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Real estate deal near Gillette HQ could trigger wave of construction in Fort Point

The Gillette factory complex in South Boston.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff/file

Prominent development firm Related Beal appears poised to buy 6.5 acres owned by Gillette along Fort Point Channel, potentially triggering a wave of construction in a key stretch of one of the city’s hottest neighborhoods.

Three people familiar with the deal said that Related — the Boston arm of New York real estate giant Related Cos. — beat out several of the city’s other leading developers for the site, which today is home to parking lots alongside Gillette’s World Shaving Headquarters, near the site of General Electric’s headquarters.

The complex deal is not yet finalized, the people with knowledge of it said, and could still fall through, but several other finalists were informed last week that Gillette was in final talks with Related.


A Related spokesman referred questions to Gillette. The company said it wouldn’t identify a potential buyer until formal agreements have been reached.

“That said, I can tell you that the land has generated an incredible amount of interest,” said spokeswoman Kara Buckley in an e-mail. “We’ve seen some strong proposals and are nearing an agreement.”

Buckley said Gillette hopes to close a sale in the spring. The price has not been revealed, but real estate specialists project the land would fetch $200 million or more.

The long-dormant surface lots are in an area the Walsh administration has circled as crucial in efforts to block rising seas from swamping parts of Fort Point and South Boston, and where a 2006 city plan envisioned blocks of much-needed new housing. It also neighbors the site of GE’s planned — but currently stalled — 12-story headquarters building, land the company bought from Gillette in 2016 for $25.6 million.

The shaving giant had long rebuffed offers to buy parts of its Fort Point campus, even as the neighborhood around became home to Boston’s booming tech industry. That has changed in recent years, starting with the GE deal and then the sale of a few smaller parcels nearby. The 6.5 acres Gillette put on the market in October would be its biggest land deal yet.


In the hands of Related, the property could yield up to 1 million square feet of development, likely a mix of housing and office or lab space, according to a person familiar with the developer’s thinking.

The firm, formed when Related Cos. acquired longtime Boston builder Beal Company in 2013, has tackled a number of thorny developments in Boston in recent years, including the block in Kenmore Square that is home to the Citgo Sign, the “100 percent affordable” Beverly apartment building near North Station, and the soon-to-open Congress Square, a re-do of the longtime home of Fidelity Investments downtown.

The Gillette site, with its low-lying waterfront location, neighborhood parking caps, and a section of the Ted Williams Tunnel that runs underneath, will probably be equally complex, real estate specialists say. The Boston Planning & Development Agency is also kicking off an updated plan for open space in the area, which will play out over the next year. That space — roughly seven acres in all — will be funded in part by contributions from neighboring developers.

BPDA officials said Tuesday that they didn’t yet know who would be buying Gillette’s land.

Tim Logan can be reached at tim.logan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @bytimlogan.