Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Two 600-Foot Towers Planned for Downtown Waterfront

A developer is planning to construct a pair of angular skyscrapers with up to 300 hotel rooms and 120 condominiums on one of the city’s largest development sites. The $1 billion project would construct two modern towers -- one clad in glass, the other in terra cotta – that would rise to 600 feet along Atlantic Avenue on the downtown waterfront. Construction of the 1.3 million-square complex would create jobs for up to 3,300 hard hats.

Developer Don Chiofaro plans to replace the Harbor Garage with a pair of tall buildings containing a five-star hotel, residences, offices and stores.

The $1 billion waterfront complex, designed by the firm Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, would redefine a corner of the city dominated by structures built many decades ago, and create a new gateway to the city from the water.

The 1.3 million-square project would construct a 600-foot tall residential tower and a 537-foot office building, including up to 300 hotel rooms, 120 condominiums, 700,000 square feet of offices and three levels of retail stores.

On the ground floor, a public arcade would be constructed to connect the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway to Boston Harbor, and 1,400 parking spaces would be built underground.

The arcade would represent a dramatic improvement from the lack of public space presently on the site, and would allow for year-round public events and open new views of the water from the greenway – both signature elements of a thriving city.

The developer plans to meet the state waterfront development requirements of devoting at least 48 percent of the footprint to “open space” by primarily creating “Harbor Square,” an enclosed atrium covered by a retractable glass ceiling and removable doors that would house a skating rink in the winter, and a great lawn with flowers and farmers markets, in the summer months.

At its widest point, Harbor Square would be 167 feet wide at Atlantic Avenue, tapering to 70 feet wide at the Harbor -- large enough to comfortably accommodate the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink.

“The project looks like nothing else on the Boston skyline and nothing else at the ground level,” Chiofaro said. “In its uniqueness, it shares a common bond with a distinguished collection of Boston architecture and engineering.”

Chiofaro said that his project, with his glistening towers and five-star hotel, will increase property values in the area and transform the entire neighborhood.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Accountant Embezzled $1.6 Million from Electrical Supply House

Over a period of seven years, an accountant allegedly embezzled $1.6 million from a branch of Electrical Wholesalers in Connecticut. Gail Zolla turned herself in to police after learning of a warrant for her arrest. Investigators allege that the former employee wrote 470 checks to a fake company and deposited the funds into her personal bank accounts. Ms. Zolla was charged with one count of first-degree larceny and 327 counts of second-degree forgery and is being held on $250,000 bond.

A former accountant for a Connecticut-based electrical supply company was charged Wednesday with embezzling $1.6 million over seven years.

Gale Zolla was charged with first-degree larceny and second-degree forgery. Police said the forgery counts relate to checks she wrote to a fictitious company and deposited into her personal accounts.

Police said that on February 15, Zolla went to police precinct and told officers she had embezzled money from her employer, U.S. Electrical Services Inc., which is the parent company of Electrical Wholesalers.

The case was turned over to detectives and inspectors in the state's attorney's office, who began investigating.

Zolla initially told police she'd stolen $800,000 from the company, but as the company audited its accounts it determined the loss was actually $1.66 million.

The former accountant told police she believed her boss was beginning to suspect she was stealing and that prompted her February visit to Bristol police.

Police said their investigation showed that she wrote herself 470 checks during the time she worked at Electrical Wholesalers, and that she wrote the last check on February 15, the same day she went to police to turn herself in.

Police obtained search warrants for her home and bank accounts and said most of the money appears to be gone. Zolla told police she spent about $100,000 on landscaping at her home and the rest of the money on vacations, vehicles and other household expenses.

She also covered some of the expenses of her wedding with the stolen funds, according to the warrant. Bank records "indicate she spent money on vacations, restaurants, furniture and many shopping sprees."

Police also learned that Zolla used about $12,500 in stolen funds to pay down her credit cards just prior to going to police headquarters to confess. She cashed an allegedly forged check for $5,000 the day she went to police and another for $6,264 just after, according to the warrant.

What prompted Zolla to go to police to confess appears to be the efforts of a co-worker at U.S. Electrical Services, Linda Culop, to reconcile several accounts. One account was short about $750,000 for 2012 and 2013. Culop, a senior accountant, asked Zolla about the discrepancy and Zolla said she'd look into it.

Over the next several weeks, Culop continued to ask Zolla about the discrepancies, but did not get an answer. She then went to the company's chief financial officer, Robert Canyock, and another employee to show them the problem.

Culop told police that on February 14 she sat down with Zolla and another employee to investigate the shortfall, according to the warrant. Zolla said she was stepping away to get more detail, and then left work. Zolla went to police the next day.

As U.S. Electrical Services accountants further examined the records, they determined that the company's loss totaled $1.66 million and all of the checks had been cut by Zolla to the fictitious company.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wynn Casino to Roll in Everett amid Question 3 Defeat

The people of the Commonwealth have spoken, and the biggest news is that Question 3 has been handily defeated. Now that the voters have affirmed that gaming legislation is a positive choice for the state, casino mogul Steve Wynn is preparing to turn the former site of a chemical plant along the Mystic River, just north of Boston in Everett, into a sparkling gambling resort. The $1.6 billion development will be the largest private sector construction project in the history of the State of Massachusetts and is expected to generate around 14,300 construction jobs.
The Wynn Casino in Everett will include a five-star resort with more than 500 hotel rooms, high-end retail and dining, a ballroom and meeting space.

The development would be spread over 30 acres of Mystic River waterfront with paths open to the general public leading to the harbor and more retail and dining overlooking the riverwalk.

