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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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City Realty proposes 64 condos in East Boston


Boston Herald | By Donna Goodison
September 27, 2016

A Brookline developer has a nearly $22 million plan to replace an East Boston car window-tinting business, auto body shop and parking lot with 64 residential condominiums, retail space and a lobby art gallery.

City Realty Group has proposed demolishing buildings at 301-323 Border St. to make way for a 75,167-square-foot, six-story development with studio to three-bedroom units, including eight affordable.

The project would revitalize that section of Border Street and bring needed housing to an underutilized corridor, according to plans filed with the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

In addition to a common roof deck for residents, about half of the units would have their own exterior decks. Project plans also call for a gym for residents and interior parking that would house 42 vehicles, bicycle racks for 22 bikes and an electric car charging station. A separate bike room would accommodate 52 more bikes.

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Revere Beach Development Obtains Construction Financing


Banker & Tradesman
September 26, 2016

revere-beachFirst Niagara Bank has furnished a construction loan for Beach House, a 234-unit luxury apartment development in Revere.

Baystone Development of Weston is leading the project at a long-vacant parcel at 540 Revere Beach Boulevard. The development will include open layout floor plans with a full amenity package including a heated outdoor pool, roof deck with Boston skyline views, fitness center, resident club area with full kitchen and theater room.

CBRE/New England’s John Kelly, Kyle Juszczyszyn, Chris Coutts and Lenny Pierce arranged the construction loan with First Niagara Bank’s Senior Vice President David Yesue and Market Executive Doug MacLean.

The developers will market the property as a transit-friendly option for Boston commuters with lower rents than the city, Baystone executive Todd MacDowell told Banker & Tradesman in July.

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No apartment-complex purchases in offing for UMass Lowell


Lowell Sun | By Grant Welker
September 27, 2016

lofts-at-perkinsLOWELL — The city administration and UMass Lowell have compromised on a new five-year agreement in which the university agrees to several payments to the city and to be transparent about its master plan.

Some of the payments UMass Lowell will make have already been agreed to separately, including contributing to the repair or replacement of several small bridges, and a payment equal to what the Perkins Place residential development would pay this year in property taxes.

Perkins Place was bought by the university this summer, taking it out of the tax rolls and sparking a much broader debate in the city about how UMass Lowell’s expansion has affected the city.

Notably, the university says in the agreement that it does not plan to make similar acquisitions of apartment buildings, now that it has met its demand for on-campus apartment-style housing for the next five years.

The university and the city administration spent much of this summer working on the first such formal master agreement between the two sides. It is being sent to the City Council for a vote Tuesday night.
Among the highlights of the agreement, UMass Lowell agrees to the following:

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River Street condo proposal met with resistance at public meeting


The Dorchester Reporter | By Jennifer Smith
September 25, 2016

river-stThe majority of those who spoke on a proposed 18-unit condominium on River Street in Mattapan objected to the project’s density and neighborhood fit at a Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA)-hosted meeting Thursday night.

George Tsolirides, the project proponent, owns the land at 73 River St. currently housing a dry cleaners and a restaurant, the River Street Grille. He is pitching an 18-unit, 23,063-square foot building to contain two-bedroom homeowner condominiums and ground floor retail space. Behind the structure would be 30 parking spaces.

The restaurant would remain a tenant, said architect Lucio Trabucco, with potentially a community meeting room, cafe, or office filling the other small ground floor space. Thirty parking spaces, without accounting for the public transit access, is also above the required per-unit ratio required by the city.

Community members and abutters opposed the project in its earlier iteration, which had three more apartments, only 20 parking spaces, and access into the residential neighborhood from the back of the development. Those who spoke at Thursday’s meeting for the most part made it clear that the changes were not sufficient.

William Willis, who owns a property a few houses down from the site, said developments of this density seemed to be dropped on neighborhoods like theirs without consideration for the abutters. “We want our own little piece of heaven, our little piece of happiness, right there on Sturbridge Street,” he said, adding that he hoped to leave his home to his children, but a development nearby would only raise his property taxes in the short term.

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Developers Engage In ‘Amenities War’


Expectations, Construction Costs Contribute To Escalation Of Luxury Living

Banker & Tradesman | By Jay Fitzgerald
September 25, 2016

amenitiesWar has come to Boston.

