Boston Globe
Plans for a major project along Fort Point Channel are moving ahead

By Tim Logan

The push to develop a prime spot of land along Fort Point Channel is moving forward again.


Development firm Related Beal on Monday filed more detailed plans for the three buildings it wants to put on on 6.5 acres of what is now filled with parking lots alongside the Gillette World Shaving Headquarters. They describe a project, dubbed Channelside,

that will include about 1 million square feet of residential, office, and lab space, with new parking areas and a berm to help protect against sea level rise.


The filing fleshes out plans Related unveiled last fall, after it won a fierce bidding war to buy the site for $218 million, and it triggers the launch of official neighborhood and Boston Planning & Development Agency review of the project, though the firm has been talking informally with neighbors and the city for months.


“The feedback we have received from the city and community has been invaluable,” said executive vice president Stephen Faber. “Fort Point is a unique and historic neighborhood, and we are thrilled to complement it with a thoughtful mix of housing, office, lab, and retail space, while introducing new parks, creating new pathways and public spaces, and enhancing waterfront access in Boston.”


Monday’s filing describes an office building and a residential building, each 180 feet tall, along Fort Point Channel. A 123-foot-tall lab building would be sited closer to A Street, with retail, restaurant, and civic space at the street level and 400 underground parking spaces beneath. The developer would extend Necco and Wormwood streets through the site and design park space to run between A Street and Fort Point Channel, where an earthen berm would be created to keep out surging water during storms.


With about one-third of its space devoted to housing, the project broadly complies with the so-called “100 Acres Plan,” created in 2006 to guide development in the area, but specifics will likely be hashed out in community meetings over the coming months. That will include determining the size and nature of ground-floor civic space in a neighborhood many say has too little of it.


Also to be determined: The look of the buildings themselves. Related Beal has yet to share renderings of what, exactly, the buildings will look like. James Von Klemperer, design principal at architecture firm Kohn Pedersen Fox, said they will “harmonize with the evocative character of the adjacent historical neighborhood.”


“Our design for Channelside will add to the distinctive Boston Wharf neighborhood fabric of handsome brick buildings,” he said in a statement.


A similar debate about the look, and purpose, of new buildings in this old section of town is playing out next door at 15 Necco St., the site that was to be the home of

General Electric’s world headquarters until the industrial conglomerate sold it last year. A new plan for a life-science-oriented midrise tower on the property, has been undergoing BPDA review since late last year, with a virtual community meeting set for Thursday night.