Scape, a British company that aims to transform the concept of college dormitories is making a major investment in Boston. This firm wants to spend $1 billion on private dorms in Boston. Scape operates student buildings in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Ireland and says it will spend $1 billion over the next few years. It will develop privately run student housing in Boston and will also locate its North American headquarters in the city. An estimated 36,000 undergraduate and graduate students live in off-campus apartments in Boston. $1 billion dollars student housing could help meet the huge demand for college housing.
This new model for student housing is an effort to establish the independence of any other school where there’s taxing on universities’ already-tight budgets. This concept is already popular in London, where the company operates five buildings for college students. Scape could break the longstanding model in the United States of on-campus housing linked to a single school. These buildings would be open to students of any nearby school.
According to The Boston Globe, Nigel Taee, executive chairman of Scape said, “The privately run apartments tend to attract “serious students,” said Nigel Taee, such as upper-class undergraduates and graduate students who want to leave behind freshman-filled dorms while keeping some of the community of campus life”.
The first building in Boston will accommodate about 600 students. These are also not just ordinary college dorms. They have a modern flair. Each dorm includes small, sleekly designed rooms, communal kitchens, and bright study spaces, and round-the-clock staff. Scape is negotiating to buy two more sites, Taee said, and ultimately plans at least five buildings in the region. It also recently opened a small US office in Fort Point, which Taee aims to grow to 150 or 200 employees.
Boston officials that have met with Scape executives say they are excited to create “well-managed, high-quality student housing”. Scape’s model is a leading example of a smart investment in education. The company builds, runs, and owns the student apartments. No lease or financial relationship with any school is required. Per city zoning — that residents verify enrollment at a local college or university is the only requirement.
Exact lease terms in Boston are still being worked out. However, Taee said prices could start at about $290 a week, or $4,350 for a 15-week semester, per person for a shared twin room, and more for a single room. In comparison, Northeastern University lists two-person apartments from $4,370 to $6,070 per 15-week semester while Boston University dorms start at $10,390 for a full school year.
This company will hopefully offer a better experience for students, ultimately to compete against on-campus dorms and the general rental market.