The Beantown Pub’s building is being converted into Suffolk dorms

Local News

Suffolk University said the pub will continue to be in the business there after the conversion. 

Suffolk University will turn a former office building into a dorm, but not just any office building. 

The university, whose student population is only growing, acquired an 11-story office at 101 Tremont St. for $30 million, according to The Boston Business Journal. This office space will be converted into residences for about 250 students. This building also happens to house The Beantown Pub on its first floor. 

Suffolk said the pub will continue to be in the business there after the conversion. 

Like many universities in Boston, Suffolk needs real estate to house students in their first and second years of school, according to Suffolk President Marisa Kelly. The school offers a two-year housing guarantee to its students.

Kelly announced this new construction project in a memo to the students and community members. She included that there’s been an increase in demand from older students for housing provided by the school as well. 

“This is an opportunity for us to meet that strong student demand while addressing a long-term strategic priority,” Kelly wrote. 

This conversion will also address some of Boston’s problems with what to do with an excess of vacant office space created by the post-pandemic shifts in hybrid and remote working conditions.

In July 2023, Mayor Michelle Wu announced a program where real estate developers and owners would be incentivized to convert commercial property into housing. This program was recently extended to Dec. 31, 2025. 

This property was not eligible for this particular program because Suffolk is exempt from property taxes as a university. However, according to reports, a university interested in converting unused office space represents an evergreen, stable option for this kind of use as a university will always require housing for its students.

Suffolk previously converted the Ames Hotel into a dorm in 2019. 

The value of office space has also been on the decline, according to reports. This particular building sold in 2016 for $50 million, marking a $20 million decrease.

“Universities located in Boston have an obligation to help with the pressure on housing supply caused  by students in private units. Suffolk takes that obligation seriously,” wrote Kelly. 

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