‘Endowment campus’ model setting trend in LMA

By Rebeca Oliveira

Gazette Staff


It’s the new trend in Longwood Medical Area (LMA) institutional expansion: building one tower to pay for another.

“Endowment campus” is the term used by academic institutions for leasing a parcel of land to another institution—usually medical research. That other institution then builds and operates a facility and pays the academic institution a leasing fee.

Emmanuel College already has the Merck Research Lab on its property and other institutions are following the lucrative example.

While lab towers are already plentiful in the LMA, endowment campus towers continue to spring up: The Winsor School and Wentworth Institute of Technology (WIT) have recently proposed similar projects.

Emmanuel is continuing the trend with its proposed Parcel C project, a five- to 13-story 360,000-square-foot tower slated for medical research. The leasing of that parcel would finance two other major construction projects on the Emmanuel campus.

WIT is considering the development of up to 650,000 square feet of research and development facilities on the current Sweeney Field site, bordered by Huntington Avenue and Parker and Ruggles streets. WIT has no current plans for such an undertaking, but it is a “potential future project,” WIT spokesperson Jamie Kelly told the Gazette.

One of WIT’s goals in this deal would be “to generate an income stream…to defray costs associated with the…proposed future projects” listed in its 10-year master development plan, the document states.

The potential development would include two to three buildings, ranging from six to 14 stories, along with below-grade parking of approximately 490 spaces on the 3-acre site.

The Winsor School has also recently proposed a similar arrangement for its campus, as the Gazette previously reported: the proposed 10-story, 300,000-square-foot tower on the corner of Brookline and Longwood Avenues would house medical research facilities and would be leased to a future as-yet undecided partner. The lease income would be used to finance a new 100,000-square-foot performance arts and wellness center and a possible 30,000-square-foot addition to the existing academic buildings on the Winsor campus.


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