BPDA approves Fenway lease

by Max Reyes / Beacon Staff • January 26, 2017

City officials have approved Emerson’s proposal to lease property in Fenway to temporarily house students during campus construction.

Earlier this month, the Boston Planning & Development Agency approved the college’s lease of 12 Hemenway St., an almost 43,000-square-foot property in Fenway. The Fenway property is proposed to house 115 students during the planned two-year renovations of the Little Building.

“I think it’s good news,” said James Hoppe, vice president and dean of campus life. He said the space was selected over other options because it is most similar to a residence hall.

The property will function like other Emerson dorms, with a residence director and assistants, and security provided by Securitas, according to a BPDA press release.

Hoppe said freshmen won’t be housed in 12 Hemenway, which is about a 10-minute train ride, or a half-hour walk, from campus.

The college is still awaiting approval from the Boston Zoning Commission. According to a press release issued by the college, the commission’s decision will likely be made in early February.

According to the press release, the Little Building renovation and construction of the residence hall at 2 Boylston Pl. are meant to bring the college into compliance with a request from the city to house as many students as possible. These new buildings are proposed to increase the college’s on-campus housing capacity by approximately 33 percent.

Fenway resident John Labella said he opposed Emerson’s lease because the neighborhood is already flooded with temporary residents who don’t contribute to it. According to the BPDA, almost 70 percent of people who live in Fenway are enrolled in college.