Independent apartments built as UMass housing on Massachusetts Avenue

New apartments will be for graduate and undergraduate students

Ethan Brayall-Brown

By Ethan Brayall-Brown, Collegian Correspondent

New apartments are being built along Massachusetts Avenue and will be available to both undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Massachusetts. Undergraduates will have 623 beds available to them and 201 beds will be available for graduate students to rent.

This project will cost approximately $200 million dollars according to a University press release published on Oct. 13, 2022.

UMass is not paying for the construction because of a deal it made with a private company called Axium Infrastructure. The deal indicates that Axium will finance, build and manage the apartments — giving ownership to UMass after 65 years.

Artist rendering of what the new apartments will look like on Massachusetts Ave. Courtesy of Edward Blaguszewski

“Eventually [the apartments] revert back to the University many years from now but those dollars to build the facility will not be University dollars,” said Ed Blaguszewski, UMass spokesperson. “That gives us, the University, the opportunity to invest our dollars in ways that are focused on other aspects of the student experience.”

This comes at a time when UMass enrolled its second biggest class in history and has over 300 economy triples — rooms housing three people when they are only meant for two. Also, earlier this year, UMass housed transfer students in a hotel off-campus due to housing shortages.

In the apartment complex undergrads will have the option to choose from 105 four-bedroom apartments, 55 two-bedroom apartments, 59 one-bedroom apartments and 34 studio apartments.

Graduate students will be provided with the option to rent 61 two-bedroom apartments, 47 one-bedroom apartments or 32 studio apartments,

Each apartment will have a kitchen, a private bathroom for every bedroom and its own washer and dryer.

Jean MacKimmie, Director of Residence Education, said that even though Axium owns the facility, it will work with UMass to try to give the same experience as other dorms.

“My understanding is that their intention is to mirror policies after what we have on campus,” she said.

The apartment complex will have a UMass Dining Bistro on the ground floor along with a gym that has a bouldering wall.

UMass cannot enforce the same residence policies as this is a private own apartment building. At this time, all the University can do is add their input on what Axium could do for policies like pricing and the licensing agreement.

The location of the Massachusetts Avenue apartment complex is intended to provide easy access to both the campus and downtown, as it is close to Center for the Arts and Isenberg and is a quick drive to the downtown area.

The apartments are being built by Suffolk Construction and are on time and scheduled to be open for Fall 2023. Additional details are still being determined between Axium and the University.

.Tours are available to the public with more information available at the on-site trailer.

Axium has not responded to comment on the construction.

Ethan Brayall-Brown can be reached at [email protected]