Northeastern to build second LightView-style residence hall at 840 Columbus Ave.


Albert Tamura

LightView is owned and operated by American Campus Communities.

George Barker, deputy sports editor

Northeastern University and American Campus Communities Inc. are again collaborating on a major construction project on Columbus Avenue — this time aiming to construct a 26-story mixed-use building at 840 Columbus Ave., replacing a surface-level parking area that Northeastern owns. 

American Campus Communities, or ACC, worked with NU to construct the LightView residence hall that opened this summer, where students have had mixed reactions to the unique blend of on-campus and off-campus housing that exists within the university’s newest housing complex. According to the Project Notification Form submitted by ACC Nov. 12, the new building, currently unnamed, is being constructed “to attract and retain qualified students and to address the student housing goals of the Boston 2030 Plan.”

Much like LightView, ACC and Northeastern will work together to manage the building as “ACC will own and operate the student apartment community under a dormitory license.” The office and academic space will be owned and operated by Northeastern, but the university also “intends to lease a portion of the site to an ACC-related entity that will develop the [academic/office space].”

While the new building will have the space to hold 975 student beds, “800 will be consolidated from other on-campus student residences and 175 are new student beds.” The report mentions that much of Northeastern’s current “on-campus” housing comes from “buildings that are outdated, inefficient and not particularly attractive to students” in the form of leased properties nearby. 

The project on 840 Columbus Ave. aims to replace those beds with housing “that will draw students to live on-campus” while returning the leased properties back to the general housing market “to increase housing opportunities for individuals and families in Boston and return properties onto the city’s real estate tax rolls.” Those properties will not be released by the university until after the completion of the building at 840 Columbus to prevent any reduction in current housing. The housing will be restricted to usage by Northeastern students and give third-, fourth- and fifth-year students the “first right to lease apartments.” The lease also requires the building be run in accordance with the Northeastern student code of conduct.

The bed spaces offered at the new building will feature studios, two-bedroom and four-bedroom spaces with varying shared or private accommodations. Additionally, the site will feature an exercise space, a laundry room, a social lounge and an “Academic Success Center.” There will also be “on-site paraprofessional staff and resident assistants available” to residents.

The parking lot that it will replace is currently used by monthly card holders of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Beyond just housing, the structure will feature “115,300 square feet of [Northeastern] office space and 2,800 square feet of retail space,” which will be contained to the lowest five floors. 

Construction will begin in the first quarter of 2021 and is expected to take 31 months.