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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.


Fed’s Rosengren says economy hasn’t met conditions for rate rise

Boston Globe | Christopher Condon
April 16, 2015

rosenEconomic weakness in the first quarter shows the US isn’t ready for an interest-rate increase, said Eric Rosengren, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Rosengren called the March jobs report “disappointing” and said inflation remains “stubbornly below” the central bank’s 2 percent target.

“Incoming data would need to improve to fully satisfy the committee’s two conditions for starting to raise rates,” Rosengren, who doesn’t vote this year on the Fed’s policy-making panel, said in the text of a speech Thursday in London.

The Federal Open Market Committee said after its March meeting that it would wait for further improvement in the labor market and signs that inflation will move back toward 2 percent before increasing its benchmark federal funds rate for the first time in almost a decade.

A Fed report released Wednesday in Washington showed the economy grew at a “modest” or “moderate” pace in eight of the central bank’s 12 districts.

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Massport pushes ahead with hotel

Boston Herald | Marie Szaniszlo
April 17, 2015

Massport is pushing ahead with plans for an $800 million headquarters hotel in the Seaport District, even as Gov. Charlie Baker is in the midst of a review of the bonding needed for the project, which is part of the planning expansion of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

At a board meeting yesterday, Chairman Michael Angelini said: “People are spending time and money on this. Why not say, ‘Stop’?”

Chief Development Officer Jim Doolin said Massport is just reviewing the proposals and asking follow-up questions.

The agency has received six bids from developers to build the new 1,200-room headquarters hotel on two Massport-owned parcels at Summer and D streets as part of the proposed $1 billion BCEC expansion.

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Eataly Set to Open First Boston Location in the Prudential Center

Mario Batali’s Italian marketplace to feature six eateries, a brewery, and more.

Boston Magazine | Christopher Hughes
April 16, 2015

eatlyIt appears Boston will officially have an outpost of Mario Batali’s Eataly, the gourmet Italian marketplace with 27 locations around the world. The Globe is reporting that Batali and Joe Bastianich’s B&B Hospitality Group, the same restaurant group behind Babbo Pizzeria in the Seaport District, is close to signing a lease at the Prudential Center that would allow them to take over the existing food court inside.

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Harvard Business School Publishing Moving To Old New Balance HQ In BrightonB

Banker & Tradesman
April 16, 2015

Harvard Business School Publishing has signed a lease at 20 Guest St., filling part of the space to be vacated by New Balance when the athletic company moves to the Boston Landing mixed-use development next door.

Harvard Business Publishing will move from 300 North Beacon St. in Watertown next April. The building at 20 Guest St. contains 228,901 square feet of office space currently occupied by New Balance, which will move to Boston Landing when it’s completed this fall.

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Italian Ice Chain Rita’s Plans Greater Boston Expansion

Banker & Tradesman
April 16, 2015

KeyPoint Partners LLC has been chosen to represent Italian ice company Rita’s as it seeks multiple retail locations throughout metro-Boston.

Vice President of Leasing Don Mace is heading up the expansion effort. Rita’s hopes to add up to 30 locations in the metro-Boston area, according to KeyPoint Partners.

Rita’s is the largest Italian Ice company in the world, with more than 600 outlets in 21 states.

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Mass. adds 10,500 jobs, about double monthly average

Boston Globe | By Jack Newsham
April 16, 2015

The Massachusetts unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 percent in March, a slight drop from February’s rate of 4.9 percent.

The rate is the lowest in six years, according to the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, which reported the figures Thursday. Overall, Massachusetts added 10,500 jobs last month, about double the monthly average job growth over the past year.

Those numbers compare favorably to a total of 1,300 jobs added in January and February, when the state was swamped by snow. The Massachusetts unemployment rate is also lower than the national rate of 5.5 percent.

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Wallet squeeze: Apartment rents projected to rise again

Boston Herald | Associated Press
April 14, 2015

rentsLiving in an apartment? Expect your rent to go up again.

Renting has gotten increasingly expensive over the last five years. The average U.S. rent has climbed 14 percent to $1,124 since 2010, according to commercial property tracker Reis Inc. That’s four percentage points faster than inflation, and more than double the rise in U.S. home prices over the same period.

Now, despite a surge in apartment construction, rents are projected to rise yet another 3.3 percent this year, to an average $1,161, according to Reis. While that’s slower than last year’s 3.6 percent increase, the broader upward trend isn’t going away.

“The only relief in sight is rents in the hottest markets are going to go up at a slower pace, but they’re still going to go up,” says Hessam Nadji, chief strategy officer at Marcus & Millichap, a commercial real estate services firm.

The main reason: More people than ever are apartment hunting.
Young people who have been living with their parents are increasingly finding jobs and moving out. Rising home prices are leading many long-time renters to stay put.

In addition, most of the new apartments coming on the market are aimed at affluent tenants and carry higher-than-average rents. That’s especially true in cities where new buildings are going up in urban core areas, which means builders need to recoup higher land and development costs.

