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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.


Senators get tour of SouthField; Starwood pitches parkway completion

Wicked Local Braintree | By Ed Baker
February 26, 2015

The CommonsGetting state assistance to complete the 2.75-mile William Delahunt Parkway at SouthField would attract commercial development to the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station and increase tax revenues to Weymouth, Abington and Rockland, according to Starwood Land Ventures vice-president Matthew Barry.

“The Navy did a good job keeping people out,” Barry said to a gathering of state senators at SouthField on Wednesday, Feb. 25. “We want to do the opposite. “People drive by here on Route 18 and do not know what is happening here.”

Barry said SouthField has 1,400 acres that are enticing to developers, but the site needs direct access capabilities.

“That parkway would have been built if the Navy did not own the land,” he said. “Let’s find a way to open this area up. This can be the project it was envisioned to be 10 to 20 years ago.”

The state senators received Starwood’s presentation about the parkway at SouthField during the South Shore leg of their Commonwealth Conversations Tour.

Senators attending the session were Robert Hedlund, R-Weymouth, John Keenan, D-Quincy, Brian Joyce, D-Milton, Michael Rush, D-West Roxbury, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, D-Amherst, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, Joan Lovely, D-Salem, and Michael Rodrigues, D-Westport.

Construction of the parkway’s first phase cost approximately $42.5 million and was largely paid for with state aid and federal stimulus funds when it opened in August 2013, according to Starwood consultant Bill Ryan.

Ryan said state funding for the parkway extension to Route 18 could be done during the years ahead in proportion to phased development at SouthField.

“You can do it in segments because development happens in segments,” he said following the meeting. “You don’t have to build every piece of the parkway at the same time.”

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Quirky offices in downtown Boston reflect influx of tech firms

The Boston Globe | By Jon Chesto
February 26, 2015

Carbonite Boston HQStep off the elevator into Carbonite’s new Boston headquarters, and you’ll quickly learn that the force is with you.

Darth Vader’s instantly recognizable silhouette is on a sliding conference room door. A well-dressed storm trooper gazes out at a small army of software engineers from his perch on a spray-painted mural. Even the bathrooms are in on the act: Instead of men and women, the signs say “Luke” and “Leia.”

Welcome to the new world of downtown office spaces. As tech firms have migrated into the staid Financial District and nearby environs during the past five years, they’ve done their best to put their unique stamps on work spaces. Goodbye, wood paneling. Hello, Yoda.

Their offices have, essentially, become extensions of their brands — physical manifestations of how they view the world, and how they want the world to view them.

In the case of Carbonite’s 50,000-square-foot space at the Lafayette City Center, IA Interior Architects got to work in December 2013 and wrapped up designs last spring, in time for Carbonite to move from the Back Bay to Downtown Crossing. Total relocation and renovation cost: $4 million.

Why Star Wars? The data-backup firm is named after the substance that put Han Solo in a deep freeze in “The Empire Strikes Back.”

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Quincy Point residents say proposed apartment building is too big

Patriot Ledger | By Patrick Ronan
February 25, 2015

QUINCY – A group of Quincy Point residents are objecting to the size of an apartment building proposed for an unused site across from the old Quincy shipyard.

Developer David Crocini wants to erect a five-story building at 116 East Howard St. that holds 164 apartments and measures in at about 300 feet in length and 70 feet in height. The building would be three times as long and nearly twice as tall as the current building on the site, a vacant structure that once housed administrative offices for General Dynamics.

“I think it’s a good idea, but I would just like to see it scaled back tremendously,” Ann Croke, a Des Moines Road resident, said.

Quincy Point residents spoke out against the proposed size of Crocini’s apartment building Wednesday during a planning board meeting. The neighbors, along with Ward 2 City Councilor Brad Croall, who represents Quincy Point, said they want the size of the building and the number of apartments reduced due to concerns about traffic, aesthetics and the potential that a shadow would hover over abutting condominiums.

