It’s been known since January that the Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology was selling its campus at Berkley and Appleton streets in the South End to fund an expansion elsewhere in Boston.
That elsewhere will be the more than 55,000-square-foot former site of the Harrison Supply Company at 1011 Harrison Avenue in Roxbury’s Dudley Square. The school bought the site for $6 million, according to city records.
The school with around 500 students announced the move on September 30, saying in a release that the Dudley Square property “will be transformed into a state-of-the-art multi-story facility complete with an advanced manufacturing center and walk-in optical shop, among other innovative learning environments and community resources.
“The new campus will support BFIT’s growing student population and offer expanded educational programs designed to meet the increasingly complex needs of in-demand technical jobs of the future.”
BFIT cited Dudley Square’s transit options—including several MBTA buses out of Dudley Station as well as nearby Orange Line and commuter-rail stops—as a reason for picking 1011 Harrison. The move also garnered support from community and civic leaders.
“The Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology’s move to the Roxbury community conveys an ‘all in’ message towards the positive changes in infrastructure and programming coming to this neighborhood,” said Dana Brown, co-principal of culture, operations, and partnerships at Dearborn STEM Academy, which has partnered with BFIT.
The school is hoping to move to Dudley Square in time for the fall 2021 semester, but no groundbreaking is scheduled yet.
The relocation announcement does mean that the school will get on with selling its approximately one-acre South End site. It had said that it would not start that sales process until it had a better sense of where it would end up in Boston.
A buyer of that site could conceivably join the South End’s years-long development rush, though any project would need city approval as well as probably the blessing of residents. Stay tuned.