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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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Burlington is thriving as boom town

The Boston Globe | By John Laidler
March 23, 2017

New stores and homes will soon rise on the site of the former Building 191Ž2 on Route 3A in Burlington, continuing the recent surge of activity to the town’s already bustling economy.

Workers began demolishing the four vacant buildings on the approximately 7-acre property on March 13 to make way for the mixed-use development.

Duffy Properties has received town approvals to construct 48,000 square feet of retail space and 29 residential units on the site, according to Steven P. Duffy, a principal of the Waltham-based firm.

Town Manager John Petrin said the project will bring to the downtown some of the economic development Burlington has enjoyed in its retail and office districts.

“We actually abut the property,” he said, noting that Town Hall, the Fire Department headquarters, and the Burlington Town Common are all in close proximity. “We look forward to this project really taking that eyesore away.”

Petrin said the development also will provide new restaurants and stores that are easily accessible to those who work in the area. “We don’t really have much to walk to here,” he said.

Waltham-based Duffy is a family-owned business that developed, owns, and manages about 500 apartments in Woburn and Waltham, and 1.5 million square feet of commercial space in 17 buildings in Burlington, Lexington, and Waltham, including three office buildings on Route 128 in Burlington.

The firm acquired the Route 3A site in early 2015 for $7 million from Building 19, which had vacated its store in late 2014. In addition to the two buildings that were used by the discount chain, the site included two buildings leased to other retailers.

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Framingham residents approve two transit-oriented developments

The Boston Globe | By Jennifer Fenn Lefferts
March 23, 2017

A Special Town Meeting of Framingham residents recently approved tax-increment financing agreements for two proposed transit-oriented developments for downtown Framingham.

The proposed development at 266 Waverly St. by Mill Creek Residential will create 270 new units of multifamily housing and invest $73 million in Framingham. The development at 75 Concord St. by Wood Partners will bring 197 units to the downtown, and $60 million in new investment to the neighborhood.

“We are so pleased to be working with developers of such high caliber, who are entering a promising but as-of-yet unproven transit-oriented market in downtown Framingham,” Arthur Robert, the town’s director of the Division of Community and Economic Development, said in a press release.

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Quincy Developer Buys Bank Branches In Somerville, East Boston

Banker & Tradesman | By Steve Adams
March 23, 2017

Quincy-based Grossman Cos. Inc. has acquired two properties in East Boston and Somerville that are leased to Citizens Bank branches.

Grossman paid $1.75 million for 26 Central Square in East Boston, which contains a 3,812-square-foot Citizens branch, and 40 Union Square in Somerville, home to a 5,438-square-foot branch, for $4.25 million.

Marc Mandel, first vice president at CBRE, represented the seller. Brookline Bank’s James Burns and Henri Soucy arranged financing.

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Weymouth businessmen propose 58 apartments, retail in Weymouth Landing

Patriot Ledger | By Jessica Trufant
March 21, 2017

WEYMOUTH – Two Weymouth businessmen are partnering to propose two buildings with a total of 58 apartment units and retail space on the first floor overlooking Weston Park in Weymouth Landing.

Joe Gratta, CEO of Weymouth-based Atlantic Mechanical, and Weymouth taxi company owner Metri Metri want to put two mix-use buildings at 143 and 165 Washington St., which border Weston Park.

Gratta’s proposal at 143 Washington St. would be the larger of the two buildings, and have 42 one-bedroom apartments and 1,800 square feet of retail space on the first floor. Gratta said he envisions a bagel-and-coffee shop or similar business in that space. In the project’s second phase, Metri’s building would add 16 apartments and retail on the first floor.

Gratta said the proposal fits in well with the park, which will soon get $1.5 million in upgrades under a $11.4 million plan to improve the town’s fields, courts and playgrounds. A deck connected to the retail space would overlook the park and be open to the public.

“I’m seeing the demographic change in the Landing where there are more urban professionals who want to walk to the commuter rail and then go out and use the park,” said Gratta, who lives across the street from the site and manages several properties in the Landing.

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Mixed-use project would replace Talbot Ave. church

Dorchester Reporter | By Jennifer Smith
March 23, 2017

A mixed-used development would replace an existing Lutheran church at the intersection of Talbot Avenue and Argyle Street in Ashmont if a buyer’s plans are approved.

