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Business Manager’s Blog

John P. Dumas

John P. Dumas, the Business Manager of Local 103 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, represents more than 7,000 electrical and telecommunication members in the Greater Boston area.

A 37 year member of Local 103, Dumas is a seasoned and experienced leader. Along with serving as 103’s president for the past 18 years, Dumas served the union in a number of leadership roles, including business agent, member of the union’s executive board and trustee of the health, ANNUITY, pension, LMCT and JATC funds. He also has served as a member of numerous contract negotiation teams, playing a pivotal role in several major contracts governing members’ benefits.

Throughout his career he has shown a keen interest in nurturing younger union officers in preparation for leadership roles in the future, and his leadership style has always been one of inclusion and accessibility to all members.


Morton-Gallivan fixes outlined by MassDOT

Dorchester Reporter
March 26, 2015

MassDOT expects construction to begin next year on a redesign of the intersection at Gallivan Blvd. and Morton Street. The plan calls for dedicated turn lanes and new crosswalks among other enhanced safety features.

An updated and upgraded intersection at Morton Street and Gallivan Boulevard is just around the bend. Last week, MassDOT rolled out details of proposed improvements that would bring in traffic lights, signalized crosswalks, bike lanes, and landscaping to the notoriously difficult to navigate crossroads.

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Braintree Planning Board recommends zoning change for Elks Lodge property

Wicked Local Braintree | By Robert Aicardi
March 26, 2015

BRAINTREE Riverwalk Development LLC, the new owner of the Braintree Lodge of Elks property on 205 Elm St. that would like to turn it into high-end condominiums and townhouses, is a step closer to its goal of changing the zoning of this land from Residential B to Residential C, but the town council will have the final say.

Planning board members unanimously voted March 24 to recommend this proposed rezoning to councilors, who agreed Feb. 24 to refer it to their committee on ordinances and rules for review. “If rezoned, the property would not only be more compatible with the adjacent and directly abutting lots (zoned as Residential C), but it would also give the purchasers of the property the opportunity to improve the land,”

Quincy attorney Thomas Cavanagh wrote in a Feb. 6 letter to council President Thomas Bowes of District 3. The lodge sold the 1.7 acres of land just over the bridge from Braintree Square at the end of February to purchasers who “intend on preserving and improving the existing structure while also building additional structures,” Cavanagh declared. According to Cavanagh, the overall integrity of the surrounding area would not be disrupted should the zoning change be allowed. “In fact, we would suggest that any and all multifamily developments which would be proposed would be something that would add immediate curb appeal to the area while also maintaining the history of the existing structure,” he wrote.

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Cedar Grove to hear plans for eatery

Dorchester Reporter | By Bill Forry
March 26, 2015

A prominent but long-vacant Adams Corner property could soon be converted into a bustling family-style restaurant and pub under a plan that will be considered at an upcoming civic meeting. The Cedar Grove Civic Association will listen to a proposal from Julian Bolger at the group’s April 14 meeting at St. Brendan’s Father Lane Hall.

Bolger and a partner plan to lease the former Hollywood Video space from landlord Tom Naughton, according to sources familiar with the plan. Bolger owns and manages several Boston-area eateries, including Allston’s Tavern in the Square, South Boston’s The Playwright, and Cityside in Cleveland Circle.

According to Cedar Grove Civic president Sean Weir, the restaurant would be called Sam Maverick’s— a reference to a 17-year-old Boston boy killed in the 1770 Boston Massacre.

In a statement posted on the civic group’s website, Weir added: “The owners are very interested in the space and would serve lunch/dinner, brunch on the weekends, and want a family friendly dining experience. Hours are TBD, a possible outside patio (location on property TBD). Many things will be up for discussion.”

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Office, retail complex OK’d in Salem

Retail, office complex planned for long vacant site

Eagle-Tribune | Doug Ireland
March 26, 2015

Coca-cola PlantSALEM — After battling with town boards for years, a developer has been granted approval to convert the former Coca-Cola plant on South Broadway into a retail and office complex.

The Planning Board voted unanimously Tuesday to allow property owner Joseph Scott of Metscott 21 LLC to redevelop the 94-year-old brick building at 19-23 S. Broadway.

It was once home to one of the nation’s first Coca-Cola plants, closing more than a decade ago.

Scott’s past proposals received intense scrutiny from town land-use boards, with some board members concerned the property’s historical integrity would be destroyed.

Shopping plazas and a waste-to-energy plant have been proposed, but never built.

The latest plan calls for 30,000 square feet of retail space, 18,000 square feet of office space and 18,000 square feet of warehouse space.

Board members and town planning director Ross Moldoff praised the proposal. They said the project would be a significant upgrade over past proposals and an aging bottling plant that had fallen into disrepair.

