In its recent filing with the SEC, the Denver-based company saysit expects to start construction in late 2003 and a localrepresentative of one of the company's subsidiaries, Charles E.Smith Residential, tells that the groundbreaking willhappen next month. The project, tentatively titled Park Essex,involves tearing down an old hotel and café that are currentlyvacant. Archstone estimates that the development--the largestrental housing project in downtown Boston in nearly 20 years--willcost approximately $152 million.

In the filing, R. Scot Seller, chairman and CEO of the companysays that the project "is expected to create substantialincremental value for our shareholders."

But the project also stirred up a lot of controversy in theChinatown neighborhood where it is located. When it was firstproposed as an office project, residents objected, insisting thatthe area needed more residential units. After the project shiftedgears local activist groups opposed its height, density and lack ofaffordable housing component. In the final agreement, 66 of theunits in the project will be earmarked for affordable housing andthe developer will provide $650,000 to develop 25 to 30 units ofsingle-room occupancy units in the Chinatown community. It is notyet clear what site will be used to develop this housing.

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