Gillette Headquarters Bldg Redevelopment | 1 Granite | South Boston

odurandina

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Not the parking lot/but the actual building.
Incredible as it may seem, this sounds like a preliminary announcement for
"We're going to be in Andover–or parts unknown......"



Amid reinvention, Gillette rethinking its Boston,
Andover properties

Jon Chesto – Globe

Procter & Gamble has been busy reinventing Gillette under pressure from lower-cost competitors. Think: big changes to marketing, innovation, online sales.

Now comes phase two of that reinvention – one that will probably bring changes to Gillette’s prominent complex on the Fort Point Channel in South Boston as well as its lower-profile sibling campus in Andover.

Gary Coombe, chief executive of P&G’s grooming business, told the company’s 1,300 Massachusetts employees Thursday that it is reassessing its two properties here. The stated goal: investment in new high-tech manufacturing equipment, R&D labs, and modern offices.

But with excess space at the 34-acre campus in South Boston and the 150-acre Andover location, real estate savings will be part of the equation.

contd
 
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meddlepal

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This was sort of inevitable... it makes no sense for manufacturing to be taking up prime real estate like that.

I know it will never happen but I'd like the city or state to fill in the Fort Point Channel and create a ton of new downtown developable land.
 

citydweller

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This was sort of inevitable... it makes no sense for manufacturing to be taking up prime real estate like that.

I know it will never happen but I'd like the city or state to fill in the Fort Point Channel and create a ton of new downtown developable land.
That should have been done during the Big dig / Masspike extension to save the taxpayers 10's of millions. Anyway, I'm guessing that the entire Gillette's South Boston campus goes up for sale.
 
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TomOfBoston

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This was sort of inevitable... it makes no sense for manufacturing to be taking up prime real estate like that.
Yes let's drive out manufacturing from the city and all those blue collar workers. Build more high end condos there.
 

meddlepal

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Yes let's drive out manufacturing from the city and all those blue collar workers. Build more high end condos there.
You built a strawman and attacked it. Sounds like Gillette is looking to exit because it could yield a nice financial windfall. Take it up with Gillette not me for wanting to see the land put to better use.

Not to mention I bet that plant runs on < 100 workers. That's not a lot of jobs in the grand scheme of anything and it is in a pain in the ass part of town for any "blue collar worker" to get to.
 

Arlington

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Not to mention I bet that plant runs on < 100 workers. That's not a lot of jobs in the grand scheme of anything and it is in a pain in the ass part of town for any "blue collar worker" to get to.
Yes, the Gillette factories are still in the USA because they are (1) highly dependent on trade secrets and high-value intellectual property that is easier to keep secret here and (2) mostly employ a few, highly-trained people to manage the robots

Nobody's in that plant hand-packing blades into cartridges. Neither it (nor Andover) have much in the way of blue-collar employment. Robots, Robots, Robots.
 

jklo

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Good time to sell, maybe a bit late.

Yes let's drive out manufacturing from the city and all those blue collar workers. Build more high end condos there.
It is pretty much inevitable I think. Same with GE in Lynn, it's going to be too irresitable to not redev it. You could build a big tower that would easily employ far more than that 1300 number and have room for yes another high end condo building.

I have no idea what they will do with the Andover space.
 

Arlington

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Meanwhile, out in Andover, it seems to me Gillette could easily double the building size on the lot they have

Andover GIS
GIS Parcel Information
Parcel ID185-2
Last Edited
Registry Plan ID
GIS Acres
Assessing Information
Property ID:185 0 2
Owners:GILLETTE COMPANY % JLL VALU+ADVIS SERV-TAX DEPT
Street Address:30 BURTT RD
Lot Size:153.42999
Lot Units:A
Fiscal Year:2020
Building Type:INDUSTRIAL
Building Condition:Average
Land Valuation:$19,145,700.00
Building Valuation:$17,088,700.00
Total Valuation:$36,662,700.00
Land Use Code:400
Year Built:1969
Gross Area:591906
Finished Area:591906
Number of Stories:2
Neighborhood Code:IND-GOOD
Zoning District:IA
Book & Page:1093-361
Last Sale Date:19671025
 

Scott

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Isn't the name of this thread a bit misleading? Correct me if I am wrong but there is no plan, only speculation, and for all we know they might sell the suburban property. I am sure 150 acres in Andover asks a pretty penny
 

mass88

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How long has Gillette been at this location?
 

stellarfun

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Coombe said the company is just starting its assessment and hopes to have a decision by early next year. He didn’t rule out relocating the blade manufacturing operation from its South Boston home, where the company has had a proud presence for more than 100 years, although he said he doesn’t plan any job cuts in the region.

