A British developer of off-campus housing has set up shop in America’s college town with plans for a $1 billion Boston development pipeline in the next five years.
London-based Scape specializes in ground-up development of high-end residences catering to researchers, undergrads and graduate students. After spending $3 billion to develop complexes totaling more than 12,500 beds in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia, it recently opened a U.S. headquarters in Boston’s Fort Point to spearhead the local expansion plans.
In July, the company signed a 99-year ground lease for 1252 Boylston St. in the Fenway, a 0.6-acre property containing a 43,000-square-foot retail and office building next to the Viridian apartment tower. Scape is expected to kick off permitting this fall for the first of up to four planned developments in Boston totaling 3,000 beds. The company declined to comment on its plans for 1252 Boylston St.
Scape complexes include units ranging from 250-square-foot studios to four-bedroom units, and contain generous common area amenities such as communal kitchens and study spaces. Units would be rented to people affiliated with local academic institutions.
The company develops, owns and manages its complexes, which are 100 percent staffed by Scape employees on a 24-hour basis. The Boston workforce is estimated at 200.
Andrew Flynn, a former executive for Related Beal, is CEO of the Scape USA division. Boston will serve as a launching pad for Scape USA’s national expansion, with a target of 20,000 beds, the company said.
The city’s Housing Boston 2030 report identified a need for 19,000 additional undergraduate and graduate student housing units in the next 12 years, to limit displacement created by off-campus student renters.
The plans for small living units come as the Boston Planning and Development Agency’s board of directors plans to vote today on a new compact living pilot that would eliminate minimum square-footage for new apartments and condos in projects with 10 or more units.