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LEXINGTON, MA-Efforts to revitalize this historic community’s town center has taken a vital step forward, as the developers of a residential/retail complex have secured $18.8 million in construction financing. The three-story building to be known as Lexington Place is slated for completion by next autumn following demolition of a 95-unit motel on the site at 1720 Massachusetts Ave.

Lexington Place will pursue certification from the USGBC as a LEED-quality mixed-use structure, developer Arthur Klipfel tells GlobeSt.com. “It is an ideal infill project,” says Klipfel, whose Cambridge-based Oaktree Green LLC is teaming with the owner of the parcel, Eric Shapiro, to replace the defunct Battlegreen Inn.

Situated close to Downtown stores and restaurants, Klipfel says the location should cut automobile usage in half, and unit owners will be further enticed by having passes provided to the MBTA transit network. Lexington Place is also employing European construction methods to address rainwater runoff, and will include the latest energy efficient appliances and environmentally friendly construction materials and techniques to meet LEED requirements.

From a business standpoint, Klipfel says Lexington Place has received encouraging enough activity among prospective buyers to continue pursuing the condominium model. While the slowdown in that sector recently prompted one major developer to reverse course and peddle its units at a Boston project as apartments, Klipfel says he anticipates no difficulty selling the Lexington inventory. Equity financing is being provided by Shapiro’s firm, LexVest. The construction note was obtained from Wainwright Bank & Trust, a Boston-based institution whose participation was arranged by another local firm, Fantini & Gorga.

“For such a well-designed project in an irreplaceable location, we had interest from a number of lenders,” says Tim O’Donnell, a principal at Fantini & Gorga who says the competition led to “a very attractive financing package” for the borrowers. “Our construction lender understood the special attraction of ‘downtown living’ in a fine town like Lexington, where most of the unit buyers will have strong community roots,” relays O’Donnell in backing Klipfel’s optimism. Besides nearly 6,000 sf of retail, the project calls for 30 condominium units ranging from 1,200 to 2,100 sf replete with balconies, patios and elevator access to an underground garage. Line Company Architects of Waltham designed the building, which will be erected by Nauset Construction.

Fantini & Gorga had previously placed loans on the Battlegreen Inn, an L-shaped property that had been a local landmark since opening in the late 1950s. The motel was once popular due to its proximity to the town’s famous battlefield where Massachusetts Minutemen clashed with British soldiers at the outset of the Revolutionary War. Changing travel patterns and disinvestment led to problems more recently, and the latter-day struggles fueled calls for redevelopment of the eyesore. “The condominium and retail project is a true highest and best use for this location,” says O’Donnell.

Lexington Place’s focus on smart growth development continues a pattern of such initiatives by Oaktree Green, whose founders Klipfel and spouse Gwendolen Noyes have completed a number of sustainable and transit-oriented projects in recent years. The firm’s best known venture locally using such concepts was Cambridge Park Place, a mix of 311 apartments and retail space in Cambridge’s Alewife district. Built in partnership with Abbott Investments, the 311-unit apartment complex was a model of sustainable construction when it opened in 2002, and is sited across the street from the Alewife MBTA station. The project traded this summer for the second time, fetching $103 million in the latest disposition to Archstone Smith.

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