“Obviously, it’s a big improvement over what was there previously,” Moldoff said.

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Wells Ave. developer offers Newton a deal

Wicked Local Newton | By Jim Morrison
March 24, 2015

NEWTON A developer has offered the city more than a million reasons to drop litigation. Cabot, Cabot and Forbes (CCF) — the developer whose permit to build a four-story, mixed-use, 334-unit rental apartment complex at 135 Wells Ave. was denied by the Board of Aldermen, then supported by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) — offered the city a deal last week.

Meanwhile, the DHCD decision is currently being appealed by the city before the state Housing Appeals Committee (HAC). The CCF offer includes $1 million to redesign and rebuild the intersection of Wells Avenue and Nahanton Street, $1 million for the Board of Aldermen to spend on affordable housing in Newton at its discretion, participation in new Wells Avenue commercial development to include $750,000 for infrastructure and traffic improvements, the operation of a shuttle service for the development, and other, smaller payments to the city.

Jay Doherty, CEO of CCF, said there is no expiration date on the offer. Doherty said he is confident he would prevail against the city in HAC, but hopes the settlement offer will encourage the city to drop its appeal and save both parties the time and expense of additional litigation. Doherty said he felt strongly his firm would win, right up through Superior Court, if it comes to that. “That’s not what we’re about,” Doherty said. “I don’t usually work like this. We’re looking for someone to partner with in the city.”

The Board of Aldermen placed a deed restriction prohibiting residential development on the Wells Avenue office park when it was created in the mid-1950s.

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Company penalized for violations during Whittier Bridge reconstruction in Amesbury

Wicked Local Newburyport
March 19, 2015

AMESBURY The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has penalized an Illinois-based firm, Walsh Construction, $32,500 for wetlands and water-quality violations found during the reconstruction of the Whittier Bridge in Amesbury.

MassDEP inspected the site in August 2014 and found that Walsh employees had filled salt marsh and bordering vegetated wetlands (BVW) without authorization.?”Walsh Construction violated the regulations by exercising lax oversight of its staff during this reconstruction project which, unfortunately, resulted in additional wetland resource areas being impacted,” said Eric Worrall, director of MassDEP’s Northeast Regional Office in Wilmington. “Walsh compounded the problem by failing to notify either the local conservation commission or its agent of these violations.”?

The company, which has a local office in Canton, was selected and retained as contractor for the project by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).

Approvals for the project were obtained from the local conservation commission in March and May of 2012 by MassDOT.?

As a result of the violations, Walsh was immediately ordered to remove 194 cubic yards of dredge material from the resource areas. Subsequently, MassDEP determined Walsh had filled and altered approximately 1,800 square feet of BVW and approximately 525 square feet of salt marsh without a permit.?

Walsh will pay $15,500 of the penalty within 30 days and submit a restoration plan for the impacted resource areas for approval, according to MassDEP.

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Brookline Selectmen oppose Crowninshield proposal

Wicked Local Brookline | By Ignacio Laguarda
March 25, 2015

21 Crowninshield RoadBROOKLINE The Brookline Board of Selectmen added its disapproval to the list of voices against the proposed development of 21 Crowninshield Road, where a developer is hoping to demolish a home and build a 20-unit residential housing complex.

The developer filed for a 40B project with MassHousing, a state subsidizing agency that rules on whether or not 40B projects are suitable for development. The town has until the end of the month to respond to MassHousing, and the Selectmen approved a letter to the agency at their latest meeting on Tuesday, March 24.

The owner of the Crowninshield Road house is Town Meeting member and local developer Robert Basile.

His proposal is to demolish the 100-year-old arts-and-crafts-style home and build a four-story building with 20 units and an 18-car parking lot. Five of the 20 units would be deemed affordable under the proposal.

The Chapter 40B law allows for a developer to bypass zoning in a neighborhood if at least 20 to 25 percent of the units are considered affordable, and if the town or city where the development is located has a housing inventory which is less than 10 percent affordable.

Earlier this month, the Brookline Preservation Commission voted to support an effort to turn the area where the development is sited into a local historic district. The commission submitted a warrant article for the spring Town Meeting to turn the district, which includes Crowninshield Road; Elba, Adams and Copley streets; and a section of Pleasant Street, into the eighth local historic district in town.

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Hotel bid process seen as ripe for collusion

Boston Herald | By Richard Weir
March 27, 2015

BCEC2Massport is allowing development groups seeking to build an $800 million Seaport District hotel to team up with the same hotel partners, creating an unusual situation that critics say could be exploited and lead to collusion if a hotel chain was to share one bidder’s sensitive financial information with its competitor.

