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Boston-area office market showing signs of stability as pandemic eases

Leasing grew in the third quarter after 15 months of declines

The Financial District skyline as seen from Boston Harbor. Downtown Boston's office market is showing signs of stability after sharp declines in leasing during the earlier parts of the COVID-19 pandemic.Charles Krupa/Associated Press


Boston-area office market notches first gains since pandemic

After falling four five straight quarters since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the amount of office space under lease in Greater Boston climbed in the three months ending Sept. 30. Barely. The market added 45,000 square feet of leased space — roughly equal to one floor of a large downtown office tower — in the quarter, according to a new report out Tuesday from real estate firm Hunneman. It’s a small gain but big change from this time last year when companies were shedding office space at a rapid clip. The office market remains subdued, especially in downtown Boston where empty office space has increased by 1.5 million square feet over the last 12 months. But vacancy rates and asking rents have stabilized and a few big-blue chip tenants — Wellington Management downtown and HubSpot in Cambridge — have recently extended and expanded large leases. — TIM LOGAN



Local car dealer network grows its footprint in Rhode Island

Norwood-based DCD Automotive Holdings has expanded its growing empire into Rhode Island by reaching an agreement to purchase the Tarbox Hyundai and Tarbox Toyota dealerships in Kingstown, R.I. DCD, owned by father and son Dan and Chris Dagesse, is buying the two dealerships from Eddie Tarbox, and about 90 employees will join DCD as a result. DCD will rename them “Nucar Tarbox Hyundai” and “Nucar Tarbox Toyota,” to keep them consistent with most of the other dealerships in the DCD portfolio that carry the Nucar brand. DCD has become one of the biggest auto groups in New England, with nearly 20 dealerships, through a series of acquisitions in recent years, including the purchase of the Lannan Chevrolet dealerships in Lowell and Woburn in the spring. — JON CHESTO


Citizens sets aside nearly $3m for workforce development programs

Citizens Bank unveiled on Tuesday nearly $3 million in various grants to address workforce training in the region. Topping the list is a pledge of $1.6 million that would go to Year Up, for internships and educational programs. The Providence-based bank is also giving $200,000 to Bunker Hill Community College, to launch a training program there called the “Citizens Community College Accelerator,” and $150,000 to LISC Boston to bolster mid-level healthcare careers. And the bank is doling out $840,000 among 20 nonprofits, primarily in Greater Boston, to support local workforce development programs. A spokesman said some of these grants are a continuation of earlier efforts, such as the Year Up donation, and some are new, such as the Bunker Hill gift. — JON CHESTO



Little Caesars outlines plans to grow in Mass., R.I.

A lot more Detroit-style pizza could be coming soon to New England. Michigan-based Little Caesars said Tuesday that it wants to roughly triple its presence in Massachusetts and Rhode Island over the next few years. The nation’s third-largest pizza chain, which has 17 locations in the Greater Boston and Providence markets, said it plans to award 50 new franchise locations in the two regions by 2026. Pizza sales have grown steadily during the pandemic and national chains and local operators alike are looking to consolidate their gains. — TIM LOGAN


Amazon looks to ‘burbs for room to grow in Seattle area

Amazon.com Inc. chief executive Andy Jassy is open to a reset in his company’s sometimes-contentious relationship with the city of Seattle, but made clear that he’s hedging his bets with plans to expand in neighboring communities. The world’s largest online retailer is by far the biggest private employer in Seattle with more than 50,000 workers. That distinction has proved a headache in recent years, with some residents and government officials blaming the company for exacerbating homelessness and traffic. The company, which is wrapping up construction of an expanded Seattle headquarters campus, has gradually shifted its expansion planning toward neighboring cities like Bellevue and Redmond. Bellevue, just east of Seattle, “is where most of our growth will end up being,” Jassy said. He added that he wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon opened other offices in additional cities in the region. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Police, waiters, bankers among most likely to say ‘I quit’

Police officers, restaurant staff, and bankers are among professions with the highest turnover rates in a study of US job volatility. That’s in part because US employees are now more interested in exploring other opportunities or unsolicited recruiting messages than ever before, according to the report from Workforce Logiq, a provider of recruiting and workforce-managing tools. Workforce Logiq found that bankers are most likely to cite mental-health issues as a main reason to leave their job and many aren’t receptive to being called back to the office. Other categories with high churn rates are software engineers and information technology professionals, two professions that are in high demand. Attrition may get worse, according to a recent McKinsey survey, which found that 36 percent of respondents who had quit in the previous six months did so without having a new job lined up. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Get ready to pay up for your Pepsi

Add soda and a bag of chips to the growing list of things that will soon cost more. PepsiCo Inc. chief financial officer Hugh Johnston said Tuesday that higher prices will be the “No. 1″ tool the beverage and snack maker will use to offset higher commodity, transportation and supply chain costs. Johnston said PepsiCo will also change the mix of products it sells in a bid to nudge shoppers toward more profitable items — like variety packs of Lay’s chips instead of larger bags. The maker of Mountain Dew and Doritos on Tuesday reported third-quarter sales that beat analyst estimates while raising its full-year revenue forecast. Johnston said that the company’s beverage business has been hampered by a shortage of certain supplies, such as aluminum cans used for soft drinks and plastic bottles for Gatorade sports drinks. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Service industries see brighter times ahead

US service providers expanded at a faster-than-expected pace in September, supported by a pickup in business activity and durable growth in new orders. The Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing index edged up to 61.9 last month from 61.7 in August, data showed Tuesday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for the measure to fall to 59.9. Readings above 50 signal growth. The report suggests concerns about the delta variant — though still present — are abating some as Americans feel more confident spending money on services like dining out and travel. Seventeen of 18 services industries reported growth last month, led by retail trade, entertainment, and management and support of companies. — BLOOMBERG NEWS