Featured post

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.

twitter.com/103IBEWlinkedin instagram_103jdumas

Los Angeles firm closes on $163M deal for Boston parking garage

Banker & Tradesman | By Catherine Carlock
October 25, 2016

la-firmCIM Group, an urban real estate and infrastructure fund manager based in Los Angeles, has closed on its purchase of Boston’s Motor Mart Garage for $162.5 million.

Seller Park Square Realty first selected CIM Group as the buyer of the nine-level Art Deco structure in June. At the time, sources told the Business Journal the garage would fetch around $160 million.

The Motor Mart Garage is a 420,000-square-foot facility at 201 Stuart St. that dates back to 1927. The garage houses more than 1,000 spaces, and its ground-floor retail offerings include Legal Sea Foods, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurants.

Read More.

Back Bay plan could bring dead zone to life

The Boston Globe | By Tim Logan
October 26, 2016

bbayTwo Boston developers are proposing to build a pair of residential towers on one of the last dead zones in the Back Bay, a collection of empty lots that straddle Massachusetts Avenue along and above the turnpike.

The team of Adam Weiner and Steve Samuels unveiled their plans Tuesday evening at a community meeting in the Back Bay. The complex would include an angular glass condominium tower rising 559 feet above Boylston Street with a 24-story apartment tower alongside, near the Hynes Convention Center. A separate mid-rise building would be built across the highway on the far side of Mass. Ave. and Boylston Street.

The two projects could refill some of the last remaining gaps in the Back Bay created by the construction of the Massachusetts Turnpike. But as with several other projects in the works along the turnpike, Weiner’s and Samuels’ success hinges on solving a puzzle that has stymied builders for decades: How to build an expensive platform above the busy highway.

Weiner and Samuels were awarded the air rights to the properties from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation in 2013, and proposed a single tower of around 400 feet that would have included a hotel and residences. The pair changed and expanded the scope of the project after partnering with the insurer Prudential Financial Inc., which owns an adjacent air-rights parcel.

This would be the third big development to come to this end of the Back Bay.

A 26-story apartment building called 30 Dalton just opened down the block, while construction is underway at One Dalton, a luxury condo tower and Four Seasons Hotel that will be the city’s third-tallest building.

Weiner will lead development of the project near the Hynes. He said he isn’t worried about timing a real estate market that is swelling with new luxury housing.

Read More.

It’s official: Winthrop Square Garage will be turned into one of Boston’s tallest towers

The Boston Globe | By Tim Logan
October 25, 2016

wsgCity officials have reached a deal with Millennium Partners to turn the shuttered Winthrop Square Garage into one of Boston’s tallest towers.

Under terms disclosed Tuesday, Millennium will pay $10 million upfront for the site, $92 million more when it obtains a building permit from the city, and another approximately $50.8 million as it closes on condominiums in the 750-foot condo and office tower it plans to build on the site of the closed garage. The nearly $153 million total is slightly more than what the company originally offered during the bidding process.

The deal gives Millennium until the end of 2017 to complete permitting on the project, with additional payments if it drags beyond then. But Millennium executive Joe Larkin said the company expects to break ground by September or October.

“We’re eager to get going,” Larkin said.
Sign Up
The city’s Public Facilities Commission Tuesday began the two-step process of turning the city-owned garage over to Millennium, by voting to transfer ownership to the Boston Planning and Development Agency. Next the BPDA must finalize its deal with Millennium.

The two sides have been negotiating over the last two-plus months, since the BPDA chose Millennium’s plan for the hotly-contested site.

Read More.

Developers are showing new interest in Mass. Pike air rights project

The Boston Globe | By Tim Logan
October 24, 2016

pike-airA once controversial but now dormant development over the Massachusetts Turnpike in Boston may be stirring again.

At least two major developers are exploring the idea of reviving Columbus Center, the 10-acre megaproject from the 2000s to cover the highway between the Back Bay and the South End. These developers have separately approached the Massachusetts Department of Transportation about Columbus Center, a state official said Monday.

It’s not clear who, exactly, is in the mix. A MassDOT spokeswoman said the agency has had “informal conversations with a couple of developers” about reopening the project, but would not identify the developers.

However, Boston-based Trinity Financial confirmed it has hired a consultant to broach the topic with residents of the area.

The interest level is very preliminary, so it’s unclear whether any of the developers would pursue something on the scale of the original Columbus Center proposal, which included blocks of buildings and a 35-story tower built on decks over the turnpike and several adjacent lots east of Clarendon Street.

