Talking Points
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    TALKING POINTS

    Six stories you may have missed from the world of business

    TECHNOLOGY

    After EMC buyout, possibility of job cuts at Dell

    Details are emerging about possible job cuts at Dell Technologies Inc., which completed a $60 billion buyout of Hopkinton-based EMC Corp. this week in the largest tech-sector merger on record. The newly combined company could trim 2,000 to 3,000 positions as it seeks $1.7 billion in savings over the next 18 months, Bloomberg News reported Thursday. The figures provide an early hint about the scope of Dell’s cost-cutting plans as it works to integrate two large IT vendors with a combined 140,000 employees worldwide. Dell spokesman Dave Farmer declined to comment on the report, which cited anonymous sources. Dell executives have warned there would be some unspecified staff reductions after the merger, although they also have stressed that the company plans to grow by increasing sales of its PCs, servers, and data storage equipment and software. On Wednesday, finance chief Tom Sweet said the company expected to cut costs by focusing on “increased efficiencies in the combined company’s supply chain, and in the general and administrative areas.” — CURT WOODWARD

    REAL ESTATE

    Making big cash from humble houses

    With its tidy homes and overgrown lots, the little pocket of Dorchester hardly looks like the city’s next hot address. Beyond a chain-link fence is the busy South Bay Shopping Center, and the few modest residences are hemmed in by a hodgepodge of low-grade industrial businesses — auto repair shops, junkyards, a small concrete plant. Yet on Baker Court and Fields Court, two narrow paved paths so tiny they could hardly be called streets, some longtime property owners believe they are sitting on a real estate goldmine. They are offering three small homes and an adjacent lot as a package for developers. Asking price? $6 million. Yes, $6 million — for four properties with a combined assessed value of $871,200. Like many old residential areas of Boston, this pocket between Massachusetts Avenue and Boston Street is on the cusp of a wholesale redevelopment. It is a microcosm of the changes transforming Boston from a city stocked with humble homes where workers of limited means could raise families to what’s becoming in many areas an expensive metropolis of upscale residences. Earlier this year a dilapidated three-family home on neighboring Willow Court sold for $1.175 million to a developer proposing a nine-unit building. Across the street are two new apartment buildings, where units rent for $2,500 to $2,900 a month. Baker Court, meanwhile, is overrun with construction workers finishing two other buildings, where condos will start at $500,000. And beyond that chain-link fence is perhaps the biggest catalyst: a massive complex the owner of the South Bay shopping center has begun that will bring 475 apartments, a 12-screen movie theater, a 130-room hotel, new stores, and restaurants. — KATHELEEN CONTI

    HEALTH CARE

    Growth in spending in Massachusetts rose more slowly in 2015

    The growth of health care spending moderated in Massachusetts last year, the state reported Wednesday, a sign that its ground-breaking experiment to rein in medical costs is making tentative progress. Outlays rose 3.9 percent, a figure that is down from a 4.2 percent increase in 2014 and that matches the state’s economic growth, according to the new data. Spending most likely rose at a slower pace here than nationally, a change from years past — and an accomplishment given that Massachusetts has some of the most expensive hospitals and doctors in the country. While the numbers from the state’s Center for Health Information and Analysis show some success on the spending front, cost control remains a significant challenge at a time when more people are gaining insurance coverage and prescription drug prices are rising. Growth in expenditures in 2015 exceeded the state’s goal of 3.6 percent for the second straight year. Moreover, health care spending rose much faster than the state’s 0.6 inflation rate. Massachusetts, which mandated health insurance coverage for all residents in a landmark 2006 law, is also considered a leader for monitoring medical costs and encouraging insurers and hospitals to adopt new business models designed to provide more cost-effective care. — PRIYANKA DAYAL MCCLUSKEY

    ENERGY

    Offshore wind developers to use New Bedford terminal

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    Three offshore wind developers signed an agreement on Tuesday to use the state’s $113 million New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, providing a key victory for the Baker administration after a state agency failed to generate much income from the port. Governor Charlie Baker joined representatives of the three companies — Deepwater Wind, OffshoreMW, and DONG Energy — in New Bedford to celebrate the deal. The agreement came about a month after Baker signed a new law that will push big electric utilities to buy as much as 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power over the course of a decade. Supporters of the law hailed it as a way to kick-start a new industry in the state. The developers agreed to pay $5.7 million a year to the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to use the 26-acre terminal as a staging ground for offshore construction. It’s likely that the developers would take turns at the port, based on when they win the bids for the utility contracts, although it’s possible some overlap would occur. All three have secured leasing rights to federal waters south of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. — JON CHESTO

    WAGES

    Paychecks for Mass. workers just starting to rebound after recession

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    More than seven years after the Great Recession, most Massachusetts workers are just starting to see a rebound in their wages. And for many, despite raises and stronger job growth, paychecks haven’t quite climbed back to their peaks, according to a report from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center released Monday. The average hourly wage for the vast swath of the middle class in Massachusetts was $22.25 in 2015, a nearly 3 percent increase from the year before. But adjusted for inflation, it’s still 3.2 percent behind the $22.99 workers took home at a high point in 2009. The situation isn’t much better for workers at the bottom, who enjoyed one of the biggest bumps in wages in 2015, thanks in large part to a state minimum wage increase that brought hourly earnings to $9.74. But they’re still 2.7 percent behind their earnings in 2009, when they made the equivalent of $10 an hour. Even the top 10 percent of earners in the state, who pocketed $50.69 an hour in 2015, saw their wages remain flat compared with 2009. — DEIRDRE FERNANDES

    REAL ESTATE

    Turning apartments into dorms, at least temporarily

    The new six-story building on Commonwealth Avenue wasn’t built to be a dorm. But 180 Boston University students have recently moved in. The arrangement is part of a two-year deal BU made with the building’s developer to lease out the space as student housing. It’ll be like any other dorm, complete with RAs and university housing rules, while BU renovates its Myles Standish Hall in Kenmore Square. Once those upgrades are complete, the plan is for 1047 Commonwealth Ave. to go back on the city’s rental market. Emerson College is eyeing a similar deal in the Fenway while it renovates a dorm downtown. And Boston College this summer converted an apartment tower it owns in Brighton into a dorm, part of a plan to make up for student housing it’s tearing down for a new recreation center. As schools get to work on the 3,500 new dorm rooms the Walsh administration has approved in the last two years, construction is knocking some of their existing dorms out of commission. So they’re cutting deals with developers and landlords to put students in regular apartments, for now at least. It’s a temporary fix, they promise, but one that has some housing advocates nervous in a city where the rental market is so tight that every apartment seems precious. — TIM LOGAN