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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 38 year member of Local 103, Dumas is a seasoned and experienced leader. Along with serving as 103’s business manager for the past 2 years and its president for 18 years prior to that, Dumas has 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.

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Sweetheart Deal As Developers Buy NECCO’s Revere Headquarters

Banker & Tradesman | By Steve Adams
April 27, 2017

Framingham-based developer Atlantic Management has acquired New England Confectionary Co.’s 50-acre headquarters in Revere, the candy manufacturer’s home since 2003, for $54.6 million.

The acquisition is a joint venture with Boston-based VMD Cos., said Joseph Zink, CEO of Atlantic Management. The partners sought to acquire the property because of its size and proximity to Boston, Zink said, and plan to meet with Revere officials to discuss future plans.

“We just thought it was a good long-term investment,” Zink said. “We’ve had conversations (with NECCO) for a while.”

NECCO, manufacturer of candy lines including its namesake wafers, Sweethearts and Clark bars, relocated from Cambridge to the 800,000-square-foot facility on American Legion Highway in 2003. NECCO executives did not immediately return messages. NECCO has signed a lease for the Revere property that expires on Aug. 31, 2018, according to a filing at the Suffolk County Registry of Deeds.

The three parcels at 101-135 American Legion Highway are on the edge of an emerging transit-driven development cluster. Two apartment complexes containing 424 units have been built in the first phase of a 1.4-million-square-foot mixed-use development called Waterfront Square on former MBTA parking lots next to the MBTA’s Wonderland station.

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Why is GE naming its Boston headquarters ‘Innovation Point’?

Boston Business Journal | By Catherine Carlock
April 27, 2017

Earlier this week, multinational conglomerate General Electric Co. sent out an invitation to the groundbreaking ceremony for its $200 million Boston headquarters campus. The name of that campus?
“GE Innovation Point.”

GE (NYSE: GE) officially became a Boston-based company last August and is working out of temporary space on Farnsworth Street. That office, and GE’s 2.5-acre future site along the Fort Point Channel, are located fully within the Fort Point neighborhood.

Yet GE, when announcing its headquarters move to Boston last January, specified that it was moving to the Seaport District. (Just to make things a tad more confusing, the Seaport is often referred to as the Innovation District.)

That the Fort Point neighborhood is separate from, yet at the same time enmeshed in, the Seaport District (aka the “Innovation District,” aka the “South Boston Waterfront”), is a separate conversation. But the question remained: did GE name its campus “GE Innovation Point” in an effort to combine the Innovation District and Fort Point names into one? I called up Jeff Caywood, a GE spokesperson, to ask.

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Apartments proposed for Dorchester block

Boston Herald | By Donna Goodison
April 28, 2017

A new market-rate housing development with ground-floor retail would take the place of an “unsightly” one-story commercial building with several storefronts in Dorchester’s Uphams Corner, according to plans filed with the city.

Developer Valdomiro Pina, in partnership with builder Vargas Dasilveira, wants to construct a five-story, 20-apartment building with three retail spaces at 734 Dudley St. and 4 Wendover St.

The estimated $5 million project would combine three parcels that include some residential space into one lot.

The block-long development would bring more residential foot traffic to the neighborhood, according to the developers.

“The proposed project will completely revitalize this section of Dudley Street and will bring necessary residential housing to an underutilized corridor,” the project filing states. “The site is attractive due to its proximity to public transportation and all of the many shops and restaurants along Dudley Street and Columbia Road.”

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Serafina taps into Back Bay

Boston Herald | By Olivia Vanni
April 28, 2017

Newbury Street will soon have another late-night spot to crash: The Boston Licensing Board told the Track that Italian restaurant Serafina was just granted a liquor license with permission to stay open until 1 a.m., with a patio going strong until 11 p.m. And the news comes to the chagrin of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay.

“Ninety percent of the time, we reach an agreement (with restaurants),” said Elliott Laffer, co-chairman of the Back Bay group’s Licensing and Building Use Committee.

