Related Beal’s Fort Point plans include lots of lab space

By Tom Acitelli

One of the animating trends in Boston-area real estate right now—and for the foreseeable future—is the development and marketing of lab and office space for life sciences firms.


Such space is underpinning new developments and redevelopments of existing property throughout Boston proper and in Somerville, Watertown, and other surrounding communities. It’s simple demand: The life sciences/biotechnology industry is one of the biggest and most lucrative in the Boston region—and it’s growing.


So it should come as little surprise that a major redevelopment of Fort Point acreage that Gillette parent Procter & Gamble once owned and that developer Related Beal now does is set to host hundreds of thousands of square feet of lab space.


Related Beal filed tentative plans with the Boston Planning and Development Agency on November 18 to redevelop 6.5 acres of parking lot along A Street into an approximately

1.1 million-square-foot mixed-use development. That development would include “a laboratory/research & development building” running to 400,000 square feet and reaching 123 feet in height.


The proposal also calls for a residential building of around 366,000 square feet with a height of 180 feet; and a conventional office building of around 334,000 square feet, also reaching to 180 feet. There would be “considerable dedicated open spaces” in each building’s ground floor, according to the letter of intent that Related Beal filed.


The proposal is notable not only for its scope, its location, and its inclusion of so much potential life sciences space—it would also mean the end of a surface parking lot in Boston, an example of another trend animating a lot of Boston-area real estate.


Related Beal is well-known in Boston development circles as the driving force behind projects such as Converse’s Lovejoy Wharf headquarters, Congress Square, and the luxury residential towers the Clarendon and One Back Bay.


The firm’s projects have run the gamut from commercial, retail, life sciences, and residential to mixes of these and more. It was also the developer behind the Beverly near North Station, which Related Beal called “the largest new construction of affordable and workforce housing in downtown Boston in more than a quarter-century.”


The developer hired architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates to devise the plan for the ex-Gillette lot at 244-284 A Street. Stay tuned.