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 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.


Historic Rehabilitation Completed At Boston Apartment Complex

Banker & Tradesman | By Steve Adams
November 20, 2014

WiSe Urban Development and Nuestra Comunidad Development Corp. have completed the historic rehabilitation of Washington Park, an eight-building, 96-unit apartment community in Dorchester and Roxbury.

The 130,000-square-foot rental community on Columbus and Wyoming streets received historic tax credits from the state to help fund the renovations. The complex, which contains 86 affordable units, is owned through a joint venture of Nuestra and Darryl Settles, president of WiSe Urban Development.

The work consisted of in-place rehabilitation of the properties, including renovations of kitchens, bathrooms and living areas and high-efficiency upgrades to HVAC systems. Every unit received new lighting and Energy Star appliances, and all of the buildings’ mechanical and electrical systems were upgraded.

The project employed 390 minority and 50 female workers, comprising 69 percent of the total worker hours. Minority- and women-owned businesses accounted for $7.6 million, or over 65 percent of the total construction costs.

Read more.

TD Garden unveils $4.5 million upgrade of ProShop

The Boston Globe | By Nina Joy Godlewski
November 20, 2014

TD Garden Pro ShopTD Garden and team executives cut the ribbon Thursday on the next phase of their $70 million renovation of the 20-year-old arena, a $4.5 million upgrade of the ProShop.

“It’s an exciting day for us today,” said Boston Bruins Principal Charlie Jacobs. “I couldn’t be more happy with the outcome.”

The new ProShop, at 6,000 square feet, is more than double the size of old one, and was moved from a dead-end corner of the first floor to the second level, overlooking North Station.

The shop is the eighth arena pro shop to be “powered by Reebok,” featuring gear manufactured by Reebok and its sister brand, Adidas, which are both owned by the Adidas Group. Reebok is the official outfitter of the NHL, while Adidas outfits all NBA teams.

Read more.

Sullivan Courthouse Fight: All This for 24 Apartments?

Curbed Boston | By Tom Acitelli
November 20, 2014

Sullivan CourthouseThe fight over redeveloping the old Sullivan Courthouse at 40 Thorndike Street in East Cambridge has been grinding since late 2012, when developer Leggat McCall won a state O.K. to convert the 22-story tower to office and retail space, including a health club and a small grocery store.

Community opposition to the all-commercial plan soon, however, drove the developer to add 24 apartments. Then community opposition led the developer to agree to chop two floors from its plans. It appeared things might be moving forward following those concessions. Now! Members of that same community have sued the developer, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Cambridge Planning Board to stop the significantly tweaked project cold.

The lawsuit in Mass. Land Court was brought by four property owners who abut the courthouse site. They claim, among other things, that the redevelopment would “impair the integrity of the district and the adjoining district” and “cause substantial detriment.”

Read more.

Finally, the Mass. job market looks strong

The Boston Globe | By Evan Horowitz
November 20, 2014

ConstructionThe state’s unemployment rate has been falling for months now, but each time there were caveats. Wages were flat, people were stuck in part-time work, too many workers were getting discouraged and giving up the search.

Finally, though, there seems to be some real, unvarnished good news for the Massachusetts economy. It’s not today’s jobs numbers, although they’re perfectly fine. More striking is a new analysis showing that 25-54 year olds in Massachusetts are getting back to work. They’re rejoining the labor market and finding jobs more readily than anywhere else in the northeast.

The new numbers comes from the Economic Policy Institute. And what they measure is simply how many 25-54 year olds have jobs (the virtue of focusing on 25-54 year olds is that you don’t have to worry about the effects of our aging population or retiring baby boomers.)

Before the recession, about 81 percent of 25- 54-year-olds in Massachusetts had jobs. As the economy shrank, that fell to 77.4, but in the last year it has surged back to 80.6, erasing practically all of the recession-induced losses.

This resurgence is as remarkable as it is rare. Across the US, the employment rate for 25-54 year olds is still far below the pre-recession level.

In fact, Massachusetts isn’t just outperforming the US as a whole, it’s doing far better than every other state in the northeast.

Read more.

