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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.


Samuels Lands Anchor Tenant For Van Ness

Banker & Tradesman | By Steve Adams
February 10, 2016

Boston-based Samuels & Assoc. has landed an anchor tenant for its 237,000-square-foot Van Ness office tower at 1325 Boylston St. in the Fenway.

Digital health care company Optum will relocate 800 employees this spring into 125,000 square feet at the Van Ness, which was completed last year on speculation.

Samuels & Assoc. has been marketing the Van Ness office space to health care and tech tenants looking for lower rents than hot office markets such as Cambridge and the Seaport. Health care risk manager CRICO relocated from 101 Main St. in Cambridge in late 2015 after leasing 45,000 square feet.

The Van Ness is part of a $250 million mixed-use complex that includes 200,000 square feet of retail space and 172 luxury apartments.

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Harvard hopes to build Life Lab in Allston

Plan includes wet biolab and startup space

Boston Herald | By Donna Goodison
February 12, 2016

Harvard University wants to locate a new prefabricated building with wet biolab and co-working space for small, university-related scientific startups on its Harvard Business School campus in Allston.

The 14,750-square-foot Harvard Life Lab would “help seed the campus in Allston with early stage, growing scientific ventures and contribute to building a thriving startup community,” Harvard said in plans filed with the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

The two-level, modular building would be located next to the Harvard Innovation Lab, known as the i-lab, on Western Avenue, the success of which revealed a gap for students who need wet lab space to further develop their ideas, according to the university.

“The program will serve as a test case to generate expertise and market intelligence that can be leveraged as Harvard develops a vision around what it takes to build a successful life science environment,” Harvard’s filing states.

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Big boost for MIT Lincoln Labs in Pentagon budget

Beta Boston | By Hiawatha Bray
February 11, 2016

Lincoln Labs, a highly-regarded research facility on Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, is getting a $265 million makeover.

Founded in 1951 and still run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Lincoln Labs grew out of the school’s World War II development of radar technology. It remains one of the nation’s leading research centers for military technologies.

The money from the US Department of Defense will be used to rebuild and upgrade laboratories and other facilities at the Bedford site, which sits on land leased from the US Air Force. The first $40 million will be invested in design work. Actual construction will begin in fiscal year 2019, at a cost of $225 million. This money will be spent on a semiconductor laboratory for making components to be used for advanced imagers, electronic warfare systems, and advanced sensors such as laser radars.

“It’s been a long time in the works,” said US Democratic Rep. Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts’ Third District. “It’s great to see that the Defense Department sees this as a priority.”

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Developer has big plans for Newtonville block

The Boston Globe | By Ellen Ishkanian
February 12, 2016

newtonvilleNEWTON — A local developer unveiled plans Thursday to raze a tired block of buildings at the corner of Washington and Walnut streets in Newtonville and transform the area into what he says will be a vibrant destination benefiting the entire city.

Robert Korff said his plans are to build a six-story, mixed-use development with stores, offices, a restaurant, and 151 one- and two-bedroom apartments, 26 of which will be set aside as affordable. There would be underground parking for around 190 tenants’ cars, and surface parking for 93 cars.

The development would replace eight buildings that now house several businesses — including Karoun Restaurant, Boston Ballet School, and Newtonville Camera — and approximately 10 second-floor apartments, eight of which Korff said are now occupied.

The proposal must go before the City Council for approval.

Korff outlined his plans at a community meeting at Newton North High School Thursday night before an audience of about 200 residents. In an interview before the meeting, Korff said that while he is passionate about what he sees as a linchpin for development along Washington Street, he also understands there will be opposition.

The proposal comes on the heels of the City Council’s narrow vote in December to approve plans for a 68-unit housing and retail complex on the Austin Street municipal parking lot, just across the Massachusetts Turnpike from Korff’s proposed development.

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South Boston power plant to be sold, redeveloped

The Boston Globe | By Tim Logan
February 10, 2016

south b power plant

The smokestacks that have loomed for decades over South Boston could soon be coming down.

Exelon Corp. has put the old Boston Edison power plant at the corner of Summer and First streets — now known as the New Boston Generating Station — up for sale, probably for re-development.

At least a half-dozen developers have bid on the 18-acre site, according to people familiar with the sale. While reuse plans haven’t been made public, experts say any winning bidder would likely turn the little-used power plant into a mix of housing and commercial space. An Exelon spokesman said they hope to close a deal this year.

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West End tower proposal back before BRA

The Boston Globe | By Tim Logan
February 11, 2016

Three weeks after a marathon public hearing and a rare vote to delay approval of a project, a controversial proposal for a 44-story apartment tower in the West End will go back before the Boston Redevelopment Authority board Thursday evening.

The board is set to vote, again, on Equity Residential’s bid to put a tower on the site of the Garden Garage on Lomasney Way. Last month, members voted to table the plan after hearing about three hours of public testimony on the project, much of it from West End neighbors concerned about the building’s height, density and impact on traffic. Developers have also gathered hundreds of signatures from supporters.