“If a bidder is clued in on another’s bid, the integrity of the process could be compromised and the public may wind up with a raw deal,” said Mary Z. Connaughton, director of government transparency for the Pioneer Institute. “I would hope there would be some type of firewall. The hotels themselves would be privy to two different bids and each one will be asking for some form of public subsidy … They need tight controls to make sure collusion does not exist.”

According to Massport, it has received six bids from developers to build the new headquarters hotel on two Massport-owned parcels at Summer and D streets as part of the planned $1 billion expansion of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

One development group, Boston-based Fallon Co. and Capstone Development of Washington, D.C., has submitted three separate bids, each with a different hotel brand: Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels and Marriott International.

Another development team, Boston-based Accordia Partners and RIDA Development of Houston, has submitted two bids, one with Hilton Worldwide and another with Marriott International.

A third group, New Boston Hospitality, has teamed up with only one hotel partner, Omni.

Massport spokesman Matthew Brelis defended its request-for-proposals process, saying it will spur more bids and greater options for the authority.

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Breaking News: Property manager announces Foodies Market to come to Belmont

Wicked Local Belmont | March 23, 2015

BELMONT Locatelli Properties announced Foodie’s Markets will open a 15,000 square foot grocery in a prime location in Belmont Center. The independent, family run grocery store will be the first anchor tenant for the building that was previously home to Macy’s, according to a press release.

Locatelli Properties continues to market the building at 75 Leonard St. to potential tenants, with the goal of attracting two to three additional “anchor” tenants and several additional medium and smaller tenants to the renovated building, according to a press release. “Our goal is to bring an exciting mix of retailers and restaurants to Belmont Center,” said Kevin Foley, manager of Locatelli Properties, in a written statement. “The building is known for its architectural details, and we look forward to attracting tenants that will complement the quality of the town center.”

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Mugars announce new plans to build in East Arlington

Wicked Local Arlington | By Spencer Buell
March 24, 2015

Muger PropertyThe Mugar family is again seeking to develop the chunk of land it owns in East Arlington, this time with a 219-unit housing project and parking lot.

The proposed four-story development, including six duplex townhomes, would be Arlington’s biggest in recent memory, covering an area larger than five football fields and with more units than the recently-opened complexes Arlington 360 (164) and Alta Brigham Square (116).

Cambridge-based Oaktree Development, the company working for the family-owned Mugar Enterprises, began talks with the town last week, Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine announced at Monday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting.

The proposal includes developing roughly seven acres, but also preserving over 10 acres, possibly by deeding the land to a local non-profit or enacting a so-called “conservation restriction,” which would prohibit future development and require the building’s owners to maintain the land.

The parcel sits next to Thorndike Field by Spy Pond. For years, the town has unsuccessfully tried to preserve the entire 17-acre property, which is largely wetland and among the last bits of undeveloped space in Arlington.

Officials and residents have long expressed concern that building there could worsen flooding problems in neighborhoods near the Alewife Brook. Another concern is adding to traffic woes in a busy area near the Cambridge line and the Alewife MBTA station. “I would say today the town is opposed to a development of this scale,” Chapdelaine said in an interview Tuesday. “It’s been a longstanding policy in town to try to protect this property.”

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Massachusetts School Building Authority awards Woburn $14.3 million grant for Wyman Elementary School

State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, Chairwoman of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), and MSBA Executive Director Jack McCarthy announced Tuesday the MSBA Board of Directors voted to approve a grant of up to $14.3 million to replace the existing Wyman and Daniel P. Hurld Elementary Schools in Woburn with a new K-5 school.

Wicked Local Woburn
March 26, 2015

BOSTON—State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, Chairwoman of the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), and MSBA Executive Director Jack McCarthy announced Tuesday the MSBA Board of Directors voted to approve a grant of up to $14.3 million to replace the existing Wyman and Daniel P. Hurld Elementary Schools in Woburn with a new K-5 school.

One of the next steps is for the district and the MSBA to enter into a Project Funding Agreement, which will detail the project’s scope and budget, along with the conditions under which the city will receive its MSBA grant. “Upon completion, the new school in Woburn will provide a modern learning environment for the City’s students,” said Goldberg. “Our goal is create the best space to deliver the district’s educational commitments and goals.” The new 70,700 square foot school will be built based on a design enrollment of 410 students in Kindergarten through grade 5.

The MSBA will contribute 54.74 percent of eligible costs toward the project, for a total grant of up to $14,387,427. The current school was built in 1892 and suffers from deficiencies in major building systems including mechanical, electrical, plumbing and roof. “The new Wyman Elementary School will replace an aging building with an up-to-date, 21st century learning facility,” said McCarthy. “Students will soon have a beautiful new space which will undoubtedly enhance and improve their ability to excel in the classroom.”

