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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.


Quincy City Council delays vote on apartment proposal

Patriot Ledger | By Jessica Trufant
October 6, 2015

QUINCY – State Rep. Bruce Ayers wants a state traffic engineer to review the impact a proposed apartment complex next to the Granite Links Golf Course would have on what he said is an already dangerous intersection. Ayers, a Quincy Democrat, asked the city council Monday to postpone its vote on developer William Locke’s plan to build a pair of six-story buildings holding 269 apartments off Ricciuti Drive.

Locke said the delay could jeopardize the project’s financing, but the council delayed the vote. In the meantime, City Solicitor James Timmins said he would begin working on the permit with the applicant.

Ayers called the intersection of Ricciuti Drive and Willard Street “the most dangerous” in his legislative district. Vehicles coming off the southbound side of Interstate 93 often approach at a high rate of speed.

Ayers said a state engineer has not reviewed the plan on behalf of the state Department of Conservation and Recreation or Department of Transportation, which also have jurisdiction in the corridor. “The whole corridor has been problematic,” Ayers said. “It needs further scrutiny to make sure ample steps are being taken to protect the public safety of motorists and pedestrians in that area.”

The council continued to Nov. 9 the hearing on Locke’s proposal for 269 one- and two-bedroom market-rate apartments and 430 parking spaces on an 8-acre vacant lot.

City council approval is needed for proposals on lots larger than 100,000 square feet. The council first saw the plan June 16, at the public comment portion of the hearing.

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Officials tout new vision for Framingham’s downtown

Wicked Local Framingham | By Danielle Ameden
October 3, 2015

framingham downtownFRAMINGHAM – Picture downtown as a lively, pedestrian-friendly place that looks like Natick Center or Waltham’s Moody Street, centered around the commuter rail station.

Town Manager Bob Halpin and his team say zoning changes they are proposing to encourage transit-oriented development will be key to making that vision a reality.

In a meeting with the Daily News editorial board Friday, Halpin laid out his hopes that the changes will lead prominent developers to come in and build investment-grade housing and retail projects within walking distance of the train station. “I think we’re attracting people’s attention at that level,” Halpin said. Community and Economic Development director Art Robert, Planning Board Administrator Amanda Loomis and Nichol Figueiredo, the town’s public information officer, joined Halpin in outlining steps the town is taking to transform downtown.

The zoning proposal, which goes to special Town Meeting on Oct. 21 for a vote, is based on feedback from developers and a Metropolitan Area Planning Council study. Halpin said he pulled in Roy MacDowell, who developed the transformative mixed-use Cronin’s Landing project in Waltham, National Development’s Jack O’Neill and others for roundtable talks back in 2012, wanting to know what they thought Framingham needed to do for big developers to invest in downtown.

The result is zoning changes that remove barriers and make it more feasible for developers to build dense, large-scale development projects, Halpin said. Take, for instance, the gaps on the corner of Concord and Howard streets, or on Waverly Street at South Street, where the town envisions four or five-story, brick-front buildings with some retail and housing.

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Is Quincy ready for the boom?

Patriot Ledger | By Jessica Trufant
October 3, 2015

QUINCY — A new 180-unit apartment complex called Deco is going up across from the Quincy Adams T Station. Less than 2 miles away in Quincy Square, construction of the 169-unit West of Chestnut building isn’t far behind. And at Fort Square, work is underway for a 32-unit condo building. Plans are taking shape for large and mid-sized housing complexes across the city, from Quincy Point to Quincy Center and what seems like every neighborhood in between. At least 3,000 new units are in the housing pipeline, including 352 in Marina Bay, 395 on Quarry Street and 492 off Crown Colony Drive.

Some residents and neighborhood association leaders are concerned that the inevitable rise in population will exacerbate Quincy’s traffic and parking problems and strain city services. But city officials and regional planners say the growth taking place in Quincy right now is not as dramatic as it appears, and that strategic zoning, planned traffic improvements and additional tax revenue from new housing will address most concerns. “The city has absorbed several housing projects without any real notice,” Mayor Thomas Koch said, rattling off Ten Faxon, Munroe Place and Neponset Landing. “There are a few big ones that filled right up.”

