By Greg Ryan
Procter & Gamble revealed Tuesday it would move Gillette’s century-old South Boston manufacturing operations to the company’s Andover property, opening up as many as 31 acres on Fort Point Channel to redevelopment.
Cincinnati-based P&G (NYSE: PG) plans to maintain the headquarters for the Gillette business and roughly 750 corporate, research and engineering employees in Southie, though it will review whether to keep them on part of the A Street site or lease space nearby, spokesperson Kara Buckley said. Either way, the company plans to explore the redevelopment of most if not all of the site.
Beginning in two to three years, the razor maker’s manufacturing operations will head to a not-yet-built plant on the 150-acre campus on Burtt Road in Andover, where P&G already does some shaving-related manufacturing and ships out online consumer orders. The 400 to 500 manufacturing employees now in Southie are to be offered jobs in Andover.
P&G, which acquired Gillette in 2005, has been selling off chunks of its Fort Point property in recent years, making way for a lab boom along the channel.
The first property to be sold, on Necco Street, was going to be General Electric Co.’s Boston headquarters before GE scrapped those plans. Instead, Alexandria Real Estate Equities and National Development built what will be an Eli Lilly & Co. location. Related Beal won approval last year to turn a parking lot into 1.1 million square feet of labs, offices and housing, while real estate firm Tishman Speyer has proposed a lab building on another former Gillette parcel.
The decision marks the end of an era in South Boston, where Gillette has long been a blue-collar employer and an illuminated Gillette World Shaving Headquarters sign has greeted people coming from downtown. The company has been strategically reassessing the site since 2019.
The move is meant to be part of a larger activation of the 54-year-old Andover campus for P&G, including plans to double production of bar soap at the location. About 200 P&G employees work in Andover now.
“This is a critical moment for our business to ensure that we have the right infrastructure and capabilities to win for the next century,” P&G Grooming CEO Gary Coombe said in a statement.
To explore redevelopment of the South Boston campus, Gillette executives plan to meet with local officials and residents to consider possibilities like additional commercial real estate, new housing and more open space, with an initial community meeting “in the coming weeks,” the company said.