Regardless of the outcome, Coombe said P&G will maintain a “meaningful presence” in both communities.
^^^From the Globe article.
I read this as indicating manufacturing likely moves to Andover, Gillette builds a new building for R&D and HQ functions at Fort Point, and sells off about 30 of its 34 acres in Southie. 30 acres at $50 million an acre = $1.5 billion. Subtract cost of moving the manufacturing to a new plant and a new HQ building, Gillette's net gain could be $1 billion.
 

Arlington

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My information is 20 years old, but didn't Gillette used to have a lot of marketing, product & packaging design, and management staff in the Pru? (White collar stuff was never in the Seaport, but could move there now that it's been civilized by other big employers)
 

jklo

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^^^From the Globe article.
Companies always say that though. Job cuts are definitely coming. I wouldn't say it's a done deal but (ahem) it's gotta be far enough along that they are at the point where they want to encourage employees to leave instead of laying them off and paying severance. It should end up being a big net positive in jobs in Southie if the plant gets redeveloped correctly when you factor in new companies that would move in.

P&G owns several manufacturing sites across the US. They could move the blade manufacturing to one of those sites.
 

Arlington

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P&G owns several manufacturing sites across the US. They could move the blade manufacturing to one of those sites.
My understanding is that "grooming" remains an IP-intensive business, so you're not really free to move it just any old place that happens to be good at shampoo, cosmetics, or tampons, even though, under P&G's care, Gillette is doing a lot more "cosmetics" type products (which are, presumably, actually made someplace that makes Prell or Oil of Olay)

So if you only consider the "lotions and potions" part of Gillette, Cinci is an obvious move.

But razors require a tech stack similar to that of aerospace and medical devices: material science, metallurgy, and cutting edge precision manufacturing (laser-welding and robots).

Cinci, home to a GE turbine plant and a sprinkling of med device outposts actually might have those skills, so when you consider both the art and the science, Cinci is still a really strong alternative that you'd relocate all of Gillette to.

But other than Boston and Cinci it is hard for me to think of US cities that have art-and-science benches deep enough.

I'd say that for about the same reason that Boeing and GE are coming here, a substantial part of Gillette's razors-and-blades business would be perfect to remain in Boston, with manufacturing concentrated in Andover and "innovation & marketing" in the Seaport.
 
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Nakedi

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I had a professional connection to the South Boston Gillette facility in a previous job and had the opportunity to tour the plant and speak with managers there (this was about 3-4 years ago). At that time, they were very clear about being committed to maintaining a presence in South Boston, but that the focus of that particular facility was increasingly R&D rather than large scale manufacturing-- some manufacturing does happen in South Boston, mainly of razor blades, but I got the impression that it was on a downward trend, and that there was slack capacity on the manufacturing floor of the facility.

Interestingly, they told us that Gillette/P&G would be unlikely to shift razor blade manufacturing overseas because of IP concerns, and that tooling up new manufacturing facilities within the US would be challenging. A lot of the hiring they were doing at that time was of engineers and so-called "new collar" jobs-- skilled machinists and mechanical engineering technicians-- as opposed to more typical blue collar jobs like line workers. Gillette had spent quite a bit of time and effort establishing hiring pipelines with local colleges and universities as well as the regional voc-techs, so I'd be very surprised to see them pull out of Boston completely.

Anyway, this is not to argue on one side or another of the points made in this thread, just reporting what I had learned there relatively recently.
 

Arlington

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they told us that Gillette/P&G would be unlikely to shift razor blade manufacturing overseas because of IP concerns, and that .... Gillette had spent quite a bit of time and effort establishing hiring pipelines with local colleges and universities as well as the regional voc-techs, so I'd be very surprised to see them pull out of Boston completely.
Thank you very much for this recent and direct insight.

Just as Corning long ago sold its "commodity glass" but has kept its high-end glassmaking (fiber optic and Gorilla glass) in the US & Japan, Razor making is the kind of thing that you keep in places that do it well, research its future, and protect its IP, namely [Boston and] the rival centers of:
 
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stellarfun

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I agree with Arlington's and nakedi's key points.

My recollection is that the technologically advanced, high end razors are mostly made in the U.S., and the more utilitarian (cheaper) razors are mostly made outside of the U.S.. And I have a dimmer recollection that one or two production lines at the plant in Southie are, in essence, R&D lines; i.e., before Gillette establishes a production line for razor model xyz, they test the production line for that model, and remedy any production issues before the xyz line is replicated at other Gillette manufacturing plants, world-wide. Nominally, that production testing would be done near the R&D center. Near does not mean right 'next door', but neither does it mean Omaha Nebraska.
 

jklo

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Yeah, keep the R&D in Southie. I guess the question is how big of a space do they actually need. They are kind of implying that they don't actually need that much.

Maybe what they could do is build a new tower containing R&D and office space where the West parking lot is, and sell the rest for megabucks when the tower is complete.
 

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