Developer WinnCompanies and its main financier pulled the plug on the $800 million project in 2010 after it became economically infeasible.

MassDOT, which controls the sites, hasn’t decided whether to revive the project, which would allow it to solicit proposals from developers. The original plan called for building on four separate parcels that ran from Clarendon to Arlington streets. Any approvals are months, if not years, away.

Read More.

Salem council to tackle sale, purchase of downtown lots

Old Universal Steel lot, Derby Street carnival site under review

The Salem News | By Dustin Luca
October 24, 2016

SALEM — A pair of City Council sessions Tuesday night could help pave the way for a million-dollar land purchase on one end of the downtown and an unrelated land sale on the other.

Two committee meetings will run at City Hall, starting at 6:30 p.m. The first on the calendar will discuss the sale of city-owned land at 297 Bridge St. The small parcel, currently used as a parking lot, is being lumped with a neighboring F.W. Webb expansion proposal.

The second meeting, slated for 7 p.m., will tackle three issues tied to the city buying land at 289 Derby St. for $1.4 million. This site is also a parking lot — and the current location of the Derby Street Carnival.

Bridge Street lot

The F.W. Webb discussion in particular could draw opposition, as the possible sale of the lot has been a sore spot for neighbors and at least one city councilor since it was proposed more than a year ago.

The discussion will focus on setting restrictions for the lot’s sale and the ensuing expansion project, including development oversight and a deed restriction on the neighboring land already owned by F.W. Webb, according to Mayor Kim Driscoll.

The restrictions on the land sale, however, would affect any company or person buying the site, since it’s going up for auction, according to Driscoll.

Read More.

LUXURY CONDO PROJECT: High- end living on Lowell’s Lower Locks

Lowell Sun | By Grant Welker
October 25, 2016

lowell-luxuryLOWELL – High-end condominiums – 63 to be exact – are envisioned for a new building just off Lower Locks, with prices not often seen in Lowell: between $400,000 to potentially as high as $900,000.

The luxury condos would be in a new building on Merrimack Street overlooking the Concord River. It will feature a glass facade with touches of limestone that echo the stately architecture of the nearby Lowell Memorial Auditorium and Middlesex Community College’s Federal Building. If the project goes forward, it will be the ninth substantial housing development approved in Lowell that, taken collectively, is dynamically changing the downtown residential landscape. At present, developers have received approvals to build 665 residential units, and a majority of them are under construction. That total does not include a 438-unit private dormitory being constructed at the former Lowell Five bank headquarters.

The projects are generating more than $140 million in economic development in the city.

The developer of the luxury condo project, Pridestar EMS CEO David Daly, has not yet formally submitted permitting applications but said he’s been working with city officials on his plans for several months.

Daly has proposed knocking down the current brick building, which is the former home of several nightclubs over the years, and more recently, a theater and café for Middlesex Community College. He said he considered a new use that would include space for Middlesex or UMass Lowell, and then considered a hotel after several city councilors expressed a desire for one.

“The market wasn’t there then and isn’t there now,” he said of a hotel.

Read More.

Why women are finally starting to get construction jobs in Mass.

A local movement is paving the way for female electricians, plumbers, carpenters, bricklayers, and more.

The Boston Globe | By Shira Springer
October 25, 2016

women-constructionPULLING WIRE FOR TEMPORARY LIGHTS, electrician Shara Noldseiro moves quickly, gloved hands in near constant motion. Her petite frame, draped in a neon-yellow hoodie, is dwarfed by the steel-beam skeleton of a luxury condo complex taking shape near North Station. The 36-year-old Noldseiro first took an interest in construction when she was in her early 20s but was too intimidated by the prospect of finding a job on her own. Instead, she worked days as a meter maid, nights as a caretaker at a homeless shelter, and weekends as a tattoo artist. Only after she was laid off from her job at the homeless shelter three years ago did she decide to give the building trades a serious look.

Noldseiro, now a second-year apprentice electrician, reflects the growing presence — at long last — of female construction workers on job sites around Massachusetts. That’s been an industry goal since 1978, when President Carter issued an amended executive order to increase the percentage of work hours for women on construction projects receiving federal funds. His timetable: Women would hold 6.9 percent of work hours within four years. But there was no effective enforcement mechanism, and for nearly three decades, no place in the country came close to hitting that goal in any sustained way. The national average continues to hover in the 2 percent to 3 percent range. Finally, though, things are changing in this area.

