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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.


MBTA looks to lease North Quincy station parking lot to developer

The MBTA is reviewing bids from three private builders interested in developing the 852-spot North Quincy station parking lot in exchange for putting up a new garage to replace the lost spaces at the busy Red Line hub

The Patriot Ledger | By Jessica Trufant
November 24, 2015

QUINCY – The MBTA is reviewing bids from three private builders interested in developing the 852-spot North Quincy station parking lot in exchange for putting up a new garage to replace the lost spaces at the busy Red Line hub.

Joe Pesaturo, a spokesman for the MBTA, said the agency released an invitation for private developers to bid on leasing and developing the parking lot of the North Quincy Red Line station on Hancock Street. Pesaturo said the MBTA received three bids by the Nov. 4 deadline and is “considering each at this time.” “This invitation to bid represents a rare opportunity for transit-oriented development minutes outside of Downtown Boston,” the bid document states.

While the 99-year lease agreement with the MBTA would free up space for private development, the 295,000-square-foot parking lot currently fills up by 9 a.m. on a typical weekday. As a result, the MBTA would require the developer to replace any lost spaces with a new MBTA-owned parking garage.

The developer would pay to build the garage, while the MBTA would continue to collect all revenue from vehicles that park there. The developer would also need to pay the MBTA for lost revenue during construction. The zoning for the property allows for commercial, industrial and wholesale uses, and multi-family residences and mixed-use buildings by special permit from the city’s zoning board. The MBTA will select the bid with the highest offer for the leasehold rights, according to the invitation to bid.

Ward 6 City Councilor Brian McNamee recently sent out a mailing to his constituents notifying them of the MBTA’s invitation to bid, as a similar proposal more than a decade ago drew fiery opposition from neighbors. “They tried to do this 12 years ago with a high-density residential complex and megaplex, and the reaction from residents was so strong that they withdrew the proposal,” McNamee said. “The developer was laboring with other problems operationally, and the real estate market at the time didn’t permit it.”

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US economy grew 2.1% in last quarter

The Boston Globe | By Nelson D. Schwartz
November 25, 2015

us economnyThe US economy turned in a better performance last quarter than first thought, expanding at a 2.1 percent rate, the government said Tuesday.

Nearly all of the improvement was because of revised data on inventories, which showed businesses restocking shelves at a faster pace than the government first estimated. The improvement in inventory levels was offset by a slight downward revision in consumer spending last quarter.

Although well below the 3.9 percent pace of growth recorded in the spring, the economy’s advance was better than the initial 1.5 percent rate for the third quarter that the Commerce Department reported late last month.

Wall Street economists had been expecting the upward revision for gross domestic product, which is the second of three estimates for growth that the government will release. The final set of numbers will come out on Dec. 22.

For all of 2015, the rate of economic growth is expected to be about 2.5 percent, not much different from the 2.4 percent rate in 2014.

The tepid pace prompted Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs, to call this the “tortoise recovery” in a recent note to clients. But that sobriquet does not mean the economy has been uniformly lackluster.

“While this expansion may go uncelebrated, growth in fact has been good enough to achieve a great deal of cumulative progress in the labor market,” he added. “We now expect that the US economy will reach full employment within the next 12 months — the ‘tortoise recovery’ looks to be approaching the finishing line.”

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Framingham board OK’s new Avidia Bank branch

Wicked Local Framingham | By Danielle Ameden
November 20, 2015

avidiaFRAMINGHAM – The Planning Board on Thursday approved a new Avidia Bank on Rte. 30 after members spent a great deal of time debating the contemporary design. Avidia plans to demolish the former Bickford’s restaurant at 270 Cochituate Road and build a new, two-story, 6,500-square-foot full-service bank branch and lending office.

In picking up its review of the project, some board members said they loved the proposed architecture and design, featuring gray brick, metal, glass, light-colored wood and accents of orange, gray and white with a sculpture and urban park-type promenade out front.

Member Lew Colten, an architect, said he appreciates the clean, modern look and hoped it would elevate the designs for future investment along the Rte. 30 corridor. “What I see is an opportunity to set a new standard,” Colten said, noting that the building “is definitely going to be standing out.” Chairwoman Christine Long agreed it would stand out.