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Mass. has more solar jobs than any other state except Calif.

The Boston Globe | By Jon Chesto
February 10, 2016

Massachusetts ranked second in terms of total solar jobs again, but will the good times last?

It will likely depend on what happens on Beacon Hill.

The Solar Foundation released a report on Wednesday showing that an estimated 15,100 people worked in the state’s solar industry in 2015, up from 9,400 in the previous year. That put Massachusetts in second place behind California in total solar workers, and fifth as measured by solar jobs per capita.

But it’s a bittersweet victory for the state’s solar industry, which finds itself at a crossroads as state lawmakers debate the future of the generous incentives in place for encouraging solar panel installations here.

Just last week, the state Department of Energy Resources informed solar industry insiders that a cap has been hit for what are known as solar energy renewable certificates — credits that are sold by solar panel owners and purchased by utilities to meet the state’s mandatory renewable energy purchase levels.

That’s one of two big incentives that the state offers to encourage the industry’s growth. The other, net metering, is facing its own problems. Net metering allows solar panel owners to be reimbursed for excess energy they send out onto the grid. But there are caps for that as well, at least in terms of how much utilities have to reimburse at the retail rate. The limits were hit last year in National Grid’s territory.

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Wahlburgers looks to open Dorchester location

The Boston Herald | By Donna Goodison
February 11, 2016

wahlThe Wahlberg brothers¬ are looking to raise $10 million from investors to expand their Wahlburgers restaurant chain in Massachusetts and have signed a lease for a location in their hometown of Dorchester.

“Because they’re doing so well, that’s the impetus to raise more capital to expand¬ within Massachusetts — that means … within¬ the I-95 belt and even beyond,” said Lori Mor¬etti, spokes¬woman for the Hingham-¬based company.

Wahlburgers Boston Developer Co. LLC — led by actor and producer Mark, actor and New Kid on the Block Donnie and Paul, a chef — already has raised $1.36 million toward the $10 million goal, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The Wahlberg clan and their burger chain of six restaurants are featured in the A&E TV network’s “Wahlburgers” reality show that starts another season March 9.

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Framingham ZBA close to vote on assisted living facility

Wicked Local Framingham | By Danielle Ameden
February 9, 2016

FRAMINGHAM – The Zoning Board of Appeals tried to reconcile starkly different views Tuesday as it prepared to vote on an assisted living/over-55 housing project.

Neighbors remained on both sides of the fence in regards to Brendon Properties’ and Benchmark Senior Living’s plans for the former Marist property, 518 Pleasant St.

While some support the project, neighbor Annabel Dodd said she doesn’t want a commercial building – and all the traffic that comes with it -among homes. “An assisted living facility doesn’t belong in a residential neighborhood,” Dodd said, urging the board to vote down Brendon Properties’ request for a special permit.

The zoning board, which is focused on the assisted living piece of the project, closed its multi-night public hearing Tuesday and took the special permit request under advisement.

Chairman Phil Ottiviani said the board would prepare a decision of approval with conditions and vote on March 8.

Opponents argued the Framingham area already has enough assisted living facilities and said they’d like to see Brendon Properties build just an over-55, active adult housing community.

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Cambridge developer hopes to transform historical building into boutique hotel

Wicked Local Cambridge | By Natalie Handy
February 9, 2016

cambridge hotel

CAMBRIDGE- By transforming a run-down historical building into a boutique hotel, Patrick Barrett III, owner of PW Realty, hopes to help Central Square grow as an arts and entertainment district and attract tourism. “I want a building that preserves the look and history of this area,” he said. The building, located at 907 Main St., is currently home to Toscanini’s Ice Cream, Cinderella’s Restaurant, and Patty Chen’s Dumpling Room.

In his proposal, Barrett said he would keep the bottom floor retailers the same, but would turn the 12 residential units currently on the upper floors into a boutique hotel.

Barrett purchased the building in 2008, and said he has been doing renovation work ever since. “It was in terrible shape when I bought it, and it’s in quasi-terrible shape now, structurally,” he said.

Keeping its historical framework in mind, Barrett said his goal is to get the building back to a condition that mimics its appearance in 1925. “The project is all about revitalizing a historical structure,” Barrett said. “Central Square is an arts and entertainment district waiting to happen. We need things to come to the area that highlight the good and preserve some of the past, and this building has both.”

According to project architect Mark Boyes-Watson, the hotel will offer spacious rooms around 320 square feet in size. There will be 58 rooms in the hotel, and the overall building will span 26,000 square feet with 5,000 dedicated to retail and 21,000 to the hotel, Boyes-Watson said. Barrett said he wants the hotel rooms to stay in the $250 to $300 per-night price range.

The predominant group that will be using the hotel, based on Barrett’s analysis and word from his consultants, will be tourists. “[Tourists] are not going to pay 600 bucks per night,” he said. “What I really want is for this place to be fun. We have all these places [in Central Square] that can be tied together in a meaningful way and this building does that.”