“This time, we did not. We’re particularly sensitive about the north side of Newbury Street because it backs into Commonwealth Avenue, which means there are residences right across the alley. The later restaurants are open, the later … there’s noise.”

Earlier this week, the group was joined by City Councilor Josh Zakim, requesting that the licensing board restrict the restaurant’s closing time to midnight, with a 10 p.m. curfew for the outdoor portion, because of its intended location on the corner of Newbury and Fairfield.

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The economy grew 0.7 percent in Trump’s first quarter, data show

The Boston Globe | By Ana Swanson and Max Ehrenfreund
April 28, 2017

WASHINGTON – America’s gross domestic product, a broad measure of economic growth, grew by just 0.7 percent in the first three months of the year, according to government data issued Friday morning, an estimate economists say is more likely due to measurement error than Donald Trump’s performance as president.

Most economists had been expecting a lackluster growth report for the first quarter, with analysts surveyed by Reuters predicting the figure would be around 1.2 percent. But some expected more disappointing results, like the Atlanta Federal Reserve, which projected growth of just 0.2 percent.

The report contains the first official estimates of economic growth under Trump and was coincidentally released on the 99th day of his new administration. The president and his aides have tried to show demonstrable progress on his chief priorities, including economic issues, before the conclusion of his first 100 days in office.

Weaker growth is partly due to persistent measurement issues, which have caused the government to underestimate growth in the first quarter for many years – and reflected poorly on other presidents in their first quarter in office.

In the fourth quarter of 2016 and the final of former President Obama’s tenure, the economy grew by 2.1 percent, federal economists reported last month.

Most economists expect the figure to rebound in the second quarter. All the same, the disappointing figure suggests a potentially worrying gap between expectations for the new administration and the reality of how the economy is performing.

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Housing agency greenlights 40B project despite objections by city

The Salem News | By John Castelluccio
April 26, 2017

PEABODY — The developers for a large apartment complex at the site of the Peabody Elks Lodge have support from the quasi-state agency tasked with determining feasibility of affordable housing projects, despite strenuous objections from the city.

“I was disappointed certainly (at the decision),” said Mayor Ted Bettencourt. “A project of that magnitude does not fit in that neighborhood.”

MassHousing awarded a project eligibility letter to Larkin Real Estate Group, Inc. on March 21. The letter, which is valid for two years, allows the developers to proceed with local permitting in the form of a comprehensive permit that would be issued by the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals.

The proposal is for 80 units — 72 apartments in a five-story building with an additional eight units as townhouses — on the Elks property at 40 Oak St. All of the units will be rentals, and 25 percent (20 units) will be deemed affordable under state and federal guidelines.

The development is called the Residences at O’Shea Field.

City officials had sharply criticized the plan to MassHousing, saying it was retaliation by the developers who, sensing they would not receive necessary city approvals for a much smaller condo development at the site, withdrew that plan before it could be rejected and sought to build under the state’s affordable housing law (Chapter 40B) instead.

Two big issues are density and flooding around the existing site, which is almost entirely situated in an established FEMA flood plain, according to the city.

These issues give rise to public safety concerns at adding exponentially more residents in a flood zone, as well as traffic volume and adequate access to the property.

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Target plans small-format store in another Boston neighborhood

Boston Business Journal | By Catherine Carlock
April 26, 2017

Minneapolis-based retail giant Target Corp. is continuing its small-format store expansion in Greater Boston, with plans to open a 21,500-square-foot location in Roslindale Village next year.

The small-footprint Target (NYSE: TGT) will open next March at a Staples location at 4165 Washington St.

Target has previously opened small-format urban stores at Packard’s Corner in Brookline and Central Square in Cambridge, with another expected to open this July in Stoneham. A three-level, 160,000-square-foot store opened on Boylston Street in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood in summer 2015.

