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Suffolk University pays $63.5m for the Ames Hotel

The Ames Hotel has closed and will be turned into a Suffolk University dormitory. Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe/Globe Staff

The Ames Hotel is no longer a hotel.

The Ames was shuttered this week with the closing of its sale to Suffolk University. The school plans to convert the 114-room property into student housing, which it aims to open in the fall of 2020, pending city approvals.

Suffolk said it paid $63.5 million to buy the building. That’s more than the $53 million its previous owner — the Texas investment firm Invesco — paid in 2015, but far less than it would probably cost Suffolk to build a comparably sized dorm in the vicinity of its Beacon Hill campus.

“This is a great opportunity for Suffolk and an important investment in our future,” said the university’s president, Marisa Kelly. “We look forward to working closely with the city and our neighbors as we move through the community process.”


The school plans to file formal plans Thursday with the Boston Planning & Development Agency to convert the building into a dorm of between 266 and 280 beds.

The Walsh administration has been pushing colleges and universities to add housing, in part to reduce the number of students living in apartments in the city. But some schools have balked at building dorms, given the high cost of construction and forecasts of declining student enrollments. That’s prompting more of them to look at alternatives.

Suffolk officials said the building’s location, and the need for minimal renovations thanks to its current use as a hotel, made it appealing.

The Globe first reported on the Ames deal in August. Suffolk beat out an array of bidders, said Alan Suzuki, senior director at the real estate firm JLL, which brokered the sale.

“This was an extremely rare opportunity for a buyer to acquire a historically significant asset in this prime location,” Suzuki said. “Interest level was very strong from both international and domestic hotel and non-hotel investors.”


Tim Logan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @bytimlogan.