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MassDevelopment Finances $179M in Higher Ed Investments

Agency Delivers Tax-Exempt Financing for Boston College, Lasell University & William James College to Build, Renovate & Save Money

August 16, 2021

Kelsey Schiller, 617-694-9695

Ian Meropol, Lasell University, 617-243-2150

Anne Wilson, William James College, 617-564-9429

NEWTON, Mass. – MassDevelopment has issued tax-exempt bonds totaling $179,645,000 on behalf of three colleges and universities based in Newton: Boston College, Lasell University, and William James College. The schools, which enroll a combined total of approximately 17,740 students, will use bond proceeds to add new buildings to their campuses, renovate and improve existing facilities, and refinance previously issued debt. The schools expect to create an additional 75 new jobs in the next three years. 

“The Baker-Polito Administration is pleased that MassDevelopment is able to provide low-cost financing to three of Newton’s higher education institutions as they embark on new additions and improvements to their campuses and facilities,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s Board of Directors. “These colleges and universities are major contributors to the Newton community and our Commonwealth’s economy.” 

“Massachusetts’ many colleges and universities drive our economy forward by educating our future workforce, creating jobs, and serving as hubs of research and innovation,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. “MassDevelopment is proud to help these great schools maintain their quality and competitiveness by improving their educational experience and saving money by refinancing with lower interest rates, which is especially important after the economic impacts of the global pandemic.”

“Boston College, Lasell University and William James College are vital members of the Newton community,” said Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller. “Their students are part of the fabric of Newton and their educators and staff not just work here but also often live and recreate here. All three enrich our understanding of the world, make Newton a better community, support our small businesses, and bring creative minds and new ideas into our midst. As Mayor of Newton, I am so grateful that MassDevelopment is investing in their futures.”

Plans for each school include:

Rendering of the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society, courtesy of Boston College

Boston College

  • Use $101,960,000 in bond proceeds to demolish Cushing Hall and in its place build and equip a new 157,000-square-foot science facility to be the home of the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science and Society. 
  • The college will also use bond proceeds to upgrade and expand its Central Heating Plant, including replacing aging equipment; and demolish the  William J. Flynn Recreation Complex at the lower campus and in its place build tennis and basketball courts, a new quadrangle lawn, surface parking, and subsurface storm-water detention.
  • The school expects to create an additional 50 new jobs in the next three years.
  • The bond was sold through a public offering underwritten by Barclays Capital, Inc. 
Photo courtesy of Lasell University

Lasell University

  • Use $54.8 million in bond proceeds to refinance previously issued debt, including a $10 million tax-exempt bond issued by MassDevelopment in 2015 to help the school build and furnish a new academic center and renovate and furnish a Victorian house to serve as a residence and meeting and administrative space for the president of the university. 
  • The bond was sold through a public offering underwritten by B.C. Ziegler and Company. 

“Higher Education institutions like Lasell University play a vital role in the Commonwealth by fostering the next generation of doers, makers, and leaders,” said Lasell President Michael B. Alexander. “MassDevelopment’s support allows Lasell to help build state-of-the art learning and gathering spaces and provides us the flexibility that spark creativity, spur innovation, and launch new ventures.”

Photo of One Wells Avenue, courtesy of William James College

William James College

  • Use $22,885,000 in bond proceeds to update its main campus building, by replacing the roof, windows, and exterior wall; and to refinance previously issued debt, including an $18.4 million tax-exempt bond issued by MassDevelopment in 2016 to help the college buy, renovate, and equip its  building at One Wells Avenue.  
  • The school expects to create an additional 25 new jobs and support 40 construction jobs in the next three years.
  • Cambridge Trust Company purchased the bond. 

“Investments in our facility, including those facilitated by tax-exempt bonds from MassDevelopment, support both the local economy and our overall mission to increase and diversify the mental health workforce,” said Dan Brent, vice president of finance and operations at William James College. “Updates and renovations to our building ensure our continued ability to recruit and retain talented individuals and provide them with an optimal work and study environment.”

MassDevelopment, the state’s development finance agency and land bank, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2020, MassDevelopment financed or managed 341 projects generating investment of more than $2.69 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 10,871 jobs and build or preserve 1,787 housing units.