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Housing for homeless veterans


The blue-and-red banners of Suffolk Construction are seemingly all over the towers being built downtown, and its boss, John Fish, appears just as ubiquitous in Boston social circles. Fish’s sisters, meanwhile, are no slouches in real estate, but have taken a more low-profile approach with the company they run, which was started by their father, Ed Fish, 40 years ago.

But now Peabody Properties, which has about 10,500 apartment units under management, is embarking on a new chapter as a developer and manager of housing for veterans. Karen Fish-Will (above) is Peabody’s chief executive; her sister Melissa Fish-Crane is chief operating officer.


With Beverly-based Windover Construction as a partner, Peabody started modestly in the veterans housing business, with a 32-unit property in Beverly and 62 units in Basking Ridge, N.J., both built within the last two years.

Now, Peabody and Windover have two more veterans projects underway: 70 units at the Department of Veterans Affairs campus in Bedford and 14 in Brockton, in the Howard House.

And Peabody expects to soon begin the second phase of the Basking Ridge development, with help from a grant from Home Depot.

Fish-Will said she doesn’t view veterans housing as a big moneymaker, as such projects are tricky to finance, requiring developers to cobble together funds from a variety of sources such as tax credits, Veterans Affairs subsidies, and private foundations. But the work is worth the effort.

“There are a lot of veterans that are homeless,” Fish-Will said. “They need a roof over their heads. [These units] put them back on track, and give them another opportunity.” — JON CHESTO

The Shkreli effect

If biotech industry leaders agree on anything, it’s that Turing Pharmaceuticals chief executive Martin Shkreli has made life difficult for all of them.

“I don’t even say his name,” Massachusetts Biotechnology Council president Bob Coughlin declared, referring to the New York drug company chief executive who recently acquired a generic medicine to fight parasitic infections and raised its price to $750, from $13.59.


The incident put drug prices under a spotlight and drew price-gouging charges from Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders . Biopharma executives were asked about it at a State House hearing last week of the Biotech Caucus.

Coughlin set the tone: “His behavior is horrible. . . . He made a decision that isn’t good for anybody who gets up every day and puts on a lab coat and tries to help a sick person.”

“You’ve heard from a lot of the senior business leaders in the Boston area saying this is wrong, this is not the way to behave,” added Glenn Batchelder , cofounder and former CEO of Civitas Therapeutics, who chairs the MassBio board.

With rising prescription drug prices provoking a backlash from consumers and payers, Shkreli’s action was “like lighting a match,” said Julia Gaebler , vice president at the life sciences consulting firm Health Advances in Weston. “It was the worst possible behavior.”

Turing spokesman Allan Ripp took issue with the Bay State criticism, saying the company planned to use the additional revenue to improve the drug and expand it to patients with other diseases.

“The industry is trying to duck and cover for fear that someone will take a closer look at what has become a not uncommon practice of raising prices,” he said.

Other top Massachusetts biotech CEOs have piled on. Cambridge-based Biogen’s chief executive, George Scangos , chairman-elect of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, told Bloomberg News that Shkreli’s move was “a perversion of the system.”


And chief executive Jeff Leiden of Vertex Pharmaceuticals in Boston, asked about Turing’s fiftyfold price increase at a breakfast meeting of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, said simply, “We don’t support that.” — ROBERT WEISMAN

Marathon victims reflect

“The best decision I ever made.”

That was the verdict rendered this weekend by Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jessica Kensky — she and her husband, Patrick Downes, each lost their left leg in the attack — on her choice to have her right leg amputated earlier this year. It also was badly injured and caused chronic pain.

Kensky was a guest of honor at a fund-raiser for NEADS, a Princeton, Mass., nonprofit that trains service dogs, including Rescue, the black Lab that is Kensky’s constant companion. Kensky showed off her new prosthetics, which she said have given her a level of comfort and mobility her previous prosthetic did not.

Alongside Kensky was Roseann Sdoia, who lost her right leg in the bombing and also uses a prosthetic. They presented an award to Michael McCormick, a personal stylist at Nordstrom, for helping several marathon victims with wardrobe dilemmas created by their injuries, such as how to wear pants when you’re missing a leg.

The evening’s guest speaker was Westwood resident Susan Power Curtin, whose family created the marketing firm J.D. Power and Associates and whose son has a service dog.


Held at the Fashion Project — a Boston company cofounded by Harvard Law grads Anna Palmer and Christine Rizk that raises money for charity by reselling donated designer apparel — the event included a pop-up shop by Wellesley-based clothing chain Lyn Evans and free eats and drinks from Burke Distributing Co. of Randolph, Baker’s Best Caterin g of Needham, and Gingerbread Construction Co. of Wakefield. — SACHA PFEIFFER

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