It’s not a war fought with tanks, planes, bullets and bombs. Instead, it’s a non-conventional war waged with doggie spas, rooftop cabanas, media-entertainment centers and private lounges with catering kitchens. It’s a war for the hearts, souls and wallets of Bostonians seeking luxury living.

“It’s an amenities war,” said Sue Hawkes, managing director of The Collaborative Companies, a Boston real estate design and development firm in the thick of the burgeoning and evolving luxury living market in the city and surrounding communities.

So-called luxury living used to entail swanky new residential buildings with 24/7 concierge service, valet parking, a small fitness center and perhaps the occasional dog walker to take the family pet for a stroll down the street.

But with the recent flood of new and proposed residential apartments and condominium buildings coming on line in Boston, the competition for renters and buyers has only intensified in recent years – and thus the introduction of residential amenities not previously seen in Boston.

Of course, there’s now the almost standard “doggie spas” now being built within new residential buildings, from the soon-to-open Pierce Boston in the Fenway to the recently opened One Greenway near Chinatown to the planned One Dalton tower to be managed by Four Seasons in the Back Bay. (Yes, they really are called dog spas, though they’re more like small shower rooms with tubs for precious pooches to freshen up.)

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Boston Foreign Motor to open in Newmarket


Boston Herald | By Donna Goodison
September 24, 2016

boston-foreign-motors

Boston Foreign Motor hopes to open a car dealership and service facility in Boston’s industrial Newmarket District and likely will close its Allston location within three years.

The company is proposing a 22,400-square-foot, single-story dealership with a showroom and approximately 21 service bays at 202 Southampton St. It plans to repurpose a building long occupied by Waldo Bros., a building materials wholesaler.

“The area is upcoming,” said Boston Foreign Motor president Milad Farahani, who has an agreement to buy the site. “There’s a lot of development in that area.”

The dealership would sell used cars — mostly foreign — although Farahani said he is in talks with foreign and domestic car manufacturers to possibly sell new vehicles as well. Farahani expects to have about 100 cars on the lot, but is seeking additional storage in the area to accommodate a total inventory of approximately 300 cars.

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State rejects Lewis Wharf plan


The Boston Globe | By Tim Logan
September 22, 2016

lewis-wharfState officials this week dealt a blow to a controversial hotel proposed for Lewis Wharf, signaling that there are limits to how far they will let Boston’s building boom surge up to, and beyond, the edge of the city’s waterfront.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Wednesday ruled that developers cannot build out onto wharves, piers, and pilings that sit below water at high tide. That will likely send a 277-room hotel planned for the edge of Lewis Wharf back to the drawing board.

The hotel is one of several contentious waterfront developments coming before state regulators.

The Department of Environmental Protection is currently reviewing a condo tower at 150 Seaport Blvd. that’s being opposed by the influential Conservation Law Foundation, which is concerned it will wall off public access to the harbor. And the Boston Redevelopment Authority is wrapping up a lengthy process to rezone the downtown waterfront from Long Wharf to the Northern Avenue Bridge that could allow for at least two tall towers, but not before the state signs off.

It’s too soon to say what the Lewis Wharf decision might mean for those other projects, development specialists said. Neither 150 Seaport nor Don Chiofaro’s proposed tower at the Boston Harbor Garage would build over the same kind of submerged piers as Lewis Wharf.

But it does suggest that state environmental regulators view waterfront development through a different lens than Boston officials, said Conservation Law Foundation senior counsel Peter Shelley.

“The state does not have this development function here [that the BRA does],” Shelley said. “It will be reviewing these with its trustee hat on. That’s a very unique and important role.”

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Lowell digs in on $200M Judicial Center


The Lowell Sun | By Grant Welker
September 23, 2016

LOWELL — The city’s new courthouse complex is expected to do more than provide more spacious facilities for jurors, prosecutors, defense attorneys and others.

Lowell has big goals for the building about to rise by the Lord Overpass at the southern end of the Hamilton Canal District.

The massive building, the Lowell Justice Center, is expected to be an anchor of sorts for the district, which has mostly languished for the eight years since an ambitious master plan was unveiled. Officials see a potential need for new offices for attorneys and others who would want to be close to the new courthouse complex.

Less tangibly, it is seen as a seven-story glass-and-granite beacon for those entering downtown from the Lowell Connector and a signal of the neighborhood’s resurgence.