She compared it to the new Christa McAuliffe branch library in Nobscot, designed to be evocative of space exploration and taking flight that is bringing an entirely new look to the neighborhood. “This could do the same thing,” she said. “I just think it’s the way things are going.”

Board member Tom Mahoney said he was totally opposed to the modern colors and materials, saying the building would stick out “like a sore thumb” along Rte. 30. “It doesn’t tie in at all,” Mahoney said, saying he wanted Avidia to make it better fit in. Trying to reconcile the opposite views, project attorney Jim Hanrahan asked for the opinions of other board members.

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Normandy Wins Approvals For 27-Acre Needham Crossing Redevelopment

Banker & Tradesman | By Steve Adams
November 24, 2015


Normandy Real Estate Partners has cleared two major hurdles as it transforms the 27-acre General Dynamics Mission Systems property in Needham with a 390-unit apartment complex and a new headquarters for appliance maker SharkNinja.

The complex located alongside Route 128 next to the new TripAdvisor headquarters would contain up to 423,000 square feet of office space, a 128-room hotel and the apartment complex.

The Needham Zoning Board of Appeals last week approved a special permit for a 390-unit apartment complex, which would be built at the corner of A Street and 2nd Avenue under the state’s Chapter 40B affordable housing law. Needham selectmen have supported the project as a “friendly 40B” that will help them meet the state’s 10 percent goal for affordable housing stock.

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Pressed Café Expands To The District In Burlington

Banker & Tradesman
November 24, 2015

pressed cafe

Pressed Café has signed a 10-year lease for 3,500 square feet at The District in Burlington.

The District, formerly the New England Executive Park, is currently being transformed into a mixed-use development.

The 150-seat café scheduled to open in fall 2016 will feature all-day breakfast and a menu that includes paninis, salads, soups, local micro-roasted coffee and cold brew, espresso drinks, smoothies and fresh-pressed juice.

The café was founded by Roi Shpindler, who opened the first Pressed Café last year in Nashua, New Hampshire.

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132-unit housing development proposed in Brighton

The Boston Globe | By Tim Logan
November 23, 2015

Another housing development is being proposed for the northern corner of Brighton.

The Mount Vernon Company wants to build a 132-unit apartment building with street-level retail at the corner of Western Ave. and Birmingham, according to a letter of intent filed with the Boston Redevelopment Authority Friday.

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Skanska’s Seaport spec building draws lookers

The Boston Globe | By Tim Logan
November 23, 2015

The seventh floor of 101 Seaport Blvd. is empty right now, but it gets a fair bit of foot traffic — from people coming to look at the hole in the ground next door.

Skanska USA is under construction on the only so-called “spec” office building going up in Boston right now, its 450,000-square foot tower at 121 Seaport.

And while they don’t have an anchor tenant lined up yet, they’re getting a lot of lookers.

“We get a shot at every major tenant in the market,” said Shawn Hurley, who runs Skanska’s Boston operations. “Everyone’s coming to take a look.”

Despite Boston’s development boom, big chunks of office space are scarce right now. As of Oct. 1, there were 17 tenants looking for 50,000 square feet or more of top-end office space in downtown Boston, according to real estate firm JLL, and just 11 blocks big enough to house them.
That means buildings with room are drawing interest. Three would-be tenants have proposed leasing all 180,000 square feet that Boston Properties has at 120 St. James, in the base of the old John Hancock Tower, president Douglas Linde told analysts recently. The space PWC left behind for the Seaport, at 125 High Street, also went quick. And Goodwin Procter’s soon-to-be-former home at 53 State has seen strong interest.

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Construction Starts Post Increases in October

Engineering News-Record | By Tom Ichniowski
November 20, 2015

New construction volume climbed 13% in October from the previous month’s level, to a $591.1-billion annual rate, thanks largely to an upturn in the nonresidential sector, says Dodge Data and Analytics.

