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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.


Uniqlo planning to open its first permanent Boston store

Boston Business Journal | By David Harris
July 31, 2015

uniqloUniqlo, the Japanese discount clothing retailer, said this week that it will open a new, permanent store at Boston’ s Faneuil Hall Marketplace this October.

The retailer has been operating a pop-up store at Faneuil Hall since last year.

The 12,000-square-feet store will span two levels in the Quincy Market building and will house the brand’ s assortment of men’ s and women’ s lines, according to a release from the company. Uniqlo said it will Invest “in a multi-million dollar renovation of the space” and e xhibit historic photographs inside the store showcasing the building’ s Georgian Neoclassical style.

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Wynn Resorts Moves Toward Construction Phase at Everett Location

Wynn has completed an important pre-construction milestone that paves the way for site cleanup and building of the resort.

Charlestown Patch | By Frank O’Laughlin
July 30, 2015

Wynn casinoWynn Resorts is nearing the start of construction on its Everett casino site after completing a vitally important pre-construction step.

Wynn announced Thursday that it has completed its 2,000th test of soil and water from borings on the 33-acre former Monsanto chemical plant site where the $1.7 billion resort will be built in Everett.

The boring tests analyzed bedrock, soil composition, water flow and marked an important pre-construction milestone that paves the way for site cleanup and building of the resort.

“Contaminants have been leaching into the Mystic River every day for decades, so completing our testing is an important step towards reversing the neglect and transforming this barren brownfield into a spectacular public waterfront park that all can enjoy,” said Robert DeSalvio, President of Wynn Everett. “With testing finished, we can map out our remediation plan and be confident of no surprises when work begins…which will be soon.”

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Framingham may create corporate innovation district

The Boston Globe | By Jennifer Fenn Lefferts
July 30, 2015

Framingham town officials are seeking comment on a proposal to create a Corporate Innovation District near the Southborough line that includes the 9/90 Corporate Center.

The goal of the new zoning is to promote a master planned community rather than the development of individual parcels, said Amanda Loomis, (cq) the Framingham Planning Board administrator.

The district would allow for a mix of uses at a higher density to enhance economic and employment opportunities, while preserving a walkable environment attractive to potential residents, she said. The new zoning, for example, would allow for higher building heights and mixed use projects that would include housing.

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Vacant Weymouth Landing shops might be demolished in October

The owner of nearly a dozen vacant stores in Weymouth Landing has not submitted a new plan for replacing the structures, but a Quincy firm could demolish the shops in October, according to Nick Delegas who owns the properties.

Wicked Local | By Ed Baker
July 28, 2015

weymouthThe owner of nearly a dozen vacant stores in Weymouth Landing has not submitted a new plan for replacing the structures, but a Quincy firm could demolish the shops in October, according to Nick Delegas who owns the properties. “The only thing I can say is we are proceeding with demolition plans and hopefully it will be in October to take the structures down” Delegas said.

The vacant shops stretch from the middle of the Landing, near the Braintree border, and down Washington Street to the corner of Commercial Street. Adams Builders has been hired to demolish the stores, according to Weymouth Conservation Director Mary Ellen Schloss.

Weymouth officials are receiving guidance with reviewing future proposals by Delegas for the site from The Cecil Group, a Boston architectural firm. “What we are doing is to position Weymouth to support reasonable development,” said Steven Cecil, principal of the firm, following a Weymouth Redevelopment Authority meeting July 21. “We are not trying to create development. That is a responsibility of the private sector.”

In September, Delegas detailed a design that would replace the shops with 54 apartments units equally situated on four floors. The design also incorporated 15,000 square feet for retail amenities on the ground floor.

A 50-space underground parking garage was proposed for storing cars owned by the tenants. Delegas withdrew the plan in December, saying he was disappointed by the lack of support from residents and local officials.

Cecil said Delegas has not submitted a new proposal for the sight, but he is developing a new plan. “He is working on something that would make sense,” Cecil said. “We expect him to emerge with a proposal. The key thing is to make sure the buildings and parking support not only the proposal but supports the Weymouth Landing area. It just requires everyone to think how the puzzle will be resolved.”

Delegas said he would be comfortable sharing his plans for the site when The Cecil Group completes its consulting work with the Weymouth Redevelopment Authority. “Once they provide their findings, we will go forward with our plan,” Delegas said.

Cecil said he is trying to determine how an eventual plan for the site would work in conjunction with a redevelopment proposal on the Braintree side of Weymouth Landing by Joshua Katzen of Heller Property Management LLC. Katzen is pitching a $45 million plan that would involve four properties on the Braintree side of Weymouth Landing; the Chair Fair at 37 Commercial St., two adjacent buildings at 19 and 19A Commercial St. and a municipal parking lot behind these buildings.