“I love the fact that it’s in the Hamilton Canal District,” Gov. Charlie Baker said at a ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday afternoon. “I think this has a tremendous potential to be more than just a courthouse.”

Construction, which will begin in earnest next month, is expected to take until November 2019.
For such a major project, with a price tag of $200 million, there was a deep list of people who spoke, with dozens of other city officials, lawyers, court workers and others.

The chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, Ralph D. Gants, recalled a hot summer day working in a first-floor courtroom at the District Court on Hurd Street.

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Vacant Savin Hill storefront changes hands, mixed-use development on the horizon


Dorchester Reporter | By Jennifer Smith
September 19, 2016

A long-vacant Savin Hill eyesore has a new owner and a new lease on life.

A Dorchester-based developer has purchased the old Savin Hill Variety building at 102-110 Savin Hill Ave. and is poised to turn it into a mixed-use project that he hopes will “help to fill a void.”

James Baker, who heads 102-110 Savin Hill Ave. LLC, purchased the property at the corner of Savin Hill Avenue and Sydney Street in late July from longtime owner Anthony Desmond. Baker said he will propose a mixed-use structure with some residential components and first-floor commercial space.

Local elected officials and community members have clamored for movement on the boarded-up brick building, which once housed Savin Hill Variety and has languished in disuse for years.

The building is ripe for a throwback to its former purpose, Baker said.

“We definitely want to do some kind of retail market for the community,” said Baker, who is the brother of District 3 councillor Frank Baker. “We’re not sure what that’s going to entail, but clearly there’s a need.”

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Plans unveiled for new downtown boutique hotel


The Salem News | By Dustin Luca
September 22, 2016

hotel-salemSALEM — A hotel being developed in an uncommon space downtown is planning some uncommon features, including basement level shuffleboard, a vintage design up front and rooftop dining options.

Meet Hotel Salem, the 44-room Lark Hotel boutique hotel at 209 Essex St., by all approximation the heart of downtown’s Pedestrian Mall.

The plans for Hotel Salem got special attention at a series of informal, informational meetings hosted by Ward 2 City Councilor Heather Famico on Tuesday and Wednesday. Plans for Peabody Essex Museum’s long-awaited expansion also got a showing at the events.

Today, the building’s windows facing Essex Street are mostly covered in kraft paper. An opening in the kraft coverings allows for limited line of sight to an empty, unoccupied space in the midst of construction and demolition.

“We’re pretty far along the process,” said Paul Durand, principal at Winter Street Architects, the company handling the design of the project, as he presented the future of the building to neighbors. “I’m going to show you where we are.”

The project is expected to take about seven months and aims to begin after Halloween, leaving crews enough time to take care of outside utility work before the ground freezes toward the end of the year, according to Durand.

On the outside, the Newmark Building will see extensive masonry repairs and enlarging of all the windows on Essex Street, according to Durand.

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Moderna to build $110 million drug plant in Norwood


The Boston Globe | By Robert Weisman
September 21, 2016

Moderna Therapeutics Inc. said Wednesday it will build a $110 million plant in Norwood to produce a portfolio of drugs based on the Cambridge company’s proprietary technology.

The new 200,000-square-foot biomanufacturing facility, scheduled to open in early 2018, will employ more than 200 workers. About 100 will be transferred to Norwood from Moderna’s three existing sites in Kendall Square, while more than 100 others will be hired.

Five-year-old Moderna, which now has about 460 employees, is a pioneer in so-called messenger RNA technology that seeks to stimulate patients’ own cells to produce proteins and antibodies that fight disease. It has signed partnerships with bigger drug makers such as Merck & Co., AstraZeneca PLC, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. to use messenger RNA to jointly develop therapies and vaccines that could treat a wide range of illnesses.

At the Norwood plant, Moderna will produce therapies for clinical trials and eventual commercial use, as well as raw materials and active ingredients used in biomanufacturing.

The company’s unique technology will require a manufacturing process different from that of traditional biotechnology, with smaller lots and more products, said Moderna chief executive Stephane Bancel. He said contract manufacturers, which many biotech companies hire to produce their drugs, wouldn’t have the necessary expertise.

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Voters approve new $145 million Minuteman High School


The Boston Globe | By Jennifer Fenn Lefferts
September 21, 2016

minuteman-hi

Residents in 16 communities voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to support a new high school for the Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical School District.