However, those who voiced concerns agreed that some type of residential development would be a welcomed addition to the neighborhood, located directly across the street from the former Fore River Shipyard.

“I don’t think anyone is in objection to the concept. What we’re trying to do is figure out a size that makes sense for the neighborhood,” Croall said.

Crocini’s original design for the apartment building called for 184 apartments and 301 parking spaces. The original blueprint was for a building that was 350 feet in length.

The developer, after hearing concerns from the city’s planning department, has since agreed to reduce the number of apartments by 20, reduce the length of the building by 50 feet and scrap their plan for an entranceway off Winter Street over traffic concerns.

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Suffolk Construction ditches South Boston move

The Boston Globe | By Jon Chesto
February 26, 2015

Suffolk ConstructionThe South Boston Waterfront may be the hottest spot on Boston’s commercial real estate scene right now, with employers racing down Seaport Boulevard in the hunt for shiny new office space. But John Fish has decided to buck the trend: He’s not heading to the Seaport, after all.

Suffolk Construction’s chief executive has shelved plans, announced in 2013, to move the company to the corner of Harbor Street and Northern Avenue in the Marine Industrial Park from its longtime digs in Roxbury. Instead, Fish will expand his existing headquarters on Allerton Street.

The move represents a big vote of confidence in Roxbury — and in its Newmarket industrial area, in particular.

Suffolk happens to be Roxbury’s largest for-profit, private employer, with 300 people at the headquarters. The roughly 50,000-square-foot expansion of Suffolk’s 85,000-square-foot headquarters will create room for as many as 170 new workers to join the company over the next decade.

“It’s been our home for almost 25 years,” Fish said. “I want it to be home for the next 50 years.”

Fish said the company spent nearly $600,000 over the past 18 months on engineering and design work to plot a new headquarters in South Boston. “We studied the hell out of it,” Fish said. “At the end of the day, it’s not us. We are a very proud organization, and I think Roxbury is a home we’re very proud of.”

When Fish unveiled the relocation plans in 2013, he was equally emphatic about the Seaport: “This location speaks to where Boston is going, not where it is today,” he said at the time.

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Mixed-use retail, residential project proposed in Jamaica Plain

Boston Business Journal | By Catherine Carlock
February 25, 2015

3200 Washington St. JPA Jamaica Plain developer has proposed a roughly 100,000-square-foot mixed-use building at 3200 Washington St. in Egleston Square, according to a project notification form filed late Tuesday with the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

A project proposal submitted by 3190 Washington Street LLC calls for 76 residential units, a 36-car garage topped with usable open space and 5,634 square feet of street-level retail space.

The development is slated to be spread across three buildings: one six-story building with a mezzanine level at the corner of Washington and Iffley streets, a five-story building with a “stepped-back” sixth level at Washington and Montebello streets, and a three-story building off Iffley Street with three separate townhouse units.

The project is located less than a mile from The Commons at Forest Hills Station, a $90 million, 283-unit midmarket apartment complex at 3593-3615 Washington St. The BRA approved that project in December.

The 3200 Washington St. parcel spans 32,412 square feet and houses a the vacant former home of Economy Plumbing and Heating Supply Co., a single-story automotive repair garage and a single-level concrete garage.

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Developer Proposes 76-Unit Residential Complex In Egleston Square

Banker & Tradesman | By Steve Adams
February 25, 2015

3200 Washington St. JPA development partnership has filed plans to build a 76-unit multifamily complex at 3200 Washington St. in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood.

The 100,000-square-foot project in Egleston Square would include 5,364 square feet of ground-level retail and restaurant space and 36 parking spaces, according to an application submitted to the Boston Redevelopment Authority this week.

3190 Washington Street LLC and the Exchange Authority LLC proposes three buildings, including a pair of six-story buildings on Washington Street and a third building with three townhouses on Iffley Road. The development would include 11 affordable units.

As a potential community benefit, the developers indicated they will renovate 52 Montebello Road, an adjacent six-unit residential property also identified as a problem property, with a conversion to affordable housing. The city recently acquired the property through foreclosure.