James Baker, who has entered into an agreement to buy the site for an undisclosed amount, told the Reporter that the deal requires “worship space in the new building,” which may end up as a community space that the current congregation and other members of the public could use.

The 17,554-square-foot lot is known around the neighborhood as 500 Talbot Ave., though the address is 8 Argyle St. It comprises most of the southern half of a triangular block between Talbot and Welles Avenues and Argyle Street.

“The lot itself, the reason we’re interested,” Baker said, “is it’s close to public transit, so it has that transit-oriented aspect to it. And it’s a great neighborhood.” Its proximity to other mixed-use developments, like the new Treadmark building near Ashmont Station, would add context for such a project within the Ashmont/Peabody area, he said.

No agreed-upon purchase price was disclosed. Boston city records valued the lot at $1.12 million in Fiscal Year 2017.

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Market to replace eyesore in Savin Hill

Dorchester Reporter | By Jennifer Smith
March 23, 2017

Real estate developer James Baker is proposing a three-story commercial building for a high-profile corner of Savin Hill Avenue and Sydney Street, featuring a first-floor neighborhood market.

The building would replace what is now a boarded up, defunct variety store that has been an eyesore on Savin Hill’s main drag for years. The site at 110 Savin Hill Ave. is steps from the Savin Hill station, near the Savin Bar and Kitchen and the Cristo Rey High School and across from McKenna’s Cafe.

Baker explained his current plans for the property at a meeting of the Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association’s planning committee on Tuesday evening.

“I see this as, frankly I’ll refer to this as an aspirational development, or really something that could be part of the heartbeat of the neighborhood, and something that would keep me busy and interested for the next ten years,” Baker said at the meeting.

The project is “in process; we haven’t filed anything with the city yet,” Baker said, adding that “in an ideal world, we’d like to be able to start building by the fall or winter. If not, it’ll be next spring,” he said.

Baker purchased the property using an LLC that he controls in July 2016. It was acquired from the previous owner Anthony Desmond for $850,000, according to records. At the time, Baker said the property would likely make way for a mixed-use residential and commercial building.

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City Council passes Folly Hill zoning

Number of potential units greatly reduced

The Salem News | By Arianna MacNeill
March 20, 2017

BEVERLY — Future development at Folly Hill is now limited by new zoning, but there could still be large-scale development there.

The City Council gave the final approval to the zoning changes, Monday night. There was no discussion by the council; the decision was unanimous.

Under the new zoning, the city increased the minimum required lot size per new residence, reducing the maximum scope of development from over 700 apartments on the 76-acre parcel, down to about 172 units.

It also limits what could be built on the site — single-family homes are allowed by right, but any multi-family residences, like apartments, would need a city-issued special permit.

But the city isn’t free from the threat of potential mass development there.

The Reeve family, which owns the entire parcel, filed a preliminary subdivision plan last September, which froze the past zoning for seven months. If they file a definitive plan in April, they can freeze the past zoning for the next eight years.

Aaron Clausen, city planning director, said in February that the owners were working on a traffic impact analysis.

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More apartments planned for Roxbury

Boston Herald | By Donna Goodison
March 21, 2017

Developers of a proposed six-story, 23-apartment building in lower Roxbury say the project would help further transform a once sparsely populated and high-crime area into a vibrant mixed-income neighborhood.

Urban Core Development and Boston Real Estate Collaborative’s estimated $8 million to $8.5 million 1 Newcomb Place project is targeted for a vacant lot off Washington Street and the gateway connecting the South End to Roxbury’s Dudley Square, which is undergoing a rejuvenation. It would include 20 market-rate and three affordable units.

“We have high hopes for the area,” said V. William Avanessian, a founding BREC partner. “We have two rental buildings essentially flanking this site, and the units do as we expected. We have high hopes for this, since it will be brand-new construction with an elevator.”

UDC and BREC filed project plans with the Boston Planning & Development Agency to kick off a review of the project, which comes as activists push for more affordable Roxbury housing that’s open to a wider range of low-income households, to prevent displacement of current Roxbury residents.

Project plans for 1 Newcomb Place state the apartment building would continue to bring new residents to a portion of the city that can support more people, without displacing existing residents.

