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BOSTON-Public officials and community activists in the city’s Brighton district are scrambling to address plans by Boston College to acquire a 16-story apartment building near its main campus after the school’s secretive campaign was unveiled last week by GlobeSt.com. BC has finally acknowledged intentions to buy 2000 Commonwealth Ave. from Archstone-Smith, maintaining in a prepared statement that the venture is being pursued to appease mounting local concerns over institutional expansion.

“Boston College’s interest in 2000 Commonwealth Ave. reflects the university’s desire to improve the quality of life for our neighbors and our students, by housing as many undergraduates as possible in university controlled residence halls,” spokesman Jack Dunn explains in an e-mail response to GlobeSt.com. Noting that BC students have been renting units in the tower on their own, he says the school wants to keep those apartments available to its constituency. “While no deal has been finalized, we are exploring this option in light of our overall housing goals,” Dunn concludes.

Concerns already being raised regarding fears that students will be disruptive to residents living in and around the hulking property, which dominates surrounding structures and was considered so out of scale, that efforts to erect the 190-unit building were fought vigorously in the early 1980s. Developer Jerome Rappaport ultimately prevailed, opening 2000 Commonwealth Ave. in 1985. His partnership sold the building to a predecessor of Archstone-Smith in 1997 for $27.5 million. In between was an attempt during the early 1990s by Boston College to acquire the asset, but that effort was quashed by local opposition.

Town/gown tensions have increased since BC bought a 43-acre swath of land from the Boston Archdiocese, two years ago, that has brought the school’s reach even closer to Brighton residents. Others are complaining about the rapid absorption of real estate by tax-exempt institutions, most acutely in the Allston-Brighton district. BC has been acquiring individual homes on top of the larger purchases, while Harvard University and Boston University are also rapidly expanding throughout the neighborhood.

One source tells GlobeSt.com that a local civic group has already penciled in 2000 Commonwealth Ave. as a topic of discussion for its monthly meeting next week, and says activists are lobbying for the matter to be vetted at an ongoing task force addressing BC’s overall expansion plans. “They’ve told us nothing,” complained the source, a Brighton resident who questions whether Mayor Thomas Menino’s office has been informed of BC’s intentions. The mayor’s office did not return a call by press deadline, and BC officials also did not respond to inquiries about Menino’s awareness of the negotiations, which are being handled by Cushman & Wakefield’s Capital Markets Group in Boston.

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