Related Beal unveils early plans for Fort Point

By Catherine Carlock

Representatives from real-estate development firm Related Beal and architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates on Thursday laid out their early plans to transform 6.5 acres of surface parking lots into a mixed-use destination with a new park and a series of open spaces leading to the Fort Point Channel and Harborwalk.

Located on 6.5 acres between Gillette and the future world headquarters of General Electric Co., the P&G site is a central piece in the overall transformation of the stretch of Fort Point between South Station and the MBTA Broadway Red Line station into life- sciences node.

Steve Faber from Related Beal and Elie Gamburg from KPF were scheduled to walk through the early plans at a Fort Point community meeting Thursday night. The pair spoke to the Business Journal for a preview, outlining a 1.1 million-square-foot mixed- use development with a 17-story, 180-foot residential building, a 13-story, 180-foot office building and an eight-story, 123-foot laboratory facility.

Alexandria Real Estate Equities and National Development are planning to develop a life-sciences campus of up to 650,000 square feet at 5, 10 and 15 Necco St. Alexandria and Anchor Line Partners, meanwhile, have proposed a 210,000-square-foot laboratory property at 99 A St. What’s more, development firm Tishman Speyer is launching a life- sciences division arm and plans to develop a 250,000-square-foot lab building at 105 W First St. by 2021.

‘Just the beginning’

A number of factors complicate real-estate development at the P&G site, including a highway tunnel running underneath the lot and its location in a waterfront area particularly susceptible to flooding and sea-level rise. Related Beal and KPF’s plans incorporate much of the early planning work already completed for the Fort Point neighborhood, including the 100 Acres Master Plan, as well as feedback from a June 19 community meeting, both Faber and Gamburg said.

“We’ve listened to that. We’ve incorporated that into our study,” Faber said. “This is really just the beginning.”

Faber said the site will play an important role in protecting the Fort Point neighborhood from seawater rise. New York-based KPF designed the early master plan, and will also be the architect of record for the project. Gamburg, a director with KPF, said the site will be sloped gently higher until it’s elevated five feet higher than where it stands now. The site will connect to the Harborwalk through a series of sea steps and terraces, versus seawalls and levies, Gamburg said.

“If somebody walks, they’re not going to realize that they’re rising,” he said. “You want to use it as an opportunity to connect people to the water.”

KPF also designed EchelonSeaport, a three-building residential project surrounding a central plaza further inland in Boston’s Seaport District. For the P&G site, KPF plans to incorporate a series of piazzas and plazas, as well as a number of ground-level retail and public accommodation spaces.

“We really see this as being what could be just an amazing destination location on the water, with a beautiful new park” Faber said. “You can imagine outside dining and other opportunities here as you walk along the water.”

Faber anticipates developing the project in one phase and having buildings ready for tenant move-in by mid-2024.