These days, when it comes to employing women in the trades, Massachusetts is among the leaders, according to Susan Moir, director of research for UMass Boston’s Labor Resource Center. (At the city level, not enough good data exist to make comparisons between Boston and other major metros around the country.)

In 2015, tradeswomen filled nearly 6.3 percent of apprentice positions in Massachusetts — up from 4.2 percent in 2012. Women also accounted for 5 percent of construction work hours in Boston in 2015, and they saw a tenfold increase in work hours from 2010 to 2015 for projects covered by the Boston Residents Job Policy. Moir says the rising number of female electricians, plumbers, carpenters, bricklayers, insulators, and sheet-metal workers on jobs here — many of them women of color — shows “there’s something special about what’s going on in Boston and Massachusetts.”

Read More.

Sale finalized for Kenmore buildings, including Citgo sign location

The Boston Globe | By Tim Logan
October 21, 2016

citgo-signDevelopment firm Related Beal closed Friday on its purchase from Boston University of nine buildings in Kenmore Square, including the six-story building that houses the iconic Citgo sign.

Related paid about $140 million, according to a source familiar with the deal, for the collection of older office buildings with storefronts along Beacon Street and Commonwealth Avenue. They also acquired control of the famous sign, for which Citgo leases space atop 660 Beacon St.

It’s an icon that could yet become a bit of a headache.

The Boston Landmarks Commission appears poised to declare the half-century-old sign an official city landmark, which could hinder development on the site. Members of the commission are hammering out details — such as how high the sign can be and if it could be moved slightly — and a final vote is likely early next year.

Read More.

Harvard, striking dining hall workers make deal

The Boston Globe | By Katheleen Conti
October 25, 2016

harvard-strikeHarvard University announced in the early morning hours Tuesday it has reached a tentative agreement with its dining hall workers who have been on strike for nearly three weeks.

The details of the agreement have not been publicly announced.

The settlement announcement came nearly 12 hours after a marathon bargaining session Monday that was punctuated by a student sit-in in the Cambridge office building where negotiations were taking place, with more than 200 participants pressing administrators to meet the demands of the workers and settle the contract. The sit-in was part of a larger action by more than 300 students who walked out classes in support of the striking workers.

About 750 Harvard food service workers went on strike Oct. 5. The workers were pushing Harvard to commit to paying annual wages of at least $35,000 workers who worked full time and to absorb proposed health insurance cost increases instead of passing them on to the workers.
Sign Up
Several dining hall workers picketed outside the offices at 124 Mount Auburn St. Monday and into the night as the marathon bargaining session continued upstairs, while the number of students occupying the lobby inside dwindled to a few dozen as the hours ticked by. The students, who only expected to stay until 5 p.m., when negotiations were scheduled to end for the day, left the building around 10:30 p.m. after Cambridge and Harvard police said they could no longer remain in the building, according to social media accounts from people participating in the sit-in.

The food service workers’ contract ended Sept. 17 after the union agreed to extend it beyond its original expiration in June. Negotiations began May 20, but after 19 fruitless sessions, UNITE HERE Local 26, the union representing the workers, announced they would strike starting Oct. 5. It was the first strike at Harvard since 1983.

Read More.

Planning for Maple Street industrial zone heats up

The Salem News | By Ethan Forman
October 23, 2016

DANVERS — The Planning Board will huddle with its consultant Tuesday to look at possible commercial and residential uses for a 10-acre industrial area downtown.

The area encompasses the likes of heating element maker Hotwatt and Lyons Ambulance along Maple Street.

The result of this work has the potential to reshape not only the western edge of downtown, but all of Danvers Square in the years to come.

The Planning Board meeting in the Toomey hearing room of Town Hall begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25.

A consultant has been tasked to come up with zoning and design guidelines for an overlay zone for the Maple Street Industrial-1 district that includes the intersections of Hobart, Maple and Locust streets. A $25,000 state grant will pay for the study.

Read More.

Smaller Tremont Street Tower Approved; GE HQ On Hold

Banker & Tradesman
October 21, 2016

171-tremont171 Tremont St.

A 12-unit luxury condominium tower that was reduced in height to comply with regulations protecting Boston Common from shadow has received final approval from city officials.

The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) approved the 155-foot-tall tower at 171 Tremont St. Thursday.

Swiss developer Maurice Dabbah originally proposed a 355-foot-tall building for the site, which currently is occupied by a 4-story office building. Neighborhood residents and the Friends of the Public Garden objected to the design, which would have required zoning variances.

