Three buildings and a park planned for former Gillette lots

By Tim Logan

The sea of parking lots alongside Gillette’s World Shaving Headquarters could become home to three new buildings and more than 3 acres of park space, under a proposal soon to be filed with the city by their new owner.


Development firm Related Beal Thursday took the wraps off its plans for the prominent site along Fort Point Channel that it bought from Gillette parent Procter & Gamble in May for $218 million. Related Beal envisions a trio of buildings — one for housing, one for offices, and one for lab space — on the 6.5-acre parcel, along with green space and elaborate landscaping designed to protect the area from rising sea levels.


“We’re really excited about being able to get started on this,” said Stephen Faber, executive vice president at Related Beal, the Boston arm of New York-based real estate giant Related Cos.


The company’s vision broadly complies with “The 100 Acres Plan,” a 2006 City of Boston zoning document that guides development in Fort Point. Related’s project would devote about one-third of its 1.1 million square feet to housing. It would bring retail and public space to the ground floors, and it would include a park that links A Street to the waterfront.


But Related also wants to make some tweaks to what the 100 Acres Plan envisions for the site, Faber said, to reflect changes in the market and the city since the 100 Acres Plan was written more than a decade ago.


Instead of four buildings on the site, as originally planned, there would be three, with two of them rising as high as 180 feet. They would be aligned differently than first envisioned, to create more pedestrian pathways and minimize construction directly above the Ted Williams Tunnel, which cuts beneath the site. There would be more green space and less parking. And there would be a 5-foot grade designed to protect both the low-lying site and its surroundings from rising waters without feeling like the waterfront is walled off.


“The infrastructure that protects the neighborhood also connects it to the water,” said Elie Gamburg, a director at architecture firm KPF, which is designing the project. “If we succeed with this, people will feel like they have this great promenade, not a shiny new wall.”


Earlier this year, Related Beal won a fierce bidding war for the site, which Gillette — and then Procter & Gamble, its parent — had long used as employee parking and as a sort of buffer for the company’s razor manufacturing plant next door. But after selling two warehouses and some of its parking for GE’s planned — and since scuttled — headquarters on Necco Court in 2016, P&G decided to put the larger site on the market.


It sits in a corridor that is exploding with growth, driven by tech and life science companies that want to be near downtown, the Seaport District, and South Station. Amazon last year opened a new office on Melcher Street, while GE is wrapping up work on its scaled-down headquarters complex. Life science developer Alexandria Real Estate Equities and National Development have purchased the site where GE had received permits for a 12-story headquarters tower and a neighboring parking garage.

And several life science lab buildings have been proposed on A Street, closer to the MBTA’s Broadway Station.


Related Beal, Faber said, is confident it will be able to lease both the lab building — 400,000 square feet — and a midrise office building — 334,000 square feet — it wants to put on the site. It hasn’t decided whether the 18-story residential building will be for apartments or condominiums, he said.