Wynn Resorts Probed on Money-Laundering Controls

Clients, Safeguards Are Focus of Several U.S. Agencies

The Wall Street Journal | By Kate O’Keefe, Rachel Louise Ensign, and Christopher M. Matthews
November 20, 2014

Wynn Casino 3Federal authorities are investigating whether casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd. violated money-laundering laws, according to people familiar with the matter.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan and Las Vegas U.S. Attorney’s offices and investigators from the Internal Revenue Service and Drug Enforcement Administration are coordinating their efforts to look into the Las Vegas-based company, people familiar with the matter said.

The criminal probe comes as U.S. authorities step up their scrutiny of casinos’ efforts to prevent money laundering. Regulators have long been concerned about vulnerabilities at casinos, which are complex financial institutions that conduct a large amount of cross-border and cash transactions. Wynn, which is run by casino entrepreneur Steve Wynn , is the third major Las Vegas casino company in recent years known to be investigated for possible violations of money-laundering laws.

“We are not aware of any criminal investigation of the company whatsoever and we have serious doubts that any such investigation is taking place,” said Michael Weaver, Wynn’s senior vice president of marketing. “No agency has notified the company that it is under any investigation.”

The company hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing.

A letter sent to Donald Campbell, Wynn’s outside lawyer, by the IRS criminal investigation division in August requested information on Wynn’s U.S. and foreign clients, its domestic and overseas marketing offices, and its internal controls.

Mr. Campbell didn’t respond to requests seeking comment.

Read more.

State will review Wynn allegations

Boston Herald | By By Chris Cassidy
November 12, 2014

Sad WynnThe state Gaming Commission will review new bombshell allegations that federal authorities are investigating whether Wynn Resorts violated money-laundering laws, according to a commission spokeswoman.

The Wall Street Journal, citing “people familiar with the matter,” reported yesterday that prosecutors from the Manhattan and Las Vegas U.S. Attorney’s offices and IRS and DEA investigators are jointly probing the company’s handling of sports betting involving “high-roller gamblers,” as well as whether VIP customers laundered drug money through Wynn casinos.

“We are aware of the news reports and at this point, our Investigations and Enforcement Bureau has the information and will review it,” Elaine Driscoll, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, told the Herald last night. “They’ll make whatever inquiries they deem appropriate at this point.”

Neither the company nor owner Steve Wynn has been accused of wrongdoing, according to the report. The paper cited an IRS letter it says was sent to a Wynn attorney demanding personal information on its biggest customers from 2011 to 2013; a list of the top 100 customers in North America and the top 50 on three other continents, and information on company-imposed safeguards preventing money laundering.

Wynn spokesman Michael Weaver dismissed the report when contacted by the Herald last night.

“We are not aware of any investigation of the company and no agency has notified the company that it is under any investigation,” Weaver said in a statement. “The fact that information is requested from us by a governmental agency in no way implies the accusation of any wrongdoing by the company.”

Read more.

2015 CRE Outlook: Record Rents, Spec Office Construction

Banker & Tradesman | By Steve Adams
November 19, 2014

NAJOPSpeculative office construction will break out in Greater Boston in 2015 and office rents in Cambridge could set all-time highs in the next two years, industry executives predict.

Demand from expanding tech companies and single-digit vacancy rates continue to be the story of the Cambridge market, with Kendall Square remaining the epicenter of the tech cluster, but renewed investment and leasing activity for office and lab space in Alewife.

“Companies are saying, ‘We need to be here and we’ll pay what it takes to be near MIT,” said Mark Winters, an executive director at Cushman & Wakefield.

Winters spoke at commercial real estate group NAIOP Massachusetts’ annual market forecast Wednesday. Banker & Tradesman was the media sponsor of the event, held at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel.

In Kendall Square, rents have caught up to previous highs in the $72-per-square-foot range set in 2001 and 2007, and could hit the mid-$90s within two years, Winters predicted. More upward pressure on rents is expected with tech leaders Google and Amazon looking to expand within the market.

In downtown Boston, the office market continues to recover from the 2008 downturn because of an expanding tech sector and relocations of companies from Cambridge and the suburbs. Recent acquisitions of trophy office towers in Boston and Cambridge reflect the continuing interest of foreign investors seeking higher yields than government bonds, panelists said. In 2015, office investment sales are expected to slow, but overseas investors will continue to put money to work in Greater Boston, said Jessica Hughes, a managing director for JLL.

