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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.


Voyager Therapeutics marks the opening of its new headquarters in Cambridge

The Boston Globe | By Chris Reidy
October 21, 2014

Voyager Therapeutics, a gene therapy company launched by Third Rock Ventures in February with $45 million in Series A funding, said that it is marking the opening of its permanent headquarters and research labs on Sidney Street in Cambridge with a Tuesday ceremony.

In a press release, Voyager noted that it is seeking to develop treatments for fatal and debilitating diseases of the central nervous system.

The company’s new office has about 19,000 square feet of space. It had been operating for the past several months out of temporary space.

Voyager currently has 22 full-time employees. Including consultants, about 35 people work for the company.

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Affordable housing increase approved by Town Council

Wicked Local Watertown | By Charlie Breitrose
October 17, 2014

WATERTOWN New housing developments in Watertown will need to have more affordable units after the Town Council approved a 25 percent increase in proportion of affordable housing units Tuesday night. Instead of having 10 percent of units in a complex be rented or sold at an affordable rate, now 12.5 percent of units must fall into that category.

The change to Watertown’s Inclusionary Zoning regulations was made to help bring up the overall number of affordable units in town, said Director of Community Development and Planning Steve Magoon. “The 40B law was set up to prevent communities from being exclusionary,” Magoon said. “This is one of the most expensive real estate markets, hence the law.” The state has set a goal of having 10 percent of the housing units in a community be available at an affordable rate.

Watertown has below seven percent right now, Magoon said. “The problem was as projects occur, we would not get closer to 10 percent (under the old requirement),” Magoon said. As a result of the change, a 12 unit project would need to have two affordable units. Under the 10 percent requirement, two affordable units would not been required until there were 15 total units.

Ten affordable units would be required for a 76 unit project with the 12.5 percent requirement, but it used to be 95 total to need 10 affordable units. When a community does not meet the 10 percent requirement, developers could come into town to build projects with 25 percent of the units sold or rented as affordable, and they would not have to comply with the town’s zoning regulations, said Councilor Vincent Piccirilli. Belmont currently faces one of those proposals, known as 40B projects.

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EagleBridge Capital Arranges $3.5M Financing For Boston Condo Construction

Banker & Tradesman
October 21, 2014

71 Marlboro St.Boston-based EagleBridge Capital has arranged $3.46 million in mortgage acquisition and construction financing for two condos in Boston.

EagleBridge principals Ted Sidel and Brian Sheehan arranged a $1.8 million mortgage for a unit at 193 Beacon St, and a $1.66 million mortgage for a unit at 71 Marlborough St. in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood on behalf of client Neelon Properties. The lender was a leading financial institution.

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Boston Wants To Grow, But Tough Obstacles Stand In Its Way

Banker & Tradesman | By Colleen M. Sullivan
October 21, 2014

housing panelBoston’s burgeoning growth makes today an exciting era for the city – but judging by a panel discussion among housing experts this morning, it’s not at all clear how the city can tackle longstanding obstacles to accomplish its lofty housing goals.

Boston is projected to grow to more than 700,000 residents in the next 15 years, a number it hasn’t seen since the 1950s, and Mayor Marty Walsh’s new housing plan calls for an additional 53,000 units to be built to accommodate the growth, many of them aimed at middle-class residents.

Increasing the density of development in Boston’s existing neighborhood will be a key part of successfully integrating that growth, the panel agreed. The panel included developer Kenan Bigby of Trinity Financial; Sheila Dillon, director of the Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development; architect Frederick Kramer of ADD Inc.; and Paul McMorrow, real estate columnist for The Boston Globe and associate editor of CommonWealth Magazine.

“It’s really about, how do we reshape and repurpose the neighborhoods to reshape this new growth that we’re seeing? We’ve had more growth in this last decade than we’d had in the previous three. And the slow-growth method that we use to send projects through the pipeline doesn’t work anymore,” said McMorrow.

Bigby pointed to several key elements of successful projects his group has worked on that have allowed them to build more densely in existing neighborhoods: Finding transit-adjacent sites that allow developers to cut down on costly parking; building along existing busy corridors where larger buildings don’t seem out of place; re-using former industrial or commercial sites with existing infrastructure to support bigger buildings; and including mixed-use features like ground floor retail or office space, which provide amenities to the entire neighborhood, helping to garner community support.

