Northeastern University, The City of Boston and American Campus Communities come together to open LightView student living community
New conveniently located, eco-friendly apartments offer innovative live-learn environment for students while freeing up Boston housing for workforce
September 11, 2019. BOSTON. American Campus Communities (NYSE: ACC) joined Northeastern University and the City of Boston today to commemorate the opening of LightView, the newest student living community that represents an innovative approach to housing more students through public-private partnerships with universities.
Conveniently located at 744 Columbus Avenue adjacent to the southeastern border of Northeastern’s campus, the opening of the new 20-story residential tower marks a key milestone for the “Housing A Changing City: Boston 2030” initiative which aims to improve the quality and quantity of housing for students attending Boston institutions of higher education. The 825-bed facility is helping free up housing needed for the local community workforce.
“As the very first developer-led, equity financed student housing project in the city of Boston, we are grateful to Northeastern and the City for choosing us to be their trusted partner to deliver on what we do best, providing a community where students love living,” said Bill Bayless, CEO of American Campus Communities. “This winning partnership between Northeastern, the City and ACC has resulted in providing this year’s incoming students and those for years to come with our best living-learning community to date.”
LightView aims to be a place where students find their “place to shine.” Incoming student residents have already become immersed in a collaborative learning community choosing from predominantly four-occupant apartments with shared or private accommodations. The community features nearly 12,000 square feet of interior amenity and common area space, including social and recreational lounges, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a 24-hour Academic Success Center, and 2,000 square feet of vibrant retail. LightView has professional on-site management and staff dedicated to serving students’ needs and helping them enjoy their Northeastern experience. The official opening was celebrated at a ribbon cutting event today with members of the adjoining Roxbury, Mission Hill and Fenway neighborhoods.
“This innovative financing model allows Northeastern to preserve significant funds that can be directed to our core mission of teaching and research, while allowing ACC to focus on offering students a residential experience conducive to academic, professional, and personal success,” said Kathy Spiegelman, vice president for campus planning at Northeastern. “We are grateful to Mayor Walsh for his leadership, and we look forward to collaborating with the city on additional projects that will add even more vitality to the Columbus Avenue corridor.”
With its fresh supply of affordable units to suit a variety of budgets, LightView was fully leased nine months before opening. The new student community offers better value compared to other housing options nearby, which are not new. For example, a comparable private bedroom in an unfurnished apartment located further from campus costs between $1,700 and $2,100 per student, excluding utilities (according to 2019 Yardi data) and pricing for a private bedroom in a fully-furnished apartment at LightView starts at $1,589, including all utilities.
“This new residence hall is helping us meet the needs of Boston’s students while freeing up more housing for the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Mayor J. Walsh. “We hope this collaboration can serve as a model for more projects in the future. Through commitments like this one, I know that we will achieve our housing goals for 2030 and beyond.”
In 2014, the City of Boston outlined an initiative that includes improving the quality and quantity of student housing for Boston college and university students that will in turn open up existing housing currently occupied by students for the Boston workforce.
Because the building will be privately owned and operated by ACC, its units will not be part of Northeastern’s housing lottery system. Instead, third-, fourth-, and fifth-year students will be able to lease units from ACC and they will be held to the same code of conduct that are in place in other campus housing spaces.
“I feel more prepared than ever to embrace the school year living in my new apartment with spaces to study and be healthy,” said Laura Bilal, a third-year Massachusetts native studying bioengineering. “In just a couple of weeks, I have already made new friends and have even already joined a study group for my biology class. This is way better than what I could have hoped for as LightView really checks more than just the boxes of affordability, location and community.”
The overall design and development process included student focus groups and robust community involvement to ensure all stakeholders had input to facilitate project success. Local emerging artists from THE Studio at Grand Image -Katie Todaro, Kyle Goderwis Shay Culligan and Tom Rogers- collectively bring a diverse set of artworks that enhance the urban and dynamic environment of LightView. These painters, 3D fabricators and graphic artists featured American novelists, civil rights activists and socially engaged subjects in their works that include: Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Clement Garnett Morgan, Bobbi Gibb, Melnea Cass. Architectural firms CUBE3 and Elkus Manfredi Architects collaborated to design a sustainable community that integrates into the neighborhood, providing an affordable academic environment for students.
LightView is targeting Platinum Certification from The U.S. Green Building Council, the top honor of its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, which encourages the construction of energy and resource-efficient buildings that offer healthy living environments.
The transaction was structured under the American Campus Equity (ACE)® program, a public-private partnership that provides on-campus housing to universities without using their funds or tax-payer dollars. This gives universities the opportunity to expand and modernize their student housing portfolios without using their financial resources, while allowing ACC to deliver high-quality student housing at lower development costs and operating expenses and offer affordable rents to residents.
About American Campus Communities
American Campus Communities, Inc. is the largest owner, manager and developer of high-quality student housing communities in the United States. The company is a fully integrated, self-managed and self-administered equity real estate investment trust (REIT) with expertise in the design, finance, development, construction management and operational management of student housing properties. As of June 30, 2019, American Campus Communities owned 169 student housing properties containing approximately 108,800 beds. Including its owned and third-party managed properties, ACC's total managed portfolio consisted of 203 properties with approximately 133,100 beds. For more information, visit www.americancampus.com.