Hey, there! Log in / Register

Northeastern details plans for $350-million arena replacement, other new buildings

Proposed replacement for Matthews arena

New Northeastern arena, rendered by Perkins & Will.

Northeastern University yesterday filed detailed plans with the BPDA for its proposed replacement for Matthews Arena on St. Botolph Street and laid out longer-term plans for several new buildings across its campus, including dorms and lab buildings, some 20 stories tall, that could dramatically change the look of one stretch of Huntington Avenue if built.

What the university is calling the 262 St. Botolph Street Multipurpose Athletic Facility would be able to hold 4,000 fans for hockey games and 5,000 for basketball games and would include recreational sports facilities for use by the entire campus, including an indoor turf field, rowing tanks and an auditorium - which the school says might even become a place for Boston Public Schools to hold graduations, according to its "project notification form."

Northeastern said it looked at renovating or adding to Matthews Arena, built in 1910, but concluded the current building is in such poor structural shape, extensive work would not even be possible.

The building has consistently had issues with structural stability and fire safety. While Northeastern has invested in the facility to address these issues, including most recently installing temporary bracing to mitigate safety concerns associated with differential settlement, the facility has been deemed beyond repair. Redevelopment has emerged as the preferred approach from a financial and programmatic perspective, in line with Northeastern's goals as an institution as well as a community partner.

Northeastern says it began looking at adding an addition to the arena in 2019:

As a result of that work, Northeastern discovered the building's limitations, the gravity of the structural deficiencies [which go back as far as the 1940s], and the implications such an addition would have on the structural integrity of the facility. As a result of those studies, Northeastern proceeded with temporary structural improvements to the existing facility and is proposing redevelopment of the Arena with the Proposed Project.

The four-story arena would be topped by solar panels, part of Northeastern's push to reduce its carbon emissions.

The school hopes to begin demolition and construction in early 2025, with opening ceremonies scheduled for the summer of 2028. It estimated construction costs at between $300 million and $350 million.

In its filing, the university discusses how the new building, with a planned 22 new street trees, would fit in with the surrounding area:

The 262 St. Botolph Street Multipurpose Athletic Facility Project design aims to create a unique building for the campus while responding to the surrounding neighborhood context. The scale of the proposed project is driven by the modern athletic and recreational program requirements, and architectural design moves aim to break down building’s massing to create dynamic, inviting, and people-centric spaces for building users, guests, and the community at large.

Paving along both St. Botolph and Gainsborough Streets will relate in style to the existing enhanced streetscape across the street by the New England Conservatory of Music and further north along Gainsborough Street, stitching the Project into the fabric of the greater neighborhood. ...

The proposed design approach balances gameday usability with the building’s role as a welcoming and attractive athletics and special events venue on Northeastern campus. Site elements, such as benches, will offer space for gathering and rest, and a high building overhang provides an all- weather space undercover during inclement weather.

Green infrastructure will support sustainability goals and provide sustainable green space, such as rain gardens within the street furnishing zones for stormwater management. Low maintenance salt tolerant plant material, as well as continuous soil trenches, will promote successful planting and tree growth

With the filing, Northeastern says it will begin a series of required community meetings, both with the general public and with an "impact advisory group" of local residents and business owners appointed by the BPDA, before the BPDA board votes on whether to approve the project.

Another proposed view (Mass. Ave. Orange Line stop on the right):

Rendering of proposed new arena

In addition to detailed plans for the arena replacement, Northeastern also filed a proposed ten-year "institutional master plan" that calls for a number of other new buildings across the university campus. The renderings and details in the plan for these buildings are far less detailed; each will require the university to file a separate, far more detailed, project notification form - and separate sets of community meetings - before work could begin on them.

These proposals include replacing the nearly 100-year-old Burstein Hall and Rubenstein Hall dormitories between 454 and 464 Huntington Ave., across from the MFA, with a 260-foot tower that would include academic uses, dorm rooms and ground-floor retail space, with the "unique opportunity to establish itself as a focal point for artistic and cultural activities, serving not only the university population but also the neighboring community."