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Tenants rail against skyrocketing rents

Boston Herald | By Marie Szaniszlo
October 21, 2014

Tito JacksonFrom Dorchester to East Boston to Chinatown, hundreds of tenants converged on City Hall for a hearing yesterday, slamming the BRA for landlord-friendly policies that are driving rents sky-high — and renters out of the Hub.

“I fear that I might be forced to move from the only place that I call home because I can no longer pay my rent,” said Reyna Alfaro, who has lived in East Boston for 21 years. Alfaro said about 900 luxury waterfront apartments with projected monthly leases of $3,000 each have been approved in Eastie, contributing to a steady climb in neighborhood rents.

Henry Yee, who has lived in Chinatown for 48 years, says the same problem is happening in his neighborhood, where only about 100 of the 3,000 units approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority in recent years have been labeled “affordable” — but even those units, he said, are beyond the reach of the average Chinatown resident, who earns about $20,000 a year.

“If we’re constantly being pushed out, Chinatown is going to be gone,” existing in name only, Yee said.

Marilyn Mack, who owns a Dorchester condominium, said there were no condo fees in her building until City Realty took over, imposing a $269 fee that has since increased to more than $500 — a price that Councilor Josh Zakim said “significantly” exceeds the fee he pays for his Back Bay condominium.

Stephen Whalen, managing partner of City Realty, which owns 600 units in the city, said the company has upgraded buildings at its own expense, and fewer than 1 percent of its properties have code violations.

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Mayor Martin J. Walsh seeks global partnership, startups

Boston Herald | By Jordan Graham
October 22, 2014

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, hosting attendees from 14 countries at a State House conference yesterday, said Boston can’t just rely on home-grown businesses to fuel its economy.

“Boston and Massachusetts cannot operate in silos,” Walsh said. “It’s so important to build relationships.”

Walsh said the city has received 16 initial proposals for its startup incubator in the soon-to-be unveiled Ferdinand Building in Dudley Square. The building will house the new headquarters for the Boston Public Schools, but will include up to 4,000 square feet for startups.

“Hopefully it’s the beginning of many incubators we’re going to have in and around the Boston area,” he said. “We are looking to continue to start and develop businesses here in Boston.”

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Stretch of Route 3 will be closed for replacement of utility wire

Patriot Ledger | Cody Shepard
October 22, 2014

HINGHAM – Motorists traveling through Hingham on Route 3 will have to find another way the next two weekends. Beginning late Saturday, Route 3 in both directions will be closed between Exit 14 and Exit 15. Michael Verseckes, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said the highway will be closed to allow the Hingham Municipal Lighting Plant to replace wires that run across it. “It’s the only spot that we have crossing Route 3,” said Paul Heanue, the light plant’s general manager. “This wire is beginning to sag a little bit.” The work will begin at 11:59 p.m. Saturday and continue through 7 a.m. Sunday, Verseckes said.

The schedule is the same for the following weekend. “This is all weather-contingent,” Heanue said. This weekend, crews will cut down the existing wire, which they have to pull across Route 3. New wire will be installed during the second weekend. Heanue said residents will not lose power at any point in the process. “A few years ago when we began looking at this, we created a few feeds into the industrial park,” he said.

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China lowballs MBTA bid

Critics cite raw deal for U.S. companies

Boston Herald | By Chris Cassidy
October 22, 2014

Gov Patrick Red LineThe controversial train manufacturer run by the repressive Chinese government submitted an extraordinarily low bid to make new Orange and Red line subway cars that was hundreds of millions of dollars lower than its rivals, records show.

But while that may be a coup for the Patrick Administration, angry human rights and labor activists say it’s a raw deal for Chinese workers forced to toil on the cheap by their totalitarian overlords — and U.S. companies that have to compete against them.

“This happens every day,” said Charles Kernaghan of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights. “If those bids are so wildly apart, we can imagine these trains (will be) made with cheap labor in the manufacturing part of China. … China doesn’t play on a level playing field. It has no respect for its own workers. They have zero rights. … It’s really a rotten deal.”

The MassDOT Board of Directors is expected to vote today on whether to award China CNR Corp. the $566.6 million deal in what would be the first rail contract the company has landed in the United States. Other bidders included Hyundai Rotem at $720.6 million, Kawasaki at $904.9 million and Bombardier at $1.08 billion.

