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Northeastern agrees to lop off units from proposed Columbus Avenue dorm

The Huntington News reports Northeastern University has agreed to make a proposed 975-bed dorm at 840 Columbus Ave. a proposed 800-bed dorm after nearby residents said: Enough.

As part of the project, which would be built and run by a private company, Northeastern would sell off some of the rental units it now owns in the Fenway.

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1980s
Universities: We want to build some big dorms
Locals: NO! YOU CAN'T DO THAT! NO!
Universities: Okay.

2020s
Locals: the students are out of control! The students are driving up housing prices! You MUST build dorms for them!
Universities: Okay, sure
Locals: THAT'S TOO BIG!

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Voting closed 79

As a neighborhood resident and well-informed community member I'd just like to say your scenario is fun to read but completely incorrect. The dorm site was supposed to have a development that provide jobs and economic opportunities for residents. NEU has been building dorms with community input for years. The tower was a complete departure from what was agreed upon. Nice use of sarcastic caps though.

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Voting closed 40

I'm not getting how your reply addresses Swirly's point. More student housing brings more students under the supervision of the university and removes them from the rental market to help keep demand more in line with supply. I understand the development isn't quite what was agreed upon and the benefits to the community fall short, but how does reducing the number of units help anything?

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More student housing being a good thing does not mean any size dorm is appropriate in any location.

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The area fought dorm building in the 80s and 90s, then demanded it in the 10s.

This would not be an issue in the 20s had they not thrown tantrums in the 90s.

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So by not housing 175 students here you prevented the equivalent of 58 units of housing for regular Bostonians from being on the market.

A whole apartment building that would have not used another acre of land, gone because of your complaints.

People like you are why the rents and home prices in this city are too damn high. We should be asking how we can house more people with each development, not less.

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So why didnt an agreement get reached on more jobs? Instead its less beds.

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How many of the residents are even the same now as in the 1980s? I imagine a few are, but not too many. You seem to be speaking of them as if they're the exact same people.

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F these residents. We are in a housing crisis and the more student they can get into dorms the better. This is why this entire region in fucked. The uppity burbs won't allow any density and places where we need to house students have a problem with a big dorm. I'd much rather have the students contained in a dorm than trashing my neighborhood and living in shitty apartments run by slumlords.
Students attract a bad class of landlord and the more dorms, the better

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Voting closed 38

This is assuming the majority of students want to be in dorms. The building next to mine is rented out to members of a fraternity. They have a lot of freedom being off-campus, they have a yard and get to invite large numbers of friends over to party at any given time. I don't see them or indeed many students wanting to be confined to a dorm that has restrictions.

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Colleges are able to have residency policies that students agree to upon enrolling. Some colleges require all students to live in campus housing, or require this for 1/2/3 years. They usually make exceptions if you're over 21/25/whatever, or married, or have a permanent address within a certain nearby zone.

Some of them do this because they believe the residential experience is important. Others do it in response to community concerns about the university expanding and taking over neighborhoods.

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Northeastern requires students to live on-campus for the first two years. When I started in 2010, it was only the first year but that soon changed to two years.

Just dug this up from the independent student newspaper: https://huntnewsnu.com/12378/campus/sophomores-to-stay-on-campus/

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not requires it...it guarantees a spot. I commuted from home freshman and sophomore year

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It's still a requirement, you must have applied for a waiver to live at home. Unless the University is lying about the policy, which was in part made to appease the neighbors.

https://www.northeastern.edu/housing/residency-waiver/

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i graduated in 2006 so things may have changed since then.....

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Ah, yes. The class that entered in 2011 was the first subject to the 2 year rule.

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Needs to end. All of the colleges and universities buying up entire neighborhoods need to contribute.

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They contribute more than churches at least.

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I should hope so.

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So the more units they build means more older housing they can sell off. Which means more property goes back on the tax rolls. The only trade off is how high a new dorm reaches into the sky.

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They contribute more than temples at least

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Two points, first Northeastern has owned this property since the 90s, and before then it was owned by the state as part of the Inner Expressway plans, so it's not been a tax paying parcel for decades.

Second, it will pay taxes, just like the Burke St/Lightview dorm Northeastern built in 2018. Because they are built and run by a private entity they pay taxes. Lightview paid over a million dollars in taxes in 2020. It was confirmed in the public meeting that the same will apply to 840 Columbus. That's bringing a parcel back onto the city tax role that has been missing for decades.

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its a private developer ,american campus communities building 4 bedroom apts ,Lightview 2, they do pay property taxes BUT the rents are close to luxury prices
What the neighborhood wanted was for NU to build dorms in the core of the campus, their IMP had several sites for potential dorms.
buildings on the edges of the campus should be less impactful on the neighbors.
But less costly for the school to have an outside developer build the dorm on land that formerly was public.... so thats where we end up.

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So what do you count as impact? Just height or something else.

Here you either have a Dorm or a classroom/research building. The Dorm does allow more public interaction than the other two.

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The IMP does not have other sites for dorms. The other developments contemplated in the IMP were an academic extension to Ryder Hall (on Ruggles St), a replacement of Cabot athletic center (on Huntington), a new academic building on the North Lot (Fenway), and a renovation of the Gainsborough Garage and Science buildings. All of those are academic buildings and involve building on constrained sites and demo-ing buildings that are still being used. This site is a totally unused parking lot, of course it makes more sense to build there.

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