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

Boston development board approves 856-bed Sheraton student residence conversion

The+Sheraton+Boston+Hotel+stands+at+39+Dalton+St.+The+BPDA+recently+approved+plans+to+convert+426+rooms+into+student+housing.+
Erin Fine
The Sheraton Boston Hotel stands at 39 Dalton St. The BPDA recently approved plans to convert 426 rooms into student housing.

Boston’s real estate development agency approved earlier this month Northeastern’s proposal to permanently convert 426 rooms in the Sheraton Boston Hotel, also referred to as 39 Dalton St., into student housing, clearing a critical hurdle needed to officially begin the transformation.

The board of directors of the Boston Planning and Development Agency, or BPDA, unanimously approved the proposal to turn a 250,000 square-foot wing of the nearby hotel into student residences with an additional 18,000 square feet of student amenity space at a public hearing Jan. 18. Northeastern has temporarily housed students in hotels since 2018 and increasingly relied on hotels, including 39 Dalton St. and the Westin Copley Place, since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The school first announced its intent to file a plan for the conversion in April 2023. 

The local union representing 39 Dalton St. hotel workers, UNITE HERE Local 26, initially opposed the project when reports first indicated the hotel’s new owners were considering conversion in the spring of 2022, arguing it would result in the loss of over 100 jobs. The union then reversed its position in October 2022, sending the BPDA a letter of support for the project after leaders reached an agreement with hotel management to ensure workers’ job security. 

Adding hundreds of permanent rooms for students in 39 Dalton St. is one of several efforts Northeastern has taken to address a campus housing shortage perpetuated by the over-acceptance of students in the fall of 2021. That year, Northeastern’s freshman class was roughly 1,000 students larger than expected due to an “unplanned and unexpected” COVID-19 “bulge year,” John Tobin, Northeastern’s vice president of city and community engagement, said at a Jan. 23 BPDA meeting

In the fall of 2022, the school added approximately 900 beds to East Village and International Village by converting hundreds of single rooms into doubles and double rooms into triples. Currently, the university is renewing efforts to get BPDA approval for a 23-story, 1,370-bed residential building at 840 Columbus Ave., a proposal that has stalled and faced significant opposition since it was initially introduced in 2019.

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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