Northeastern University is scheduled to come to market Thursday with a $250 million sale of revenue bonds in two series. Proceeds will help fund construction of a six-story interdisciplinary science and engineering building.
Barclays is lead manager for $150 million of tax-exempt bonds and $100 million of taxable bonds. Northeastern will issue the tax-exempt series through the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency, the commonwealth's finance and development authority.
According to the preliminary official statement for the bond sale, the new building, along Columbus Avenue in Boston, will house more than 100 faculty research labs, four classrooms, faculty offices, teaching labs and a cafeteria. Northeastern expects construction to begin next winter and projects completion by fall 2016.
The university also expects proceeds to finance construction of a marine science center in Nahant, a coastal town on Greater Boston's North Shore; classroom renovations at the main Boston campus along Huntington Avenue; and miscellaneous capital projects.
Moody's Investors Service rated both series A2, with stable outlooks. Moody's cited the strength of Northeastern's 9.9%, three-year average operating margin from fiscal 2011 through 2013 and 18.1% cash-flow margin in 2013.
It also said the school has significantly reduced its exposure to variable-rate, puttable debt of late. Moody's said Northeastern had a "modest" 10% of its debt in put-mode.
Challenges, according to Moody's, include a current borrowing that represents a 32% rise on debt over the fiscal year ended 2013.
Northeastern's Columbus Avenue corridor, which abuts the Roxbury and Fenway neighborhoods, sits across the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's Orange Line subway tracks from the main campus. The new building would abut the Ruggles Street station.
The MBTA's rerouting of the Orange Line in the 1970s triggered large-scale expansion at Northeastern, which reported 19,406 undergraduate enrollment for 2013-14.
In November, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the city's planning agency, gave final approval to Northeastern's 10-year institutional master plan. The authority requires such a plan from all degree-granting institutions. Northeastern's new plan includes more than 2 million square feet of identified capital projects.
"Northeastern has proposed an ambitious building program in this 10-year IMP, much of which will be transformational for Lower Roxbury and specifically of the Columbus Avenue corridor," senior vice president and general counsel Ralph Martin II said in a letter to authority executive director Peter Meade.
Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP is bond counsel. Greenberg Traurig LLP is representing the underwriters. Yuba Group LLC is the financial advisor.