The simultaneous construction of several large apartment buildings in Quincy gives the appearance of sudden growth. But Jennifer Raitt of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council said U.S. Census data suggests otherwise. “Quincy’s population has been growing steadily, from roughly 88,000 in 2000 to 92,000 in 2010,” Raitt, the agency’s assistant director of land use planning and chief housing planner, said. “It may seem like it’s all happening now because it’s centered in one location, but I think these are continued trends of what already has been occurring.”

The planning council is working with Quincy to develop a five-year housing production plan. To meet demand, planners predict Quincy will have to create 4,000 new housing units by 2020 – two-thirds of which should be condos and apartments – and 8,000 units by 2030. If the region’s economy remains strong, Quincy’s population could grow to nearly 107,000 by 2030, roughly 16 percent larger than 2010’s figure of 92,271, Braitt said. “Something really interesting about Quincy is that we predict very balanced growth in all age groups,” she said. “But the largest increase will be in the age 65 and above category.” More young adults in their 20s and 30s moved into Quincy in the 1990s and 2000s , a trend researchers say could level off over the next two decades. They expect a spike in elderly residents as baby boomers in the city reach retirement age. Jeffrey Poirier, president of the Ward 4 Neighborhood Association, said many in the city worry about added traffic

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Public hearing for West Quincy apartment project is Monday

The city council will host a hearing Monday night to discuss a developer’s plan to build 269 apartments on a vacant lot near the Granite Links Golf Course in West Quincy.

Patriot Ledger | By Patrick Ronan
October 2, 2015

QUINCY- The city council will host a hearing Monday night to discuss a developer’s plan to build 269 apartments on a vacant lot near the Granite Links Golf Course in West Quincy.

The council’s hearing will start at 6:30 p.m. in the school committee room of Coddington Hall, located at 34 Coddington St. Developer William E. Locke, Jr., president of Quarry Hills Development LLC, is seeking permission from the council to erect a six-story apartment building on 8 acres of vacant land and wooded area off Quarry Hills Drive, which is a side street off Riccuiti Drive.

The city council has jurisdiction over projects on lots larger than 100,000 square feet. The council held its first hearing to discuss the plan back in June, during which residents and councilors raised concerns about a number of issues, primarily the project’s impact on traffic. If the project is approved, the developer plans on tearing down a stretch of trees to make room for a mix of one-and two-bedroom market-rate apartments.

At the June hearing, two local union workers spoke in favor of the project, saying the developer has agreed to hire local trade labor. The developer has agreed to buy the land from Marian Manor for the Aged and Infirm, which bought the property for $5 million in 2005.

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Construction Sept. Jobless Rate Dips From August and Year-Earlier Levels

Engineering News-Record | By Tom Ichniowski
October 2, 2015

Construction’s unemployment rate dropped again in September from August’s level and also was down sharply from its year-earlier rate, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported.

The bureau said in a report released on Oct. 2 that construction’s September rate dipped to 5.5% from 6.1% the previous month and was greatly improved from the September 2014 level of 7%.

Last month’s 5.5% rate was the lowest September level for the construction industry since 2000, the Associated General Contractors of America noted.

BLS doesn’t modify those unemployment rates to account for seasonal differences.

Construction also picked up 8,000 jobs last month, boosting its overall workforce 3.3% to slightly less than 6.4 million, BLS said.

Specialty trade contractors posted construction’s best September jobs record, adding 8,700 positions. Buildings construction was up by 2,000.

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A Blank Slate, Permits In Place

Lowell Seeks Developers To Finish The Job

Banker & Tradesman | By Steve Adams
October 5, 2015

Millions of square feet of abandoned mills have been resurrected as housing in post-industrial Lowell, but finding developers capable of completing new commercial and residential projects on vacant parcels in the city’s center has been a steeper challenge.

