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BOSTON-The Millennium Place Project is injecting new life into its neighborhood as a number of developers take chances on projects in an area that was once known for its porno houses and drug busts.

The development of 325 luxury apartments, a Ritz Carlton hotel and a 19-screen theater is near the once-infamous area of Lower Washington Street formerly known as the Combat Zone. But with this development, as well as a number of other projects underway here, that decadent perception is quickly fading.

FitzInn Parking Systems and Charles E. Smith have proposed building Liberty Place here, a 410-unit complex that will include studio-, one- two- and three-bedroom apartments with 10% of them affordable. The project will also include retail space and parking for 300 vehicles. Kevin Fitzgerald of FitzInn Parking Systems did not return calls by presstime but reportedly the developers plan on renovating two historic buildings in the area and converting a nightclub into a visitors center.

Kensington Realty also plans on developing a 300-unit market-rate complex and reportedly will file notification with the Boston Redevelopment Authority within the next two months. The company is said to be continuing its efforts to acquire a building located in the center of its proposed development but will work around the structure if necessary.

In an unusual move to gentrify the area, local activists have banded with developers to ensure that additional adult entertainment venues are kept out of the neighborhood. One new strip club, Centerfolds, attempted to open here but was refused an entertainment license. It is in the process of challenging that decision in the courts.

The strength of the market here is also evident in the recent bidding war over the BRA’s request for proposals to bid on Hayward Place, which attracted eight proposals with bids up to $23 million to build on the 390,000-sf parcel.

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