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BPDA Board approves nine development projects

Boston Planning & Development Agency
March 17, 2017

The Boston Planning & Development Agency’s (BPDA) board of directors approved nine development projects at the March meeting, including five new projects and four Notice of Project Changes (NPC). In total, the new development projects represent 91 residential units, 47 of which are affordable, and are valued at $157.7 million. During construction, these projects will put 312 trades people to work and will create 94 direct jobs when construction is complete. In total the projects represent a total of 436,085 square feet.

New Development Projects

Viet-Aid Project to bring affordable housing to Bowdoin-Geneva

Live: 41 affordable residential units, including five homeless set-aside units
Work: 60 construction jobs
Connect: Dorchester Community Food Co-op identified as tenant for retail space
Project Size: 49,597 square feet

The Vietnamese American Initiative for Development, Inc. (Viet-Aid) will build a mixed-use four story development consisting of 41 residential units, a 6,057 square-foot commercial retail space and 46 parking spaces at 191-195 Bowdoin Avenue. As currently proposed, all 41 units will be affordable.

Eleven units will be made affordable to households earning up to 30 percent of area median income (AMI), and the remaining 30 units will be made affordable to households earning up to at 60 percent AMI. Five units will also be designated as homeless set-aside units.

The unit mix will be a combination of 13 one-bedroom units, 23 two-bedroom units and 5 three-bedroom units. The Dorchester Community Food Co-op has been identified as a potential tenant for the 6,057 square feet of retail space. The Co-op is a grassroots initiative to build a community and worker-owned grocery store that makes healthy food accessible and advances economic opportunity through neighborhood engagement.

The project is located within short walking distance to the Four Corners/Geneva Commuter Rail Station to the west, the Fields Corner Red Line Station to the south and multiple bus line service.

Construction is expected to begin in 2018, and the total development cost is approximately $18,700,000.

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Mission Hill garage eyed for apartments

Boston Herald | By Donna Goodison
March 18, 2017

The Newton-based owner of the The Longwood apartments in Boston’s Mission Hill neighborhood wants to develop another 115-unit apartment building next door.

Wingate Cos. would demolish a 175-space parking garage that services the existing 147-unit Tremont Street apartment building to make way for a new six-story, 83,000-square-foot residential development at 95 St. Alphonsus St., near the Longwood Medical and Academic Area.

The real estate investment and property management company’s new Longwood II Residences would include 40 studios, 35 one-bedroom units, 10 one-bedrooms with dens and 30 two-bedroom apartments. Fifteen of the apartments would be designated affordable.

Wingate’s plans call for a new courtyard between The Longwood and Longwood II Residences that would serve as a vehicle drop-off area for the new building and the pedestrian entrance to its lobby and amenity spaces.

The new building would have 130 parking spaces on the first floor and basement level that would be shared by residents of both Win-gate apartment buildings.

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Developer Acquires North End Parcels For $10.5M

Banker & Tradesman | By Steve Adams
March 16, 2017

A development firm that specializes in adaptive reuse projects has acquired the Eastern Bakers Supply Co. property on the outskirts of Boston’s North End for $10.5 million.

The row of five parcels at 133-169 North Washington St. acquired by Boston-based Ad Meliora includes a pair of commercial buildings totaling 25,000 square feet, a small vacant lot and a three-unit residential building.

RMG Realty’s Philip Celeste represented Eastern Bakers, which has owned parts of the site for close to 60 years. Eastern Bakers hired Boston-based RMG Realty nearly two years ago to market the site as it explores its options, Celeste said. Eastern Bakers will remain at the North Washington Street location for the immediate future, he said.

Owned by the Kalustian family, the business got its start selling flour and other baking supplies and expanded into kitchen equipment sales, Celeste said. The commercial buildings on the property are used for inventory and a showroom.

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Weymouth Landing project gets zoning board approval

Patriot Ledger | By Jessica Trufant
March 16, 2017

WEYMOUTH – The revival of Weymouth Landing hit a major milestone on Thursday when the zoning board of appeals approved developer Michael Kiley’s proposal to redevelop the Brava building at 59 Washington St. and build on the parcel behind it, at 0 Front St.

Kiley, of Heritage Companies, plans to convert vacant office space above Passport restaurant into two apartments and put up another 21 apartment units with parking on the first and second levels of the new four-story building.

