At 4:15 a.m. last night, Beacon Hill lawmakers finally stopped kicking the can down the road.
The House and the Senate passed a number of bills in the final, extended, hours of its two-year session, including an economic stimulus bill and transportation
bond bill, reports Matt Murphy at State House News .
The $626.5 million economic development bill (H 5250
includes a version of Gov. Charlie Baker's long-stalled housing choice bill that would lower the threshold for some zoning changes to a simple majority.
The bill also caps the fees third-party delivery services such as DoorDash or UberEats can charge restaurants for their services at 15 percent for the
duration of the COVID-19 emergency. The cap also only applies to restaurants with fewer than 25 locations.
The bill also included $50 million in funding for transit-oriented housing, $30 million for a loan program similar to the federal Paycheck Protection Program
for businesses hurt by COVID-19, and funding for job training, tourism, technology and advance manufacturing.
There’s also $35 million in loan funding for community development lending institutions to extend capital to small businesses, with a focus on minority-
and women-owned businesses that have historically had trouble accessing financing and have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
There is $52 million set aside for science and technology research, $20 million for economic development in small, rural communities, $14 million for tourism,
and $6 million to support artists and local museums.
And it creates a Future of Work commission to study how to promote sustainable jobs with fair benefits and workplace safety standards across industries.
It also creates commissions to study the negative impact of changes in media on local journalism and how to help the arts community recover from the
The transportation bond bill
authorizes billions of dollars in bonds for highway and bridge maintenance, train modernization, and major capital projects such as a Red Line-Blue
Line Connector, the extension of commuter rail service to the South Coast, and the approaches to the two Cape Cod bridges, according to Chris Lisinski at State House News.
It also increases to the flat per-ride fees charged on app-based services such as Uber and Lyft.
Get ready for PPP 2 now
The second round the Paycheck Protection Program has been approved and funded. But the application process is not yet open.
PPP2 will be open to employers that either didn't get a first PPP or those that already got one but also suffered significant revenue losses as a result
of COVID-19, or closed and need more help. Here's a few links that may be helpful:
Although it's too early to apply for PPP 2, now is the time for apply for a state grant administered by Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation.
Preference will go to restaurants/bars, independent retailers, indoor recreation and entertainment, personal services and event support companies. Deadline is Jan. 15.
The Cottage restaurant in Wellesley has gone into hibernation at least until February, according to the Swellesley Report
Swellesley also tells us that the new Wellesley Tavern
which has the same owners as The Cottage, will hold off its opening until March. It was originally slated to debut late in 2020
as a new family friendly restaurant at the former site of Door No. 7 in Linden Square.
Real estate market poised for a good year
Global pandemic or not, just over a third of commercial real estate brokers across the country said they made more money in 2020 than in 2019 (and that
was said to be a damn fine year
as well). The data comes from a new survey published by Bisnow.
Brokers surveyed also said transaction volume was down: 57% completed fewer transactions in 2020 than they did in 2019. They’re are also feeling optimistic
about the year ahead, with 75% of brokers predicting they will make more money in 2021 than they did in 2020.
Today's need to knows
Boylston to unveil Arsenal Yards’ next phase
Boylston Properties will present plans and hold a discussion about Phase B of its Arsenal Yards
master plan at two community meetings this month.
The discussion will focus on the proposed layout and design of One Arsenal Marketplace, the existing office building and parking garage located at 617
The building currently includes occupied office space and the now closed Millers Ale House. Once renovated, the building will include office space, new
and renovated life science space, reconfigured above and below grade parking with new parking ramps and revised loading access.
On Jan 11 at 6:30 p.m. Boylston will provide the full project presentation. On Jan. 21 at 6:30 p.m., the meeting will include a brief review and follow-up
from the first meeting.
And here’s what’s planned for the former Tufts HQ
Yesterday I noted that this week’s merger
between Tufts Health Plan and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care will result in Tufts leaving
its current headquarters in Watertown and Harvard Pilgrim leaving Wellesley. Employees from both firms moving
to the yet-to-be-named new company’s HQ in Canton later this year.
Will Baker lift the capacity cap? Doubtful
“There’d be no reason not to [believe it’s here], given the contagious nature of this new variant,” Baker said.
Also yesterday, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced that he was extended his city’s even tighter restrictions
Walsh noted that it’s public behavior, not indoor dining and other business activity, that has him most concerned.
“Our contact tracing efforts have made it clear, even though indoor dining itself isn’t a high-risk factor, too many people are going out to dinner with
people outside their households, outside of their bubble,” Walsh said.
“People have a few drinks and they kind of wander around, sometimes to see other people and they table hop. We need this to stop. ... We need to keep local
restaurants open but only if people follow the public health guidelines.”
Thanks for reading. Be back tomorrow.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber