Suffolk gets approval to open One Court Street as residence hall this fall


Courtesy of Michael J. Clarke

View of the Ames Hotel building in Downtown Boston.

Incoming Suffolk University freshmen will be able to live in a new residence hall in Downtown Boston this fall, after the university received unanimous approval from the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) on Thursday to open One Court Street.

One Court Street, formerly known as the Ames Hotel, will house up to 300 students in the building’s 114 rooms. 

Students can expect to stay in a double, triple, quad, or five-person, six-person and eight-person. Each room will have at least one bathroom, along with a desk, chair, dresser, closet and bed for each resident. 

“This will be my third year as an RA so I’m looking forward to rising to the challenge of mentoring first year students in this more private styled dormitory,” said Sophie Mailhot, class of 2021. “As an interior design major, I’m also very excited to have the opportunity to live in a historical building with such beautiful features.”

The building is an official designated Boston landmark and can be found on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also across the street from the Old Massachusetts State House, where the Boston Massacre happened in 1770. 

Approximately thirty percent of incoming students will be assigned to the new residence hall, university officials said in a statement. Students will occupy 11 of the 14 floors of the building, with both the ground floor and second floor having student lounges and common areas. 

The first floor will consist of student social spaces, common areas, service spaces and a publicly accessible restaurant and patio. The second floor will have student lounge spaces, as well as a multi-function conference space. 

The opening of One Court comes after the university closed its apartment-style residence hall at 1047 Commonwealth Ave. this spring. University officials announced in September that Suffolk would not renew 1047’s two-year lease with The Michaels Companies. 

Part of Suffolk’s Institutional Master Plan for 2020-2030 is to house 50% of undergraduate students. While One Court will be closer to campus, it will house up to 80 students less than 1047 did. 

The Ames Hotel was purchased by the university in 2019 for $63.5 million. Officials said at the time that minimal renovations would be needed on the property. No renovations except for signage will be made to the building’s facade.

“Expanding campus housing in this location will further facilitate this commitment both for the students who will live in the building and by offering additional opportunities to launch new or expanded partnerships with our neighbors,” said Suffolk University President Marisa Kelly.

On Thursday, Suffolk’s Senior Vice President for External Affairs John Nucci presented in front of the BPDA and garnered unanimous approval from the board for the project. The university also had support from Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn and Rosemarie E. Sansone, CEO and president of The Downtown Boston Business Improvement District .

Nucci said the addition of the residence hall will keep Suffolk’s campus centered in downtown Boston, and help the university contribute to the local economy and help Suffolk feel more like a campus

“We really feel as though we have an obligation to be good citizens of this city, and we take it very seriously,” Nucci said during Thursday’s meeting.

The new residence hall is scheduled to open for the fall 2020 semester with respect to public health and safety regards due to COVID-19. 

“The university will be relying on directives from public officials and public health officials and others as we move closer to the beginning of the semester to try to figure out exactly what [the fall semester] will look like,” said Nucci.