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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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Is another big office building is coming to Cambridge?

The Boston Globe | By Tim Logan
August 27, 2016

new cambrdigeAnother big office building is coming soon to Kendall Square.

The Cambridge Planning Board next month will consider Boston Properties’ designs for a 454,000 square-foot, 19-story, office building at 145 Broadway. It’s the first phase of nearly 1 million square feet of new development that Boston Properties is planning on land it owns along Broadway and Binney Street in the booming biotech district. Later phases include more office space and a large apartment and condo building that would reach as high as 34 stories.

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US economy grew at tepid 1.1 percent pace in spring

The Boston Globe | By Christopher S. Rugaber
August 26, 2016

WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy expanded at a sluggish 1.1 percent pace this spring as businesses sharply reduced their stockpiles of goods and spent less on new buildings and equipment. Yet most analysts forecast much faster growth in the summer and fall, fueled by healthy consumer spending.

Friday’s estimate is slightly below the Commerce Department’s previous figure of 1.2 percent growth as measured by gross domestic product, the broadest gauge of the economy.

Consumers offset the corporate cutbacks in the April-June quarter by spending at the fastest pace in six quarters, Commerce said Friday. That suggests steady job growth and modest pay gains are making Americans more confident and willing to spend.

‘‘The very slight downward revision … isn’t too concerning, especially given that the more recent data point to a strong rebound in the third quarter,’’ Steve Murphy, an economist at forecasting firm Capital Economics, said in a research note.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta currently forecasts growth will jump to a 3.4 percent annual pace in the July-September quarter.

Still, the economy expanded at a lackluster 1 percent annual pace in the first half of 2016, following growth of 2.6 percent last year. The sluggish first half is a stark reminder of the economy’s inability to achieve strong, sustainable growth since the recession ended seven years ago. It has been the slowest recovery since World War II, and followed the worst downturn since the 1930s. Growth hasn’t topped 3 percent for a full year since 2005.

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Lowell and UMass Try To Reset Relationship

Dorm Proposal Exposes Rift

Banker & Tradesman | By Jay Fitzgerald
August 28, 2016

lowell umassThe city of Lowell and University of Massachusetts-Lowell officials are trying to hammer out a new agreement they hope will set the stage for future cooperation and expansion of the university after a tumultuous summer of tension and finger-pointing between the two parties.

The relationship between the city and school took a distinct nosedive in June when UMass-Lowell, by far the largest landowner in the city with 4.5 million square feet under its control, unexpectedly purchased the sprawling Perkins Park complex on the city’s east side for future dorms.

Not only did the $61.5 million purchase take a major private piece of property off of city tax rolls, UMass-Lowell’s takeover of the 230-unit Perkins residential development also meant the displacement of hundreds of residents currently residing in the complex, creating an outcry in the city and demands for compensation from the university.

The controversy hits its height – or low, depending on how you look at it – when UMass President Marty Meehan, a Lowell native and former head of the UMass-Lowell campus, accused city officials of a “stunning lack of appreciation” for the university’s overall economic impact and threatened to focus the school’s future expansion outside the city.

The tension ultimately led to the current private talks between city and school officials to establish a list of shared goals, benefits and guidelines on how they will handle their relationship moving forward. The two sides hope to have an agreement ready for review by early September.

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Affordable housing project at standstill

Entities involved unable to strike a deal

The Salem News | By Arianna MacNeill
August 26, 2016

BEVERLY — A development that would provide homes to those who need them most is struggling to get off the ground.

Sixty-one apartments were planned for a vacant parcel at 108 Sohier Road. Forty-one of the apartments would be designated as workforce housing, for families with incomes up to $55,000 a year. The remaining 20 would be for people who are homeless or on the brink of becoming homeless.

Mayor Michael Cahill announced the project in February in his State of the City speech.

“We are moving thoughtfully and confidently forward with a project that will meet a great need for safe, affordable housing in Beverly while providing the resources we will need as a city to continue to provide services for the whole community,” Cahill said in his speech.

But the project has stalled, as those involved — developer Harborlight Community Partners, potential funders, and the owner of the property — have been unable to reach a deal, Cahill said, though there have been “negotiations back and forth with the owner.”

“It’s going to involve some affordable housing funds that are overseen by (the state) Department of Housing and Community Development,” he said. “To date there has not been an agreement between the owner, DHCD and Harborlight.”

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Allston Condo Development Revived With New Ownership

Banker & Tradesman | By Steve Adams
August 26, 2016

An Allston property where a 36-unit condominium complex was approved in 2011 but never built is getting off the ground under a new ownership group.

