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Construction underway for North Station apartments

AvalonBay’s tower at North Station includes a retail-lined passageway between Nashua and Causeway streets. The tower, below, will stand 38 stories tall.
AvalonBay’s tower at North Station includes a retail-lined passageway between Nashua and Causeway streets. The tower, below, will stand 38 stories tall.CBT Architects

In Boston’s residential building boom, no developer has been busier than AvalonBay Communities Inc. It recently completed an apartment tower in the Back Bay and is developing another in the Theatre District. Other large projects are under construction in Cambridge and Somerville.

Now the company is launching its most ambitious project yet: a 38-story tower at North Station that will be the tallest among a new generation of apartment buildings in Boston. The $250 million complex, to be completed in 2017, will also include retail space in a new passageway between Nashua and Causeway streets.

The 415-foot building will be the first of several towers to rise around the TD Garden, where developers are planning a mix of new homes, restaurants, offices, and stores. On Monday, AvalonBay’s executives will gather with city officials to formally kick off construction, although work on the site has begun.

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“The size and height of the building will make it really unique in the marketplace,” said Scott Dale, AvalonBay’s senior vice president for development. “You have views in all directions.”

Until the most recent wave of construction, AvalonBay had focused its investments in the suburbs, building large apartment complexes in communities outside Boston.

But with more people flooding into the city — Boston has gained nearly 30,000 residents in the last four years — the company recalibrated its approach to focus more on urban homes. Earlier this year, it completed a 187-unit luxury tower on Exeter Street in the Back Bay, and it is constructing a 29-story building on Stuart Street with more than 400 apartments.

The North Station project will create a dramatic new entrance to the city from the north. Designed by CBT Architects, the mostly glass building will tower over the TD Garden and the Thomas P. O’Neill Federal Building.

Boston officials have supported the project for its dense configuration and proximity to transit, a combination the city hopes to also encourage in outlying neighborhoods to generate more housing in coming years. Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s administration issued a report recently calling for construction of 53,000 housing units in the city by 2030. In a statement, Walsh praised AvalonBay’s project. “We are getting the mix of housing that we really need, and it’s coming in the form of a signature high-rise that will be a great addition to the area’s historic buildings and all of our new parks,” he said.

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The project was approved before Walsh took office, under the administration of former mayor Thomas M. Menino.

Its apartments will not be cheap. Studios with 500 square feet will cost about $2,400 a month, while three-bedroom penthouse units will rent for $7,500 and up. Under the city’s affordable housing policy, AvalonBay will build 30 units on site for low- to moderate-income tenants. It will pay an additional $2.6 million into a fund to have additional affordable units built elsewhere in the city.

The project will feature a 2,000-square-foot terrace and a separate indoor lounge on the 35th floor with 360-degree views of the city’s downtown, Boston Harbor, and the Charles River. It will also include a fitness center and Wi-Fi lounge.

The retail-lined passageway through the base of the complex is likely to feature a mix of small shops and cafes, although no leases have been signed. A small public open space will also be constructed near Nashua Street and Lomasney Way, and 220 parking spaces will be contained within the new building.

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“We’re going to be connecting the pedestrian realm in a much more organized way,” said Dale, the AvalonBay executive. He noted the project’s proximity to the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, Nashua Street Park, and the Esplanade. “You’re going to have a continuous network of open space. I think it’s going to be spectacular.”


Casey Ross can be reached at cross@globe.com.