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      Green District To See More Growth This Year

      There's a new area being developed in Allston - and no, it's not just for students. The "Green District" is an eco-friendly residential area near the Griggs Streets MBTA stop in Allston that's being developed by Mount Vernon Co. The area is planned out such that residents are ensured that they have full control of their utlities and avoid wastage and excess. For instance, its flagship building, The Element, was built using recycled hardwood floors, and energy-efficient materials and appliances. In addition, The Elements also has a Green rooftop garden and decks, as well as bike storage facilities and zipcar parking.  The complex has more than 100 units to offer, and has mostly one- and two-bedroom apartments renting for a range of $1,700 to $2,850 per month.

      Mount Vernon Co. is setting aside $125 million to develop the area, citing three new buildings are on the way; as well as the renovation of four existing complexes to make them coincide with the "green" dimension of the neighborhood. In addition to the recycled wood floors and energy-efficient materials made to create the buildings, tenants have the ability to control and pay for their own heat and air conditioning in the apartments. Buildings in the so-caleld green district are also designed such that residents have total control of resources such as separate water pipes, to be able to reduce wastage.  The Edge, the second building to rise, also boasts of rooftop solar panels and electric car charging stations. Perhaps the most unique aspect of living in this "Green District" is that upon moving in, residents are asked to sign a green declaration that corresponds to requests to agree to minimize energy consumption, as well as recycle and compost as often as possible.

      The Green District is a welcome addition in a part of the city known more for its late-night restaurants and student population with heavy turnover. For that reason, the developers sought to improve the quality of life for these residents and extend its reach to the more "mature market", adding amenities such as an eco-friendly kitchen. Aside from all these enhancements, all of the buildings in the district are LEED certified gold and silver, making them truly eco-friendly and sustainable. In addition to the environmentally conscious aspects of the Green District apartments, the buildings have gyms, common spaces, and a roof deck for tenants to facilitate a community feeling among residents.

      Just last week, the Boston Redevelopment Authority unanimously approved the construction of another building in the area. "The Icon", a five-story 93,260 square feet building at the corner of Brainerd Road and Redford Street (just by the border of Brookline), is set to have more than 100 units that are high-efficiency as well as a green underground parking and solar-panel lined rooftop and deck, and also where the fitness center is planned to be located. City officials said work on the building is scheduled to begin this year and would take about 16 months to finish. It is estimated the project will create 260 construction jobs.

      The building will span two parcels at 75 Brainerd and 10 Redford, which together comprise just over a half acre. The properties have housed a single-story warehouse building, which was recently razed, and an auto repair shop, which will soon be torn down. The company razed an about one-and-a-half-story warehouse building to develop the 1.2-acre site. About two-thirds of the property is in Allston; the rest is in Brookline. The development of the green district is set to continue until the delivery of all seven buildings in 2016.