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UMass Boston’s plans for dorms dovetail with mayor’s housing goals

Dorchester Reporter | By Lauren Dezenski
October 16, 2014

UMass future dormsThe University of Massachusetts Boston is exploring its options as it seeks to build residence halls to house 2,000 students on its Columbia Point peninsula campus by 2025, planning that the university says is in line with Mayor Martin Walsh’s just-released citywide housing plan to accommodate a population that is expected to grow beyond 700,000 residents by 2030.

“We’re very supportive of the housing plan and we agree that we need to do our part in helping provide places for students to live and relieve some of the pressure that off-campus students put on neighborhoods,” UMass Boston spokesperson DeWayne Lehman told the Reporter.

Across the city, the mayor’s report found, students living off-campus occupy rental units that would otherwise be available to middle class residents and families. For every three additional students housed on-campus, the study noted, one unit of rental housing is returned to the work-force housing market. “Therefore, student housing creation is a critical relief valve for Boston’s rental housing market,” the report concluded.

The city has given the outlines of what officials call an aggressive but achievable plan to locate 16,000 new university dorm beds in the next 15 years, a build-out the city says will free up 5,000 units of workforce housing across the city and reduce off-campus students by 50 percent.

With just shy of 3,000 students in the neighborhood as of last year, Dorchester is the fourth-most popular neighborhood for off-campus students, after the traditional student hubs of Allston-Brighton, Fenway/Kenmore, and Jamaica Plain/Mission Hill. But compared to Allston and Fenway, where rents average $1,900 and $2,300 respectively, Dorchester’s $1,600 number as of 2013 offers an inexpensive alternative for any student, much less a UMass Boston student eager to shorten the commute to campus.

UMass Boston noted its plan to build dorms in 2009, when the school rolled out its 25-year master plan, outlining the burgeoning research university’s scaled growth vision. The school settled on campus accommodations for 2,000, especially after conversations with neighborhood groups eager to get rowdy undergraduates out of their neighborhoods

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Kendall Square reached inflection point, passing from tech to biotech center

The Boston Globe | By Scott Kirsner
October 3, 2014

Scientist David MillerThe three-story brick building at the corner of Main and Osborn streets in Cambridge, on the edge of Kendall Square and the MIT campus, captures three distinct eras in the city’s innovation history. In the early 1800s, it was the site of Kimball & Davenport, the first builder of passenger railroad cars in America.

After World War II, it was the epicenter of the Massachusetts tech boom, home to the office and private lab of Edwin Land, Polaroid’s founder. In between, Thomas A. Watson strung a wire from Boston to Cambridge, and set up the equipment to receive the first “long distance” phone call, in 1876.

Today, the building at 700 Main Street is home to LabCentral, a nonprofit that rents space to 26 fledgling biotech companies. It is surrounded by new buildings and buildings under construction for the pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Novartis. And one-year old LabCentral itself hopes to expand soon, more than doubling in size to about 70,000 square feet.

If Kendall Square in the 19th and 20th centuries was about manufacturing and then technology, in the 21st century it is definitively about life sciences — the business of discovering and developing new medicines. The neighborhood has reached a new inflection point in the past two years, with many more biotech companies and investors finding they can’t afford not to have a presence there.

Meanhwhile, growing tech companies are hopping — or getting pushed — across the river to Boston. As a result, Kendall Square has transitioned from tech to biotech center.

“It’s dramatically different now,” says Peter Hecht, chief executive of Ironwood Pharmaceuticals. “It’s way past a tipping point.”

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Popeyes looks to triple its Boston-area locations over the next five years

Boston Business Journal | By Jon Chesto
October 20, 2014

PopeyesFried chicken fans, listen up. The Colonel is about to get some serious competition around here.

Greg Vojnovic, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen’s chief development officer, tells me that Popeyes is looking to triple the number of locations it has in the Boston area. The fast-food chain best known for its chicken first entered Massachusetts in 2005, and now has eight locations in the Boston metro area. Vojnovic says he wants to add another 15 to 20 here over the next five years.

To that end, Popeyes executives are holding an executive roundtable in Boston on Tuesday, to discuss franchising opportunities in the market. Vojnovic says he’d like the chain’s new Boston area stores to be opened by at least one of Popeyes’ three existing local franchisees as well as two or three new franchisees. He says potential franchisees need to have prior experience with a brand franchise and should show Popeyes that they have at least half a million dollars of liquid capital per location.