The project would consist of approximately 12,000 square feet of retail and restaurants on Commercial Street with 174 market-rate apartments (99 one-bedrooms and 75 two-bedrooms) to be located on four floors above the street along with a 208-car parking garage.


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Somerville-hired consultant to CAC: Start working on Union Square CBA now

The city’s new real estate/developer consultant advised members of the Civic Advisory Committee to start working on a community benefits agreement for Union Square before the next recession hits and holds up the billion-dollar renewal project a few years.

Wicked Local | By Danielle McLean
July 30, 2015

The city’s new real estate/developer consultant advised members of the Civic Advisory Committee to start working on a community benefits agreement for Union Square before the next recession hits and holds up the billion-dollar renewal project a few years.

Through a grant, city officials hired Christopher Leinberger, president of the real estate think tank LOCUS this month, to provide guidance over the redevelopment of Union Square and the promised community benefits agreement that would accompany it.

LOCUS is a coalition of real estate developers and investors that promotes sustainable and walkable urban development. On Wednesday, Leinberger toured a pair of redevelopment sites next to the incoming Green Line Station with city officials, executives from the square’s master developer US2, and members of the CAC, a city-appointed group that advises officials on the development of the square.

Along the tour, he gave several recommendations such as adding on street parking along Webster Avenue, a community path and bike lanes through the square, more jobs, and making sure all newly constructed buildings address the sidewalk in front.

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Baker unveils new rules for public records requests

The Boston Globe | By Todd Wallack
July 30, 2015

Governor Charlie Baker unveiled sweeping new rules Thursday for how the executive branch will handle public records requests. Previously, every agency had its own procedure for handling requests.

The move comes as several state agencies have come under fire for the way they handle requests.

The Department of Children and Families, for instance, took 16 months to respond to a request for information about legal claims against the agency. And the State Police billed an attorney $2.7 million for a database of Breathalyzer test results some other states provided for free or a nominal charge.

Under the new rules, every secretariat and department will publicly designate a person to handle requests, create an internal tracking system, and contact citizens within five days if the agency does not believe it can respond within the 10-day statutory deadline.

The rules also say requests should normally be completed within eight weeks and agencies should warn citizens if they cannot meet that deadline. Today, citizens often complain it can take months to obtain documents.

The Baker administration also said it will waive search fees for standard requests and not charge for the first four hours of labor. The policy directs agencies to charge $25 per hour thereafter (or $40 per hour if the project involves databases).

The current state regulations allow agencies to charge for both search and redaction time, though they are not supposed to charge more than the rate for the lowest-paid person capable of doing the work. Critics say some departments abuse that provision to create sky-high estimates.

The new procedures also limits the price for black and white paper copies to 10 cents a page, down from 20 cents to 50 cents a page allowed under state regulations.

Baker also directed agencies to put frequently requested data online and provide data in electronic format when possible. A New York open government group found the federal government eliminated thousands of duplicate requests just by posting popular pesticide documents online.

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Concord Select Board delays vote on taking W. R. Grace Land

Wicked Local | By Henry Schwan
July 30, 2015

There is another delay in the process to build a new school bus depot in Concord. Select Board members postponed a vote July 27 to take 80 acres of land in Concord owned by the chemical company W.R. Grace by eminent domain.

The land is the preferred site for the depot. The board scheduled a special meeting to take the vote.

However, after 30 minutes behind closed doors in executive session, board Chairwoman Alice Kaufman announced that the vote was postponed until Aug. 3. “Unresolved issues,” Kaufman said when asked for the reasons for the delay. “On the advice of counsel, we can’t speak about it.” Town Manager Chris Whelan said the town met with W.R. Grace officials last week, and “they raised a couple of points” that the board needed to know about before it could vote.

Whelan has said that once the vote is taken, it will be registered in the Middlesex County Registry of Deeds within 24 hours, and ownership of the land will immediately pass to the town. Concord officials then have 30 days to pay W.R. Grace the sale price, which according to Whelan is $800,000, based on a recent $795,000 appraisal of the property.

However, W. R. Grace can challenge that amount in court, which could drive up the price, creating a bigger financial burden on Concord taxpayers.

The total projected cost of the depot is $1.875 million, which includes $925,000 in Concord Public Schools Capital Stabilization funds and another $950,000 approved by voters at Town Meeting in April.

The design includes three bays for maintenance and repair of buses and one bay for smaller school department vehicles. Whelan said the “school committee has urged us to get it done by December 2016, and we think we’ll come close to that.”