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Southie gas station may give way to housing development

Boston Herald | By Donna Goodison
April 27, 2017

Another South Boston gas station is slated to disappear and get replaced by a housing and commercial development.

Milton-based Oranmore Enterprises LLC wants to demolish the Gulf gas station and store at West Broadway and A Street to construct a new building with 65 residential units, commercial and community spaces, and garage parking for 64 vehicles.

The letter of intent for the project, filed with the Boston Planning & Development Agency, does not say whether the residential units would be apartments or condos.

The building’s ground-floor commercial space would encompass 5,617 square feet, and the proposed community-use space would be 2,020 square feet. The parking garage would be accessed from Silver Street.

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$12M mixed-use project planned for Mattapan

Boston Herald | By Donna Goodison
April 27, 2017

The Hub housing boom is extending to Mattapan.

Brighton developer George Minasidis has plans for an estimated $12 million mixed-use residential and commercial development on Blue Hill Avenue.

The four-story building at 1199-1203 Blue Hill Ave. would include 21 one- and two-bedroom condos, 3,000 square feet of retail space and 2,800 square feet for a 55-seat restaurant with potential outside seating, according to plans submitted this week to the Boston Planning & Development Agency.

A rear paved courtyard with plantings, an underground garage with 22 parking spaces and covered storage for 20 bicycles, and plantings and benches along Blue Hill Avenue also are planned.

“The project will supply much-needed additional housing to the Mattapan neighborhood and … further the ongoing redevelopment of the Blue Hill Avenue corridor,” the filing states

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Groveland voters OK $35K for senior center design

Eagle Tribune | By Paul Tennant
April 24, 2017

GROVELAND — The town has taken the first step toward building a senior center.

Town Meeting voters unanimously approved $35,000 to design a center for the town’s older residents Monday evening. Proponents of a senior center have pointed out that most neighboring communities cities have buildings that are set aside for senior citizens.

Groveland Town Hall serves as the site for various activities for elders, including yoga classes.

The slightly more than 100 voters who attended the annual Town Meeting at Bagnall Elementary School also approved a zoning bylaw.

Building inspector Sam Joslin said the new zoning rules are better organized than the previous bylaw. Joslin also serves as building inspector for Newbury and said a similar zoning bylaw in that town has streamlined the process of building or remodeling homes.

The previous zoning bylaw did not allow many uses “as of right,” or not requiring a special permit in business or industrial districts.

The new regulation allows business and medical offices, pharmacies and small stores in the business district without requiring a special permit.

“We don’t want to put people through any more (regulation) than we have to,” Joslin said.

“I suggest you pass it,” said Mitchell Kroner, a real estate attorney. The new bylaw will help the town attract businesses, he said. The vote to adopt the zoning bylaw, Article 18, was 107-5. A two-thirds vote was required.

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The benefits of the Winthrop Square project easily outweigh the complaints

The Boston Globe | By Adrian Walker
April 26, 2017

Sanity could finally arrive on Wednesday in the long battle over the new skyscraper planned for the site of the old Winthrop Square Garage.

In all likelihood, the Boston City Council will clear the way for construction of the Millennium Partners project. That is an outcome that will cheer many residents, especially advocates of more funding for parks and public housing. But council approval, if it comes, will also frustrate critics of development who would see it as a retreat from a commitment to protect Boston Common and the Public Garden from encroaching development.

The new building will mark a significant step forward in the rebirth of Downtown Crossing. It’s certainly going to be a big improvement over what it’s replacing. The old city-owned garage closed years ago after cement started falling from the ceiling. The city was eventually forced to condemn its own property for the sake of public safety.

Yet the battle over Winthrop Square’s future has become heated, for a reason no one anticipated: shadows. The garage — and thus the site of the tower to replace it — is in an area where state law restricts building height. The laws were passed in the early 1990s, at a time when there was concern about the shadows that new developments might cast on the Common and Public Garden.