Read more.

‘We’re not for sale’ – Powerful interests circle site on Southie line

Dorchester Reporter | By Lauren Dezenski and Bill Forry
November 19, 2014

Widett CircleThe 16-acre New Boston Food Market on the South Boston-Dorchester line, a vital cog in Boston’s food supply chain, is once again in the crosshairs of powerful redevelopment forces, despite the fact that its current occupants insist that their properties are not for sale.

Already furiously engaged in fighting against a proposal to site a $10 million trash transfer facility, merchants in Widett Circle and neighboring Newmarket are now facing an even more daunting and potentially existential threat in the form of dueling proposals to build massive sports stadiums on or near their land. Proponents of a bid to lure the 2024 Olympic Games to Boston have pitched the idea of reclaiming parts of Widett Circle for the site of a new Olympic Stadium.

This week, a report in the Boston Globe brought a new wrinkle: A plan from the formidable owner of the New England Patriots, Bob Kraft, to build a 28,000 seat soccer stadium for his Revolution team on city-owned land immediately adjacent to Widett Circle.

Read more.

City of Revere hosting summit to update stakeholders, elected officials on huge waterfront project

Boston Business Journal
November 19, 2014

The city of Revere is hosting a big event Friday where developers behind a $500 million, 1.3 million square foot project along Revere Beach are scheduled to present their first big public update on the project.

The event is called “A City on the Rise.” The project Eurovest Development is building is Waterfront Square — a series of buildings including hundreds of residential units, hotel rooms, retail space, 165,000 square feet of office space and extensive parks on the Revere waterfront.

Joe DiGangi, founder and managing director of Eurovest, said in an email interview that the project is off and running and the developers have “momentum.”

“We haven’t had any surprises,” he said. “The market has finally caught up with the vision we have had all along. You can’t find any property with this type of access to transit and on the beach anywhere on the East Coast.”

“We are the most important corridor from Quincy’s Marina Bay to Salem’s Pickering Wharf,” DiGangi added. “Waterfront Square will transform this corridor because there is nothing else between the two.”

Read more.

Zipcar founder Robin Chase named to MassDOT board

Boston Business Journal | David Harris
November 19, 2014

Robin ChaseGov. Deval Patrick said Wednesday that he appointed Robin Chase, the founder of Boston-based ride-sharing company Zipcar, to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation board of directors.

Chase is founder and former CEO of Zipcar, which was acquired by Avis for $500 million last year.

Chase also founded French car-sharing marketplace Buzzcar; and online ride-sharing community GoLoco. Chase currently serves as the executive chairman of Veniam Works, a California company that turns vehicles into Wi-Fi networks.

Read more.

Gov. Looking Forward To Offshore Wind Power Auction

Banker & Tradesman
November 19, 2014

Reflecting on his administration’s economic and criminal justice initiatives over the past eight years, Gov. Deval Patrick cast his gaze Tuesday toward his remaining weeks in office when he said there would be a substantial auction for offshore wind power developers.

Speaking in a one-on-one discussion with public relations executive Helene Solomon, Patrick said that in December the federal government would auction off a large tract south of Martha’s Vineyard that he said had the potential to power 60 percent of the state’s households.

In June, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Acting Director Walter Cruickshank and Patrick announced that more than 742,000 acres offshore Massachusetts would be available for commercial wind energy leasing.

According to the federal government, the proposed area is “the largest in federal waters and will nearly double the federal offshore acreage available for commercial-scale wind energy projects.”

In written testimony, state Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett has recommended that the federal board reduce its minimum bid of $2 per acre for each lease area to $1 “because of the relatively large size of these lease areas” and the depth – 50 feet – of the waters in many areas, which she said could cause development to lag behind areas with shallower waters. Bartlett also recommended reducing rent and operating fees to increase the likelihood of development.

“The scale of development will help mitigate the impact of climate change, improve the air our citizens breathe, and create thousands of jobs not just in the commonwealth, but all along the East Coast,” Bartlett wrote in an Aug. 18 letter to Cruikshank.