Quincy-based Jumbo Capital Management and investor Brad Spencer acquired the 14,136-square-foot property at 20 Penniman Road Aug. 19. East Boston Savings Bank provided $12 million in mortgage financing.
The new owners are looking to tap into the rapidly changing neighborhood, near the 1.8-million-square-foot Boston Landing mixed-use development which includes office space, 295 apartments, new practice facilities for the Bruins and Celtics and a new MBTA commuter rail station scheduled to open next year.

“The new commuter rail station is definitely the main impetus for us to pursue something there. We see that area looking totally different in three to five years than it does today,” Spencer said.

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Retirement prompts Lanes and Games apartment project

Wicked Local Cambridge | By Natalie Handy
August 25, 2016

Beloved Cambridge bowling alley Lanes and Games will be open for approximately one more year before closing for good, according to the developer who plans to build a high-end apartment building in its place.
Criterion Development Partners is looking to build 325 apartments in place of the bowling alley and an adjoining motel.

Lanes and Games and its neighboring motel, the Gateway Inn, have been owned by Tony Martignetti and his family for over 30 years, said Criterion consultant Rich McKinnon at a North Cambridge Stabilization Committee (NCSC) meeting Wednesday night.

“The Gateway Inn is open 24/7, and the bowling alley is open seven days a week. The [Martignetti] family made a decision; they’re tired. They want to retire, they don’t want to run it anymore, and the next generation doesn’t want to run it anymore,” McKinnon, a Cambridge resident, said.

According to McKinnon, the Martignetti family offered the buildings out to a number of developers about three years ago.

Many bowling leagues will be displaced when Lanes and Games closes, McKinnon said, and owners are working carefully to relocate them. Lanes and Games will remain open until the leagues finish play next summer, McKinnon said.

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Harvard Square could lose iconic Out of Town News

The Boston Globe | By Kathleen Conti
August 26, 2016

harvard squareOut of Town News, the iconic newsstand in Harvard Square that for decades served as a gathering place for academics, students, residents, and reading fans in search of newspapers and publications from around the world, may soon be leaving its landmark location.

The tiny 500-square-foot kiosk is owned by the city of Cambridge, which has a $4.6 million redesign and renovation planned for the brick plaza used by about 10 million people a year.

Not included in the city’s plans for the future of the plaza, however, is the newsstand itself, a 20th-century relic that has battled the onset of digital media by adding a wider selection of magazines, as well as souvenirs, lottery tickets, snacks and drinks.

Cambridge has spent three years mulling ideas for the plaza and historic structure. Although they have yet to settle on a final plan, officials said they want the kiosk to be used by the public, not a private business.

“It is a very special place and a lot of people have memories associated with it,” said Iram Farooq, assistant city manager for community development. But she said the periodicals business that the kiosk is so well known for “has not been as financially viable, so a lot of people will be sad to see it go. In our conversations there is an understanding that use will have to go away because it lacks viability, so our conversation. . . is that it needs a new use,” Farooq said.

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Starbucks wins Southie fight

The Boston Globe | By Jon Chesto
August 25, 2016

starbucks southie

Starbucks fans in Southie, take heart: Your favorite coffee chain will be able to set up shop on East Broadway after all.

Boston’s licensing board voted unanimously on Thursday to approve a license for a proposed Starbucks at 749 East Broadway in South Boston. The decision comes more than three months after the board had voted to deny a previous license request for the same Starbucks shop.

Representatives for the Seattle-based coffee shop giant made some efforts to ingratiate themselves with the community since that time, and a neighborhood meeting to discuss the issue last week was much less antagonistic than one held in the spring. Supporters and critics then packed a hearing room at City Hall last week to make their case, and the licensing board opted not to make a decision the following day, as the board members would normally do.

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New proposal for Milton’s former Hendries factory

Plans for a mixed use development for the former Hendries’ Ice Cream factory were unveiled at a community meeting Wednesday night.

Patriot Ledger | By Fred Hanson
August 25, 2016

MILTON – Vacant for more than a quarter-century, the former Hendries’ Ice Cream plant may soon be coming down.

Town officials are hoping to fast-track the latest proposal for redeveloping the nearly one-acre property at Central Avenue and Eliot Street. Carrick Realty Trust, which owns a portion of the site, is seeking to build a mixed-use development which would include 38 apartments, 3,800 square feet of retail space, 88 parking spaces and some open space on the property. It is similar to a plan proposed four years ago, but with less retail space and more parking.

“We want the process to move along quickly” for approving the plans, Selectmen Chairwoman Katie Conlon said.

She said the new development would be around for 50 or 100 years, so it is important to get it right.

Carrick already has approvals to build 58 apartments on the site under a comprehensive permit.

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Hospice Chain Will Open Latest Facility With State Funding

Banker & Tradesman
August 24, 2016


A Danvers-based hospice network will receive a MassDevelopment bond to construct a facility on the border of Waltham and Lincoln.

