British firm Scape—which is trying to build what could the first independent, unaffiliated student dormitory in the U.S. in Fenway—recently acquired a 99-year ground lease on three parcels in Somerville’s Davis Square.
Scape paid Newton-based Myer Dana and Sons $9.755 million for the parcels, which include a run of retail on Elm Street—including the Burren pub and McKinnon’s Meat Market—and a parking lot behind that, per Banker & Tradesman’s Steve Adams.
The London-based company apparently plans to pursue a co-living project not unlike the one at 1252-1270 Boylston Street in Fenway at this new site in Davis Square. But it might take a while. Here’s a statement from Scape CEO Andrew Flynn:
We remain excited to bring an innovative approach to urban living in Boston and beyond. As we look to potential projects in Somerville, we are fully committed to a transparent process that engages all stakeholders as we move forward on specific plans over the next few years. We are currently focused on 1252-1270 Boylston Street in Boston. We look forward to working with the neighborhood, community stakeholders and the Somerville Planning staff.
The Fenway project, which is supposed to include 533 beds in a 15-story building, has run up against opposition from area residents who say it will be out of scale and against the current zoning for that area of Fenway. The project—and Scape’s wider plans for the Boston area—are supposed to serve as a kind of U.S. beachhead for the company, which currently operates indy dorms in the U.K., Ireland, and Australia.
The projects are not affiliated with a particular college or school, but are geared only toward undergraduate and graduate students, with small, furnished living quarters and shared common areas.