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Construction starts on Somerville’s Assembly Row

After years of planning and discussion, the massive Assembly Row complex in Somerville has entered a new phase as developers started construction Wednesday on the first two buildings of the $1.5 billion project.

The apartment buildings by AvalonBay Communities Inc. will have 448 rental units, and at 470,000 square feet is one of the largest residential real estate projects under construction in the Boston area, according to the developers. One of the two buildings will be an “AVA’’ residence - AvalonBay’s newest apartment brand that was introduced nationally last year.

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