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Equity Residential Proposes 35-Story Tower In Mission Hill

Banker & Tradesman | By Steve Adams
October 20, 2014

A developer has announced plans for a 35-story residential tower in Boston’s Mission Hill.

Equity Residential proposes the 395-unit tower on a two-acre parking lot site at 45 Worthington St., next to its CityView at Longwood apartment complex. The new project would be served by 270 parking spaces which would be shared with the existing CityView building.

The plans will need multiple variances from the zoning board of appeal, according to documents submitted Monday to the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA).

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Wynn makes its first donation to thwart the casino repeal ballot question

Boston Business Journal | By Jon Chesto
October 20, 2014

WynnWhen casino operators Penn National and MGM started plowing millions into a campaign this summer to stop a ballot question that would repeal the state’s casino law, Wynn Resorts remained on the sidelines. But that changed this month in a big way.

Penn National had already won the state’s sole slot parlor license, for a gambling hall to be built at the Plainridge horse track in Plainville. And MGM won the sole Western Massachusetts resort casino license, for a massive project in downtown Springfield. Wynn, meanwhile, was waiting for the outcome of its contest with Mohegan Sun over the Boston-area license.

Wynn won that fight last month, when the Mass. Gaming Commission voted 3-1 in favor of the Nevada company’s proposal for a $1.6 billion resort casino on the Mystic River in Everett.

Now, Wynn is doing its part financially to persuade the public to vote no on Question 3. The company made its first donation, of $1 million, to the “Coalition to Protect Mass Jobs” earlier this month. That donation just became public today, as part of campaign finance disclosures for the first half of October. MGM donated $2.5 million to the cause and Penn National gave $1 million in October so far. Both those companies have each donated $3.3 million since they first started funding the project over the summer. The group’s biggest expense this month was a $2 million-plus media buy, largely for TV ads. The casino coalition still had $1.3 million in the bank as of Oct. 15.

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Massachusetts Teachers Association sells longtime Beacon Hill headquarters

Boston Business Journal | Eric Convey
October 20, 2014

MTA HeadquartersThe Massachusetts Teachers Association has sold its Beacon Hill headquarters for $9.85 million, according to a filing at the Suffolk Registry of Deeds.

The eight-story, 41,000-square-feet building, sold with adjacent parcels on Ashburton Street, had been for sale for about a year.

The buyer, according to a deed, is an entity called Faros 20 Ashburton LLC, whose principles according to a filing with the secretary of state’s office are: Jeremy Leventhal, Elliot Gould and Alexander Leventhal. The three are partners in New York-based Faros Properties.

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Boston 2024 Partnership offers details about where Olympics venues would be located

Boston Business Journal | By Jon Chesto
October 17, 2014

Dan O’ConnellThe Boston 2024 Partnership has until December to formally put together its argument to the U.S. Olympic Committee that Boston should host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

But the Partnership and its representatives have already begun making the case to the public. Witness the busy day they had today, first at the State House talking up the Olympics to Boston’s legislative delegation, and then reconvening at the partnership’s headquarters on the South Boston waterfront to chat with the media.

As part of his presentation to reporters, Partnership president Dan O’Connell offered a long list of details about where the partnership would prefer to build certain venues, and where certain activities would take place during the games. There wasn’t much in the way of surprises in terms of the locations that would be used. But this was the first time that O’Connell talked about many of them in a detailed way with a group of reporters.

The goal would be to build a Summer Games that is largely reliant on public transit for spectators and private shuttle buses for athletes, with no new parking spaces at the venues. This, of course, is aimed at the widespread concern that three weeks of Olympics events could paralyze the city’s major roadways and side streets. O’Connell offered a projected budget of $4.5 billion — a price tag that would be covered through a combination of ticket sales, broadcast rights payments and sponsorships. That figure doesn’t include a tally of at least $5 billion in public infrastructure investments — such as extra tracks at an expanded South Station and a new West Station in Allston — that the Partnership’s backers say are on track to happen anyway.

The proposed venues would be reflected in the bid book that Boston would submit to the U.S. Olympic Committee by December. The USOC would then make a decision on which city in the U.S. would bid for the games in January — Boston and Los Angeles are potential front-runners in a race with San Francisco and Washington. The International Olympic Committee would make a final decision on the 2024 location in 2017.

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