Now comes the latest attempt to raise steel in the Hamilton Canal district, two weed-covered peninsulas bordered by three industrial canals on the southern outskirts of downtown. City officials have asked developers to submit qualifications by Oct. 13 with the goal of spurring up to 2 million square feet of mixed-use development on the 15-acre municipally-owned site.

“We’re providing an opportunity that doesn’t exist in the relatively built-out Gateway Cities,” said Craig Thomas, Lowell’s urban renewal project manager.

The estimated $800 million project, economic development officials say, could effectively double the size of the downtown and create a model mixed-use district within a short walk of the MBTA commuter rail station and regional bus terminal. The city is dangling six fully-permitted sites as a carrot to developers, and is touting a flexible zoning code that encourages a variety of uses and designs.

But attracting ground-up commercial development could be the hardest part, given conditions in the Route 495 north submarket.

The 1.3-million-square-foot Cross Point Towers in Lowell, a former Wang Laboratories headquarters converted into a multitenant office building, has more than 550,000 square feet of space currently available. Ten miles south in Andover, more than 400,000 square feet are available in the Brickstone Square office park. Office rents in Lowell currently range from $16 to $18 per square foot, roughly half that for properties along Route 128. And the Route 495 north submarket has a vacancy rate just under 25 percent, according to brokerage Avison Young’s second-quarter office market report.

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Net-metering deal could bring big profit for Tyngsboro

The Lowell Sun | By Amelia Pak-Harvey
October 5, 2015

TYNGSBORO — Tyngsboro could realize at least $850,000 in electricity savings after entering into a net-metering agreement with a solar project to be built on the old Charles George landfill.
The town will purchase 2.5 megawatts of electricity from the project every year, slightly less than the 2.93 MW it uses for all municipal buildings.

The energy will be used as credit toward the town’s electricity bill with National Grid, in the set-up known as net-metering.

Those savings would be realized over the 20-year period that Tyngsboro will buy the credits, which Tyngsborough Landfill Solar, LLC, will produce once it builds a 3.56-MW solar project on the Charles George landfill in both Tyngsboro and Dunstable.

The agreement gives the town 25 percent off the price of electricity, which Town Administrator Curt Bellavance estimated currently at about $0.16 per kilowatt.

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Construction Aug. Spending Edges Up from July, Soars Year Over Year

Engineering News Record | By Tom Ichniowski
October 1, 2015

Construction spending rose slightly in August from the previous month’s level, but posted a double-digit gain year over year, the U.S. Census Bureau has reported.

The Census Bureau’s report for August, released on Oct. 1, showed that the value of finished construction edged up 0.7% from July, to a seasonally adjusted $1.086-trillion annual rate. Compared with the year-earlier level, August’s rate jumped 13.7%.

Residential construction put in place in August was up 1.3% from July to a $389.9-billion rate and increased 16.4% year over year.

Nonresidential projects recorded an 0.3% month-to-month increase, to a $696.3-billion rate. The total was up 12.3% from the August 2014 level, said the Census Bureau, which is part of the Commerce Dept.

Ken Simonson, Associated General Contractors of America’s chief economist, observed that the overall August total was the highest since May 2008 and the 13.7% increase was the largest since March 2006.

At the Associated Builders and Contractors, which concentrates on nonresidential construction, Chief Economist Anirban Basu said in a statement, “Job growth is fueling both consumer spending and the absorption of space, all of this is good for construction spending.”

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US adds 142,000 jobs in Sept.; unemployment rate stays 5.1%

The Boston Globe | By Christopher S. Rugaber
October 2, 2015

WASHINGTON — US hiring slowed sharply in September, and job gains for July and August were lower than previously thought, a sour note for a labor market that had been steadily improving.

The Labor Department says employers added just 142,000 jobs in September, depressed by job cuts by manufacturers and oil drillers. The unemployment rate remained 5.1 percent, but only because more Americans stopped looking for work and were no longer counted as unemployed.

All told, the proportion of Americans who either have a job or are looking for one fell to a 38-year low.

