NU outlines 18 possible projects

Northeastern University’s (NU) top priorities for its new Institutional Master Plan (IMP) include a new science building, a major renovation of a city playground and at least one major dormitory project. The IMP includes 18 possible projects.

While NU has stated that the IMP is a “wish list” of all hoped-for projects, its officials have repeatedly stated that not all projects would be completed. NU has also stated that its plan was to address housing in the latter half of the 10-year IMP. No project timeframe is specified in the IMP itself.

Top Priority

Columbus Lot: replace the 2.7-acre parking lot at 795 Columbus Ave. with three buildings varying from seven to 18 stories each, creating up to 600,000 square feet of academic and research space.

Carter Playground: redevelopment of the playground at Columbus Avenue and Cedar Street. NU would donate a grounds to increase the area of the playground about 25 percent, enough to add a second multi-purpose field. The redevelopment would also reorient the fields and existing tennis courts.

One housing project: there are six possible projects, though the likeliest candidates are Burstein/Rubenstein, Ryder Hall, Burke St. lot and Tremont Street, John Tobin, NU’s vice president of city and community affairs, told the Gazette.

Other projects

Burstein/Rubenstein: across from the Museum of Fine Arts, would create a dorm tower of up to 25 stories and up to 250 beds.

Ryder Hall: add up to 180,000 square feet to existing Ryder Hall at 11 Leon St. The academic and residential building could be as tall as 12 stories. The IMP does not outline how many beds would be created by this project.

Burke St. Lot: replace surface parking lot with up to 165,000 square feet of office and residential space in a six- to eight-story building at Columbus Avenue and Burke Street.

North Lot: replace a 1.9-acre surface parking lot at Gainborough and Hemenway streets with up to 250,000 square feet of academic space in a eight- to 10-story building.

Matthews Arena: add a three- to five-story, up to 120,000-square-foot building to accommodate athletic facilities and student space at 262 St. Botolph St. Partial replacement for Cabot Center on Huntington Avenue, which is expected to be replaced.

Cargill Hall: demolish three existing NU buildings on Forsyth Street and Huntington Avenue and replace them with two six- to eight-story academic buildings, totaling up to 150,000 square feet.

Cabot Site: currently occupied by NU’s athletic buildings at 400 Huntington Ave., to be replaced with up to 500,000 square feet of mixed-used academic, research, student activity, retail and possibly residential space. Would be comprised of three to five buildings of up to 15 stories.

Forsyth Replacement: replace a two-story converted warehouse at 70 Forsyth St. with an eight- to 12-story, up to 150,000-square-foot academic building.

New Science Quad: redevelop and renovate existing science quad at 334 Huntington Ave. with buildings as high at 10 stories.

Gainsborough Garage: replace aging garage at 10 Gainsborough St. with state-of-the-art student recreation and athletic facilities, aimed to complement Matthews Arena addition. Up to nine stories and 240,000 square feet, would include student activity space, athletic facilities and 300 parking spaces.

Areas of Interest

The following are also being considered, though at an earlier stage of development.

Parcel 3: Boston Redevelopment Authority-owned parcel on Tremont Street next to Madison Park High School. A third-party developer is in discussion with NU to possibly include administrative and academic offices and athletic support facilities.

Christian Science Center: NU currently leases 85,911 square feet from the Christian Science Church on Belvidere Street and has no further plans.

Parcel 18 East: NU-owned parcel located at Columbus Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard, intended for a hotel.

Hastings Wing of YMCA: If NU finds a suitable new site for the Medeiros Transitional Housing Program, the Hastings wing of the 316 Huntington Ave. building could be considered for redevelopment into student housing or other uses.

Fenway Center: Located at 77 St. Stephen St., used for performance and classroom space, considered for possible expansion.

Tremont Street: Possible housing project in partnership with parcel’s owner.

An IMP is a comprehensive development plan that describes an institution’s existing facilities, long-range planning goals and proposed projects.

The proposed NU IMP is available at

The proposed new science quad would replace Northeastern’s parking lot at Columbus Avenue and Cunard Street. (Courtesy Illustration)

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