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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.


Boston’s Hotels Hit The Big Time

Real Estate Investors List City As Fifth Hottest Market Nationwide

Banker & Tradesman | By Scott Van Voorhis
March 29, 2015

Sales of downtown Boston condos are shattering records, while Cambridge is bursting at the seams with new research and lab centers – but it’s Greater Boston’s hotel market that has investors seeing green right now, and for good reason.

Real estate investors list Boston as the fifth hottest hotel market in the country, behind only the usual suspects – New York, Oahu, San Francisco and Miami – a new survey by PwC and the Urban Land Institute finds.

By contrast, Boston’s office market came at No. 11, single-family homes at No. 14, apartment and condos at No. 21 and industrial property at a more distant No. 26.

Sure, the rebounding economy certainly helps, as does the diverse mix of industries, from higher education to high tech. But, ironically, the Boston area’s reputation as a difficult place to build, combined with steadily increasing hotel room rates, is also working to whet the appetites of investors.

“Boston, from an investors’ standpoint, has a couple really potent attractions,” said David McElroy, a senior vice president specializing in the sale of hotels at CBRE/New England brokerage group. “It is considered a very high barrier to entry market.”

Boston’s climb to No. 5 is all the more amazing given the size of the market – it is one of the smallest in terms of total hotel rooms of the nation’s big cities – as well as the depths to which it fell after the Great Recession. With 53,000 hotel rooms, the Boston area is by far the smallest hotel market of the nation’s top five.

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Genzyme moving to new Kendall Square headquarters in 2018

The Boston Globe | By Robert Weisman
March 27, 2015

500 Kendall SquareIt’s the Kendall Square version of trading up.

Genzyme confirmed Friday that it will move out of the company’s Cambridge headquarters at 500 Kendall Square — known as the “Genzyme Center” — when its lease expires in three years. About 950 employees will move from the signature building that is one of the best-known landmarks in the city’s life sciences cluster to a new headquarters to be constructed nearby at 50 Binney St.

The biotech company signed a lease this week with Alexandria Real Estate Equities, which will develop the 10-story, 251,000-square-foot Binney Street property in the greater Kendall Square area. The lot is now a construction site, literally a hole in the ground, along a row of recently opened buildings housing biopharmaceutical offices and labs and other buildings under construction.

“If you go up Binney now, it’s becoming the biotech Champs-Elysees,” said Genzyme vice president Bo Piela.

Piela said Genzyme, best known for its therapies to treat rare genetic disorders, is looking to the new Genzyme Center to hold more employees. While the new headquarters will be smaller than the 12-story Kendall Street structure, the current building’s architecturally renowned 70,000-square-foot atrium makes it less efficient, Piela said.

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Related Beal Unveils Redevelopment Plan For Financial District Block

Banker & Tradesman | By Steve Adams
March 27, 2015

Financial DistrictDeveloper Related Beal unveiled detailed plans this week to redevelop a block of century-old office buildings in Boston’s Financial District into a hotel, condos, retail shops, restaurants and modern workspaces.

Beal acquired the six-building portfolio in late 2013 for $87 million and hired Boston-based architects Arrowstreet to draw up plans for the one-acre property bounded by State, Congress and Devonshire streets.

Related Beal wants to build a 13-story addition to 54 Devonshire St., a five-story addition on 15 Congress St. and three additional stories on 40 Water St. The project would expand the existing 330,000 square feet of office space on the site into a 458,300-square-foot mixed-use development.

Long-time tenant Fidelity Investments is moving out of the buildings, which were built between 1899 and 1921. The portfolio is being renamed Congress Square.

Three buildings – 40 Water St., 82 Devonshire and 33-35 Congress St. – would be renovated as 284,600 square feet of tech office space with a single core, according to the project description submitted this week to the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

A 113-room hotel would be built at 68 Devonshire St. with an addition at 54 Devonshire St., which is currently vacant.

15 and 19 Congress St. would be converted into 35 residential condos.

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Institute dedicated to U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy opens Tuesday

The $79 million Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston will be dedicated at a politically star-studded event today. It opens to the public Tuesday.

Patriot Ledger | By Bob Salsberg
March 30, 2015

Edward M. Kennedy InstituteBOSTON – Before his death from brain cancer in 2009, close family members said U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy insisted a building that would one day bear his name be less about his own legacy and more about the institution he loved and toiled in for more than half his life. “He never envisioned this place as being about one man,” said Victoria Reggie Kennedy, his widow and president of the board of directors of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. “He saw it as being about the nearly 2,000 men and women who have served in the United States Senate and about the future senators who will be walking through those doors.”

