Northeastern to become permanent tenant at Sheraton Boston Hotel, converting 428 rooms into dorms


Erin Fine

The owners of the Sheraton Boston Hotel in Copley Square will soon file detailed plans to permanently convert the the 428-room south tower into a dormitory with room for about 854 students.

Sonel Cutler, campus editor

Northeastern is expected to permanently convert a section of the Sheraton Boston Hotel in Copley Square into undergraduate housing for about 854 students, according to a Universal Hub story Tuesday.

Often seen as overflow housing for a university struggling with a housing crisis, Northeastern has temporarily placed students in the Sheraton since spring 2018, The News previously reported. Starting with just 60 returning students and later increasing use of the hotel to eventually house hundreds, the Sheraton now houses more than 50% of returning undergraduates. 

The current owners of the Sheraton, Hawkins Way Capital and Värde Partners, bought the hotel from Host Hotels & Resorts in February 2022 and filed a letter of intent with the Boston Planning and Development Agency, or BPDA, Tuesday. The owners will soon file additional detailed plans to BPDA in order to officially turn the South Tower of the hotel into a residence hall with 428 rooms, according to the letter. 

The owners first indicated they were considering Northeastern as permanent tenants in the hotel last spring, prompting vocal opposition from Northeastern students and hotel employees with UNITE HERE Local 26, the union representing hotel employees. Union supporters say the conversion would result in the loss of 100 union jobs at the Sheraton because students living in the building do not receive hotel amenities or service.

Demand for a Northeastern education has never been stronger,” Renata Nyul, vice president of communications and spokesperson for Northeastern, said in a statement to The News. “We received more than 96,000 undergraduate applications this year. When we learned that Hawkins Capital purchased the south tower of the Sheraton, we took the opportunity to house more of our students in a university-supervised setting, and reduce pressure on the city’s rental market.”

Boston’s City Council released a statement in March 2022 in support of hotel workers calling on Värde Partners and Hawkins Way Capital to reconsider any change of use to the hotel. 

“During this pandemic, you worked hard, you struggled, you sacrificed and you made Boston a city,” Boston City Council President Ed Flynn said in the statement. “Now that the pandemic is over, and travel is coming back to the city, what are we going to do? We’re going to cut jobs after the pandemic? That’s not what a world-class city would do. That’s not what a progressive city would do.”

The letter of intent also proposes repurposing 12,000 square feet of the existing ground floor and third floor of the hotel “to create approximately 12,000 square feet of dedicated student amenities,” which would include a student lounge, dining facilities, a quiet study area, a laundry room, a fitness center, and an entry into the hotel just for students.

This is a developing story and will be updated.