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Boynton Yards parcel in Somerville likely to host part of big mixed-use development

And of course the project near the future Union Square Green Line stop will have a life sciences component

Aerial photo of a development footprint in Somerville. Photo courtesy of ABG Commercial

A developer has acquired the headquarters of moving company Gentle Giant at 29 Harding Street in Somerville and plans to incorporate it into a larger mixed-use development that would include multifamily housing as well as space for technology and life sciences firms (making it the latest new space in the Boston region for the latter industry).

DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners paid $23 million for the 3.1-acre site, and assisted Gentle Giant in finding a new headquarters in Winchester. It’s also within the Boynton Yards footprint, which Somerville wants to see developed into just the sort of mixed-use complex the developers have planned.

The 29 Harding site is also adjacent to a 3.5-acre one that a joint venture between DLJ and Leggat McCall Properties already owns and on which it’s building a 290,000-square-foot life sciences building on spec (i.e., without a tenant or tenants lined up). The zoning of the most recently purchased site could support a 600,000-square-foot building.

“Acquiring the Gentle Giant site is a critical milestone in our plan or transform Boynton Yards from an isolated underutilized industrial area into a vital work-live-play neighborhood,” John Fenton, DLJ’s development manager, said in a statement.

The site too is near the Green Line’s future Union Station stop, and it’s about a mile away from the Boston region’s top tech hub, Cambridge’s Kendall Square. Such a location positions any future development quite well commercially, said ABG Commercial’s Bernard Gibbons, who brokered the 29 Harding sale.

“With the in-migration of tech and life science tenants to the Boston and Cambridge markets exerting upward pressure on rents, Somerville and Boynton Yards are poised to be viable alternatives for companies in the knowledge industries seeking well-amenitized space at a more reasonable price point,” Gibbons said in a release about the deal.

“With the Green Line extension scheduled to open in Union Square in 2021, Boynton Yards will be a huge draw for companies in the war for millennial tech talent, which they need to compete in today’s market.”