The three-quarter-acre site contains a vacant former plumbing company building, an auto repair garage and an auto storage garage, all of which would be demolished.

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Winchester May See More Housing in Town Center

Boston.com | By Scott Van Voorhis
February 23, 2015

Winchester Town CenterWinchester has one of the most beautiful town centers in the Boston area, with local shops and restaurants nestled in historic 19th century buildings and a river running through town.

And soon there may be more opportunities not just to shop and stroll in the downtown, but to live there as well.

Winchester’s planning director wants to revamp the zoning rules that guide development in the town center to make way for new apartments and condos.

No big new developments are planned yet. Rather, the proposal envisions building owners converting the upper floors of some of those graceful old downtown buildings into residences, said Brian Szekely, Winchester Town Planner.

There would also be the possibility of converting commercial buildings to residential use on the northern section of Main Street, which currently entails a more modern strip of gas stations and stores.

“There is certainly a very large demand for housing in the downtown area as it is right next to a commuter rail stop,” Szekely said. “Keeping more feet on the street will help keep businesses in town as well as attract new businesses.”

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Endurance International Group to double size of Burlington HQ following acquisitions

Boston Business Journal | By Catherine Carlock
February 24, 2015

Endurance International GroupEndurance International Group plans to double the size of its Burlington headquarters, as the web-hosting firm brings over employees from its three recent acquisitions.

Endurance (Nasdaq: EIGI) in November announced it spent $77 million to acquire Waltham-based domain name service BuyDomains and two other companies. And Kathy Andreasen, chief people officer at Endurance, said the firm needed to create space for 40 to 50 additional employees at its Burlington headquarters.

Endurance will expand to the second floor of a three-story office building at 10 Corporate Drive, taking about 38,000 square feet of space total when the move is complete next January. Brokerage JLL represented Endurance in the deal.

“That doesn’t fill us up,” Andreasen said. “We want to strategically have room for growth.”

The firm is planning to expand by about 300,000 square feet in markets across the U.S., in deals brokered by JLL. Much of the firm’s core practices, such as finance and HR, are located in the Burlington office.

“As we grow in general, that core group in the center grows as well,” Andreasen said.

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Modular Construction Could Address Region’s Housing Shortage

Technique Needs To Overcome Stigmas, Labor Opposition

Banker & Tradesman | By Jay Fitzgerald
February 22, 2015


Contractors are convinced modular construction may be a future key to building enough affordable housing – particularly multifamily housing – to satisfy the growing demand for all types of residential units in the Boston market.

The trick, though, is overcoming a public stigma of modular housing and fears by some unions that modular construction could eliminate many trade jobs, contractors and construction executives say.

The issue of modular housing, especially multifamily projects, recently came to the forefront after the Grossman Cos. Inc. of Quincy and the Wayside Cos. of Boston announced that they purchased nearly an acre of Allston property permitted for an 80-unit, $26-million apartment complex.

In a release, the companies boasted that the 61-89 Braintree St. project would be the “largest modular construction project in the city of Boston” and designed to “ensure quality control, to fast-track the construction schedule, to provide tighter construction for greater energy efficiency and to reduce excess materials waste.” Executives declined further comment about the Allston project, saying the designs are preliminary. But the size of the proposed development is viewed as an encouraging sign by many industry officials who say modular construction could be an important piece of the puzzle in solving the region’s chronic problem of low supply and high demand for housing.

Usually associated with single-family homes and others projects, such as temporary school-building additions, modular construction has already been used in the Boston area for multifamily developments.

In 2013, Tocci Building Cos. of Woburn finished building a 56-unit apartment complex for Federal Realty Trust in Chelsea, using modular sections built in a Maine factory. In 2010, Tocci built a 54-unit residential complex in West Cambridge for AbodeZ, also using modular design and construction.

Bud LaRosa, chief business performance officer at Tocci, said his company is currently pricing a couple of other multifamily modular projects for unspecified developers in the area.