A project manager has been selected, but the town can’t sign a contract with the firm until the Select Board votes to take the land. According to Whelan, design and permitting should be completed in winter 2016, followed by construction in the spring.

Permitting “is the big unknown,” Whelan said, because the Grace land is a contaminated Superfund site. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Superfund is the name given to the environmental program established to address abandoned hazardous waste sites. Whelan has said that any future environmental cleanup costs are the responsibility of W.R. Grace.

Getting water to the depot has not been resolved. Concord owns a building at 37 Knox Trail in Acton, which is located near the planned depot.

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Mass. economy grows far faster than US’s

The Boston Globe | By Megan Woolhouse
July 30, 2015

The Massachusetts economy grew at more than double the rate of the nation’s between April and June, with a big boost from increases in consumer and business spending, according to the University of Massachusetts and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

The state’s gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 5.4 percent, compared to the US gross domestic product increase of 2.3 percent, according to the US Department of Commerce, which reported it Thursday.

The state’s solid economic expansion signals a rebound from the winter weather-induced slowdown in the first quarter. “Robust growth in employment and spending” accounted for the growth, according to the report, published in the UMass economics journal MassBenchmarks.

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You Could Actually Afford These Apartments Across from the TD Garden

BostInno | By Nick Deluca
July 27, 2015

Parcel 1BIn the thick of one of Boston’s fastest burgeoning luxury living scenes, there could be one development that caters strictly to those who qualify for affordable and middle-income housing.

Just a stone’s throw from the TD Garden – neighboring The Victor, Lovejoy Wharf and what’s poised to be one of the largest mixed-use projects in the city, Boston Garden – is a vacant lot designated as Parcel 1B. Developer Related Beal is hoping to gain approval from the Boston Redevelopment Authority to construct 239 residential units for people who earn between 30 percent and 165 percent of the area median income.

The BRA’s latest report of the median income for Bulfinch Triangle indicates it’s around $77,128 as of 2013.

According to Related Beal’s latest filing with the BRA, the firm is looking to build a 484,000-square foot development, of which 248,000-square feet would be tapped for 239 residences. A 220-key room hotel would also be erected on-site, as would 10,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space on the ground floor.

Ten percent of the residences will be three-bedroom units to be used exclusively for families in need of affordable housing.

An above-grade parking garage would house some 220 vehicles.

Ted Lubitz, who joined Related Beal as its Vice President and was charged with growing the company’s affordable housing platform, realized the vast potential of the site in question.

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The Fenway is Getting Another Massive Luxury Living Development

A 30-story glass tower with 349 residential units (109 condos & 240 rentals) and 20,000-square feet of retail space.

BostInno | By Nick DeLuca
July 7, 2015

Pierce BostonBoston’s Fenway neighborhood has all the makings to become one of the city’s most dynamic communities. It’s rich in sports with nearby Fenway Park – home of our beloved Red Sox – it has a startup launching space currently in the works and one of its latest residential buildings sits atop a Target retailer that also boasts a liquor license.

In 2013 the Boston Redevelopment Authority approved construction of another residential tower neighboring Van Ness, the mixed-use development beneath which CityTarget is located, the first urban Target store of its kind on the East Coast.

Originally, the project which is now known as Pierce Boston was slated to be a 22-story building with 320 residential units and 33,292-square feet of ground and second floor retail space.

Revisions to the project brought us to where it stands today: a 30-story glass tower with 349 residential units (109 condos and 240 rentals) and 20,000-square feet of retail space.

Demolition has begun on the Boylston Street site and construction will begin soon with a target completion date of fall 2017. According to the development’s website, Pierce Boston’s sales gallery will open this year for prospective buyers and renters.

The website bills Pierce Boston as “not only an architectural standout, it is reimagining fine living in one of the nation’s most storied cities.”

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A new Kendall Square envisioned in $1.2b MIT plan

The Boston Globe | By Tim Logan
July 28, 2015

Kendall Square MITThe Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched a dramatic remake of a swath of Kendall Square on Tuesday, the latest effort to turn the bustling business district into a full-fledged neighborhood and meet the booming demand for more housing, offices, and research space.

The plan, six years in the making, calls for six new buildings on what is now a string of parking lots along Main Street. In addition to academic and business uses, the complex would include apartments for graduate students and low-income tenants, stores, and a tree-covered plaza near the Charles River. The $1.2 billion plan was submitted to Cambridge City Hall Tuesday.

The broad reach of the redevelopment is MIT’s attempt to help solve challenges bedeviling Kendall Square, which has some of the most expensive rents on the East Coast, virtually no vacant office space, and a dearth of housing for the tens of thousands of people who work or go to school there.

