On Thursday February 17, SAND heard from a reliable source that Gillette has been involved in negotiations for the purchase of Fort Point Place -- the 250,000 square foot industrial warehouse already approved and marketed for residential use. The company's intent, according to a second source, is to expand with the development of a technology park along the Fort Point Channel -- outside of the Industrial Subdistrict in which the company is now located.
Gillette's recent moves run counter to SAND's advocacy for an evolving mixed-use waterfront neighborhood as defined in the BRA Public Realm Plan. SAND encourages industrial and manufacturing expansion in the Fort Point Industrial Subdistrict, but continues to advocate for a critical mass of residential development, parks, waterfront amenities and a solid mix of commercial uses for the Fort Point Historic Subdistrict.
This issue appeared on the front page of the today's Boston Globe. Click here to read.
Gillette representatives have spoken publicly at recent Municipal Harbor Plan meetings regarding the incompatibility between the Fort Point Industrial Subdistrict (site of Gillette Manufacturing) and residential development in the neighboring Fort Point Historic Subdistrict (supported by SAND and envisioned in the South Boston Waterfront Public Realm Plan).
Two major moves by Gillette may further inhibit residential growth in the evolving Fort Point neighborhood:
1) Gillette has been negotiating with the Boston Wharf Company to buy the Fort Point land over the casting basin (a huge parcel with great frontage on the Fort Point Channel) for the manufacturing company's expansion from the Fort Point Indusrial Subdistrict into the Fort Point Historic Subdistrict. Sources confirmed last week that Gillette is interested in building a technology office park on the prime waterfront acreage. The South Boston Public Realm Plan, however, suggests that this land evolve as the heart of a mixed-use residential community (named the Wormwood District) and that it specifically includes a grand, green promenade park from the Convention Center down to the water's edge.
2) According to a reliable sources, Gillette has been unwilling to settle its ongoing lawsuit against Beacon Capital for its development of Fort Point Place -- the Fort Point area's first residential project in 5 years. Gillette, though not an abutter of Fort Point Place, has opposed this conversion of a historic warehouse to 120 residential units with an onsite affordable housing component. Fort Point Place received widespread community support and City approvals last summer, began marketing units in August. Today, however, prospective unit buyers (of which there are many) are not able to enter into purchase and sale agreements with Beacon Capital. To tenants holding temporary leases or realizing skyrocketing rental costs, the embattled Fort Point Place development has been the area's only avenue for permanent tenancy.
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