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Developers pushing for housing for millennials at Somerville’s Union Square, residents want commercial

Wicked Local Somerville | By Danielle McLean
February 18, 2015

Union Square’s master developer is intent on building more housing for younger residents in the square, even as existing residents are looking for more commercial development as part of the square’s billion-dollar urban renewal project.

At a presentation to about two dozen residents at the Union Square Post Office Feb. 11, members of master developer US2 said they were looking to build residential buildings to attract millennials, who would then work in office and research space that would be constructed later. People between 20 and 34 years old already make up more than 40 percent of Somerville’s population and the city is the second-most densely populated by millennials in the country, according to a study of the city’s demographics, but US2 wants to increase their presence in Union Square to drive its growth.

“I think it’s important that millennials are a consideration about how we construct the redevelopment of Union Square,” Karczewski said. “The infusion of residential [housing] in the first phase of this development is important to create more critical mass in Union Square and to add some of the vibrancy and some of the support to these amenities.”

Karczewski said housing for millenials should be included in the development of the D2 and D3 parcels of Union Square, areas the firm hopes to start pulling permits for by next year but did not say what percentage of those parcels would be devoted to residential housing. Those parcels will border the incoming Green Line station and activists have pushed for them to contain commercial development, which is less profitable for developers than residential buildings.

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Goldberg brings competitive nature to treasurer role

The Boston Globe | By Beth Healy
February 24, 2015

Deborah GoldbergDeborah Goldberg settles into a chair by the fireplace in the state treasurer’s office, the first woman to take residence there in a dozen years. She has rearranged the furniture, living-room-style, to be more inviting.

The daughter of a famous Boston grocery family, with a law degree and a Harvard MBA, Goldberg talks about her new role as treasurer with the competitive fervor of one who grew up battling for market share at Stop & Shop.

“At the end of the day, I tell everyone that I’m a grocer,” Goldberg said in her first wide-ranging interview since taking office last month. She was a fifth-generation employee at the company, which started as a shop on Salem Street in the North End and became the largest supermarket chain in Southern New England.

“It was a tough, mean fighting machine,” Goldberg said. “We were great competitors.”

This embrace of friendly rivalry — along with years of business operating experience — is a trait Goldberg says she’ll bring to her new job. It’s one with an unusual slate of responsibilities, from issuing bonds and chairing the $60 billion state pension fund to overseeing the state lottery.

“The treasurer’s office brings everything that I thrive on, in one job, and you’re serving the public,” Goldberg said.

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HFF secures $680M in financing for Four Seasons tower

Boston Business Journal | By Catherine Carlock
February 23, 2015

One Dalton StHFF has secured $680 million in construction financing and joint venture equity for the 61-story Four Seasons hotel and private residences planned in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood, the firm announced.

HFF (NYSE: HF) worked with developer Carpenter & Co. to secure a $500 million construction loan through The Children’s Investment Fund Management LLP, a London-based hedge fund management firm. Citi Private Bank raised $180 million in joint venture equity, HFF said.

The 61-story project, which officially broke ground last month, is slated to be the largest tower built in four decades when complete in 2018. It will be anchored by a 211-room Four Seasons on the lower 23 floors, with 180 private residences on floors 25-61.

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Planned Olympic transit projects pose funding challenge

Despite early pitch, many public projects don’t have full funds in place

The Boston Globe | By Michael Levenson
February 24, 2015

South StationBoston Olympic organizers initially pitched the Games by declaring that they would boost an array of public transit improvements, including a $1 billion expansion of South Station, new diesel trains between the Back Bay and Newton, and an upgraded JFK/UMass Station in Dorchester.

Best of all, Olympic organizers said, the projects had already been approved in a $13 billion bond bill signed by Governor Deval Patrick last year. “That money has already been allocated,” John Fish, the chairman of Boston 2024, said last year.

But despite those statements, not all of the projects have been fully funded and others were not even included in the bond bill. In fact, if the state were to pursue all of the projects, taxpayers would have to kick in at least another $4 billion, according to a Globe review.