Average hourly wages also slipped by a penny and have now risen by only 2.2 percent in the past year.

US consumers are spending at a healthy pace, boosting job gains in sectors like retail and hotels and restaurants. But lackluster growth overseas has sharply reduced exports of factory goods.

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Logan chief: Terminal E must grow

Boston Herald | By Jordan Graham
October 1, 2015

logan chief

Massport is hoping to expand its international terminal at Logan International Airport to keep pace with the ballooning number of passengers flying to and from other countries.

“We can accommodate the international flights we have and may have in the next few years,” Massport CEO Thomas Glynn told Herald reporters and editors yesterday, “but at some point, a terminal that was built 25 years ago is just not going to be up to the task.”

Massport has been talking to environmental agencies and East Boston community groups as it takes the first steps to get approval to add as many as seven new gates to Terminal E. The terminal, where every international flight arrives and most depart, has 11 gates now.

There were more than 28,000 flights in and out of Terminal E this year through the end of August, which is up 5.4 percent over the same period the previous year. Roughly 6 million passengers used the terminal, up from 2.2 million in 2008.

Dozens of new international flights have been added to Logan in recent years, including to Shanghai and Tel Aviv. Glynn said the airport has 51 international destinations, up from 26 destinations in 2007.

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Developer: Plans still open for Powder House School

Wicked Local Somerville | By Monica Jimenez
September 30, 2015

SOMERVILLE- A proposed Powder House School development hits many items on the community’s long wish list, including more affordable housing, but the developer told residents that nothing is set in stone. “Everything included in the proposal is simply a framework,” MarKa director of development Steven Azar said at a Sept. 28 neighborhood meeting with residents. “We’re dreaming.

The point of today’s meeting is to keep dreaming.” Earlier this year, an advisory committee of city officials and residents recommended the city sell the Powder House School to MarKa LLC, which is led by Somerville-based developer Sebastian Mariscal, for $2.77 million.

The city had planned to sell the long-vacant school to Tufts in 2013 but canceled the sale after learning Tufts did not intend to develop the building for 15 years and put the property back on the market. “We’re hoping we get a great result with MarKa,” city planning director George Proakis said at the meeting. “This is a real opportunity to build a collaborative, interesting partnership.”

MarKa’s bid included a significant amount of housing and at the meeting, Azar said the proposal would preserve the building and renovate it to include, “at the highest level,” 40 residential units, of which half would be market rate and approximately 17 percent would be affordable housing for people making 70 to 110 percent of the city’s median income.

About 12 units would be dedicated to senior housing via the Collaborative Living Project and 12 to artist live/work space.

All units would be rentals except for about six, which would be owned by CLP. The parcel would include 52 percent public open space and 13,275 square feet of commercial space, according to MarKa’s proposal on the city website, including three “mom and pop” stores, two service-oriented offices, a restaurant/cafe, a collaborative campus, and an artists’ hall.

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State gives Beverly Middle School project the go-ahead

The Salem News | By Arianna MacNeill
September 30, 2015

bev middleBEVERLY — The state has given the city’s proposed middle school project a thumbs up.

The Massachusetts School Building Authority voted unanimously in favor of the project as well as the funding for it during a Thursday morning meeting. The next step is for the MSBA and the city to put a project funding agreement into place.

This is the last major obstacle for the project. The City Council approved funding for the entire project Sept. 15 — that was an MSBA requirement, although the state will pick up a large share of the cost.

Provided that the project stays on its current track, the school should be open for grades five through eight in September 2018.

The MSBA and the city will share the cost of the project, with $60.8 million coming from the city and $48.4 million coming from the state. According to an official MSBA statement Thursday, however, the agency said it would contribute up to $49.1 million.

Mayor Michael Cahill said workers from Ai3 Architects, the architect for the project, plan to be in the city over the next couple of days.

“These were the two votes we needed,” Cahill said. “The approval of the funding has happened at the local and state level. It just gives us the green light to move ahead with full speed.”