In a vote of 4-0, the board approved Kiley’s request for variances for required parking spaces and landscaping and three special permits. Vice Chairman Edward Foley was not present at the meeting.

“It’s great for the location and a sign of what’s to come in the Landing,” Chairman Richard McLeod said.

The redevelopment of the Landing has been years in the making, and Weymouth and Braintree collaborated on new zoning rules to encourage larger, mixed-use buildings, such as Kiley’s project.

The project includes 19 parking spaces for retail on the first level – which will open up directly onto Front Street – and 25 spaces on the second level accessible only by residents.

Member Jonathan Moriarty expressed concern about congestion in the Landing in light of several proposals, and said he hopes developers are anticipating it.

“I hope as it develops, (property owners) make sure businesses have the parking they need,” he said.

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North Quincy looking at 700-plus apartments over 2 proposals

One is the huge project proposed for the T station, and the other is right across the street.

Patriot Ledger | By Sean Philip Cotter
March 15, 2017

QUINCY – If various developers’ plans go as they hope, more than 700 apartments will be built around the North Quincy MBTA station over the next couple of years.

Quincy’s planning board Wednesday night heard about two separate project proposals for the area right around the T station.

The larger of the two is a proposed mixed-use development on the T property itself. The project would feature about 610 top-of-market apartments, 50,000 square feet of commercial space and 1,600 parking spaces. It would be undertaken by North Quincy Partners, a limited-liability corporation created by Atlantic Development of Hingham and Bozzuto Group of Washington, D.C.

Atlantic Development president D.J. MacKinnon gave the first of what he said would be several presentations to the planning board Wednesday, focusing on utilities and ground-level work for the site, which is about three city blocks.

Hotel out, 171 apartments in for Hancock Street proposal

He said his company has received plenty of feedback about what should go on the ground floor. Some people want a grocery store; others want restaurants.

“We’re not looking to draw people from 10 miles away,” he said – they want the storefronts to cater to North Quincy.

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New owners of Flower Exchange unveil their plan for the site

The Boston Globe | By Tim Logan
March 16, 2017

The new owners of the former Boston Flower Exchange in the South End unveiled their plan for the site Wednesday night, envisioning four lab and office buildings, with thousands of tech and life sciences jobs, built around a 1-acre public plaza lined with restaurants, retail, and a new cultural center.

The plans, which the Abbey Group shared with a neighborhood group, are preliminary. Abbey is still months and many neighborhood meetings away from filing formal plans with the Boston Planning & Development Agency.

But the presentation gives the clearest picture yet of what the firm — which paid more than $40 million for the huge Albany Street property last year, according to sources familiar with the deal — has in mind.

Abbey is targeting companies that want to be near Boston Medical Center and Boston University Medical School. The cluster of four buildings of lab or tech office space would total some 1.6 million square feet, rising 200 feet or more near the Southeast Expressway. Offices would have large open floor plans, while restaurants and stores would go at street level, as well as a cultural center and plaza Abbey has dubbed “Albany Green.”

“We see it as a sort of European plaza,” said Bill Keravuori, a managing partner at Abbey. “We want to extend public space across the entire ground floor of the project.”

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LHA plans $20 million project on Salem Street

Lowell Sun | By Christopher Scott
March 16, 2017

LOWELL — The Lowell Housing Authority is in the early stages of planning a $20 million residential/commercial development on the grounds of the Armand P. Mercier Community Center on Salem Street.

Housing Authority Executive Director Gary Wallace discussed the development during the latest edition of Sun Spot, the newspaper’s contribution to the Lowell Telecommunication Corp.’s weekly news magazine, LTC News.

The show airs every Thursday at 6 p.m. on LTC Channels 8 and 99.

Named after the former LHA executive director, city councilor and mayor, the Mercier Center is located between Salem and Merrimack streets. The western edge of the lot is undeveloped.

The development, Wallace said, would be geared for families who earn between $40,000-$60,000, a range that effectively removes them from consideration for more traditional LHA units.

As currently conceived, the five-story building would contain between 50-60 units. First-floor space would be commercial.

The development, Wallace said, would complement other projects in the area that are transforming the once dilapidated stretch of Merrimack Street from City Hall to Pawtucket Street, and pushing south toward Salem Street.

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