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Bridge Street lot could become a showroom

The Salem News | By John Castelluccio
March 23, 2015

Frank Webb ShowroomSALEM — F.W. Webb has offered the city $990,000 to buy the old Universal Steel property on Bridge Street.

The wholesale plumbing, heating and industrial supply distributor wants to expand to the adjoining property with a two-story building that would include a retail showroom and other services. But first, F.W. Webb will have to remove industrial pollutants from the site.

Sun King — an affiliate of F.W. Webb — submitted the only bid on March 18 in response to the city’s request for proposals. Sun King proposes to buy both 297 Bridge St. and a small parcel next to a former used car lot and then spend about $450,000 to remove polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, from soil at the former factory site.

Design plans show a new building that appears to dwarf F.W. Webb’s multistory warehouse next door. There would be a self-service area for contractors and warehouse space on the first level, while the second floor would contain a bath center showroom and company offices. Total project cost is estimated at $6.2 million.

City officials say it’s unclear what future plans are for the existing warehouse.

The offer, which was the minimum price set by the city, is contingent upon the money being placed in a joint escrow account that the bidder could draw on if any additional cleanup issues were discovered later. The city would receive the balance of the funds.

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Mass. economy wasn’t hurt by winter weather, report says

The Boston Globe | By Megan Woolhouse
March 24, 2015

Southie BarThe severe winter has not derailed Massachusetts’ strong economic expansion, according to a report released Tuesday by a group of local economists.

Many businesses, particularly restaurants, were hurt by the series of storms — including one that reduced Valentine’s Day dinner reservations, the report said. The storms, which shut down much of the region, also had a disproportionate impact on low-wage, hourly workers who don’t get paid when they don’t work.

But snow removal services, roofing contractors, and plumbers got a boost from record snowfall and weather-related damage, according to an analysis by the economists from local universities, businesses, and government agencies, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The economists serve on the editorial board of MassBenchmarks, the University of Massachusetts’ economic journal.

“The board expects that the overall negative effects on the state economy will be relatively small and transient,” the economists said.

Forecasting firms have estimated the winter weather caused about $1 billion in losses, but Massachusetts produced more than $420 billion in goods and services in 2013, according to the US Commerce Department.

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UAW union head says no to new level of low wages for workers

Boston Herald
March 25, 2015

DETROIT — The leader of the United Auto Workers union has rejected a new level of lower wages for members who make auto parts ahead of contract talks with automakers that start in the summer.

There have been reports that General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. may propose a new pay level that is lower than the two existing groups.

Speaking Wednesday at the union’s national bargaining convention in Detroit, which sets the agenda for the union’s bargaining efforts with the auto companies and other industries, President Dennis Williams said the UAW already has too many tiers of lower wages.

Williams is under pressure from union members to end a second level of wages that starts around $15 per hour, about half the $28 per hour made by longtime workers.

“I’m thinking they got too many damn tiers now,” said Williams, who received a standing ovation.

His rejection of a lower pay level comes as the current contract between Fiat Chrysler, GM, Ford and the UAW, which represents about 137,000 workers at the three companies, expires in September.

This year’s contract talks are the first to come after the auto industry fully recovered from the Great Recession, and could be contentious as the union seeks a slice of the industry’s billions of dollars in profits. Auto sales are expected to hit nearly 17 million in the U.S. this year, close to historic highs. They fell as low as 10.4 million in 2009.

In his speech, Williams said workers shared in getting the auto companies through bad times and “we must equally share in the good times.”

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Congress Square, Quaker Lane get makeovers

Boston Herald | By Donna Goodison
March 26, 2015

Quaker Lane 2A Boston developer revealed more detailed plans for its Congress Square project yesterday that call for two building additions, a new 13-story boutique hotel on Devonshire Street and a mix of offices, residential units, and retail and restaurant spaces.

Related Beal plans to renovate six Financial District office buildings in the existing Block on Congress to bring 24-hour activity to an area historically dominated by financial institutions, it said in documents filed yesterday with the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

The 458,300-square-foot project includes about 92,700 square feet of proposed new construction: a cantilevered glass, five-story condominium addition above 15 Congress St.; a three-story office addition to 40 Water St.; and the new 133-room hotel tower on what’s currently a vacant lot used for parking. The hotel tower would be connected to the building at 68 Devonshire St.

“From their original conception in the late 19th century as bank buildings, the existing buildings have conveyed an image of grandeur and security,” the BRA filing said. “For the last 40 years, these buildings have been re¬stricted to private use and turned inward, cut off from the surrounding neighborhood and streets. The design for Congress Square restores these buildings and Quaker Lane to a destination within the heart of downtown Boston.”

Related bought what’s now about 343,000 square feet of primarily office space from Fidelity in December for $87.25 million.

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