Dodge D&A’s latest monthly report on projected construction spending, released on Nov. 20, also shows that construction starts for the first 10 months of 2015 were up 10% from the same period last year, to $551.9 billion. The month-to-month figures are seasonally adjusted; the year-to-date numbers are not.

In addition, Dodge said that its October Dodge Index rose to 125 from September’s 111. The index’s base year, when it stood at 100, is 2000.

Robert Murray, Dodge chief economist, said in a statement, “The healthy increase for construction starts in October alleviates concern about a stalling expansion that may have arisen with the sluggish activity in August and September.”

New construction’d estimated volume fell 5% in September after posting an 11% month-to-month drop in August, according to Dodge.

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Plans for new Minuteman school submitted to state

Wicked Local Concord | By Nick Greenhalgh
November 20, 2015

CONCORD- The schematic design for a new 628-student Minuteman Regional High School will move to the next phase after the members of the Minuteman School Committee voted to approve the design of a new school building Nov. 17.

The design will be submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority on behalf of the Minuteman Regional Vocational School District by Dec. 1. The committee voted 12 in favor, the representative from Sudbury opposed and representatives from Acton, Wayland and Weston were absent.

The Minuteman district includes Acton, Arlington, Belmont, Bolton, Boxborough, Carlisle, Concord, Dover, Lancaster, Lexington, Lincoln, Needham, Stow, Sudbury, Wayland and Weston.

A third of the $144.9 million project is expected to be reimbursed by the MSBA, said Dover representative Ford Spalding, leaving the rest of the project to be funded by member towns.

The 16 member towns would be expected to pay $98 million after being reimbursed nearly $47 million by the MSBA. Committee member Sue Sheffler of Arlington said the town is committed to supporting vocational education and a new building for Minuteman given the fact that Arlington accounts for more than a third of the population at the school.

While the size of the school and lack of opportunity for input from the committee during the design process worry Jack Weis of Belmont, the MSBA funding was enough for him to approve the schematics. “I do think that the $47 million proposed from the state is important,” he said. “The risks do not offset the benefit of MSBA money.”

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Planning Board approves mixed use rezoning of Watertown malls

Wicked Local Watertown | By Charlie Breitrose
November 20, 2015

WATERTOWN- Efforts to change the zoning for the area encompassing Watertown’s two malls moved a step closer to reality last week when the Planning Board approved the Regional Mixed Use District (RMUD).

The plan calls for changing the zoning for the area on the eastern end of Arsenal Street, including the Arsenal Project, the Watertown Mall plus parts of Elm Street and Coolidge Avenue.

The proposed zoning changes would allow larger mixed-use projects to be built in the area. Projects could include commercial, residential and office uses. The current zoning for those area allows industrial uses only, with others allowed by special permit.

According to the new rules, proposals over six acres would require having a master plan process and approval by the Planning and Zoning boards.

During the Planning Board meeting, residents expressed concerns about some of the possible changes, including how new developments could impact the Charles River and surrounding neighborhoods. They also worried about the height of buildings.

Resident Jonathan Bakian worried about the river being encroached upon by the larger buildings. “Efforts to protect the Charles and making the open space enjoyable to people is not enhanced by building private housing that overlooks the Charles,” Bakian said.

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LCB Obtains Financing For Senior Housing Developments

Banker & Tradesman
November 19, 2015

LCB Senior Living has obtained $53.4 million in construction financing and joint venture equity for senior housing developments in Melrose and Swampscott.

The Residence at Vinnin Square in Swampscott will contain 85 apartments for independent, assisted and memory care living on a 3.1-acre site. Cushman & Wakefield’s capital market team arranged $18.5 million on construction financing from M&T Bank, with $10 million in joint venture equity from AEW Capital Management and LCB. The project is now under construction and is scheduled to open in early 2017.

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Salem gets nearly $1 million for commercial marina

The Salem News | By Dustin Luca
November 20, 2015

salem marina

SALEM — A nearly $1 million grant coming to the city won’t put Salem in competition with Gloucester, but a large project to open the city’s first commercial marina will be ready for business by next summer.

Salem has landed a $928,000 grant from the state’s Seaport Economic Council, a recently rebuilt task force that aims to spur economic growth in coastal communities.