According to an unofficial count provided by Minuteman High School officials, 70 percent of the residents were in favor of borrowing funds for a new $145 million high school in Lincoln.

“What we are doing is ensuring that the families of the district will have access to the highest quality career technical education for decades to come,’’ said Jeffrey Stulin of Needham, who serves as the chairman of the Minuteman School Committee.

The vote means a new high school could be open by the fall of 2020.

Residents in Acton, Arlington, Belmont, Bolton, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Dover, Lancaster, Lexington, Lincoln, Needham, Stow, Sudbury, Wayland, and Weston voted Tuesday.

According to Minuteman officials, the vote was 12,146 in favor of the project; 5,319 against. The votes from each town were added together; a simple majority was needed.

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America’s Test Kitchen moving to the Seaport


The Boston Globe | By Janelle Nanos
September 20, 2016

test-kitchenAfter two decades in Brookline, there may finally be too many cooks in America’s Test Kitchen.

On Wednesday, the media company, which publishes Cook’s Illustrated and produces popular cooking shows for public television, announced plans to leave its Brookline Village headquarters and relocate to a larger, 55,000-square-foot space in the Seaport’s Innovation and Design Building next summer.

The move is being heralded as a sign of growth for ATK, which now has more than 200 employees and produces the most popular live cooking show on television. The company says it plans to launch new programming, podcasts, videos, and recipe content out of the space. And it’s another win for the building’s developer, Jamestown Properties, which has slotted a host of new tenants into the renovated design building since taking over its lease in 2013.

ATK’s new location will be nearly twice the size of its current home. The Brookline space, despite undergoing a major renovation in 2014, has largely remained the same for nearly a decade, said Jack Bishop, the company’s chief creative officer. As the staff has grown over time, the kitchen has gotten increasingly crowded, particularly during the three weeks each May when the Cook’s Illustrated testers have to cede the stovetops to the “America’s Test Kitchen” film crews to produce a year’s worth of television shows.

“We’re somewhat on top of each other,” Bishop said. The problem has only worsened as the company has escalated its video offerings. “Now we want to film every single day, with Facebook Live and Web video.”

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Civic group wants answers as building boom hits Morrissey


Dorchester Reporter | By Jennifer Smith
September 15, 2016

morrisseyWith a number of large projects in the pipeline around Mount Vernon Street and Morrissey Boulevard, the city’s inconsistent application of the Columbia Point Master Plan was once more a source of neighborhood frustration as a Boston Redevelopment Authority spokesperson addressed the Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association planning board on Tuesday.

The civic group is grappling with the effects on its neighborhoods of the Boston-wide development boom and asking the city to clarify its positions on the master plan, the result of a three-year process during the Menino administration that laid out a neighborhood-approved vision for the Point and much of the surrounding area, including the Globe site and what is now the Herb Chambers property next door to the newspaper plant.

Taking a macro-view of the future of the area has the potential to rectify major traffic artery issues as well as set a cohesive tone to development, said Don Walsh, who headed up the master plan team.

Incorporating the master plan into current planning is “a tremendous opportunity for the city of Boston to do something that’s planned, that’s large-scale,” he added. “You can do something, because you can think large. Is there someone in the city’s that’s doing that?”

Michael Christopher, the deputy director of development review for the BRA, said a lack of broad planning by the agency has been “one of our weaknesses” historically.

A key reason for revisiting the master plan now, members of the association feel, is a proposal from Chambers for his Boulevard lot that features a large Land Rover/Jaguar dealership on the site. He agreed last month to hold off on moving ahead with his plans until the nearby neighborhoods were given some clarity from the city and the Globe on the future of its 16-acre plant site.

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New Italian restaurant planned for Route 1A in Beverly


The Salem News | By Arianna MacNeill
September 18, 2016

BEVERLY — Not Your Average Joe’s may be moving to Peabody, but Evviva Cucina is ready to take over its old location.

The 45 Enon St. location is empty at the moment, but the new Italian restaurant plans to open its doors in a few months, according to Chris Kourkoulis, the property owner and manager.

“They’re probably going to start working in a few weeks,” Kourkoulis said, adding that the owners are working on obtaining the site’s liquor license and may also put in a new patio.

Evviva Cucina assumed Not Your Average Joe’s lease, Kourkoulis said. He added that he thinks it’s a “very good fit for the space.”

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