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Northeastern wants to rent even more hotel rooms in Copley Square after deciding to halt its study-abroad program in London

Northeastern University has told the BPDA it has increased the number of rooms it wants to rent to house students and the staffers who would oversee them at the Westin Copley Place from roughly 575 to as many as 875 - which would mean up to 19 floors in the hotel being set aside for Northeastern.

In a request filed last week, the university says it might need the extra rooms for students who had originally signed up for study at its London campus as part of its N.U.in England program:

After the application submission date, the decision was made to close the London site for the fall semester and offer participants the opportunity to transfer to the Boston site. Based on this change in operations, the number of estimated beds has increased from 550-575 to 850-875.

Northeastern adds it might seek to rent additional space at the hotel - it has already agreed to rent the entire Midtown Hotel on Huntington Avenue - should it have to shut its campus in Ireland:

As of July 28, 2020, this site is still operational; however, we are closely monitoring the site’s status and pending its closure, there may be a need to further increase the number of beds by approximately ten percent.

In the filing, the school said it will be renting entire floors for students, who would be assigned two to a room, although some of the staffers might be put in rooms on floors with regular hotel guests.

Approximately 50 students (25 rooms) will occupy each floor, across 17-19 floors in the hotel. Floors with student rooms will be designated for students only and will not be booked with other guests. Approximately 3 staff rooms will be present on each floor. Some staff may occupy rooms on non-student floors.

Northeastern describes some of the changes that will be required:

The hotel will be re-arranging furniture in student rooms to ensure two double and/or queen beds are provided where needed. Rooms designated on
student floors that previously only contained king beds will be reorganized to accommodate two beds. Mini-bars, ottomans, and coffee machines will be removed
from the room by the hotel. Northeastern will be providing additional desks and/or bureaus in rooms as needed. All excess furniture will be stored on-site by the hotel. The existing wireless internet capability will be expanded to accommodate student need.

Northeastern needs approval of both the BPDA and ISD to rent the rooms. It's part of a "de-densification" effort by Northeastern and other Boston schools to reduce Covid-19 risks by eliminating triple and quad rooms - as well as the need for more rooms after some on-campus dorms are converted into isolation buildings for students who test positive for the virus.

Revised Northeastern application for temporary off-campus housing (734k PDF).

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Comments

It is going to fun cutting through the Mall and seeing NU students in pajamas and slippers working their way over to the Starbucks at the Marriott and conversely staggering back from Champions later that night.

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Voting closed 57

I suppose this will be good for the hotel. Though even if the students are separated by floors I wonder if it might hurt the already limited tourist business - not sure I'd want to pay Boston hotel prices to stay in a hotel filled with students.

And this is a relatively minor logistical problem, but where will they do their laundry?

It's a far cry from the cot-like bed in the dorm rooms when I went to college.

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Voting closed 19

Adam would normally link to such a source document (he did in the original story he wrote on this) so you could read all the minor details.

For the Westin:

Northeastern will be installing washers and dryers on-site for students using pre-existing washer and dryer hook-ups.

http://www.bostonplans.org/documents/planning/institutional-planning/gui...

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Voting closed 15

I surmise that they can't see really any tourist/convention business coming before next summer, so they are really putting the effort into converting their nice hotel into a dorm. It's better than closing up shop and waiting for a government bail out. (And keeps more of their staff employed.)

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Voting closed 41

The Westin is part of the Marriott chain. Throughout the pandemic Marriott has been managing their hotels as a group. So they have only kept open the smallest hotels to match the decreased demand (until recently the Courtyards were the only ones open). This is a smart business move for the chain. Use the Westin as a dorm and send the tourists across the street to the Marriott instead.

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Voting closed 31

Which, yes, I normally would have added to the article. Done.

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Voting closed 13

We'll forgive you, this time.

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Voting closed 19

With Copley area employers like Wayfair not bringing their staff back until 2021, this will be good for the local businesses in the area. Lots of the lunch type places have not reopened (Bon Me for example) and the food trucks have not returned yet. With all these students coming in September, these places will reopen for them. It will also be interesting to see if the students use the BPL to study (once it opens for inside use).

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Voting closed 28

Will they be able to get room service.

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Why the late decision on England and still-waiting decision on Ireland?

How can any university be thinking of holding semester-abroad programs this fall?

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Did they cancel or did the UK and Ireland ban Americans?

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Ireland has a 14 day quarantine for Americans. There have been stories in Irish media of locals noticing Americans seemingly breaking curfew.

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I think there are some restrictions, either by individual countries or on the EU level (or US restrictions) - but that's not the point I was making.

I'm just amazed that any University would have been on a status of "expect semester-abroad or foreign-study programs to happen as normal" anywhere near this late date. I would have thought that was long since settled.
WPI, for example - I was online with a friend who lives & works in Worcester - they made it official in late June or early July for the first half of the school year: no university-sponsored domestic or international travel, no athletic competition, no travel to global studies & project sites, projects will be on-campus or remote operations.

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Voting closed 17

I better be accumulating a boatload of rewards points...

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This sounds adorable. Can't wait to see young adults in bunny slippers.

I hope this will add an element of adventure for the students. Making lemonade out of lemons.

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I dont understand how two to a room is safe

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In practice, there will be any number of roommate disputes over acceptable levels of risk, where one person is out going to 'rona parties and the other is playing it safe -- and wants a different roomie.

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Voting closed 23

The university had better have a zero tolerance policy for that, like they had to institute for "celebratory" spectator sports victory rioting.

The schools are already on thin liability ice for encouraging students to return to Boston during a pandemic.

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Voting closed 17

Feel sorry for the stores, restaurants and hair salon connected to Copley Westin Hotel.

I for one won't be going there with students running around.

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Voting closed 17

You understand that this is a half mile from the edge of campus, right? In the heart of a city with 35 colleges? In a metropolitan area with over 50 colleges? The students have always been there.

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Voting closed 43

Which colleges were there then? Smaller enrollment and no shopping mall, correct?

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Voting closed 13

Huh?

Your original comment did not connect it directly to pandemic conditions. And we've had pandemics in this country since 1918. I do believe you are correct about the mall not existing in 1918. Northeastern was already there, however, as I believe most of the other colleges were as well.

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International students, for sure, but I wouldn't worry too much about masses of undergrads swarming the boutiques.

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Voting closed 26

Barney's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, Neiman-Marcus all closed or bankrupt now.

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Voting closed 21

Add Nordstroms, Ann Taylor, the Loft, and Sur La Table to that list (and I am sure I am missing others). This list covers both malls - Prudential and Copley. I, for one, am hoping the college kids spend time and money at these locations or else they will both become empty ghost towns (not a good thing for the city). Please go shop at these places if you want them to continue to exist and get food from the restaurants in these malls.

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Voting closed 11

though there's a Nordstrom Rack a couple blocks away on Boylston Street.

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OOPs - mental lapse there - you are right

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Is The Gap considered a boutique? How about Barnes & Noble?

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Voting closed 7

If I was a paying parent, I'd tell my kid to work for a year instead. They'll learn more. Remember when Northeastern was a safety school?

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