life at the facility, providing resident assistants and other support to enhance student success.

"Throughout our 26-year corporate history, Capstone has been a pioneer and leader in student housing development through P3s, partnering with nearly 70 colleges and universities across the nation, including several, like UMass Boston, which were undertaking their first on-campus student housing development.  We are pleased to partner with PCER, UMBA and UMass Boston, and our design-build team of Elkus Manfredi Architects and Shawmut Design and Construction, to develop this much needed and highly anticipated housing community, utilizing the faster, more cost-efficient developer-led P3 method of delivery," said Jeff Jones, Capstone principal and project executive. 

The project is being financed with tax-exempt bonds issued by MassDevelopment, the state’s quasi-public finance and development authority, and underwritten by a team led by Citigroup.

"This project will provide UMass Boston with much-needed student housing that will reduce demand on nearby rental markets and enhance students’ college experience,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. "MassDevelopment is proud to support our first public-private partnership student housing venture with this project.”

UMass Building Authority Executive Director Patricia Filippone said, "UMBA is pleased to participate in this innovative P3 to deliver student housing to UMass Boston.”

According to most published research, academic success is positively related to living in university sponsored on- and off-campus facilities. Freshmen living in on-campus housing have significantly higher grades and retention rates.

“Our students need to have access to these kinds of living arrangements their first year of college to help them succeed and go on to contribute to our economy,” Chancellor Motley said.

Learn more about the residence hall project at https://www.umb.edu/the_university/masterplan/residence_hall_1.

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