Planning for the project has been going on for the last few years, Cahill said. He thanked everyone who has been involved. The mayor was not phased by the unanimous vote, saying the quality of work contributed to this.

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Developer trying to buy property near Suffolk Downs for slots parlor

The Boston Globe | By Andrea Estes and Stephanie Ebbert
October 1, 2015

suffolk dEugene McCain, the secretive figure behind the ballot campaign for a second slots parlor in Massachusetts, has been quietly trying to assemble a broad swath of property near Suffolk Downs, where he hopes to build a luxury hotel and gambling facility if his campaign succeeds.

McCain has been offering big money — $5.5 million for a rundown trailer park and more than $1 million for a defunct bar — for several houses and other properties behind the track, according to their owners and a lawyer who represents some of them.

“I am making offers on many properties,” McCain, a developer who lives in Thailand and has local ties, acknowledged in an e-mail, “but this is not something I can presently address as these are private discussions and contingent transactions.”

The Massachusetts political world was surprised last month when the attorney general gave preliminary approval to McCain’s ballot question, which could add a second slots casino license to the mix of three casinos and one slots parlor allowed by the 2011 casino law. It could offer a second chance at big time gambling in Revere, where Suffolk Downs was shot down by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.

But if McCain is to succeed where Suffolk Downs failed, he will need more than a victory on the ballot question; he may also need a change in the Revere city administration. Mayor Dan Rizzo said he would welcome a hotel, but is opposed to a slots parlor at the site.

However, Rizzo’s challenger on the November ballot, Revere City Councilor Brian Arrigo, did not immediately rule out McCain’s proposal. And he questioned why, given Rizzo’s past support of gambling, the proposal was “DOA … before there was any kind of conversation about it.”

McCain has told homeowners on Pratt Street and other locations behind Suffolk Downs that he is working on deals with the Accor-Novotel chain for a 500- to 600-room hotel and a gambling partner, whose name he hasn’t shared. He told them a company is collecting signatures and predicted he’ll have no problem getting the required 64,750 by Dec. 2 so that his question can appear on the fall 2016 ballot.

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Moakley courthouse no longer alone on Fan Pier

Construction boom complicates life

The Boston Globe | By Milton J. Valencia
October 1, 2015


For years, it was theirs alone — the acres of parking, the wide open boulevards, really the whole neighborhood. The judges, prosecutors, clerks and seemingly everyone else at the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse in South Boston treasured their remote enclave along the harbor’s edge with its stunning views of the sea and city skyline.

Then the cranes came, followed by buildings (big ones), and then thousands upon thousands of neighbors. All of which means that they’re not only administering justice in the hallowed courtrooms these days, but sharing gripes and complaints — of traffic, of a lack of parking, and most of all of the suddenly obstructed views.

One window looks into the glass walls of the nearby office tower. Another has a bird’s-eye-view of the personal business of guests at a hotel, meaning court employees who just saw judges in robes might also get a glimpse of men disrobing.

The sights go both ways, too: At a roof-deck bar, patrons might observe a jury deliberating; Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. employees can see into judges’ chambers.

Take US District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr., who went from having vistas of the harbor to close-ups of pharmaceutical workers in the Vertex tower just across a narrow lane. He took to closing his blinds.

“I didn’t want them looking at me,” he said dryly. More recently, he just happened to have found his way to a different courtroom, on the other side of the building, with chambers that have a better view.

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Developer proposes apartments at former IHOP in West Roxbury

Boston Business Journal | By Catherine Carlock
September 30, 2015


A West Roxbury-based developer has plans to build an 84-unit apartment complex at 1235-1237 Veterans of Foreign Wars Parkway and 165 Gardner St.

Peter Davos, owner of Davos Construction, detailed the plans in a letter of intent to the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

The proposed location for the four-story apartment building is a 1.8-acre, 79,572-square-foot triangular parcel near the West Roxbury Medical Center and Millennium park in West Roxbury. Davos wrote in the letter to the BRA that his development entity Sovad LLC has the property under contract.

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