The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

New documents reveal further plans for undergraduate housing in rented Sheraton Boston hotel

A rendering of the front of the 39 Dalton St residence included in the project fact sheet submitted to the BPDA Aug. 17 from the building’s owners. The updated residence hall includes a dedicated student entrance. Photo courtesy BPDA.

Northeastern’s plan to permanently transform 428 rooms in the Sheraton Boston hotel into undergraduate housing for an estimated 854 students is continuing to take shape. 

Dubbed the “Belvidere Street Student Housing Project,” the Sheraton, located at 39 Dalton St., has temporarily housed students returning to Boston from the program for years. But, struggling with a housing shortage, the school increasingly relied on additional nearby hotels including the Westin and Midtown to house students — more than 50% of students were placed in Boston hotels during the spring 2023 semester. 

In April, the university moved to solidify the Sheraton Boston as a permanent student residence when new owners of the Sheraton announced their intent to turn the hotel’s south tower into a dormitory for undergraduates. 

Now, public development project documents filed Aug. 17 in the online records library of the Boston Planning and Development Agency, or BPDA, further reveal the university’s plans to make 39 Dalton St. an NU-branded home for undergraduates. 

A diagram of the proposed ground floor of the Sheraton hotel included in the project’s fact sheet from the owner of 39 Dalton St. The updated area would include a dining/cafe area. Photo courtesy BPDA.

On April 11, a letter of intent filed with the BPDA detailing Northeastern’s plan to occupy the Sheraton proposed repurposing 12,000 square feet of hotel space for students. However, according to the updated project fact sheet, the amount of repurposed space has increased 50%, allotting 18,000 square feet to be transformed into dedicated student amenities.

Northeastern plans to use the ground floor retail area of the hotel and the third-floor hotel area as student spaces, providing services “such as a student lounge, cafe/dining, quiet study area, laundry room and/or fitness center,” as well as a new main building entrance just for students, according to the fact sheet.

An illustration included in the project fact sheet showing the exterior of the 39 Dalton St. residence hall. The university plans to add green spaces and bike racks outside the building, according to the fact sheet. Photo courtesy BPDA.

The document cites the community benefits expected to come from the project, including repainting the pedestrian crosswalk across from the hotel near the Christian Science Plaza, mitigating the urban heat island effect by adding green spaces and helping “ease the demand” on the local housing market. 

Turning hotel rooms into dorms is also predicted to increase the building’s wastewater production by 8,560 gallons per day and water use by 9,220 gallons per day, according to the project’s fact sheet. 

Sheraton hotel employees, represented by the union UNITE HERE Local 26, vehemently opposed the conversion, petitioning against it in April 2022. Union supporters said the transformation would result in the loss of 100 union jobs at the Sheraton because students living in the building do not receive hotel amenities such as housekeeping or room service.

In a statement to The News last spring, Renata Nyul, vice president of communications for Northeastern, pointed to the school’s record admissions numbers as an indicator of a need for new housing options. 

“Demand for a Northeastern education has never been stronger,” Nyul said. “We took the opportunity to house more of our students in a university-supervised setting, and reduce pressure on the city’s rental market.”

About the Contributor
Sonel Cutler, Campus Editor
Sonel Cutler is a third-year journalism and political science combined major and campus editor of The News. She has previously served as deputy campus editor and is excited to continue bringing thoughtful and thorough coverage of campus life to Northeastern students. Sonel was most recently on co-op with the Boston Globe's Metro desk. You can follow her on Twitter at @cutler_sonel.
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