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BOSTON-A controversial residential project that will be located in Chinatown on Washington Street received final approval from the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s board of directors. The 346-unit project, called Residences at Kensington Place, had faced stiff opposition from local groups.

The 30-story, 413,000 sf project includes approximately 7,378 sf of ground floor retail and restaurant space and about 2,000 sf of office space. The total project cost is $115 million and a groundbreaking is expected this spring.

The area has recently seen a number of upscale residential projects get their approvals, including the 28-story Liberty Place which is going up across the street from Kensington’s proposed project and Millennium Place where condominiums are selling for up to $7 million. In response to objections that the area does not need another upscale residential project, the developer, Kensington Investment Company, Inc., agreed to increase the percentage of affordable units to 15% and to deepen the level of affordability. Calls to the Chinese Progressive Association, the project’s most vocal opponent, were not returned by deadline, but its executive director told GlobeSt.com that her group also objected to the project’s height, which is nearly double the maximum allowed.

But Meredith Baumann, spokesperson for the BRA, tells GlobeSt.com that this approval essentially marks the end of the public process for the project. She explains that the project needs to go to the Boston Zoning Commission to get its site designated as a planned development area, but with the BRA’s recommendation it is likely that it will receive the commission’s approval. “They have cleared one of the major hurdles,” says Baumann.

The city is touting this project as part of the revitalization of Lower Washington Street and the Midtown Cultural District. “This project is poised to become the newest component of the area’s renaissance and will further enliven and improve the neighborhood,” the city’s office says in a release.

Once the project gets zoning commission approval, it will be subject to ongoing design review with the BRA.

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