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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 38 year member of Local 103, Dumas is a seasoned and experienced leader. Along with serving as 103’s business manager for the past 2 years and its president for 18 years prior to that, Dumas has 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.

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Retirement prompts Lanes and Games apartment project


Wicked Local Cambridge | By Natalie Handy
August 25, 2016

Beloved Cambridge bowling alley Lanes and Games will be open for approximately one more year before closing for good, according to the developer who plans to build a high-end apartment building in its place.
Criterion Development Partners is looking to build 325 apartments in place of the bowling alley and an adjoining motel.

Lanes and Games and its neighboring motel, the Gateway Inn, have been owned by Tony Martignetti and his family for over 30 years, said Criterion consultant Rich McKinnon at a North Cambridge Stabilization Committee (NCSC) meeting Wednesday night.

“The Gateway Inn is open 24/7, and the bowling alley is open seven days a week. The [Martignetti] family made a decision; they’re tired. They want to retire, they don’t want to run it anymore, and the next generation doesn’t want to run it anymore,” McKinnon, a Cambridge resident, said.

According to McKinnon, the Martignetti family offered the buildings out to a number of developers about three years ago.

Many bowling leagues will be displaced when Lanes and Games closes, McKinnon said, and owners are working carefully to relocate them. Lanes and Games will remain open until the leagues finish play next summer, McKinnon said.

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Harvard Square could lose iconic Out of Town News


The Boston Globe | By Kathleen Conti
August 26, 2016

harvard squareOut of Town News, the iconic newsstand in Harvard Square that for decades served as a gathering place for academics, students, residents, and reading fans in search of newspapers and publications from around the world, may soon be leaving its landmark location.

The tiny 500-square-foot kiosk is owned by the city of Cambridge, which has a $4.6 million redesign and renovation planned for the brick plaza used by about 10 million people a year.

Not included in the city’s plans for the future of the plaza, however, is the newsstand itself, a 20th-century relic that has battled the onset of digital media by adding a wider selection of magazines, as well as souvenirs, lottery tickets, snacks and drinks.

Cambridge has spent three years mulling ideas for the plaza and historic structure. Although they have yet to settle on a final plan, officials said they want the kiosk to be used by the public, not a private business.

“It is a very special place and a lot of people have memories associated with it,” said Iram Farooq, assistant city manager for community development. But she said the periodicals business that the kiosk is so well known for “has not been as financially viable, so a lot of people will be sad to see it go. In our conversations there is an understanding that use will have to go away because it lacks viability, so our conversation. . . is that it needs a new use,” Farooq said.

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Starbucks wins Southie fight


The Boston Globe | By Jon Chesto
August 25, 2016

starbucks southie

Starbucks fans in Southie, take heart: Your favorite coffee chain will be able to set up shop on East Broadway after all.

Boston’s licensing board voted unanimously on Thursday to approve a license for a proposed Starbucks at 749 East Broadway in South Boston. The decision comes more than three months after the board had voted to deny a previous license request for the same Starbucks shop.

Representatives for the Seattle-based coffee shop giant made some efforts to ingratiate themselves with the community since that time, and a neighborhood meeting to discuss the issue last week was much less antagonistic than one held in the spring. Supporters and critics then packed a hearing room at City Hall last week to make their case, and the licensing board opted not to make a decision the following day, as the board members would normally do.

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New proposal for Milton’s former Hendries factory


Plans for a mixed use development for the former Hendries’ Ice Cream factory were unveiled at a community meeting Wednesday night.

Patriot Ledger | By Fred Hanson
August 25, 2016

MILTON – Vacant for more than a quarter-century, the former Hendries’ Ice Cream plant may soon be coming down.

Town officials are hoping to fast-track the latest proposal for redeveloping the nearly one-acre property at Central Avenue and Eliot Street. Carrick Realty Trust, which owns a portion of the site, is seeking to build a mixed-use development which would include 38 apartments, 3,800 square feet of retail space, 88 parking spaces and some open space on the property. It is similar to a plan proposed four years ago, but with less retail space and more parking.

“We want the process to move along quickly” for approving the plans, Selectmen Chairwoman Katie Conlon said.

She said the new development would be around for 50 or 100 years, so it is important to get it right.

Carrick already has approvals to build 58 apartments on the site under a comprehensive permit.

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Hospice Chain Will Open Latest Facility With State Funding


Banker & Tradesman
August 24, 2016

hospice

A Danvers-based hospice network will receive a MassDevelopment bond to construct a facility on the border of Waltham and Lincoln.

The $17.5 million tax-exempt bond will fund Care Dimensions Inc.’s new 18-bed, 27,500-square-foot inpatient hospice.

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City board signs off on PEM expansion plans


Salem Redevelopment Authority, among others, also has to OK expansion plan

The Salem News | By Dustin Luca
August 24, 2016

SALEM — Peabody Essex Museum’s $49 million expansion proposal got critical support from the Design Review Board Wednesday night as the project draws closer to breaking ground.

