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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.


Mass. taxi group forms to take on Uber, Lyft

Boston Business Journal | By David Harris
October 22, 2014

Uber BostonA group of taxi owners and operators from across the state have united to form the Massachusetts Regional Taxi Advisory Group with one goal in mind: to deal with ride-sharing startups such as Uber and Lyft.

The coalition, which is composed of about 50 owners and operators around the state, will try to work behind the scenes with various municipalities on efforts to restrict the companies’ services, bringing them more in line with laws that govern the cab industry.

“We’re not looking to ring the State House with cars and be disruptive,” said the group’s spokesman, Stephen Regan, who previously previously worked with advocates behind the Right to Repair ballot question. Regan said the group has retained the services of The Nolan Group, a Boston government relations group.

The group said that its immediate focus would be on UberX, a service that allows almost anyone to use their own cars to pick up passengers. But it would also focus on working with public officials as they craft restrictions on services like UberX.

“We would like to see stronger enforcement of the laws on the books,” said Regan, who added the group did not have any protests planned. Some of those laws include mandating insurance and making sure companies do background checks on drivers.

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Christian Science parcel sells for $22M, with some serious strings attached

Boston Business Journal | By Eric Convey
October 22, 2014

Christian Science PlazaA land deal allowing the construction of one of two landmark towers near Boston’s historic Christian Science Plaza is coming with some unusual strings attached, recent filings with the Suffolk Registry of Deeds indicate.

The Church Realty Trust, which administers property for the First Church of Christ Scientist, dictated in a deed conveying a parcel at 30 Dalton St. to developers that the land was subject to long-term use restrictions that reflect Christian Science teaching around alcohol sales, pornography and, to a limited extent, medical practices.

Carpenter & Co. of Cambridge, working with Chicago’s Pritizker Realty Group, is developing a high-rise tower and a mid-rise tower on the site. The main uses will be a hotel and condominiums.

In the recently-filed deed, an entity controlled by Pritzker agreed to the limitations while paying $21.9 million for the parcel. The Christian Science church took extra steps to make it clear the land comes with the restrictions, noting in the deed that because the Christian Science Plaza is next door, the church “desires to reduce confusion and conflict with the teachings of Christian Science in connection with the conveyance of the property.”

The restrictions govern lower-floor activities and any hotel built there. Residents of apartments in a luxury tower set to be built at the site will be able to act without restriction. Nonetheless, the restrictions could make things complicated.

For example, should a hotel be erected there, pornography is okay on in-room televisions only as long as it’s “of the type normally offered in five star (or comparable rating) luxury hotels in Boston, Massachusetts or New York City, New York,” the deed states. But don’t expect to find adult entertainment, a liquor store or a bar at ground level; those uses are expressly ruled out.

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All eyes on pending sale of Boston Globe property

Dorchester Reporter | By Bill Forry
October 22, 2014

Boston Globe SiteMayor Martin Walsh hopes that the sale of the massive Boston Globe property on Morrissey Boulevard will result in a new mixed-use development that will follow guidelines laid out by a city-led task force four years ago.

“Whatever happens with the Globe is really going to be the catalyst for that whole corridor,” Walsh told the Reporter in an interview last week. “If it is tasteful and done right, mixed-use on that site would be important with a component of housing and a component of economic development, whether it’s an office building or retail park.”

John Henry, the owner of the Boston Red Sox, purchased the Globe and its assets – including Worcester’s Telegram & Gazette newspaper – in a $70 million deal executed last October. He has since sold the Telegram & Gazette and contracted with Colliers International, a commercial real estate firm, to solicit bids for the Globe’s headquarters, which have been located in Dorchester since 1958. Henry and his executive team intend to move the Globe’s editorial, advertising, and office staffs to a new, smaller location in the city, probably in the city’s Seaport district, according to published reports. The newspaper’s printing operations would be relocated to a separate site, the story goes, with a plant in Millbury that the Globe owns a likely prospect.