Today, the $79 million facility that sits adjacent to the presidential library of his brother, John F. Kennedy, was scheduled to be dedicated at a politically star-studded event attended by President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and a host of current and former senators of both parties. It opens to the public Tuesday.

Kennedy, the Democratic “liberal lion” of the Senate, began to conceptualize the institute long before he became ill, with its centerpiece being a full-scale replica of the chamber where visitors can role-play as senators weighing the pressing issues of the day, family members said in recent interviews.

“It’s a living legacy. It’s not an inert building with his name on it,” said Kennedy’s younger son, former Rhode Island congressman Patrick Kennedy.

At one time, said Connecticut state Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr., his father had planned to devote his time to the institute and even serve as its first director upon retiring from the Senate. He did not live to see construction begin.

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Autodesk headed to Boston

Software firm leaves Waltham for Seaport

Boston Herald | By Jordan Graham
March 30, 2015

AutodeskSilicon Valley software design giant Autodesk is moving into Boston, and will open up its new Seaport District office to startups and researchers, focused on the construction industry’s innovation needs.

“The Seaport area for us is a perfect location because of the creative activity that’s going on right now,” said Autodesk spokesman Paul Sullivan. “We really wanted to be in the heart of the academic community.”

Autodesk and Mayor Martin J. Walsh will formally announce the move today.

“We’re going to make sure we signal this is really important to the city,” said John Barros, chief of economic development for Boston. “We want to try to bring (companies) back into the city and (Autodesk) symbolizes an important company coming in and saying to other companies, ‘You should come to Boston.’ ”

Barros said a company such as Autodesk represents the kind of business the city is hoping to attract and retain.

“This is the kind of company we want, these are the kind of jobs we want. This is perfect,” Barros said. “This is a company that’s at the nexus of Boston’s innovation economy and manufacturing, this is advanced manufacturing, this is exactly where we think the sweet spot is.”

Autodesk, which makes design software, will move about 175 jobs to the new office at 23 Drydock Ave. from its current office in Waltham. The new office will span 70,000 square feet across three floors at the Boston Design Center, with an option to expand an additional 50,000 square feet.

Autodesk plans to move in later this year.

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This time around, Quincy Center project starting quietly

Patriot Ledger | By Patrick Ronan
March 30, 2015

QUINCY – About to start a $60 million mixed-use project in Quincy Center, Boston-based Gate Residential is taking a quieter approach than the developer who tried to revitalize the same block two years ago.

There won’t be any speeches from elected officials. There won’t be any banners. And there won’t be any commemorative shovels.

Unlike in June 2013, when developer Street-Works launched its project that lasted only four months before it stalled, there won’t be a groundbreaking ceremony this week as Gate Residential begins construction of West of Chestnut. The plan is to erect two six-story buildings holding 169 apartments and ground-floor retail space.

The project is being backed by local investor Quincy Mutual Fire Insurance, which dumped $23 million into Street-Works’ failed project, called Merchants Row. This time around, project leaders are employing a more no-nonsense approach. “It isn’t going to be what the prior project was,” Ernie Corrigan, a spokesman for Quincy Mutual, said. On March 16, the project team pulled its first building permit for the project that will cover a $4.7 million phase involving site work and laying building foundations.

Corrigan said the first part of the project will focus on the proposed apartment building facing Hancock Street, which requires the demolition of the existing building at 1446 Hancock St.

The other apartment building is slated for the corner of Cottage Avenue and Chestnut Street. Corrigan said the wood-framed buildings won’t start going up until later this year, and the hope is to start occupying apartments in December 2016. “This is the opening round of downtown development, and we want to make sure this gets done on time and on budget,” Corrigan said. Getting the project done on budget, Corrigan says, will involve less participation from local trade-labor unions, which had been guaranteed a bulk of the work under Street-Works.

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Morton-Gallivan fixes outlined by MassDOT

Dorchester Reporter
March 26, 2015

MassDOT expects construction to begin next year on a redesign of the intersection at Gallivan Blvd. and Morton Street. The plan calls for dedicated turn lanes and new crosswalks among other enhanced safety features.

An updated and upgraded intersection at Morton Street and Gallivan Boulevard is just around the bend. Last week, MassDOT rolled out details of proposed improvements that would bring in traffic lights, signalized crosswalks, bike lanes, and landscaping to the notoriously difficult to navigate crossroads.

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Braintree Planning Board recommends zoning change for Elks Lodge property

Wicked Local Braintree | By Robert Aicardi
March 26, 2015

BRAINTREE Riverwalk Development LLC, the new owner of the Braintree Lodge of Elks property on 205 Elm St. that would like to turn it into high-end condominiums and townhouses, is a step closer to its goal of changing the zoning of this land from Residential B to Residential C, but the town council will have the final say.

