112,000 SF Suffolk University Facility to Rise at 20 Somerset St.

Suffolk University’s plans to construct a new building for educational use at 20 Somerset St., which will consolidate the university’s classrooms and move all of its existing academic seats out of the residential area of Beacon Hill, has been approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

The new building, expected to open in summer 2015, will encompass 112,000 square feet in 10 floors, two of them partially or fully below grade. The $62 million project will replace a vacant government office building.

There will be four floors each of general-education and science classrooms of various sizes, providing 1,100 classroom seats.

The building will also house student support services, a cafeteria and performance space, and an indoor lounge area. The project creates a new public space at Roemer Plaza.

The University will refit the Donahue and Archer buildings for office space and eventually sell its Fenton Building and annex on Derne Street and the Ridgeway building on Cambridge Street as part of its plan to relocate classrooms.

The University will now work with city, state, and preservation officials to finalize the design for the $62 million building and move forward with construction. The University is working with the NBBJ architectural firm.

Features of the 20 Somerset project include:

- Create more than 300 new construction jobs
- Seek LEED Silver certification for a building to be designed and constructed according to high standards for green design and sustainability
- Relocation of all classrooms and a cafeteria currently located within the residential area of Beacon Hill
- Return an active use to a now-vacant property
- Create a vibrant new public space for use by all through improvements to Roemer Plaza
- Maintain the existing building setback from the adjacent Garden of Peace and provide an appropriate building façade facing the Garden
- Maintain the existing building height, thus producing no new shadow on the Garden of Peace


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