Berklee rethinks expansion - The Boston Globe

Berklee rethinks expansion - The Boston Globe

In the face of strong neighborhood opposition, Berklee College of Music is shelving plans for a high-rise dormitory and theater complex at the junction of Massachusetts Avenue and Boylston Street and is instead seeking to buy a parcel from a neighboring church to divide its expansion into smaller parts.

"I think they got the message," said Susan Ashbrook, a Back Bay resident and cochairwoman of a community task force that has been reviewing Berklee's preliminary plans over the past year. "It was made very clear to them they would have a fight on their hands if they built anything as big as they were floating."

State Representative Martha Walz, who represents the Back Bay and is a task force member, said the 35-story plan was "unacceptable to the Back Bay and Fenway communities."

Jackie Yessian, chairwoman of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay, praised the college for heeding neighborhood concerns and exploring alternatives to the high-rise plan. "They are trying really hard to meet their needs and ours as well," she said.

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