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Public needs drive plans: Developers think beyond garage lot

Boston Herald | By Donna Goodison
April 16, 2015

winthropsqRedevelopment proposals for the city-owned Winthrop Square garage feature impressive soaring skyscrapers that would reach new architectural heights in Boston’s Financial District, but their mixed uses and public benefits are what’s garnering kudos.

Plans include retail, restaurant, residential, hotel and innovation economy office uses to bring around-the-clock activity to the square, with other public benefits ranging from an entrepreneur innovation center to a public school.

“What impressed me about many of them were they just weren’t about the building,” said architect Tim Love, a Utile Inc. principal and Boston Society of Architects president. “They were thinking about Winthrop Square and that whole little neighborhood there, and they had a lot of positive things to offer.”

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From bland office to reinvigorated retail corridor: Related Beal reveals Congress Square design

Boston Business Journal | By Catherine Carlock
April 14, 2015

congress squareWhen brokerage CBRE first put a swath of six Fidelity Investments properties in downtown Boston on the market, real estate development firm Related Beal had just a brief period of due diligence before deciding on its development plan for the buildings.

The Fidelity deal was a competitive offering, and Related Beal wanted to select a path quickly in order to get a bid in as fast as possible. So the firm underwrote a retail, office and possibly residential project — but it wasn’t exactly defined, said Stephen Faber, executive vice president of Related Beal.

“Once we owned the property and were able to then go through in detail with our architect and design team… we determined that with this opportunity, what we really should be doing is something more,” Faber said. “Creating a location that the sum of all the components means greater value than any of the individual pieces — we looked at this asset as having that opportunity.”

Related Beal has spent more than a year fine-tuning its plan for Congress Square with its architecture partner Arrowstreet.

“For the last 40 years, these buildings have been restricted to private use and turned inward, cut off from the surrounding neighborhood and streets,” Related Beal wrote in its project notification form submitted to the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

“The design for Congress Square restores these buildings and Quaker Lane to a destination within the heart of downtown Boston.”

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Eight developers vying to build tower downtown

File proposals for site of shuttered, city-owned Financial District garage

The Boston Globe | By Jon Chesto and Dan Adams
April 15, 2015

towerA dilapidated garage in the heart of Boston’s Financial District has suddenly emerged as the hottest spot in the city’s booming real estate market.

Eight developers have filed proposals for a skyscraper, several of which would be nearly as tall as the city’s largest, the Hancock Tower, on the site of a city-owned parking garage that is now closed. The competitors include a who’s who of local and national developers, a measure of how strong Boston’s real estate market has become.

If approved, the Winthrop Square project would add another tower to the fast-changing Boston skyline. Already, five towers over 600 feet are proposed or are being built while other large complexes are under development downtown.
Millennium Partners, which developed several prominent properties in Boston, is proposing a 750-foot tower that from some angles would look like a slender version of the Hancock and would have a mix of offices and residences.

Entrepreneur Steven Belkin, who previously tried but failed to build an even bigger skyscraper on the Winthrop Square site, is back with a proposed 54-story colossus of some 1.5 million square feet.

Boston developer Joseph Fallon, the builder behind Fan Pier in the Innovation District, has submitted a bid for a two-building residential complex, with a mix of condo and rental units, that would reach 700 feet. Lend Lease Development, a major builder of properties around the world, has teamed up with local developer Ori Ron of the Hudson Group North America to propose a 750-foot, 68-story mixed-use tower.

Among the tallest is the 780-foot tower from former Boston Redevelopment Authority director Thomas O’Brien that would be just shy of the Hancock’s height. However, in a departure, O’Brien would put the tower on property across the street from the garage and turn the city site into a public plaza surrounded by a new St. Anthony Shrine Church, a new friary and ministry center for the Franciscans friars, and a new public school. O’Brien’s company would provide $25 million to build the school, then permanently lease the land back to the city, according to its proposal.

While many of the proposals call for office space in the towers, all have at least some residential component, in keeping with city officials’ desire to bring more nighttime activity to the downtown district.

Accordia Partners, for example, wants to build a 56-story glass tower with a Meridien hotel and condos, and Lincoln Property Co. has suggested a 45-story building that would primarily be office space with a hotel and some condos. And Trinity Financial, the Boston development company led by James Keefe, is looking to build a 51-story tower with a 276-room hotel, 328 luxury rentals, and 261 luxury condos.

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Special program smooths path to visas for overseas investors

The Boston Globe | By Deirdre Fernandes
April 14, 2015

fort point
Boston developer Steve Samuels needed financing for his latest project, a 30-story condominium and retail tower on track to rise from the site of a Fenway sandwich shop. But instead of turning only to large banks and institutional investors, he jetted to Hangzhou, a Chinese city that is home to the e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba and a small army of overnight millionaires.

