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New Berklee College Building Gets Boost From $90 Million MassDevelopment Bond

October 6, 2011

Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077
Allen Bush, Berklee College of Music, 617-747-2568

MassDevelopment has issued $90 million in tax-exempt bonds on behalf of the Berklee College of Music, which will use bond proceeds to build a 16-story, 155,000 mixed-use building at 168 Massachusetts Avenue, the heart of Berklee’s Back Bay / Fenway campus. The building, designed by William Rawn Associates Architects Inc. of Boston, will have new dorm space to house 370 students, a two-story dining hall and performance space with seating for 400, a music technology center with recording studios, and retail space on the ground level.

“Berklee College is renowned worldwide for its inventive programs, distinguished alumni, and top-tier faculty,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “MassDevelopment proudly backs this project, the first step in the College’s expansion, with low-cost financing because this new building can remake a major Boston corridor.”

Berklee expects construction on the building to begin this fall. The master plan includes two more buildings. In total, the three new facilities would add 500,000 square feet of performance, student life, administrative, and dorm space. Berklee College of Music, for more than 65 years, has prepared students for careers in music through contemporary music education. The College was the first in the United States to teach jazz. Rock n’ roll, world music, hip-hop, electronica, and video game music was added to the curriculum over the years. Berklee created the world’s first degree programs in film scoring, music synthesis, and songwriting. With a student body representing 80 countries and alumni that have received 250 Grammy Awards, Berklee is the world’s premier learning lab for the music of today – and tomorrow.

“We are grateful for MassDevelopment’s support of our first major ground-up building project,” said Berklee College of Music President Roger Brown. “Once finished, the new structure at 168 Massachusetts Avenue will be like no other in our neighborhood in terms of its design and use – with recording studios, a scoring stage, new performance venue, and student housing. Our neighbors will be able to come hear great music and visit the commercial spaces along the sidewalk. Everyone will know that something unique and exciting is going on at Berklee.”

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2011, MassDevelopment financed or managed 277 projects generating investment of nearly $3.7 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create 10,291 jobs (2,507 permanent and 7,784 construction) and 1,350 housing units (336 new and 1,014 rehab).