Tom Hynes, the CEO and co-chairman of Collier’s Boston office, told the Reporter that the Globe began accepting proposals from potential buyers in mid-September. This followed a series of on-site tours throughout the summer and a “global marketing campaign” to seek buyers. Hynes said that the Globe did not set an asking price.

“There were a whole bunch of tours and sometimes repeat tours by interested parties,” said Hynes. “We received our first offers in mid-September and we had a second round of offers in early October. We’re at that stage now where we’re sorting through the finalists.”

Hynes would not say specifically who might be included among the finalists.

“I would expect any buyer will have a very detailed and open public process,” said Hynes. “We don’t have any time horizon on the final decision at this point.”

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Schrafft Center’s New Look Will Pay Tribute to Chocolate

Boston.com | By Sanjay Salomon
October 22, 2014

Schrafft CenterThe iconic Schrafft Center in Charlestown is getting a sweet makeover in 2015.

The former chocolate factory is owned by the Flatley Company and is currently used as an office, medical, and technology building. Starting next year, it will undergo a transformation under the direction of Boston-based architecture firm CBT Architects.

The design is aimed at improving the tenant experience, according to managing principal Haril Pandya, who has gazed at the building since he was a kid.

“Growing up, this was a building I passed all the time,” said Pandya. “It’s such an icon. Working on it is amazing.”

Pandya says his firm’s design will pay homage to the Schrafft’s Center’s roots as a sweets factory in the building lobby. Once renovations are completed, the lobby will include a café and a three-story atrium with a gas fireplace.

“We wanted to call it confectionary contemporary,” said Pandya. “We want to modernize the space by paying tribute to chocolate. We used a glossy counter to remind people of hard candy and dark matte finish to remind people of dark chocolate. Pops of color to remind people of sugar cane.”

Pandya says the design is intended to be pedestrian-friendly and utilize the building’s position along the nearby Mystic River.

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At $37.5m, Millennium Tower condo tops most everything

The Boston Globe | By Casey Ross
October 23, 2014

Millenium Tower CondosFor sale: Huge penthouse, nearly triple the price of the most expensive condominium ever sold in Boston, sure to become the city’s most exclusive address in its tallest residential building.

The 60th-story luxury unit comes with floor-to-ceiling windows and an outdoor terrace looking across Boston Common to the gentle bends of the Charles River. For potential buyers struggling to imagine the view, developers dispatched a drone up 625 feet to take photos of the surrounding cityscape.

The penthouse in Millennium Tower Boston just went on the market for $37.5 million, among the priciest properties in the state. Due to open in summer 2016, the 625-foot skyscraper will be the first ultra luxury high-rise to be constructed amid a building boom that is attracting an influx of wealthy international buyers and billions of dollars of investment.

“It’s jaw-dropping,” said Debra Blair, president of LINK, a real estate firm that tracks the downtown condo market. “This is a building that could be in Dubai or Shanghai or Manhattan, and completely hold its own.”

On Wednesday, developer Millennium Partners opened a sales center on Franklin Street to begin marketing the 442 condominiums in the building, which is situated on the former Filene’s block in a rejuvenated part of Boston’s downtown. Prices for its condominiums — a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom units — range from $850,000 to the $37.5 million penthouse.

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Union chief maintains that Local 25 is a kinder, gentler Teamsters group

Boston Business Journal | By Mary Moore
October 22, 2014

Kevin O'BrienWith the wounds still fresh from allegations this summer that members of the Teamsters intimidated the cast and crew of “Top Chef” filming in Milton, Local 25 president Sean O’Brien is eager to set the record straight about the union.

He called the “Top Chef” story “fiction at best” and bristles as he discusses the negative media that resulted. Most frustrating, O’Brien said, is that the rough-and-tumble image of the Teamsters is the very thing he has been working to change as he works to increase the local’s representation in new industries.