The city board supported the project unanimously after it was first presented to them this past spring.

“I like where everything has gone,” said board member Glenn Kennedy, describing the evolution of the project’s appearance over consecutive meetings. “You want to tell the story of what you’re creating and your design. At the end of the day, you look and say, ‘Does it work?’ ‘Does it not work?’ I think it does.”

The project has hit the end of its “design development phase,” where features tied to architecture and landscaping are hammered out, according to Bob Monk, the museum’s director of facilities.

Now, the project is on to its construction document phase, Monk said. That triggers a whole separate round of city review and approvals.

The museum’s expansion plans represent a long, winding journey to grow in a relatively constricted downtown footprint.

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Framingham board OKs seven-story building at Shoppers


Wicked Local Natick | By Jim Haddadin
August 24, 2016

FRAMINGHAM — The owner of Shoppers World received a key approval Tuesday from a town board, clearing a path for the company to erect a new seven-story building with apartments, shops and a bowling alley on Flutie Pass.

The Zoning Board of Appeals voted 3-0 to grant a pair of variances to Ohio-based BRE DDR Shoppers World LLC, which is seeking to construct a mixed-use building with 136 apartments on the property.

During a final public hearing Tuesday that lasted a little more than an hour, board members heard from more than a half-dozen residents. While opinions were mixed, many speakers said they believe the project marks a significant moment for the town, which has wrestled with how to create more housing and where it should be located.

The project also comes at a moment of change for Shoppers World, which sees mixed-use projects as crucial to its continued viability. With traditional brick-and-mortar businesses in decline, they argue, the shopping plaza is at an economic disadvantage if it cannot add housing to its property in the future.

Board member Susan Craighead agreed Tuesday, saying the town must adapt to the changing nature of retail sales. A mixed-use project would reshape the area, bringing in new customers and revitalizing a portion of the property that is now a parking lot, she said.

“It brings in livelihood to this,” she said, “and if we’ve got a chance to do it, I think we can do it. I think we’re within our rights to do it, and I think it’s a great project for the town and for the neighborhood.”

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Children’s contentious hospital expansion gets boost from report


The Boston Globe | By Priyanka Dayal McCluskey
August 24, 2016

childIn a finding that lifts the odds that the state will approve a controversial $1 billion expansion by Boston Children’s Hospital, a consultant says the project probably won’t drive up medical costs.

Children’s plans to construct an 11-story inpatient building at its campus in the Longwood Medical Area and an eight-story outpatient center in Brookline. Because of the size of the project, public health officials earlier this year required Children’s to hire a consultant to conduct an “independent cost analysis” that examined whether the project was in line with the state’s efforts to control health spending.

The 46-page analysis from Navigant Consulting largely supports hospital officials’ assertions.

“The project is consistent with the Commonwealth’s efforts to meet the health care cost containment goals,” it says. “The project’s short-term and long-term financing are affordable without utilization or pricing changes.”

The expansion will add dozens of new beds where Children’s can treat patients with complex conditions from the Boston area and far beyond. Indeed, the report notes that the hospital’s future growth will come not from local patients, but from patients from other states and countries.

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Developer pitches 40 units in industrial area


Dot’s the latest housing plan

Boston Herald | By Donna Goodison
August 24, 2016

A Boston developer hopes to land an approximately 
$12.5 million, 40-unit residential development on a section of Massachusetts Avenue in Dorchester that has been dominated by industrial and automotive uses.

Douglas George is pitching plans for a pair of six-story attached residential buildings at 1258-1272 Massachusetts Ave., a site that until recently was occupied by the Express Motors used-car dealership. The studio to two-bedroom units would be market-rate housing, save for five units that would be set aside as affordable, according to documents filed this week with the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

“It’s an exciting area,” said George, who lives in north Dorchester’s adjacent Polish Triangle neighborhood, less than a quarter-mile from the proposed development site, and has been building in the area for 20 years. “There’s a lot happening in the Mass. Ave. area. I think it’s a good project that will help activate that part of Mass. Ave.”

The development is proposed for two parcels measuring about 19,896 square feet next to the new Dorchester Brewing Co. and the Carpenters Union Local 33 hall. George purchased the site, along with 249 Boston St. and another parcel, for $2.2 million in early 2015, according to a Suffolk County Registry of Deeds filing.

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Salem Port Authority nearing approvals


Board would have 5 members, including mayor

Salem News | By Dustin Luca
August 23, 2016

SALEM — By month’s end, the Salem Harbor Port Authority could finally be a reality.

The state Legislature is going through its final motions on House Bill 4479. The act would create a five-member Salem Harbor Port Authority to centralize oversight on port activities adjacent to the Footprint Power Plant and make decisions on the use of a sizable chunk of land around the plant that could see future development.

