Downtown explansion reaches final stages

by Beacon Staff • October 3, 2007

The Paramount Center and the Colonial Building will be among the last properties to join the parade of purple and gold banners Emerson President Jacqueline Liebergott foresaw lining Bolyston and Tremont streets as the college began its relocation from Beacon Street, according to David Ellis, Emerson's vice president of finance.

The relocation began in 1992, when Emerson purchased the Ansin Building at 180 Tremont St. After 15 years of planning and $300 million in investment, the envisioned campus on the common will emerge in 2009.

The dormitories' opening will allow as much as 70 percent of Emerson's 3,300 undergraduates to live on campus, Emerson administrators said.

The construction is being financed through

the state's finance and development authority, MassDevelopment.

Adam Bickelman, a spokesman for MassDevelopment, said the school took out an $80,975,000 million tax-exempt bond to finance the Paramount project and Colonial Building renovation.

David Rosen, Emerson's vice president of public affairs, said the combined budget of the two projects is about $77 million, with the bulk of the budget, almost $60 million, allocated to the Paramount construction at 543-547 Washington St. He said the combined budget has been maintained, but that unforeseen costs might surpass it.

Bickelman said Emerson's status as a non-profit higher education institution qualified it for the bond, which was offered to the public market by MassDevelopment and subsequently financed by a number of private investors.

According to Bickelman, the bond was a sound option for the college because private investments won't be taxed, allowing Emerson to offer pay the loans

back at a decreased interest rate.

Bickelman said Emerson has up to 30 years to pay off the bond.

"Friends" co-creator Kevin S. Bright, now a visiting professor at Emerson, donated $1 million to the Center in May, according to the Boston Globe.

On Tuesday, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, in partnership with MassDevelopment, announced a $675,000 facilities grant to the project. The college was chosen along with 62 other organizations after Emerson administrators submitted a grant proposal to a national panel of The Paramount Center and the Colonial Building will be among the last properties to join the parade of purple and gold banners Emerson President Jacqueline Liebergott foresaw lining Bolyston and Tremont streets as the college began its relocation from Beacon Street, according to David Ellis, Emerson's vice president of finance.

The relocation began in 1992, when Emerson purchased the Ansin Building at 180 Tremont St. After 15 years of planning and $300 million in investment, the envisioned campus on the common will emerge in 2009.

The dormitories' opening will allow as much as 70 percent of Emerson's 3,300 undergraduates to live on campus, Emerson administrators said.

The construction is being financed through the state's finance and development authority, MassDevelopment.

Adam Bickelman, a spokesman for MassDevelopment, said the school took out an $80,975,000 million tax-exempt bond to finance the Paramount project and Colonial Building renovation.

David Rosen, Emerson's vice president of public affairs, said the combined budget of the two projects is about $77 million, with the bulk of the budget, almost $60 million, allocated to the Paramount construction at 543-547 Washington St. He said the combined budget has been maintained, but that

unforeseen costs might surpass it.

Bickelman said Emerson's status as a non-profit higher education institution qualified it for the bond, which was offered to the public market by MassDevelopment and subsequently financed by a number of private investors.

According to Bickelman, the bond was a sound option for the college because private investments won't be taxed, allowing Emerson to offer pay the loans back at a decreased interest rate.

Bickelman said Emerson has up to 30 years to pay off the bond.