What happened at the “Top Chef” filming, O’Brien said, is that about five Teamsters, including an officer of Local 25, showed up at the “Top Chef” filming because Bravo, which airs the show, refused to hire Teamsters in Boston to provide transportation for the filming.

The network was “adamant” about “not living up to the wages and standards that were customary in the industry,” O’Brien said. The Teamsters, a group that included an elected officer of Local 25, O’Brien said, demonstrated peacefully for 45 minutes.

While there was “bantering back and forth with the production company,” accusations that the Teamsters lobbed slurs against the cast and crew are not true, he said.

“If there was proof that the Teamsters or its members were involved in this, I would discipline internally,” O’Brien said. He later added, “If those accusations were true, people would have been arrested that day.”

O’Brien, who comes from four generations of Teamsters in his family and 24 years in the union himself, took the reins of Local 25 in 2006. His goal is to “incorporate old school values with new school ideas,” he said. Local 25 now represents “everything from airline pilots to zookeepers and everything in between,” O’Brien said, and the local’s membership has grown to 11,000 from the 8,300 members it had when he first took office.

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Here’s why local Olympics organizers switched to a temporary stadium

Boston Business Journal | By Jon Chesto
October 22, 2014

David ManfrediThe organizers behind Boston’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics never really thought we would have much use for a full-sized Olympic stadium.

That’s why their goal was to find a way to make part of the project temporary, so the stadium could survive in a post-Olympics Boston as a scaled-down arena. There was plenty of talk that the Kraft family could use the smaller stadium as the long-sought new home for the New England Revolution, the pro soccer team currently playing in the oversized Gillette Stadium.

But the conversation has changed in recent weeks. Now the Partnership is advancing plans for 60,000-seat stadium that will disappear completely after the Games are over.

It may seem far-fetched. An Olympic stadium that vanishes into thin air? London certainly offers an example, albeit a pricey one, of how to downsize an Olympic stadium. But making one disappear — that’s a trick that hasn’t been done before, not on this scale.

However, there are several good reasons why the Boston 2024 Partnership has narrowed its approach to focus on a temporary stadium instead of a partially permanent one.

The first one, unsurprisingly, is money. Before the temporary stadium concept came into focus, the Partnership needed a private sector partner — the Krafts, say, or possibly a university — willing to foot the construction bills. Sure, the city or the state could have borrowed the money. But there would probably be a public outcry before you could even get the investment bankers in the room.

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Gaming foes can’t come close to TV buys

Boston Herald | By  Jack Encarnacao
October 23, 2014

Wynn 2The group working to repeal the state’s casino law will likely be unable to match the multimillion dollar ad blitz from a group of gaming powerhouses — now including Wynn Resorts —that in the past month have spent $2.7 million on TV spots touting jobs.

“We’re uncertain at this point, but we’re still hopeful, I think we still have time,” John Ribeiro, chairman of the Repeal the Casino Deal committee, said of running an ad in the two weeks left before the Nov. 4 election.

The repeal committee — which has been at a marked fundraising disadvantage — took in $124,947 from Oct. 2 to Oct. 15, a good chunk of which went to pay outstanding liabilities, according to campaign finance records.

Meanwhile, the pro-casino committee took in a whopping $4.5 million in the same time period, including $1 million from Wynn Resorts, the first donation from the Vegas powerhouse.

Ribeiro expressed optimism a win is within reach even without TV ads.

“The more I look at this, I think we can win without being on TV,” Ribeiro said. “Our ground forces truly do grow every day. We’ve got people clamoring for signs all over the state. It’s really an organic movement.”

But Ribeiro’s group faces an uphill battle — a Suffolk University/Boston Herald poll earlier this month showed nearly 53 percent of voters favor casinos, while 38 percent want to repeal the state’s gaming law.

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2 Quincy councilors express traffic concerns with apartment plan

A pair of Quincy councilors objected Wednesday to a developer’s proposal to build 398 new apartments off Quarry Street. Both officials cited traffic as their chief concern.