“We’re hoping it gets to the governor’s desk by the end of the month so it can get signed and we can start planning our harbor planning efforts and maximizing the commercial pier possibilities,” said Mayor Kim Driscoll, who would be a member of the authority should it be created.

The port authority will be in charge of a massive pier at the site that, for decades, was used for coal deliveries to the old Salem Harbor Station. Today, the pier supports cruise ships and other large vessels.

That oversight also covers about 5 acres of land around the pier, according to Driscoll.

“Then there are 45 acres directly abutting the power plant, an L-shaped parcel that’s available for redevelopment,” she said.

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Senior center eyed as possible site for affordable housing


Town looking at different spots for 108-unit project

The Salem News | By Arianna MacNeill
August 22, 2016

senior center hamiltonHAMILTON — A plan to build more affordable housing in town is on hold, as a location has yet to be determined, and a suggestion to put it at the Council on Aging site was met with opposition from some seniors.

Harborlight Community Partners originally proposed building the 108-unit project on a 20-acre parcel on Longmeadow Way, but neighbors opposed it.

Affordable housing is in demand in Hamilton, and the town does not meet the 10 percent threshold of affordable housing that would allow it to reject large developments under the state’s 40B law. But finding a site is not easy.

“There’s a lot of moving parts,” said Andrew DeFranza, executive director of Harborlight, a Beverly-based nonprofit that develops and manages affordable housing throughout the North Shore.

Harborlight has site control of the Longmeadow parcel, situated between Hamilton-Wenham High School and Ortins Road. DeFranza said, however, the organization is waiting to see what comes of discussions with town officials.

“They’re talking about a variety of alternatives,” he said. “We’re waiting to see how the town might like us to proceed.”

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Coming to the Arsenal Mall? Open spaces, river views


The Boston Globe | By Debora Almeida
August 17, 2016

arsenal mal

Drive into the vast parking lot at the Arsenal Mall in Watertown, and you’d think you were at any other nondescript shopping center.

But developers are hoping to transform the tired complex into a mixed-use destination where the motto will be “Live-Work-Play.” And instead of staring at sea of asphalt, people will get a direct view of nearby Arsenal Park and the Charles River.

Dynamic Styles

“You pull up and you would never know you were so close to a great park,” said Tom Wilder , development and asset manager of The Wilder Companies, which is working with Boylston Properties on the project.

The developers are wrapping up a series of community meetings before they finalize their proposal for official submission to the Watertown Planning Board. The public is invited to discuss the plan at the mall’s Innovation Space at 7 p.m. on Wednesday Aug. 17, and again Aug. 31.

The completed project would consist of retail spaces, restaurants, residential buildings, and entertainment spaces, such as a movie theater and a bowling alley. The interior-facing mall would be turned into an exterior mall.

But the most notable change would be the demolition of an addition built in the 1980s that blocks the view of the nearby Arsenal Park and the Charles River. It would removed to create a “river court” that provides pedestrian and bike access to the river and the park.

“The dialogue has been great,” said Wilder of the community discussions that have taken place so far. “The community has put in a tremendous amount of time and energy into the development.”

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Somerville drops Wynn casino fight


The Boston Globe | By Sean P. Murphy
August 22, 2016

wynn cas

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone Monday announced his city will not appeal the permit granted by the state Department of Environmental Protection to the Wynn Resorts casino in Everett, ending months of at times rancorous disagreement between the mayor and Wynn officials.

Curtatone said he will forgo the city’s right to appeal the DEP permit in Superior Court in exchange for a pledge from Wynn officials to work with the city in good faith to take steps to deal with the traffic and health impacts of the planned casino.

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Foreign investors eye local lab sites


The Boston Globe | By Robert Weisman
August 21, 2016

lab siteAfter years of snapping up Boston-area office buildings and high-end housing projects, international investors are now going after a new market: laboratory space that is in tight supply as the region’s life sciences industry booms.

In recent months, large funds and wealthy individuals from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East have made first-time bids for biomedical research properties in Kendall Square in Cambridge, Boston’s Longwood Medical Area, and elsewhere, according to commercial real estate brokers. Investors see an opportunity to profit from rising rents and property values.

Some think the trend could be accelerated by the United Kingdom’s surprise vote in June to leave the European Union, creating more volatility across the Atlantic and clouding the outlook for investors traditionally drawn to London and other European markets. Overseas investors also are joining funds pooled by US real estate firms.

“International capital is knocking on the lab door,” said Frank Petz, managing director at JLL Capital Markets, who oversees the real estate firm’s business in New England. “There’s a greater appreciation of that asset class, and the Boston area is considered a safe haven.”

Nearly half of last year’s roughly $46 billion in commercial real estate purchases in the area were made by foreign buyers, driving up prices for competing buyers but boosting profits for sellers.

Until recently, overseas buyers have stayed clear of biopharma space, a niche seen as historically risky and dominated by a handful of connected domestic players led by Alexandria Real Estate Equities, BioMed Realty, and MIT.

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