With the grant, the city has also committed to spend $232,000 of its own cash to build a $1.16 million commercial marina off of an unused portion of Blaney Street, near the ferry landing.

Though Salem has vast amounts of oceanside real estate, the grant will help bring something the city currently lacks, according to Deputy Planning Director Kathleen Winn.

“Salem doesn’t have a public commercial marina. The marinas in Salem are for recreational uses,” Winn said. “This is going to be the only commercial marina. It’s for fishing boats, lobstermen, any marine commercial use.”

The marina would be built alongside Blaney Street. Today, a long stretch of the road that borders the water shows little evidence of future life beyond the chain-link and construction fencing that separates the public from access to the water.

The $928,000 grant is part of a $6.6 million grant package from the Seaport Economic Council, of which Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll is a member. Eight other communities also received grant dollars, including Chatham, Quincy, Saugus and Salisbury.

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Woburn Hotel Getting $15M Upgrade, New Owners

Banker & Tradesman | By Steve Adams
November 20, 2015

The Davis Cos. of Boston and Rubicon Partners have acquired the Hilton Boston-Woburn hotel, and plan to give it a major upgrade.

The companies intend for the $15 million improvements to help the 344-room, 25-year-old property attract more business travelers and conferences.

The purchase price was $32.1 million, according to Middlesex County Registry of Deeds records.

Rich McCready, president of The Davis Cos., said the company has been wary of buying hotels because of the specialized skills needed to own hospitality properties. But in his previous role at NorthStar Capital, McCready had partnered with Rubicon Partners’ Marc Gordon. Rubicon is an experienced hotel investor and Gordon is former president of Morgans Hotel Group.

“It’s an operating business as well as a real estate play,” McCready said. “That’s why it’s important to do it with a partner that we trusted and has great experience.”

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State bets big on future of long-struggling Lynn

The Boston Globe | By Jon Chesto
November 22, 2015

lynnMost of us see just auto dealerships and chain stores when we drive down the Lynnway. But Jay Ash sees something else: the opportunity to revive a city.

The state’s economic development secretary is playing a key role on behalf of his boss, Governor Charlie Baker, in shepherding a newly formed task force whose sole purpose is sparking development in this North Shore city.

The task force is unusual, possibly unprecedented, in its focus on the fortunes of a particular municipality. But Lynn’s potential — with its proximity to Boston, public transit, and oft-overlooked waterfront — has convinced Baker, Ash, and their team to make this place a priority.

“This is Lynn’s time,” Ash said. “We think there’s a great opportunity to do something that can be special here.”

Baker, of course, is quite familiar with the Lynnway: He lives next door, in Swampscott. Ash lives in Danvers, and visited frequently during his previous job as city manager in nearby Chelsea, a down-on-its-luck city that he is credited with having revitalized.

Ash acknowledged that he and Baker have spent enough time driving through Lynn to know there’s potential, but hard work ahead, too. Along this stretch, the ocean is obscured amid a thicket of discount stores and drab industrial sites, including a sewage treatment plant and a liquefied natural gas storage tank.

The issue isn’t just one of aesthetics. General Electric Co.’s manufacturing workforce in Lynn is a fraction of what it once was, the city’s median income is two-thirds of the state median, and its poverty rate is twice as high as the state’s.

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Natick Planning Board backs MathWorks project

Wicked Local Natick | By Brian Benson
November 19, 2015

NATICK- The Planning Board has approved MathWorks’ planned redevelopment of the former Boston Scientific property by the intersection of Rte. 9 and Speen Street.?

Jamie Errickson, the town’s community and economic development director, said the board supported the project at its meeting Wednesday.?”MathWorks provided updated plans based on previous Planning Board comments,” Errickson said Thursday, praising cooperation between the company and town.?

MathWorks, a technical computing software developer headquartered in Natick along Rte. 9 on Apple Hill, purchased the roughly 31-acre property a couple years ago.

The site was home to Boston Scientific before it moved to Marlborough.?The company plans to ultimately demolish all of the existing buildings on the site and build three new, interconnected buildings.

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