The $17.5 million tax-exempt bond will fund Care Dimensions Inc.’s new 18-bed, 27,500-square-foot inpatient hospice.

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City board signs off on PEM expansion plans

Salem Redevelopment Authority, among others, also has to OK expansion plan

The Salem News | By Dustin Luca
August 24, 2016

SALEM — Peabody Essex Museum’s $49 million expansion proposal got critical support from the Design Review Board Wednesday night as the project draws closer to breaking ground.

The city board supported the project unanimously after it was first presented to them this past spring.

“I like where everything has gone,” said board member Glenn Kennedy, describing the evolution of the project’s appearance over consecutive meetings. “You want to tell the story of what you’re creating and your design. At the end of the day, you look and say, ‘Does it work?’ ‘Does it not work?’ I think it does.”

The project has hit the end of its “design development phase,” where features tied to architecture and landscaping are hammered out, according to Bob Monk, the museum’s director of facilities.

Now, the project is on to its construction document phase, Monk said. That triggers a whole separate round of city review and approvals.

The museum’s expansion plans represent a long, winding journey to grow in a relatively constricted downtown footprint.

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Framingham board OKs seven-story building at Shoppers

Wicked Local Natick | By Jim Haddadin
August 24, 2016

FRAMINGHAM — The owner of Shoppers World received a key approval Tuesday from a town board, clearing a path for the company to erect a new seven-story building with apartments, shops and a bowling alley on Flutie Pass.

The Zoning Board of Appeals voted 3-0 to grant a pair of variances to Ohio-based BRE DDR Shoppers World LLC, which is seeking to construct a mixed-use building with 136 apartments on the property.

During a final public hearing Tuesday that lasted a little more than an hour, board members heard from more than a half-dozen residents. While opinions were mixed, many speakers said they believe the project marks a significant moment for the town, which has wrestled with how to create more housing and where it should be located.

The project also comes at a moment of change for Shoppers World, which sees mixed-use projects as crucial to its continued viability. With traditional brick-and-mortar businesses in decline, they argue, the shopping plaza is at an economic disadvantage if it cannot add housing to its property in the future.

Board member Susan Craighead agreed Tuesday, saying the town must adapt to the changing nature of retail sales. A mixed-use project would reshape the area, bringing in new customers and revitalizing a portion of the property that is now a parking lot, she said.

“It brings in livelihood to this,” she said, “and if we’ve got a chance to do it, I think we can do it. I think we’re within our rights to do it, and I think it’s a great project for the town and for the neighborhood.”

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Children’s contentious hospital expansion gets boost from report

The Boston Globe | By Priyanka Dayal McCluskey
August 24, 2016

childIn a finding that lifts the odds that the state will approve a controversial $1 billion expansion by Boston Children’s Hospital, a consultant says the project probably won’t drive up medical costs.

Children’s plans to construct an 11-story inpatient building at its campus in the Longwood Medical Area and an eight-story outpatient center in Brookline. Because of the size of the project, public health officials earlier this year required Children’s to hire a consultant to conduct an “independent cost analysis” that examined whether the project was in line with the state’s efforts to control health spending.

The 46-page analysis from Navigant Consulting largely supports hospital officials’ assertions.

“The project is consistent with the Commonwealth’s efforts to meet the health care cost containment goals,” it says. “The project’s short-term and long-term financing are affordable without utilization or pricing changes.”

The expansion will add dozens of new beds where Children’s can treat patients with complex conditions from the Boston area and far beyond. Indeed, the report notes that the hospital’s future growth will come not from local patients, but from patients from other states and countries.

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Developer pitches 40 units in industrial area

Dot’s the latest housing plan

Boston Herald | By Donna Goodison
August 24, 2016

A Boston developer hopes to land an approximately 
$12.5 million, 40-unit residential development on a section of Massachusetts Avenue in Dorchester that has been dominated by industrial and automotive uses.

Douglas George is pitching plans for a pair of six-story attached residential buildings at 1258-1272 Massachusetts Ave., a site that until recently was occupied by the Express Motors used-car dealership. The studio to two-bedroom units would be market-rate housing, save for five units that would be set aside as affordable, according to documents filed this week with the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

“It’s an exciting area,” said George, who lives in north Dorchester’s adjacent Polish Triangle neighborhood, less than a quarter-mile from the proposed development site, and has been building in the area for 20 years. “There’s a lot happening in the Mass. Ave. area. I think it’s a good project that will help activate that part of Mass. Ave.”

The development is proposed for two parcels measuring about 19,896 square feet next to the new Dorchester Brewing Co. and the Carpenters Union Local 33 hall. George purchased the site, along with 249 Boston St. and another parcel, for $2.2 million in early 2015, according to a Suffolk County Registry of Deeds filing.

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