Gerald W. Blakeley Jr., visionary developer of Boston’s ‘high-tech freeway,’ dies at 100

“I got up with a yellow pad and went into the toilet so I wouldn’t wake my spouse and wrote seven internet pages of notes,” he recalled in a 2001 World job interview about the inspiration that led him to grow to be a revolutionary developer of industrial parks alongside Route 128.

Mr. Blakeley, whose legacy as 1 of Larger Boston’s most considerable builders included serving as a mentor to all those who adopted him into the enterprise, was 100 when he died Friday in his Osterville property.

“Jerry in no way observed a trouble that he couldn’t flip into an option,” the developer Don Chiofaro reported in an job interview.

Among the Mr. Blakeley’s very long-ago thoughts was to create industrial parks that appeared like the prep faculty and school campuses from which high-tech engineers were rising, rather than the New England factories and mills of previous.

By generating inviting amenities that felt at household between trees and mother nature, he performed a purpose in jumpstarting the expansion of Boston’s suburbs.

In a 2010 tribute video clip, when Mr. Blakeley obtained a life time achievement award from the nationwide commercial serious estate affiliation NAIOP, he was hailed for instruction his successors.

“Jerry mentored the upcoming era of serious estate developers: Mort Zuckerman, Ed Linde, Hank Spaulding, [Ferdinand] Colloredo-Mansfeld, Don Chiofaro, and Ken Himmel, just to name a few,” Robert L. Beal, who died previous yr and experienced been president of The Beal Cos., explained in the video.

Recalling his individual time as a protégé of Mr. Blakeley, Zuckerman explained in the movie that he “was most straightforward gentleman in the planet to talk to. I could not have had a far better teacher coming into the company than Jerry Blakeley.”

Mr. Blakeley joined the Cabot, Cabot & Forbes real estate enhancement agency in the late-1940s and headed its industrial division right until turning out to be president in 1957.

Almost two many years afterwards he turned chairman, and the agency was bought to Chicago-based Area Enterprises in 1979. By then Mr. Blakeley had purchased out the Cabot and Forbes families and was the the greater part proprietor.

He started Blakeley Expense Co. after selling Cabot, Cabot & Forbes, and later on established the Blakeley Houses genuine estate organization with his spouse and children. He also owned the Ritz-Carlton Lodge in Boston for numerous several years.

During the 1960s, below his leadership at Cabot, Cabot & Forbes, the agency grew to become a major developer of downtown Boston properties that bundled New England Merchants National Bank and the properties for Stone & Webster Engineering Corp. and Blue Cross Blue Defend.

“You can look out any window of any business building in Boston and see a building that Jerry built,” Chiofaro stated in the 2010 tribute video, incorporating that “Jerry built all of the big structures in Boston for about 20 a long time.”

Mr. Blakeley also expanded the get to of Cabot, Cabot & Forbes to states and regions these types of as Ga, Florida, California, and the Southwest, with industrial parks, substantial-increase buildings, and about 14 department workplaces throughout the place.

“Jerry was a countrywide developer with an worldwide track record,” Chiofaro stated.

The older of two siblings, Gerald W. Blakeley Jr. was born on Nov. 8, 1920, and grew up in Belmont.

His mother, Mable E. Roy, experienced been an opera singer, and his father, Gerald Sr., was a physics professor at MIT, and then a consulting engineer.

Mr. Blakeley graduated from Belmont Higher College and acquired a bachelor’s diploma from Bowdoin Higher education in Maine, the place he researched biochemistry and physics.

However he had been a pacifist, he joined the Navy soon after Pearl Harbor was attacked throughout World War II.

Originally a pilot — he experienced figured out to fly although at Bowdoin — Mr. Blakeley later on was the skipper of a submarine chaser, according to his relatives.

His family reported his practical experience serving as 1 of 5 white officers commanding a predominantly Black crew, and his aggravation at the exclusionary racism that was fundamentally constructed into the GI Invoice, prompted his involvement with the board of the Morehouse College of Medicine, then a section of Morehouse College or university, a historically Black men’s school in Atlanta.

Mr. Blakeley had chaired the healthcare school’s board and served on quite a few other boards, spending unique consideration to the Boys & Women Golf equipment of The us and its Increased Boston destinations.

“He seriously was devoted to the Boys and Girls Clubs,” reported his spouse, Dr. Tenley Albright. “He was usually a wonderful mentor to youthful persons.”

Mr. Blakeley formerly was married to Anne Whitcomb, with whom he had 4 sons, and Polly Figg, with whom he had a daughter. Those marriages ended in divorce.

In 1981, he married Albright, a surgeon who experienced been an Olympic determine skating champion.

“I cherished it that he had so lots of, numerous unique passions and experienced these types of enthusiasm and was these kinds of a optimistic man or woman,” she claimed.

For impromptu, just one-on-on company meetings, Mr. Blakeley appreciated to chat above a serving of espresso ice product, and he performed “Happy Birthday” on a harmonica for just about every of his lots of grandchildren and excellent-grandchildren.

A lifelong sailor, he navigated waters close to the world.

“He would go anyplace in the earth from any element of any ocean,” his spouse said.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Blakeley leaves his four sons, Gerald III of Boston, Whit of Flowery Department, Ga., Brad of Boca Raton, Fla., and Geoff of Bedford his daughter, Amanda of Wellesley two stepdaughters with Polly, Terry Monell of Mount Pleasurable, S.C., and Jackie Ralston of Boca Raton a few stepdaughters with Albright, Lilla Rhys Gardiner of Boston Elin Schran of Jamaica Basic, and Elee Kraljii Gardiner of Vancouver, British Columbia 24 grandchildren 11 good-grandchildren.

The loved ones will hold a non-public provider and will announce a celebration of Mr. Blakeley’s existence.

As a chief and a mentor, “Jerry had bright lines on behavior,” Chiofaro said in an job interview.

“They were being as dazzling as could be,” he extra. “For Jerry, there was no ‘cutting corners.’ You stayed inside the bright strains. That was the code of conduct.”

And that, Chiofaro stated, was an critical element of Mr. Blakeley’s tactic to fostering a technology of builders.

“There is no developer that I know of that created extra builders,” he claimed. “You go into any metropolis where Jerry experienced a existence and you could title 5 fellas in the progress business enterprise who came out of Jerry’s operation.”

In the 2010 tribute online video, the developer Hank Spaulding, who died the next 12 months, echoed the words and phrases Mr. Blakeley typically utilised to clarify his own achievement.

Spaulding recalled that his mentor reported that “if you want to do some thing, go do it, but encompass your self with some very good smart persons that have the identical electricity and need to assist other men and women, and to do a thing that is very good for the neighborhood.”


Bryan Marquard can be achieved at [email protected]

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