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Massive South End project wins key approval

A rendering of the Exchange South End project.Stantec

A proposal for a massive office development in the South End cleared a key city hurdle Thursday.

The Boston Planning & Development Agency board approved Exchange South End, a four-building, 1.6-million-square-foot complex on the site of the shuttered Boston Flower Exchange on Albany Street. Its developers hope the site will eventually house about 7,000 tech and life science jobs.

Neighborhood advocates said they are concerned about traffic and transit access to the site, which is in a hard-to-reach part of the South End and nearly a mile from the closest MBTA station. But the builders, The Abbey Group, are continuing to talk with transportation officials about building a new ramp to the neighboring Southeast Expressway. It also has pledged to study improved bus access to the area.


The company hopes to start construction on the first phase of the $1 billion project next spring.

Tim Logan can be reached at timothy.logan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @bytimlogan.