Message from President Brown: New Building

Roger H. Brown
April 17, 2009
Berklee President Roger H. Brown
Photo by Phil Farnsworth

Dear Member of the Berklee Community,

I am pleased to announce that the college has purchased the 154–174 Massachusetts Avenue buildings, which currently house the McDonald's and Arirang House restaurants, and several important Berklee functions. Many of us at Berklee know this as 168 Massachusetts Avenue. This is a site that our campus planning committee identified as a top priority four years ago, but it was not for sale at the time. We made a personal appeal to the Christian Science Church, explaining the buildings' strategic importance to Berklee, and after an extended negotiation, we have finally reached closure. We are very grateful to the church for its willingness to sell this property to us.

Because the buildings are currently occupied with rent-paying tenants (including Berklee), our net cash flow from the building will be significant, making the decision to purchase in this challenging economy more feasible. While our longer-term plans are not finalized, the buildings give us several options to consider that would not have been possible otherwise.

Given the financial pressures we face as a result of declining endowment values and the very large investment we've made in additional student financial aid, we will not likely be developing the project until we experience some recovery in the endowment and a return to stronger financial performance. Discussions about how to best utilize the space will be taken up by our space planning committee and shared with the city and neighbors as part of our ongoing campus master planning process.

With the acquisition of the 155, 161, and 171 Massachusetts Avenue buildings (also known as the Mason Block), 7 Haviland Street, and now 154–174 Massachusetts Avenue, we have assembled five prime properties right in the heart of our campus. As you know, construction on 7 Haviland and 155 Massachusetts Avenue will begin soon. Please join me in congratulating Bill Whitney, our vice president of real estate; the space planning committee; and the board of trustees campus planning committee, led by Michael Eisenson. This transaction is the culmination of a great deal of hard work by everyone involved, and the result will serve our community for many years to come.



Roger H. Brown

President, Berklee College of Music

Read more about the acquisition.