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A much-debated apartment building in the Fenway has won the blessing of the Boston Planning & Development Agency Thursday.

The BPDA board approved Scape North America’s plan for a 15-story, 451-room apartment building on Boylston Street near Fenway Park. Originally conceived as Boston’s first student housing development independent of any particular university, Scape shifted gears after neighbors pushed back against a dorm on the site, and decided to open it up to the general market.

As part of the terms reached with the BPDA, Scape agreed to “actively work to avoid” leasing more than 25 percent of units to undergraduate students.

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Also on Thursday, Scape announced a deal with The Theater Offensive — an LGBTQ-oriented theater group — to operate a 156-seat black box theater in the building, which will be built on a site currently occupied by the Machine nightclub, among other businesses.

It’s the first of three projects the British developer has planned in the Fenway, along with one in Somerville’s Davis Square, all part of a billion-dollar investment the firm plans to make here. Scape will next need approval from Boston’s Zoning Board of Appeal, and hopes to start construction after that.

Tim Logan


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