Rendering of proposed Huntington Avenue building

Also proposed: A 20-story, 1,000-bed dormitory on Forsyth Street at Huntington Avenue to replace the five-story White Hall, which Northeastern shut just as school was re-starting last August due to structural problems. The university says the new building will be designed to minimize shadows on the Fens.

Rendering of proposed Forsyth Road dorm

Northeastern also wants to tear down the Cabot Center gym at 400 Huntington Ave. to make way for a 250-foot-tall "academic, research, and student life building."

A bit further back from Huntington, Northeastern wants to replace its Mugar Life Sciences Building and Cullinane Hall, at the opposite side of St. Botolph from the arena, with a new 160-foot-tall research building; replace a two-story garage at 10 Gainsborough St. into a 150-foot-tall academic building that would include " a campus life and recreational hub;" replace another century-old building at 70 Forsyth St. into a 200-foot-tall "academic and research building;" and replace Lake Hall, Meserve Hall, Nightingale Hall, Holmes Hall, and Northeastern’s Power Plant, near Ruggles station with a 200-foot-tall building for "instructional, research, administrative and student life spaces."

The school says it also hopes to do major renovations to nine buildings - including the former Horticultural Hall building at 300 Massachusetts Ave. it bought a few months ago.

St. Botolph Street and institutional master plan filings.

Neighborhoods: 
Topics: 


Ad:


Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

Reminds me of the old "streamline moderne" architectural style. I like it.

up
Voting closed 29

Wow - that's a lot of buildings in the Master plan. A bit nice seeing a lot of the older buildings getting replaced. Amazed they got the gainsboro garage - thought the owners never wanted to sell. Kinda sad to see White Hall to get the wrecking ball...

up
Voting closed 30

Kind of a dull arena. Agganis looks pretty good.

up
Voting closed 27

I've seen that place packed for mediocre teams. The Husky athletic department is giving up.

up
Voting closed 20

I don't think hockey has sold out in a while, and basketball doesn't even play there anymore. Also the current capacity is 4,500?

I will say I'm surprised they didn't go a little bigger but 4k is your standard mid level division 1 arena size.

up
Voting closed 19

This past season NU averaged 3,174 for hockey and 1,016 for basketball. NU plays basketball at Matthews Arena because Cabot Gym is not satisfactory for the league they play in.

up
Voting closed 12

that some of the biggest games of the season are going to take place at TD Garden or at other venues nationwide, not at Matthews or its eventual replacement.

up
Voting closed 11

How many parking spaces is it going to have?

up
Voting closed 16

Than what is there now.

up
Voting closed 21

It looks like all of the existing parking on the site will be eliminated, so around negative 70 parking spaces will be created by this project.

up
Voting closed 27

If the garage is going away too. That will also make life interesting for NEC, since it's one of the places listed as parking for Jordan Hall concerts. And also, for that matter, for Symphony Hall.

up
Voting closed 16

With no real project plans.

On page 5-30 (121st page of the document)

No new parking is currently proposed as part of the IMP Projects. Redevelopment of the Gainsborough Garage would impact 328 on-campus spaces. The IMP will evaluate parking demand on a campus-wide basis to determine if, and/or when and where, replacement parking would be necessary as the IMP Projects are constructed.

I've read that line a few times now, I don't think it actually says either way on the fate of those 328 parking spaces in GG. "currently proposed" "would impact" "will evaluate demand" give a wide berth to what might eventually become reality.

up
Voting closed 17

No more need be said

up
Voting closed 18

Why not Mr Aoun?

up
Voting closed 18

Looks like an air fryer.

Very Eurostyle, though.

up
Voting closed 22

I'd like to see Northeastern's plans to minimize disruption to New England Conservatory while all this construction is going on. Especially if they're taking down the Gainsborough Street garage as well as the arena. A music school needs to operate without noise and vibration from neighbors.

up
Voting closed 19

But it's not like there hasn't been major construction ongoing constantly in that immediate area for the past decade and then some.

NEC built a new building across the street from Matthews a handful of years ago, there is a replacement for the Carter School going up just on the other side of the tracks, NU put up East Village on the opposite side of Jordan Hall a decade ago, and the Huntington Tower project above the Huntington Theater is well underway right now.

up
Voting closed 19

I hope they don't make it too glossy and blind NEC with reflective sun. :)

up
Voting closed 11