The "family-friendly" casino-resort would take at least two years to build.

The Wynn Resort in Everett will be built with union contractors. The comprehensive agreement covers all aspects of construction, work rules and hours and was unanimously endorsed by the Massachusetts Building Trades Council—which represents the IBEW, Teamsters, iron workers, brick layers, sheet metal workers, and other trades—and the New England Regional Council of Carpenters.

Construction of the proposed 5-star Wynn Resort in Everett will require more than 10 million man hours of labor and generate 14,300 construction jobs, 4,000 permanent jobs and drive more than $4 billion in revenue to other local businesses over five years.

click to enlarge
The design of the casino-resort would mimic local architecture: "If you like the way the Boston skyline looks, you'll love our building," says Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn. The buildings will have a classic brick look on the lower floors and a glassy Vegas look as the building rise.

The casino developer also envisions a fleet of custom-built catamarans ferrying conventioneers and tourists from Long Wharf in downtown Boston and the World Trade Center in the Seaport district, to his riverfront gambling palace in Everett

As many as three water taxis would be in service at one time, leaving as frequently as 20 minutes apart.

Wynn Resorts insists the water shuttle service would reduce car traffic over already congested roads to the proposed resort.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission granted Wynn Resorts the sole casino license based on economic factors, opportunities and jobs.

The company’s proposal offered a bigger development plan, strong financing, a large construction investment, and a big projected workforce and payroll.

The Greater Boston casino license is projected to be worth about $700 million to more than $800 million a year in gambling revenue.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Massive 3-Tower Project Set to Rise at Boston Garden

A 1.87-million-square-foot, mixed-use project, with a price tag estimated at $950 million, will soon begin to rise over Causeway Street and the Zakim Bridge. The Boston Garden Towers will be constructed on a 2.8-acre parking lot located next to TD Garden, where the old Boston Garden once stood. The three tower project would connect 497 residential units, 668,000 square feet of office space and 235,000 square feet of retail to the sports venue and North Station.

The massive development located at 80 Causeway Street will dramatically alter the face of the TD Garden.

The new complex, designed by architect Elkus Manfredi, will rise over Causeway Street in three new towers: two of them 20 stories high and one 45-story tower reaching 600 feet, built above a three- to five-story retail base.

A modern glass atrium will connect to a new entrance into TD Garden and to the MBTA's North Station.

Below ground, a four-level parking garage will be constructed to accommodate about 800 vehicles.

“We are creating a new front door to North Station, a new portal to the city,” said David Manfredi, of Elkus Manfredi Architects.

“We don’t want to create a mall; we don’t want to create privatized space. We want to create space that is inviting to the public.”

The $950 million development will include:
  •     40,000 square foot expansion of TD Garden
  •     560,000 square feet of residential with 497 units
  •     200,000 square foot hotel with 306 rooms
  •     668,000 square feet of office space
  •     142,000 square feet of flexible office space
  •     235,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space
  •     25,000 square foot glass atrium hall

Prior to leaving office, Mayor Menino had agreed to provide $7.8 million in tax breaks to help the developers lure the Star Market and build the underground parking spaces for the TD Garden.

The tax agreement will spread the relief over 15 years.

During that same period, the development is expected to produce $32.2 million in new tax revenue for the city.

Developer Boston Properties said the tax agreement was crucial to attracting a supermarket to the property and asserted the project will help enliven the area around the arena.

The massive project will be built in stages, with the first phase to include the multi-story retail base, a supermarket, a cinema, a 306-room hotel, and the 4-story underground parking garage.

Construction is expected to begin early next year.

Monday, November 3, 2014

New! Lighting Control for the Digital Age

Touch the Future of Lighting Control with GRAFIK T™ from Lutron 
Introducing an exciting new lighting control solution for the digital age that marries advanced Lutron touch dimming technology with intuitive, minimalist design. GRAFIK T reinvents the way we interact with lighting controls: one simple touch or slide-of-a-finger on the LED light bar sets the lighting level. GRAFIK T is ideal for residential and commercial dimming applications. From simple standalone control to whole-home or building lighting control systems, GRAFIK T offers a solution for any light source.

Lighting control is effortless – and smart – with GRAFIK T innovative software and electronics. Lutron’s reliable Clear Connect® wireless technology provides the convenience of remote controls, and lets you connect GRAFIK T to Lutron’s wireless occupancy and daylight sensors.

Technological advances in GRAFIK T circuitry now make it possible to use elegant metal faceplates while maintaining wireless capability. In addition, patented C•L® dimming technology ensures GRAFIK T lighting controls are compatible with next-generation, energy-efficient bulbs, easing the transition to new lighting sources for residential and commercial users alike.

GRAFIK T lighting controls will also be available as a member of Lutron’s advanced lighting control system families, HomeWorks® QS and RadioRA® 2. In these systems, customers can control all light sources, including linear, recessed, and pendant LED fixtures.

GRAFIK T is the first architecturally designed dimmer to bring fashionable lighting control to the connected home market. Its aesthetic is elegant and timeless, featuring a faceplate that appears to float off the wall and a slightly raised LED bar that is responsive to the lightest touch and slightest motion. 

It is easy and intuitive to control lighting levels: all that’s required to raise or lower the lights is a soft touch on the LED light bar – no knobs to turn, buttons to press, or sliders to adjust.

Backed by Lutron quality, GRAFIK T is a modern design classic that brings together great looks and smart technology for a seamless user experience.

Contact your local Lutron representative for more information or visit www.lutron.com/grafikt

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