Dabbah also eliminated all 21 resident parking spaces in favor of two valet drop-offs. In public filings, the developer said the Elkus Manfredi-designed building will contribute to the revitalization of Downtown Crossing.

Read More.

Walpole meeting OK’s $20 million more for buildings

The Boston Globe | By Johanna Seltz
October 21, 2016

Walpole’s Town Meeting has approved spending close to $20 million more to build new police and fire stations and a senior center, with the bulk of the money going to the fire station.

Previous Town Meetings already had appropriated money for all three projects, but approval was needed for the additional money to move forward with construction, according to Town Administrator Jim Johnson. The changes won’t require a tax-limit override, he said.

Johnson said selectmen expect to award the contract by the end of October to build the new police station. The Oct. 17 Special Town Meeting approved another $1.4 million for the project, bringing the total cost to $10.4 million.
Selectmen are reviewing bids for the $14.2 million fire station, Johnson said. The Special Town Meeting approved spending $12.6 million for the construction, adding to money appropriated in 2015 and earlier this year.

Read More.

Beacon Communities planning $71M rehab of affordable Chinatown apartments

Boston Business Journal | By Catherine Carlock
October 21, 2016

beacon-commBeacon Communities, a Boston-based multifamily real estate development firm, has plans to rehabiliate Quincy Tower, a 162-story elderly affordable housing community at 5 Oak St. West in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood.

Beacon is proposing a $71 million capital improvement program at the 162-unit property, which was completed in 1978. The improvements will “ensure the building’s continued safe and efficient long term operation,” and include improvements to the building exterior, upgrading common areas, improvements to the property’s mechanical and hot-water systems, replacing cabinetry and finishes and upgrading the building’s accessibility.

“With the significant amount of market rate development currently taking place in Chinatown, there is an immense need to maintain all existing affordable housing options in this unique and important neighborhood,” Beacon Communities wrote in its Oct. 17 project notification form to the Boston Planning & Development Agency. “Without the preservation of this development, 161 units of affordable housing are at risk of becoming market-rate housing to serve growing demand for small units in close proximity to Boston’s core. The preservation of this development provides a critically important opportunity to maintain an affordable housing resource that would be very difficult and costly to replace today.”

Read More.

Hundreds of apartments proposed near Forest Hills MBTA station

Boston Business Journal | By Catherine Carlock
October 21, 2016

f-hillsCriterion Development Partners, an apartment development firm with offices in Waltham and Dallas, has plans to build a 252-unit apartment complex on what’s currently a surface parking lot near the MBTA Orange Line Forest Hills station in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood.

The 2.2-acre site on Washington Street is bounded by the Arborway — a roadway that borders Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum — the MBTA Arborway Yard, and a residential neighborhood. The project would be split among three buildings, ranging in height from five to six stories. It would include 140 parking spaces as well as 5,500 square feet of street-level retail and restaurant space.

“CDP proposes to transform this 2-acre asphalt lot into a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented, mixed-use development,” wrote Jack Englert, Criterion’s executive vice president and principal, in a letter to the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA). “As a transit-oriented development located in close proximity to the multimodal Forest Hills Station and the Southwest Corridor Park, the proposed project will include Zipcar spaces and a bike-share facility to serve both residents of the project as well as neighbors and area commuters.”

Read More.

Mayor seeks zoning overlay to allow mixed-use, more housing

The Salem News | By Arianna MacNeill
October 20, 2016

PEABODY — A zoning change could allow for more residential development in the city’s business-residential zones.

Mayor Ted Bettencourt’s proposal would create an overlay for BR zones, adding mixed-use by a special permit. Those districts mainly stretch along Route 114, Cross and Prospect streets near the mall, along Route 1 and a small portion of Lowell Street.

Mixed-use means development with commercial and residential components.

“I felt that those potential mixed-use projects would fit well in that area,” Bettencourt said.

But not all city councilors agree — the council’s Industrial and Community Development Committee voted 3-2 against it. The proposal will continue on to the Planning Board, but with a negative recommendation from the council’s committee. After the board considers it, the proposal will head back to the full council.

Councilors who voted against the move feel “it added too much to an overcrowded area,” according to Tom Gould, who chairs the committee.

But having mixed-use by special permit helps to regulate what could go in, Gould said.

“I think it would have been a progressive move by the council to encourage development,” he said.

Read More.