News: Press Releases

July 17, 2014

UMass to open downtown center for academic programs, UMass Club and administrative offices

  • The UMass System
UMass Center on Beacon Hill will bring courses and programs to the capital city's business/government/commercial center

BOSTON - July 17, 2014: The University of Massachusetts will enhance its presence in downtown Boston by offering a range of academic programs at One Beacon Street as of January 2016, when an academic center is created and the UMass Club and some UMass administrative offices move to the downtown office building.

The 2016 move will return the UMass President's office and other University agencies to One Beacon Street after a 10-year stay at 225 Franklin Street in the Financial District. For the first time, all five UMass campuses will have the opportunity to offer classes in downtown Boston - a move aimed at serving the growing number of people seeking to advance their education while working in the city's business/government/commercial core.

"The UMass Center on Beacon Hill will allow UMass to expand its mission of service to the Commonwealth and continue its upward trajectory of progress and growth," said President Robert L. Caret. "This effort is the product of thoughtful analysis and significant deliberation. It represents a major step forward for UMass."

Philip W. Johnston, Chairman of the UMass Building Authority, said the One Beacon location offers huge advantages to students, staff and stakeholders of the University - and represents the best financial choice for the University.

"This central location will make it easy for men and women working in the heart of downtown Boston to continue their education," said Johnston. "The UMass Center on Beacon Hill will also provide a robust location for the UMass Club, which in less than a decade has become an important meeting place for UMass alumni and friends."

"UMass is charting the right course in adding an educational component to its other activities in downtown Boston," said Henry M. Thomas III, chairman of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees. "I applaud a decision that is so clearly in accord with the University's core academic mission."

The UMass Building Authority (UMBA), the University's capital-projects agency, negotiated the One Beacon lease and will have its offices there.

At present, the University envisions offering MBA, MPA and Professional Science master's degree programs at the building, which is located at the corner of Beacon and Tremont streets. UMass will have four classrooms at One Beacon, with a combined capacity of 120 students. In-person courses could be augmented by online programming, an approach similar to that of the downtown Springfield center that UMass will open in September.

UMass also plans to survey leaders in various sectors - including business, government, banking and health care - to determine the academic needs of their downtown employees. In addition, UMass may form partnerships with local community colleges to provide degree-completion programs.

Under the terms of the agreement, the University will lease the 31st and 32nd floors of the office building. Plans call for the space to be apportioned as follows:

32nd Floor: UMass Club, UMass Building Authority, UMass Foundation, UMass campus offices
31st Floor: UMass President's Office, other UMass agency space

UMass has been seeking new space because its current lease at 225 Franklin Street expires at the end of 2015. Under the terms of the leases covering the two floors and classroom space on the concourse level, 66,745 rentable square feet of space will be obtained at a blended rate of $52.71 per square foot over the life of the 15-year lease. The lease is scheduled to commence in January 2016. Of the 100 University of Massachusetts employees expected to be based at One Beacon Street, nearly half - or 49 - would be employees of the UMass President's Office. UMass Club staff members are not University employees.

To aid in its search for new space, UMBA retained the services of the commercial real estate firm Transwestern/RBJ, which reviewed the inventory of properties suitable for providing academic/club/administrative space. When moving to One Beacon Street was weighed against remaining at 225 Franklin, analysis showed that moving would save the University more than $5 million over the life of the lease.

"The Building Authority conducted a comprehensive review of downtown Boston real estate options and determined that One Beacon is hands-down the best space in terms of value, quality, cost and accessibility," said Patricia Filippone, interim director of UMBA.

Under the terms of the agreement, the University will receive the current office furniture at no additional cost. UMass also will receive significant signage at the well-known downtown building.

The new space will allow the UMass Club to continue increasing its membership, placing its offerings of meals, events, speakers and scholarship fund-raising efforts in the heart of the city. The UMass Club is owned by the University but is managed by ClubCorp, a Dallas-based company that owns or operates 160 golf and country clubs, business clubs, sports clubs and alumni clubs in 25 states, the District of Columbia and two foreign countries.

The UMass Club opened in 2005 and currently has 931 members.

Robert Emmet Hayes, chairman of the UMass Club's Board of Governors, said the move to One Beacon Street would, "open an exciting new chapter in the history of the UMass Club."

"It is hard to imagine a more impressive or prestigious location than to be at the center of our city's business, governmental and commercial core," said Hayes, a UMass Boston graduate and founding member of the UMass Club. "UMass has played a major role in making Massachusetts the storied and successful state that it is, thus it is particularly fitting that the UMass community's club move to this location that evokes our Commonwealth's great history. From this vantage point, we see the successes of the past and the outlines of our bright future."

Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073; Ann Scales, 617-287-4084