232 A St./Image courtesy of Payette

A life science development will contribute $6.5 million toward the design and construction of a flood berm designed to protect portions of Boston’s Seaport District from sea level rise.

Breakthrough Properties received Boston Planning & Development Agency approval Thursday for its 324,315-square-foot office-lab development on a former Gillette Co. parking lot at 232 A St.

Developers agreed to subsidize a 2,000-foot-long berm running along Fort Point Channel being designed by AECOM Technical Services, which was awarded a $2-million contract by the BPDA last year. The estimated $20.5 million project is designed to protect 31 neighborhood properties from future flooding.

The project will be paid with a combination of private and public funds. The berm also will run past the Gillette Co. property just south of the lab development site to Dorchester Avenue. Gillette is preparing to submit plans for redevelopment of its own 31-acre campus.

Breakthrough Properties is a partnership of Tishman Speyer and Bellco Capital specializing in life science developments.

Developers including The Flatley Co. and Accordia Partners have incorporated flood barriers into their plans for waterfront sites in Charlestown and Dorchester, reflecting climate studies projecting a 40-inch rise in sea levels by 2070.

The 232 A St. development plan retains 1.5 acres of publicly accessible open space on the 2.4-acre property. At a public hearing Thursday, some neighborhood residents criticized the project for not providing facilities such as a public dock improving public recreation opportunities on Fort Point Channel.

Jessica Hughes, a managing director at Tishman Speyer, said the site has only 165 feet of frontage on the channel, and constraints related to the proximity of a sewer outfall pipe and Gillette Co. pumphouse.

The building’s footprint reflects site limitations from the location of the Interstate 90 Fort Point Tunnel beneath a section of the property. The far western portion of the building will rest on a cantilever, according to project documents, to avoid conflicts with the tunnel structure.

Other Projects OK’d by BPDA

At its monthly meeting, the BPDA board also approved 290 housing units including a 274-unit Samuels & Assoc.’s apartment complex in a section of Allston undergoing rapid development.

Boston-based Samuels agreed to reserve 17 percent of the units as income-restricted at an average 60 percent of area median income. Compact studio units as small as 331 square feet would rent for $1,016 per month.

The 180 Western Ave. project’s affordability component qualified for additional density under the BPDA’s Western Avenue Corridor Rezoning Study, clearing the way for approval of the 7-story, 200,000-square-foot building. The project includes 217 compact units, and offsets the smaller living spaces with 6,000 square feet of shared interior common areas. The project includes 12,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space.

In Brighton, the board approved a 16-unit addition to an existing assisted living facility at 50 Sunderland Road.

A lease agreement approved by the board will enable Boston Emergency Medical Services to open a new ambulance station in the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park. The station will be located on parcel Z at 34 Drydock Ave.

Lab Developer Agrees to Pay for Fort Point Flood Barrier

by Steve Adams time to read: 2 min
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