“We’re trying to create this mixing bowl,” said Steven Marsh, MIT’s chief real estate executive. “We want people to feel welcome here.”

Marsh said MIT could begin construction as soon as 2016 if Cambridge approves its final plan by the end of the year.

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First look: Shorenstein’s planned $25M renovation of Center Plaza in downtown Boston

Boston Business Journal | By Catherine Carlock
July 27, 2015

Center Plaza RenovationsAfter acquiring the expansive Center Plaza in downtown Boston last year, Shorenstein Co. is planning an up to $25 million renovation of the complex.

The renovation includes enhancements to street-level interior lobbies and exterior walkway/breezeway areas, a rebranding for the complex, rootop upgrades and new retail tenants.

Center Plaza is a 720,000-square-foot, nine-story mixed-use complex developed in the mid-1960s by visionary Boston real estate developer Norman Leventhal.

The complex is located at 1-3 Center Plaza and spans three office buildings, street-level retail and a 575-space parking garage across from City Hall in downtown Boston.

Shorenstein acquired Center Plaza last January for $307 million.

“Our plans are to take what’s there and improve upon it,” said Kevin Kuzemchak, senior vice president of asset management at Shorenstein Properties. Kuzemchak said Shorenstein would look to “add some new buzz” to the property by targeting tech tenants and innovative companies.

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Selectmen OK solar power deal

The Andover Townsman | By Bill Kirk
July 24, 2015

The Board of Selectmen approved a deal last week that could save the town $6 million on its energy bills over the next 20 years.

By a vote of 5-0, selectmen authorized a power-purchase agreement with a private company that plans on building a solar array in Western Massachusetts.

Once the company starts generating electricity, the town will be able to buy power from National Grid at a reduced rate, estimated to save about $300,000 a year on the electricity bill for school buildings.

However, there is a hitch: The state currently has a cap on what are known as “net-metering credits,” which limits the amount of power that utilities must buy from solar companies. The cap for municipal contracts was reached earlier this year.

What that means is that while selectmen approved and signed the deal last week, the company building the solar array — Syncarpha Capital of New York — won’t be able to sell any of its cheap power to National Grid until the cap is raised or lifted completely.

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Salem downtown poised for growth

The Salem News | By Dustin Luca
July 27, 2015

Dodge Street SalemSALEM — An already-approved development set to expand the downtown community is due for some changes, while another project nearby is vying for public support.

Between them, a 160,000 square foot project on Dodge Street and the Gateway Center on Bridge Street could add more than 150 housing units, a hotel, several commercial opportunities and a long-desired Community Life Center.

Both projects will go before the Planning Board on Thursday, July 30.

The Dodge Street development has already been approved, with permits issued in December, according to Lynn Duncan, Planning and Community Development director.

When the project was approved, it planned for six stories, with 190,000 square feet in space, 84 residences and 255 parking spaces, Duncan said. There was also talk of a hotel.

Property developer RCG, doing business as Dodge Area LLC, is looking to shave a floor and 30,000 square feet off the development, Duncan said. They hope to instead build a five-story building with 64 residential units and 212 parking spaces.

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Concord Select Board votes to support affordable housing plan

Wicked Local Concord | By Henry Schwan
July 23, 2015

Junction VillageCONCORD Concord residents could be on the hook for up to $3 million for affordable housing, and the amount could climb higher. The Select Board voted unanimously on Monday night to support the Junction Village affordable housing project, a proposed 83-unit assisted living development at the end of Winthrop Street in West Concord.

However, the board is unsure where the $3 million will come from. The move is driven by a desire to meet the Massachusetts affordable housing requirements. According to Town Manager Chris Whelan, Concord met its 10 percent affordable housing requirement in 2010 based on federal census numbers.

However, based on new housing construction in town, Whelan said Concord has fallen below the same 10 percent threshold that must be achieved by 2020.

If Concord fails to meet it, Whelan said the town could potentially be exposed to a “hostile” 40B affordable housing development. The state’s Chapter 40B law is designed to create affordable housing by allowing developers to bypass certain municipal permitting and zoning restrictions.

According to board members, Monday night’s vote does not commit Concord taxpayers to a $3 million payment; it is only a show of support that the state would like to see before it considers funding an affordable housing project. “It’s fantastic,” Concord Housing Development Corporation Co-Chairman David Hale said of Monday night’s vote on the CHDC proposed project. “I’m thrilled the select board took the step.” One potential source of the $3 million could be Concord’s Community Preservation Committee.

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