BOSTON-Experts have told that AvalonBay Communities Inc. is one of the apartment REITs that knows how to “do” Boston (see below), and the REIT’s recent activity seems to support that claim.

In the third quarter, AvalonBay completed Avalon Essex in nearby Peabody. Essex is a 154-apartment project adjacent to the North Shore Mall, a recently renovated 1.4-million-sf regional mall. Essex, which is being marketed as the first luxury apartment community built on Boston’s North Shore in more than 15 years, has apparently hit another milestone as well–it beat the original lease-up projection by some 45 days, according to president and CEO Bryce Blair.

Boston hasn’t been the REIT’s only area of concentration. The 128-unit Avalon Haven in New Haven, CT also reached completion in Q3. Haven, too, beat its lease-up expectations by 45 days, says Blair. “Average per-home rents at Essex and Haven are $1,799 and $1,430, respectively,” says the executive. “This exceeded our original expectations by approximately 7.0% and 2.0%.” Total construction costs aggregated to $36 million.

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