Read more.

Wayne At Columbia Redevelops Affordable Housing Units With MassDevelopment Bond

Banker & Tradesman
November 18, 2014

MassDevelopment has issued a $20 million tax-exempt bond on behalf of Wayne at Columbia LLC to purchase and renovate seven buildings containing 83 affordable housing units in Boston’s Dorchester and Mattapan neighborhoods.

Renovations for Wayne at Columbia will include new kitchens, bathrooms, heating systems as well as asbestos and lead abatement and installation of a sprinkler system. All 83 units will be rented to households earning no more than 60 percent of the area median income.

In addition to the tax-exempt bond financing, MassDevelopment assisted the Department of Housing and Community Development with the approval of federal low income housing tax credits, which will generate approximately $9.3 million in equity.

Read more.

Quincy officials see new project jumpstarting downtown redevelopment

Boston Business Journal | By Eric Convey
November 18, 2014

West of ChestnutQuincy leaders who watched in frustration as a massive downtown redevelopment plan unraveled earlier this year before major construction could begin unveiled a more-modest but also well-financed plan Nov. 18.

The first component of the work will be a $100 million retail and 400-unit apartment project financed by Quincy Mutual Fire Insurance and Gate Residential Properties. Groundbreaking on a 169-unit apartment building is planned for early 2015 with construction complete in 2016. The six-story building is set to have 12,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.

A 220-unit second building, also with retail space, is set to follow.

“Quincy Mutual’s commitment to the city and its persistence in seeing this vision through to reality is nothing short of extraordinary,”

Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch said in a prepared statement. “This plan confirms what we’ve known for some time — that Quincy Center’s potential is ready to be captured. The joint venture between Quincy Mutual and Gate Residential brings together two companies with tremendous expertise and who are committed to getting this project completed.”

“Quincy is our hometown,” Quincy Mutual President and CEO K. Douglas Briggs said in a prepared statement. “More than half of our employees are residents of Quincy and adjacent communities, so what happens here has always been important to our company and the community. We are now partnered for West of Chestnut with a developer in which we have great confidence.”

Read more.

Boston’s First Wind acquired for $2.4 billion

The Boston Globe | By Jack  Newsham
November 18, 2014

First WindFirst Wind, a rapidly growing Boston-based wind power company, has been purchased by the solar energy companies SunEdison, Inc. and TerraForm Power, Inc. for $2.4 billion.

SunEdison, whose headquarters are in Maryland Heights, Mo., will pay $1.5 billion for First Wind’s projects in various stages of development, which it estimates will result in 8.7 gigawatts of power generation capacity.

Maryland-based TerraForm, a separate holding company that was spun off from SunEdison, will pay $862 million for 521 megawatts of First Wind’s already-built generation capacity.

The acquision represents a move into wind energy for TerraForm and SunEdison, which originally manufactured semiconductors and moved into solar power generation. Both companies’ stocks rose more than 20 percent on the news. The deal, announced late Monday, is expected to close in early 2015.

Read more.

PBGC Says Multiemployer-Pension Aid Program Faces Record Deficit

Electrical News-Record | By Tom Ichniowski
November 11, 2014

The federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. has warned that its program to help financially troubled multiemployer plans has weakened dramatically.

Multiemployer plans are important in unionized construction, covering nearly four million workers and retirees.

In its latest annual report, released on Nov. 17, PBGC said that its multiemployer program deficit had widened to a record $42.4 billion in fiscal year 2014, which ended on Sept. 30, from $8.3 billion in 2013.

The main reason for the bigger deficit is that more multiemployer plans are expected to become insolvent over the next 10 years, said PBGC Acting Director Alice C. Maroni.

The report’s release comes just weeks before provisions of the 2006 Pension Protection Act lapse. Sections of the law that would help multiemployer plans newly categorized as “severely distressed” expire for plan years starting Dec. 31.

Maroni said in the report, “Plans covering over one million participants are substantially underfunded and without legislative changes, many of these plans are likely to fail.”

The multiemployer program is responsible for 10.3 million workers and retirees in about 1,400 plans, in construction, trucking and other industries.

Read more.