Boston Green Lights 385-Unit Apartment Project

Boston--Development of The Kensington has taken a big step forward with the Boston Redevelopment Authority signing off on plans for the $172 million project.

Boston–Development of The Kensington, a 385-unit apartment property in Boston, has taken a big step forward now that the Boston Redevelopment Authority has signed off on plans for the $172 million project, which is being spearheaded by Kensington Investment Company Inc. and National Development.

The Kensington will rise in the form of a 27-story tower at Washington and LaGrange Streets in an area that borders Chinatown, the Financial District, the Theatre District and Boston Common. The project is designed with community in mind. In addition to the Class A residences, The Kensington will encompass 4,000 square feet of community-oriented retail and office space, including a bit of square footage to be set aside with below-market rents for local nonprofit organizations. Room on the ground level will also be reserved for public exhibit space to accommodate artifacts from the former Gaiety Theater.

The apartment sector is on the rebound nationally, but not all cities spur the confidence developers need to embark on a project that will add nearly 400 units to the market. But local industry experts believe Boston is primed to absorb more apartments. “If you look at the statistics, 50 percent of graduates within Boston are staying in Boston for at least three years after they graduate,” Richard Robinson, a partner and former president with Apartment Realty Advisors, tells MHN. “There are a lot of Gen-Y’ers being employed here. They are the main driver behind the demand for apartments.”

Plenty of developers are moving to position themselves to answer the growing call for market-rate rentals. “There are a number of sites in Boston that are being permitted,” Robertson says. Those sites include the parcel at 1350 Boylston, which is presently being marketed. “It’s contiguous to 1330 Boylston Street, which is leased up; it’s another example of a successful project in the marketplace.” Completed in 2008, 1330 Boylston features 200 units and sits near Trilogy Apartments a 400-unit property that also has a tenant roster full of names. “Proof of the demand is 1330 is leased up and so is Trilogy.”

While The Kensington will cater to market-rate renters, its developers will not ignore the growing need for low-income housing in Boston. Kensington Investment and National Development will contribute just over $7.3 million for the Hong Lok House, a 75-unit affordable assisted-living community that will open its doors on Essex St. in Chinatown.

The partners plan to break ground on The Kensington this summer. Approximately 400 new construction jobs will be created to complete the project, which is scheduled to debut in summer 2013.