Patriot Ledger | By Patrick Ronan
October 23, 2014

Avalon Bay ApartmentsQUINCY – It seems to be the inherent conflict with every new housing project in Quincy: the city wants new living space to meet market demand, but it’s weary of the added traffic.

This clash of interests surfaced Wednesday at city hall when a pair of city councilors objected to a developer’s proposal to build 398 new apartments off Quarry Street. Both officials cited traffic as their chief concern, saying local residents already put up with enough congestion. “They feel globally there is a point of saturation,” said Ward 3 City Councilor Kevin Coughlin, who represents the area of the proposed development. AvalonBay Communities, a Boston-based developer, has proposed constructing five apartment buildings – 5 to 6 stories in height – next to the existing five, 8-story HighPoint buildings that hold 522 apartments and condos.

The proposed project site was supposed to hold the second phase of HighPoint, but AvalonBay has since purchased the land. Ward 4 City Councilor Brian Palmucci, whose ward borders the site, said AvalonBay has underestimated the project’s impact on traffic and hasn’t suggested enough ways to lessen its impact. “I find your application wanting,” Palmucci said. Lars Unhjem, AvalonBay’s development director, said his firm has proposed reconfiguring traffic signals at eight nearby intersections to improve car flow. But he added that any further fixes to roads would be the responsibility of the city.

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Voyager Therapeutics marks the opening of its new headquarters in Cambridge

The Boston Globe | By Chris Reidy
October 21, 2014

Voyager Therapeutics, a gene therapy company launched by Third Rock Ventures in February with $45 million in Series A funding, said that it is marking the opening of its permanent headquarters and research labs on Sidney Street in Cambridge with a Tuesday ceremony.

In a press release, Voyager noted that it is seeking to develop treatments for fatal and debilitating diseases of the central nervous system.

The company’s new office has about 19,000 square feet of space. It had been operating for the past several months out of temporary space.

Voyager currently has 22 full-time employees. Including consultants, about 35 people work for the company.

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Affordable housing increase approved by Town Council

Wicked Local Watertown | By Charlie Breitrose
October 17, 2014

WATERTOWN New housing developments in Watertown will need to have more affordable units after the Town Council approved a 25 percent increase in proportion of affordable housing units Tuesday night. Instead of having 10 percent of units in a complex be rented or sold at an affordable rate, now 12.5 percent of units must fall into that category.

The change to Watertown’s Inclusionary Zoning regulations was made to help bring up the overall number of affordable units in town, said Director of Community Development and Planning Steve Magoon. “The 40B law was set up to prevent communities from being exclusionary,” Magoon said. “This is one of the most expensive real estate markets, hence the law.” The state has set a goal of having 10 percent of the housing units in a community be available at an affordable rate.

Watertown has below seven percent right now, Magoon said. “The problem was as projects occur, we would not get closer to 10 percent (under the old requirement),” Magoon said. As a result of the change, a 12 unit project would need to have two affordable units. Under the 10 percent requirement, two affordable units would not been required until there were 15 total units.

Ten affordable units would be required for a 76 unit project with the 12.5 percent requirement, but it used to be 95 total to need 10 affordable units. When a community does not meet the 10 percent requirement, developers could come into town to build projects with 25 percent of the units sold or rented as affordable, and they would not have to comply with the town’s zoning regulations, said Councilor Vincent Piccirilli. Belmont currently faces one of those proposals, known as 40B projects.

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EagleBridge Capital Arranges $3.5M Financing For Boston Condo Construction

Banker & Tradesman
October 21, 2014

71 Marlboro St.Boston-based EagleBridge Capital has arranged $3.46 million in mortgage acquisition and construction financing for two condos in Boston.

EagleBridge principals Ted Sidel and Brian Sheehan arranged a $1.8 million mortgage for a unit at 193 Beacon St, and a $1.66 million mortgage for a unit at 71 Marlborough St. in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood on behalf of client Neelon Properties. The lender was a leading financial institution.

