Chamber News

October 20, 2020 Likes Comments

Twenty-four thumbs up for Riverside Station!

This is big!

A transformative, transit-oriented development at the Riverside MBTA station was approved, 24-0, by the Newton City Council last night.
 
The years-in-the-making project will include 582 apartments (including 103 affordable units) along with 253,827 square feet of office space, 150 hotel rooms and 38,895 square feet of ground-floor commercial.

(It was not clear last night if a dispute between Mark Development and Woodland Golf Club that was the subject of a page one story in the Globe has been fully resolved but the sense is that tensions there have cooled.)
The Riverside project would net the City of Newton $1.65 million annually in new tax revenue.
 
There’s surely a lot more to say about this project and what it means for Newton and our region.
 
For this morning, let’s just say that, with last night’s unanimous vote, and the resounding approval of the Northland project by 60 percent of voters in March, Newton’s reputation as a city that says "no" to growth and change is very much in danger.
 
Congratulations to all involved!
 
Residents aren't the only ones struggling with evictions
 
Massachusetts’ eviction moratorium expired Saturday and we should all be deeply concerned about the estimated 60,000 renter households across the state who may now fear imminent eviction.
 
We should also be concerned about our independent landlords, who risk losing their livelihoods and the workers they employ, as they struggle to cover mortgage payments and other expenses.
 
And then there’s small business owners like Maria Mavrogiannis.
 
The 76-year-old owner of Maria's Dress and Tailor Shop in Needham tells Samantha Mercado at Patch that she’s still working, despite being at high risk for COVID-19, because she can't afford not to.
 
When her husband died last year, Mavrogiannis didn't have enough money for his gravestone.
 
And while she hadn't missed a rent payment, or any bill, in 30 years before this year, she’s now in court fighting eviction.
 
"No one needs tailoring, no one is buying dresses. I don't know what to do," Mavrogiannis said.
 
 
A word about work and politics
 
Two weeks before election day and pretty much everyone is on edge, right?
 
In addition to lost productivity from sleepless nights and nonstop headline and social media surfing, employers need to keep an eye out for instances when political acrimony might lead to legal claims of a hostile work environment.
 
In a recent article for Forbes, Bruce Brumberg (a chamber Citizen Member) looks through the legal prism and offers eight things to know about divisive political speech in the workplace, including this warning about dress codes:
 
“... employers should not try to ‘draw lines’ about political views or topics. If a company has a dress-code policy, it should consistently prohibit all political positions and issues or permit any of them. As an example, they observed, banning Trump ‘Make America Great Again’ hats while allowing ‘Black Lives Matter’ t-shirts could be problematic.”
 
Northland COO honored
 
Congratulations to Suzanne Abair, COO at the Newton-based Northland Investment Corp. who has been selected as one of the eight 2020 Women Who Mean Business honorees by the BBJ. The honorees were selected from more than 200 nominations across the Greater Boston.
 
Abair joined Northland in 2004 and served as general counsel for 12 years prior to becoming COO. She was previously a partner at at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C. FY22 Capital Improvement Plan and Five-Year Financial Forecast
 
Tuesday's three bullet points
  • Join MassChallenge Thursday (Oct. 22) at 5 p.m. for a live, virtual celebration of innovation featuring 200+ startups from their 2020 U.S. accelerator programs. The event will showcase the startups, feature industry-leading speakers on the transformative power of entrepreneurship. Register here.
Dining contest off to a tasty start
 
We had more than 100 entries (examples here) over the weekend for our Keep Making Memories Contest in support of our local restaurants. And more than 60 area restaurants have now joined the Newton-Needham Dining Collaborative.
 
The goal behind the contest is to flood social media with the message of supporting local and images of the area's amazing food options. To enter, visit a participating restaurant (dine in, dine out or take out) between now and Nov. 15, post to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #keepmakingmemoriescontest, or (if you’re not on social media) enter your meals via an online form.
 
“This is genius in its simplicity,” writes Boston Business Journal Editor Doug Banks, “because it’s not about winning a $25 gift card for eating out more. It’s about making sure your favorite local establishments don't close forever.”
 
And unlike, say, voting, multiple entries are legal and encouraged! Contest rules here.
 
Be back tomorrow. Join us this afternoon at 1 p.m. for a cybersecurity webinar.
President, Newton-Needham Regional Chamber
617-244-1688
Your chamber is here when you need us.

 

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