Impact Report Submitted for First Boston Purpose-Built Private Student Residence Hall

By Erika Schnitzer, Associate EditorBoston–Phoenix Property Co., a Dallas-based real estate development firm, has submitted a Draft Project Impact Report to the Boston Redevelopment Agency (BRA) for the first purpose-built private student residence hall in Boston.The original building design was submitted to the BRA in April 2007. There was a significant reduction in the number of beds—from 1,140 to 793—the height—from 34 to 24 stories, explains Jason Runnels, executive vice president and a principal for Phoenix Property Co. “We changed some of the massing to accommodate a few of the city’s requests with respect to how the project laid out in the neighborhood. We also turned buildings to make them more suitable to the existing neighbors.”Situated behind the YMCA at 316 Huntington Ave., the residence hall is adjacent to all local trains. With plans to keep the existing historical façade of the Y, Phoenix Property Co. will build the development where the old gymnasium stood. Additionally, the firm will renovate a portion of the building so that the 55-room Cardinal Medeiros Transitional Program can remain in place.The residence hall, to be named GrandMarc at St. Botolph, will provide 796 beds in both dormitory- and suite-style units. It is designed as fully furnished apartment-style lease-by-the-bedroom suites for students in 10 universities with a half-mile radius of the property.“There is a lack of land and available housing alternatives for students in this area,” Runnels tells MHN. Over 40,000 students are enrolled in these 10 universities, but only 13,000 beds are available on-campus. Students living off campus are a constant source of pressure for both the students and the neighborhood, and universities want their students to live in more controlled and managed environments, Runnel explains.The development will include 24-hour on-site management and maintenance, an Internet café, laundry, recreation room, media room and lounges.If the project is approved, construction will begin in the third quarter of 2009 with deliveries for the fall of 2011.