There, in November, Samuels pitched his development and a visa program that provides green cards to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in US projects that create jobs. Samuels hopes to use the program to entice about 100 foreign investors to put up nearly $50 million for his $290 million development, the Point, at Boylston Street and Brookline Avenue.

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Alexandria Real Estate’s empire grows in Kendall Square

The area’s life sciences boom puts the developer on top.

The Boston Globe | By Casey Ross
April 15, 2015

kendall squareAlexandria Real Estate Equities Inc. made its first modest investment in Kendall Square about 14 years ago, developing a blocky five-story building it named The Science Hotel.

The building, on Memorial Drive, was designed to be an incubator for biotechnology startups as the industry was just emerging in East Cambridge. In the following years, biotech grew explosively in the Kendall Square area, and Alexandria grew, too.

Through a steady stream of property acquisitions over a decade, the publicly traded real estate investment company has become a dominant developer and landlord in the area, profiting from Kendall Square’s meteoric rise to become a national life-sciences center.

Most real estate specialists now rank the area among the hottest districts in the country.

“This is the best market we’ve ever seen,” said Alexandria’s founder and chief executive, Joel Marcus. “We’re really seeing the next generation of biotech firms growing up and becoming big companies.”

In addition to building headquarters for Biogen Inc., Genzyme, and Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc., Alexandria is transforming Binney Street — it was once a truck route and commuter pass-through — into a bustling biotech boulevard with big-name pharmaceutical tenants, restaurants, and homes. For the first time, the property is becoming a destination not just for scientists but for diners and shoppers, as well.

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Hoff’s Kitchen To Purchase, Renovate Malden Property

Banker & Tradesman
April 14, 2015

Hoff’s Kitchen Co. is expanding its operations to Malden.

MassDevelopment has issued a $10 million tax-exempt bond to 35 Green Street LLC, an affiliate of Hoff’s Kitchen Co. Inc, also known as Hoff’s Bakery, to acquire and renovate a 100,000-square-foot building in Malden. The building will be used as a manufacturing plant that will support the efficiency, quality and food safety needs of the bakery.

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North Carolina firm to buy SouthField project in Weymouth

LStar, of Raleigh, N.C., has signed a purchase and sale agreement with the current master developer, Florida-based Starwood Land Ventures, to buy the undeveloped land at the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station and take over the job of bringing in other developers to build new homes and commercial space.

Patriot Ledger | By Christian Schiavone
April 15,2015

WEYMOUTH – The heads of the North Carolina company poised to take over as master developer of the long-stalled SouthField redevelopment say they’ve turned around “distressed” projects before and will do it again in South Weymouth. Local officials and residents are hoping that LStar Management will keep the project moving after years of delays and setbacks at the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station.

LStar, of Raleigh, N.C., has signed a purchase and sale agreement with the current master developer, Florida-based Starwood Land Ventures, to buy the undeveloped land at the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station and take over the job of bringing in other developers to build new homes and commercial space.

The terms of the deal were not made public. Kyle Corkum, managing partner at LStar, said the company specializes in reviving struggling projects like the SouthField. “This can be another example of turning something around that seems to be kind of off track and hopeless,” he said in a meeting with Patriot Ledger reporters and editors Tuesday. “We know what we’re getting ourselves into and we welcome the challenge. We’re going to see this through.” The impending sale is the latest shake-up for a project that’s struggled to attract development that was supposed to spur an economic boom for 1,400-acre former base, which includes land in Weymouth, Rockland and Abington.

Starwood’s exit from the project comes before it has delivered on promises to set up long-term sources of water and wastewater to support future development and following only one major land deal since it took over as master developer almost exactly two years ago. It also comes amid increasing tension after the company butted heads with town officials over taxes and missed deadlines.

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Hopes for $113M terminal for Cape Wind project sink

Another Deval Patrick boobdoggle

Boston Herald | By Erin Smith
April 14, 2015

New Bedford marine terminalThe Patrick administration’s $113 million New Bedford marine terminal, built as a Cape Wind construction staging area, has become a taxpayer-funded boondoggle now that the controversial offshore wind farm project is virtually dead in the water.

The South Coast Marine Commerce Terminal, which is still under construction and sits empty, is also running $10 million over budget and months behind schedule.

Baker administration officials are trying to lease out the terminal, but they now expect to fetch a lower return on the taxpayers’ investment after executives behind Cape Wind pulled out of a two-year deal to rent the 28-acre facility for $4.5 million.

“I think it will be less. I think it’s just a question of how much less,” Matthew Beaton, the state’s energy and environmental affairs secretary, said of the expected lease deal. “We’re just trying to get the best deal possible.”

Beaton told the Herald the decision to greenlight the terminal project in the first place was a mistake, given the uncertain future at the time for Cape Wind, which planned to plant 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound.

“We shouldn’t have developed that, and I wouldn’t have,” Beaton said. “There’s a lot of things I would have done with $113 million that would have had an impact across the commonwealth. There’s no turning back the clock. We can’t get the money back. Now we’re left with an asset that we’re charged with making the most of.”

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