Planning board members unanimously voted March 24 to recommend this proposed rezoning to councilors, who agreed Feb. 24 to refer it to their committee on ordinances and rules for review. “If rezoned, the property would not only be more compatible with the adjacent and directly abutting lots (zoned as Residential C), but it would also give the purchasers of the property the opportunity to improve the land,”

Quincy attorney Thomas Cavanagh wrote in a Feb. 6 letter to council President Thomas Bowes of District 3. The lodge sold the 1.7 acres of land just over the bridge from Braintree Square at the end of February to purchasers who “intend on preserving and improving the existing structure while also building additional structures,” Cavanagh declared. According to Cavanagh, the overall integrity of the surrounding area would not be disrupted should the zoning change be allowed. “In fact, we would suggest that any and all multifamily developments which would be proposed would be something that would add immediate curb appeal to the area while also maintaining the history of the existing structure,” he wrote.

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Cedar Grove to hear plans for eatery

Dorchester Reporter | By Bill Forry
March 26, 2015

A prominent but long-vacant Adams Corner property could soon be converted into a bustling family-style restaurant and pub under a plan that will be considered at an upcoming civic meeting. The Cedar Grove Civic Association will listen to a proposal from Julian Bolger at the group’s April 14 meeting at St. Brendan’s Father Lane Hall.

Bolger and a partner plan to lease the former Hollywood Video space from landlord Tom Naughton, according to sources familiar with the plan. Bolger owns and manages several Boston-area eateries, including Allston’s Tavern in the Square, South Boston’s The Playwright, and Cityside in Cleveland Circle.

According to Cedar Grove Civic president Sean Weir, the restaurant would be called Sam Maverick’s— a reference to a 17-year-old Boston boy killed in the 1770 Boston Massacre.

In a statement posted on the civic group’s website, Weir added: “The owners are very interested in the space and would serve lunch/dinner, brunch on the weekends, and want a family friendly dining experience. Hours are TBD, a possible outside patio (location on property TBD). Many things will be up for discussion.”

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Office, retail complex OK’d in Salem

Retail, office complex planned for long vacant site

Eagle-Tribune | Doug Ireland
March 26, 2015

Coca-cola PlantSALEM — After battling with town boards for years, a developer has been granted approval to convert the former Coca-Cola plant on South Broadway into a retail and office complex.

The Planning Board voted unanimously Tuesday to allow property owner Joseph Scott of Metscott 21 LLC to redevelop the 94-year-old brick building at 19-23 S. Broadway.

It was once home to one of the nation’s first Coca-Cola plants, closing more than a decade ago.

Scott’s past proposals received intense scrutiny from town land-use boards, with some board members concerned the property’s historical integrity would be destroyed.

Shopping plazas and a waste-to-energy plant have been proposed, but never built.

The latest plan calls for 30,000 square feet of retail space, 18,000 square feet of office space and 18,000 square feet of warehouse space.

Board members and town planning director Ross Moldoff praised the proposal. They said the project would be a significant upgrade over past proposals and an aging bottling plant that had fallen into disrepair.

“Obviously, it’s a big improvement over what was there previously,” Moldoff said.

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Wells Ave. developer offers Newton a deal

Wicked Local Newton | By Jim Morrison
March 24, 2015

NEWTON A developer has offered the city more than a million reasons to drop litigation. Cabot, Cabot and Forbes (CCF) — the developer whose permit to build a four-story, mixed-use, 334-unit rental apartment complex at 135 Wells Ave. was denied by the Board of Aldermen, then supported by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) — offered the city a deal last week.

Meanwhile, the DHCD decision is currently being appealed by the city before the state Housing Appeals Committee (HAC). The CCF offer includes $1 million to redesign and rebuild the intersection of Wells Avenue and Nahanton Street, $1 million for the Board of Aldermen to spend on affordable housing in Newton at its discretion, participation in new Wells Avenue commercial development to include $750,000 for infrastructure and traffic improvements, the operation of a shuttle service for the development, and other, smaller payments to the city.

Jay Doherty, CEO of CCF, said there is no expiration date on the offer. Doherty said he is confident he would prevail against the city in HAC, but hopes the settlement offer will encourage the city to drop its appeal and save both parties the time and expense of additional litigation. Doherty said he felt strongly his firm would win, right up through Superior Court, if it comes to that. “That’s not what we’re about,” Doherty said. “I don’t usually work like this. We’re looking for someone to partner with in the city.”

The Board of Aldermen placed a deed restriction prohibiting residential development on the Wells Avenue office park when it was created in the mid-1950s.

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Company penalized for violations during Whittier Bridge reconstruction in Amesbury

Wicked Local Newburyport
March 19, 2015

AMESBURY The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has penalized an Illinois-based firm, Walsh Construction, $32,500 for wetlands and water-quality violations found during the reconstruction of the Whittier Bridge in Amesbury.

