Building Plans Unveiled


  Architectural rendering of the 168 Massachusetts Avenue building by Dongik Lee of William Rawn Associates

President Roger Brown has announced development plans for one of the college's latest real estate acquisitions at 168 Massachusetts Avenue. The site's existing one-story structure will be razed to make room for a 16-story, 170,000-square-foot mixed-use building.

The new facility will house new dorm rooms with 350 beds, which will increase Berklee's on-campus housing capacity to approximately 1,200 students. A two-story dining hall will have seating for 400 and provide a venue for student performances in the evening. A music-technology center with recording studios will be developed below grade, with an acoustically isolated environment for recording and postproduction activities. The upper dormitory floors will house practice and ensemble rooms, a fitness center, and student lounges. The street level will feature new retail space and possibly a restaurant with live music. Floor-to-ceiling windows on the lower floors will bring light and life from within the building out into the neighborhood.

In 2009 the college purchased the 13,355-square-foot parcel from the First Church of Christ, Scientist, for $6.25 million. The property is adjacent to the college's largest property at the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston Street, which includes dorm and classroom spaces and the Berklee Performance Center. Cost for the construction of the new Berklee project is estimated at $65 million. Work will begin in the fall of 2011, and the building is scheduled to open in time for the 2013 fall semester.

The project architect, William Rawn Associates, has designed several award-winning performing arts and college campus buildings, including the Seiji Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood, the Williams College '62 Center for Theater and Dance, the new Cambridge Public Library, and Northeastern University Buildings G and H.

The project will enable the college to adjust the height of another facility that is part of the college's institutional master plan. The Berklee Crossroads project is proposed for the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston Street, the site of the Berklee Performance Center and a former bank building that now houses academic and administrative spaces. In light of the 168 Massachusetts Avenue plan and per a request from neighborhood groups, Berklee has proposed to decrease the height of the planned Crossroads building from 29 to 24 stories. The Crossroads development will include a new performance center, dorms, classrooms, and student life space.

Plans for the 168 Massachusetts Avenue project and the proposed changes to Berklee Crossroads were shared with the city-appointed Berklee community task force at a meeting on November 29, 2010, and are being reviewed with Fenway and Back Bay neighborhood groups. By February 2011, Berklee plans to file its new institutional master plan and more detailed plans for the 168 Massachusetts Avenue development with the Boston Redevelopment Authority.