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Wahlburgers looks to raise new funding to fuel Massachusetts expansion

Boston Business Journal | By Catherine Carlock
February 9, 2016


Boston-based burger chain Wahlburgers has raised $1.36 million in equity funding out of a $10 million goal as it plans to expand across the Bay State.

Seven investors have contributed funding so far, according to a regulatory filing. The filing for Wahlburgers Boston Developer Co. LLC was issued on Feb. 9 and lists local celebrity brothers Paul, Donnie and Mark Wahlberg as directors of the company.

The chain first launched in Hingham in October 2011 and has since opened locations in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood and at the MarketStreet lifestyle retail center in Lynnfield. A location at the Boston Logan International Airport is also in the works.

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Major solar incentive runs out in Mass., surprising many in the industry

The Boston Globe | By Jon Chesto
February 9, 2016

ma soalrThe state’s solar developers face a surprising new challenge now that a generous incentive for the industry has quietly evaporated.

For years, the state has issued what are known as solar renewable energy certificates, credits homeowners and businesses earn and can sell when they generate a certain amount of solar power.

Dynamic Styles

To control costs, the state restricts the amount of solar power that can be financed in this way, and state officials informed the industry on Friday that the cap has been hit. There was essentially a run on these certificates in recent weeks, as solar panel builders rushed to get in line on behalf of their customers as the cap drew near.

Now the question is: What’s next?

“The industry’s on hold, basically,” said John DeVillars, managing principal at Boston solar developer BlueWave Capital. “Until there’s clarity on the next incentive program, very little activity will take place.”

The certificates’ depletion comes amid another, more public expiration in the industry: the fate of net metering. While the certificates can be bought or sold every time a certain amount of solar power is generated, net metering is the practice of selling your excess solar energy back to the grid for credit on your electric bill.

The state has caps for net metering as well, and those limits were reached last year in National Grid’s service area.

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Boston steam plant site to be redeveloped

The Boston Globe | By Tim Logan
February 9, 2016

A prime piece of state-owned land, at the southern entrance to downtown Boston, is going on the market.

Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said Tuesday they are seeking developers for a 5.5-acre site along Kneeland Street near South Station that’s now home to the Veolia North America steam plant and an office building for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

It’s the highest-profile parcel yet to be marketed in a new push by the Baker Administration to put state-owned land into the hands of private developers, to build housing and job-creating activities. The Kneeland Street site, they say, could house 1.5 million to 2 million square feet of new development, which would make it among the biggest projects in Boston’s current building boom.

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Another bank stakes a claim to the Seaport

Boston Business Journal | By Greg Ryan
February 7, 2016

bank seaportBlue Hills Bank is planning to open a branch in the Seaport District this summer, with the goal of attracting the millennials that have largely eluded the institution’s more suburban locales.

The bank (Nasdaq: BHBK) has asked state regulators to allow it to establish an approximately 3,000-square-foot branch at 85 Seaport Boulevard. The office will be located at ground level of the Watermark Seaport, Skanska USA’s 300,000-square-foot luxury-apartment high-rise that started pre-leasing in October.

While the red-hot Seaport is quickly filling with businesses like PricewaterhouseCoopers and Goodwin Procter LLP, few banks have set up branches there, though some are eagerly eyeing the neighborhood. Boston Private and Santander have offices east of the Blue Hills site on Seaport Boulevard, while Leader Bank opened its first Boston branch, with a unique layout, near the Moakley Courthouse on Northern Avenue last summer.

Blue Hills, of course, has sponsored the Blue Hills Bank Pavilion at the eastern edge of the Seaport since 2014, but had no actual banking presence in the neighborhood. It started searching for a Seaport branch site about 18 months ago, President and CEO William Parent said.

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Office building may replace South End garage

The Boston Globe | By Tim Logan
February 5, 2016

garageFirst came the fancy apartment buildings that turned a once-industrial stretch of the South End into one of Boston’s hippest neighborhoods. Then hot restaurants, and a Whole Foods Market.

And now developers are aiming to bring the neighborhood full-circle, proposing an office building that will help to once again make this stretch of the South End a place where people work, if perhaps for a different sort of company.

Burlington-based Nordblom Co. filed plans with the Boston Redevelopment Authority on Friday to put a 216,000-square-foot office building on the site of a two-story garage at 321 Harrison Ave., part of the former headquarters of Teradyne Inc. Along with another permitted but not-yet-built project few blocks away, it would be one of the first office buildings in a flurry of development that has transformed this corner of the South End in recent years.

Nordblom’s site sits across the street from the Ink Block complex, which has brought hundreds of apartments and condos and a Whole Foods supermarket to the neighborhood. Next door, work recently began on a 560-unit apartment building where an electric supply warehouse once stood. Nearby there’s a luxury apartment building, plans to turn an old church into condos, and a bid to put housing on the site of the now-closed Quinzani’s Bakery. New restaurants are moving in, and Ink Block, among other projects, has plans for retail.

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