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Boston Wants To Grow, But Tough Obstacles Stand In Its Way

Banker & Tradesman | By Colleen M. Sullivan
October 21, 2014

housing panelBoston’s burgeoning growth makes today an exciting era for the city – but judging by a panel discussion among housing experts this morning, it’s not at all clear how the city can tackle longstanding obstacles to accomplish its lofty housing goals.

Boston is projected to grow to more than 700,000 residents in the next 15 years, a number it hasn’t seen since the 1950s, and Mayor Marty Walsh’s new housing plan calls for an additional 53,000 units to be built to accommodate the growth, many of them aimed at middle-class residents.

Increasing the density of development in Boston’s existing neighborhood will be a key part of successfully integrating that growth, the panel agreed. The panel included developer Kenan Bigby of Trinity Financial; Sheila Dillon, director of the Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development; architect Frederick Kramer of ADD Inc.; and Paul McMorrow, real estate columnist for The Boston Globe and associate editor of CommonWealth Magazine.

“It’s really about, how do we reshape and repurpose the neighborhoods to reshape this new growth that we’re seeing? We’ve had more growth in this last decade than we’d had in the previous three. And the slow-growth method that we use to send projects through the pipeline doesn’t work anymore,” said McMorrow.

Bigby pointed to several key elements of successful projects his group has worked on that have allowed them to build more densely in existing neighborhoods: Finding transit-adjacent sites that allow developers to cut down on costly parking; building along existing busy corridors where larger buildings don’t seem out of place; re-using former industrial or commercial sites with existing infrastructure to support bigger buildings; and including mixed-use features like ground floor retail or office space, which provide amenities to the entire neighborhood, helping to garner community support.

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Tenants rail against skyrocketing rents

Boston Herald | By Marie Szaniszlo
October 21, 2014

Tito JacksonFrom Dorchester to East Boston to Chinatown, hundreds of tenants converged on City Hall for a hearing yesterday, slamming the BRA for landlord-friendly policies that are driving rents sky-high — and renters out of the Hub.

“I fear that I might be forced to move from the only place that I call home because I can no longer pay my rent,” said Reyna Alfaro, who has lived in East Boston for 21 years. Alfaro said about 900 luxury waterfront apartments with projected monthly leases of $3,000 each have been approved in Eastie, contributing to a steady climb in neighborhood rents.

Henry Yee, who has lived in Chinatown for 48 years, says the same problem is happening in his neighborhood, where only about 100 of the 3,000 units approved by the Boston Redevelopment Authority in recent years have been labeled “affordable” — but even those units, he said, are beyond the reach of the average Chinatown resident, who earns about $20,000 a year.

“If we’re constantly being pushed out, Chinatown is going to be gone,” existing in name only, Yee said.

Marilyn Mack, who owns a Dorchester condominium, said there were no condo fees in her building until City Realty took over, imposing a $269 fee that has since increased to more than $500 — a price that Councilor Josh Zakim said “significantly” exceeds the fee he pays for his Back Bay condominium.

Stephen Whalen, managing partner of City Realty, which owns 600 units in the city, said the company has upgraded buildings at its own expense, and fewer than 1 percent of its properties have code violations.

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Mayor Martin J. Walsh seeks global partnership, startups

Boston Herald | By Jordan Graham
October 22, 2014

Mayor Martin J. Walsh, hosting attendees from 14 countries at a State House conference yesterday, said Boston can’t just rely on home-grown businesses to fuel its economy.

“Boston and Massachusetts cannot operate in silos,” Walsh said. “It’s so important to build relationships.”

Walsh said the city has received 16 initial proposals for its startup incubator in the soon-to-be unveiled Ferdinand Building in Dudley Square. The building will house the new headquarters for the Boston Public Schools, but will include up to 4,000 square feet for startups.

“Hopefully it’s the beginning of many incubators we’re going to have in and around the Boston area,” he said. “We are looking to continue to start and develop businesses here in Boston.”

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