Gillette Co. has filed a lawsuit against the City of Boston, attempting to block the City's recently approved conversion of Fort Point Place to acommodate residential uses. To read Boston Globe coverage click here.
Fort Point Place is a development project widely supported in the Fort Point community. To read more about Fort Point Place history click here (or visit SAND News for additional entries).
Gillette Co. claims that residential development will disrupt the use of A Street as an industrial thoroughfare. The company, however, did not actively participate in a two-year public process including dozens of community meetings during which the Fort Point area was identified as the anchor for a mixed-use neighborhood including a significant residential component.
Throughout 1998 and 1999, SAND hosted numerous community meetings in the Fort Point neighborhood to discuss the evolving area, yet Gillette representatives neither participated nor stated the company's position on future development in the area at any of these forums. Gillette did not participate in the Boston Harbor Conference sponsored by MIT and the Boston Globe, nor did the company clarify its position on Fort Point development in the major public planning events sponsored by the BRA.
Despite the company's absence from the public planning effort, many considerations were given (by South Boston political leaders, the BRA, waterfront advocacy groups and SAND ) to Gillette's occupancy of its facility along the Fort Point Channel -- a manufacturing plant employing as many as 3,000 workers. These considerations resulted in a number of actual provisions, including connections between Gillette and the South Boston haul road, an accessway exclusively limited to commercial use.
Left to speculation, the lawsuit may be an attempt by Gillette to strongarm the City of Boston into aiding its expansion in Fort Point -- an area now among the City's most watched by real-estate speculators. The company passed up numerous expansion opportunities over the past decade and, in retrospect, this was a major error in planning considering the recent escalation of property values and decline in available space in the Fort Point area.
Last week, the BRA indicated to SAND that Gillette had recently registered an interest in the Court Square Press building, a 125,000 square foot facility at the foot of South Boston's Broadway Bridge. The building is now under agreement (buyer unknown).
Your comments as a visitor to the SAND website would be appreciated and forwarded for discussion.