“The information that is being provided at this stage should be accurate,” said Rafael Mares, a lawyer at the Conservation Law Foundation, “and, unfortunately, it isn’t.”

A Boston 2024 official acknowledged in a statement Monday that there has been “some confusion relative to the transportation improvements we need and where they are in the pipeline.”

Senior vice president Erin Murphy said some projects have been funded, some have not, but “the bottom line is the only transportation improvements that we are looking for are ones that would benefit the city of Boston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with or without the Games.”

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Downtown Quincy project up for a vote Wednesday

New England Real Estate Journal | By Patrick Ronan
February 24, 2015

Downtown QuincyQUINCY – A developer’s plan to construct a pair of six-story buildings holding 169 apartments and new retail space in the heart of Quincy Center is scheduled to be voted on by city officials Wednesday night.

The planning board will meet at 7 p.m. on the second floor of city hall to review several residential projects, including Gate Residential’s plan to redevelop a downtown block that stalled 16 months ago. If approved by the city, Gate Residential, a Boston-based firm, hopes to break ground as soon as next month.

Gate’s $60 million proposal, titled West of Chestnut, includes two six-story apartment buildings with ground-floor retail, a new road and a public courtyard on the block that consists of Chestnut Street, Cottage Avenue and the 1400 block of Hancock Street. The block was supposed to be called Merchants Row, and it was the first part of Street-Works’ failed $1.6 billion downtown redevelopment plan.

With backing from investor Quincy Mutual Fire Insurance, West of Chestnut is the first phase of Gate’s two-phased plan for downtown redevelopment. After West of Chestnut is completed, the developer wants to build East of Chestnut – tentatively slated as a 10-story building with 220 apartments and more retail space – on the other side of Chestnut Street.

The project team, led by Kyle Warwick, principal at Gate Residential, presented its West of Chestnut construction plans to the city council Jan. 21. The developer is requesting permission to use part of the city-owned Hancock Lot to store vehicles and materials throughout construction.

More than 50 union workers attended the January hearing, urging Gate to hire local trade labor for West of Chestnut. Unlike Street-Works’ plan for redevelopment, Gate’s plan doesn’t involve a land-disposition agreement with the city and doesn’t guarantee a certain amount of work to unions.

In October 2013, four months after breaking ground on Merchants Row, Street-Works stopped construction, leaving a gaping excavation hole off Chestnut Street because the New York-based developer could no longer fund the project. Last March, Mayor Thomas Koch cut ties with Street-Works and put the city’s long-awaited and highly touted downtown redevelopment project on hold.

The city is not a partner in the West of Chestnut project, though it needs planning board approval before construction can begin.

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Quincy pot shop would open in December at the earliest

Patriot Ledger | By Patrick Ronan
February 23, 2015

QUINCY – The medical marijuana dispensary planned for West Quincy, originally expected to open last summer, now won’t open until the end of this year – at the earliest.

Donna Rheaume, a spokeswoman for Ermont Inc., the company looking to open a dispensary at 216 Ricciuti Drive, said Friday the dispensary won’t open until at least December.

“It’s a long process,” Rheaume said. “We’re doing our due diligence. We want to make sure our dispensary is a model dispensary.”

In January 2014, Ermont Inc. of Provincetown got preliminary approval from the state to open one of the first 20 dispensaries in the state. Ermont, led by CEO John “Jack” Hudson, initially wanted to renovate the 34,000-square-foot warehouse, located next to the Granite Links Golf Club, in time to open by September 2014.

The process was pushed back last June, however, when the state whittled down its list of approved dispensaries from 20 to 11 after reviewing the applications.

Ermont has since pushed back the targeted opening date several times, from early 2015 to spring, and now to December. This past October, the city’s zoning board of appeals approved Ermont’s proposal for the dispensary.

Rheaume said Ermont still needs the state to approve its architectural plans and to deem the facility grow-ready before it can open. Ermont is still developing its architectural plans and will submit them sometime this spring, Rheaume said.

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