Demolition continues on Boylston Place dorm

by Laura King / Beacon Staff • September 10, 2015

The new 1-3 Boylston Place residence hall is in the demolition phase of construction, a process that started early this summer and is scheduled to be completed in August 2017.

According to Michael Faia, Emerson’s director of construction management, the college is currently doing interior demolition of the site, which previously housed Sweetwater Tavern and the nightclub The Estate. This involves taking apart the building down to the basic frame, so it can be demolished in small pieces.

“It’ll be a slow process because of [the building’s] location,” Faia said. “It’s kind of sandwiched in between a bunch of stuff, so we have to be very careful.”

The college is also preserving the facade of the former Sweetwater Tavern at the request of the Boston Redevelopment Authority. The face of the tavern will be incorporated into the residence hall’s final design. Faia said the wood and steel scaffolding in the Boylston Place alleyway are holding up the facade and protecting it from weather.

Demolition is estimated to be completed in mid-October, according to Faia. The next step will be to lay out the foundation of the new building, and then start construction.

The budget for this residence hall still falls into the original estimate of between $65-67 million, according to Faia.

Faia said he doesn’t currently have an estimate for the renovation and restoration of the Little Building, scheduled to begin after the Boylston Place residence hall is completed in 2017. The college is still finalizing the designs of the 97-year-old building’s renovation with Elkus Manfredi Architects––who previously worked on Emerson’s Tufte Performance and Production Center, Colonial Building, Paramount Building, and Cutler Majestic Theatre––and Faia said accurate estimates will be available when these designs are finished in October.

In an interview with the Beacon last November, Jay Phillips, former associate vice president for facilities and campus services, estimated the price of the Little Building project to be over $100 million.

The new Boylston Place residence hall will have the capacity to house 375 students, about half of the Little Building’s current occupancy. Faia said there is still no plan in place for the other half of student beds, nor the dining hall that is currently located on the second floor of the Little Building.

“At this point, we’re still trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together,” Faia said. “As you can imagine, it’s a little tricky.”