MassDEP inspected the site in August 2014 and found that Walsh employees had filled salt marsh and bordering vegetated wetlands (BVW) without authorization.?”Walsh Construction violated the regulations by exercising lax oversight of its staff during this reconstruction project which, unfortunately, resulted in additional wetland resource areas being impacted,” said Eric Worrall, director of MassDEP’s Northeast Regional Office in Wilmington. “Walsh compounded the problem by failing to notify either the local conservation commission or its agent of these violations.”?

The company, which has a local office in Canton, was selected and retained as contractor for the project by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT).

Approvals for the project were obtained from the local conservation commission in March and May of 2012 by MassDOT.?

As a result of the violations, Walsh was immediately ordered to remove 194 cubic yards of dredge material from the resource areas. Subsequently, MassDEP determined Walsh had filled and altered approximately 1,800 square feet of BVW and approximately 525 square feet of salt marsh without a permit.?

Walsh will pay $15,500 of the penalty within 30 days and submit a restoration plan for the impacted resource areas for approval, according to MassDEP.

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Brookline Selectmen oppose Crowninshield proposal

Wicked Local Brookline | By Ignacio Laguarda
March 25, 2015

21 Crowninshield RoadBROOKLINE The Brookline Board of Selectmen added its disapproval to the list of voices against the proposed development of 21 Crowninshield Road, where a developer is hoping to demolish a home and build a 20-unit residential housing complex.

The developer filed for a 40B project with MassHousing, a state subsidizing agency that rules on whether or not 40B projects are suitable for development. The town has until the end of the month to respond to MassHousing, and the Selectmen approved a letter to the agency at their latest meeting on Tuesday, March 24.

The owner of the Crowninshield Road house is Town Meeting member and local developer Robert Basile.

His proposal is to demolish the 100-year-old arts-and-crafts-style home and build a four-story building with 20 units and an 18-car parking lot. Five of the 20 units would be deemed affordable under the proposal.

The Chapter 40B law allows for a developer to bypass zoning in a neighborhood if at least 20 to 25 percent of the units are considered affordable, and if the town or city where the development is located has a housing inventory which is less than 10 percent affordable.

Earlier this month, the Brookline Preservation Commission voted to support an effort to turn the area where the development is sited into a local historic district. The commission submitted a warrant article for the spring Town Meeting to turn the district, which includes Crowninshield Road; Elba, Adams and Copley streets; and a section of Pleasant Street, into the eighth local historic district in town.

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Hotel bid process seen as ripe for collusion

Boston Herald | By Richard Weir
March 27, 2015

BCEC2Massport is allowing development groups seeking to build an $800 million Seaport District hotel to team up with the same hotel partners, creating an unusual situation that critics say could be exploited and lead to collusion if a hotel chain was to share one bidder’s sensitive financial information with its competitor.

“If a bidder is clued in on another’s bid, the integrity of the process could be compromised and the public may wind up with a raw deal,” said Mary Z. Connaughton, director of government transparency for the Pioneer Institute. “I would hope there would be some type of firewall. The hotels themselves would be privy to two different bids and each one will be asking for some form of public subsidy … They need tight controls to make sure collusion does not exist.”

According to Massport, it has received six bids from developers to build the new headquarters hotel on two Massport-owned parcels at Summer and D streets as part of the planned $1 billion expansion of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

One development group, Boston-based Fallon Co. and Capstone Development of Washington, D.C., has submitted three separate bids, each with a different hotel brand: Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels and Marriott International.

Another development team, Boston-based Accordia Partners and RIDA Development of Houston, has submitted two bids, one with Hilton Worldwide and another with Marriott International.

A third group, New Boston Hospitality, has teamed up with only one hotel partner, Omni.

Massport spokesman Matthew Brelis defended its request-for-proposals process, saying it will spur more bids and greater options for the authority.

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Breaking News: Property manager announces Foodies Market to come to Belmont

Wicked Local Belmont | March 23, 2015

BELMONT Locatelli Properties announced Foodie’s Markets will open a 15,000 square foot grocery in a prime location in Belmont Center. The independent, family run grocery store will be the first anchor tenant for the building that was previously home to Macy’s, according to a press release.

Locatelli Properties continues to market the building at 75 Leonard St. to potential tenants, with the goal of attracting two to three additional “anchor” tenants and several additional medium and smaller tenants to the renovated building, according to a press release. “Our goal is to bring an exciting mix of retailers and restaurants to Belmont Center,” said Kevin Foley, manager of Locatelli Properties, in a written statement. “The building is known for its architectural details, and we look forward to attracting tenants that will complement the quality of the town center.”

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