Berklee Breaks Ground for 16-Story Tower

By 
Allen Bush
December 2, 2011
Berklee president Roger Brown and professor Livingston Taylor celebrate the start of construction of the 16-story building at 160 Massachusetts Avenue.
From left: Lee Kennedy Construction Company's Lee Michael Kennedy, City Councilor Mike Ross, Berklee President Roger H. Brown, State Representative Marty Walz, Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Rev. John Unni, architect William Rawn.
An artist's rendering of Berklee's future building at 160 Massachusetts Avenue
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth

Berklee president Roger H. Brown, Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino, and several community leaders scooped shovelfuls of sand on November 30 at a construction site where a 16-story modern tower will rise within two years, expanding facilities where Berklee students will live, record, perform, and practice.

The 155,000-square-foot building to be located at 160 Massachusetts Avenue will house dorm rooms with approximately 370 beds, a two-story dining hall, a student performance venue with seating for 400, recording studios, practice and ensemble rooms, student lounges, and street-level retail space. The $100 million building will be the first in the college's 66-year history built from the ground up. Completion is expected for the fall 2013 semester.

"When the building is complete, we will be able to house all of our entering students for the first time in our history," said President Brown during an outdoor ceremony attended by Berklee community members, neighbors, and city leaders. "We'll have a cafeteria that in the evening will become a place where our neighbors can come and hear live music. In the basement will be a 300 percent increase in the number of recording studios and production suites, including one that will hold 50 musicians."

Mayor Menino called Berklee a world-class institution and lauded its enduring contributions to the city, including support for the Boston Public Schools, the annual BeanTown Jazz Festival, and the volume of free neighborhood concerts.

"This is great news for a number of reasons," Mayor Menino said. "The new construction is creating more than 300 union jobs, and it's helping my Comprehensive Housing Plan by putting more students in campus housing, freeing up neighborhood housing for working families."

Lee Kennedy Company, of Quincy, MA, is the construction firm for the project. The project architect is William Rawn Associates, Architects, Inc., of Boston, responsible for award-winning performing arts and campus buildings, including the Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, the Williams College '62 Center for Theater and Dance, the Cambridge Public Library, and Northeastern University Buildings G and H.