The proposed building’s height violates state law, which is why the City Council — and, eventually, the Legislature — will have to pass a home-rule petition carving out an exemption in order for the tower be built.

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Baker will commit $78 million to UMass Boston garage project

The Boston Globe | By Laura Krantz
April 24, 2017

Governor Charlie Baker’s office announced Monday that it will commit $78 million toward the project to demolish the crumbling underground parking garage at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

The administration will provide the money in its capital budget for fiscal year 2018, which is set to be released in the coming weeks, a Baker spokeswoman said on Monday.

The governor’s office said the new funds reflect its commitment to “ensure UMass remains a successful and competitive public university system for Massachusetts students.”

The announcement comes a day after a Sunday Globe story about problems with the garage and the disagreement between the UMass Boston campus, the central UMass system office, and the state over who should pay to remove the garage. The governor’s office on Monday said the money is not in response to the story and was already in the capital budget.

The garage demolition project is expected to cost between $150 million and $260 million, depending on different estimates from the state and UMass.

The underground structure forms the foundation for several main buildings on campus as well as the central plaza. It has been crumbling for years and was closed to the public in 2006. In the interim the campus has spent $40 million on stabilization measures.

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At Quincy project site, Baker calls for $1.3 billion in housing funding

Patriot Ledger | By Sean Philip Cotter
April 25, 2017

QUINCY – Gov. Charlie Baker used the site of a planned Quincy Point affordable-housing development as the backdrop to announce that his administration was seeking $1.3 billion for such projects.

“For us to be successful over time … we have to create more housing units young people and young families can live in,” Baker said to a small crowd at 116 E. Howard St.

Baker was joined by state and local officials including Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch and state Sen. John Keenan in speaking behind the long-vacant property in Quincy Point on Monday afternoon.

Within the next few months, Developers Neighborworks Southern Mass and Winn Companies plan to break ground on a project on that site, replacing the current blighted building with a new five-story structure featuring 140 apartments. Of those apartments, 20 percent would be restricted to people with very low incomes and 60-percent to people with middle-of-the-road incomes, with the rest at market rate.

The officials pointed to the range of options and the number of apartments for the middle tier of incomes in this mixed-income development as a good example of what the state wants to facilitate.

Project would move Quincy closer to affordable-housing threshold

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Nation’s employment mounting comeback

Boston Herald | By Associated Press
April 24, 2017

WASHINGTON — Unemployment rates fell to record lows in four U.S. states in March after months of steady job creation nationwide.

Unemployment rates fell in 17 states in March and were mostly unchanged in 33, the Labor Department said last week. Employers added a significant number of jobs in just three states last month and cut them in four. Employment was mostly unchanged in the other 43 states. Hiring nationwide was weak in March but strong in the previous two months.

Arkansas, Colorado, Maine and Oregon reported the lowest unemployment rates since 1976. Colorado’s rate, at 2.6 percent, was the nation’s lowest.

The unemployment rate in those states fell because more residents found work. That’s a better dynamic than in some cases, when the rate falls when those out of work stop looking and are no longer counted as unemployed.

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Watertown’s $400M Arsenal Yards project will include a new hotel

Banker & Tradesman | By David L. Harris
April 21, 2017

A $400 million Watertown mixed-use development at the former Arsenal Mall will have plenty of retail, restaurants and apartments. And now you can add a new hotel to the mix.

Boylston Properties, the Boston-based real estate developer behind the project, announced this week that a Hampton Inn and Suites by Hilton will be included in the redevelopment known as Arsenal Yards.

The new Hampton Inn, a brand of Hilton Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: HLT), will have approximately 145 rooms, with retail space on the first floor. It is planned for the northwest corner of the property, along Arsenal Street and adjacent to a parking garage that will serve the hotel, new residents, and Arsenal Yards shoppers and visitors.

The new hotel and garage will be in the first phase of the redevelopment project, along with half of the planned retail and restaurants, with the hotel opening in the spring of 2019, the developers said in a press release.

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