Back Bay broker gets a tall task
When Dick Friedman wanted to find the right person to sell condos in what will become the city’s tallest residential tower, he turned to a familiar face.
The president of developer Carpenter & Co. has known Tracy Campion (above) for a long time, and relied on her when he had trouble selling his own penthouse condo next to the Charles Hotel five years ago. She found a buyer in two weeks.
Now, Friedman has a much bigger task in mind. He has hired Campion’s namesake Back Bay brokerage, Campion and Company, to market the 165-plus high-end condos at One Dalton, the 700-foot tower that will go up between the Christian Science Plaza and the Prudential Center by sometime in 2018. Friedman promises a new level of luxury, with services offered from the staff at the Four Seasons Hotel planned for the bottom stories of the 61-story building.
Campion has been working with Friedman for more than a year on the project at least in some capacity. An invitation-only sales “gallery” opened in January at the first Four Seasons location, on Boylston Street. Carpenter and Campion plan to step up their marketing efforts later this spring.
Friedman decided he wanted an outside broker to help promote the condo units. He considered others. But Campion, he says, was the obvious choice.
“Tracy’s the No. 1 broker in the Back Bay, bar none,” Friedman says. “People like her style and her integrity, and she really works hard. I actually worry about her a little bit because she’s 24/7.” — JON CHESTO
Importer of grass-fed beef enjoys rapid growth
As an occasional surfer, Dana Ehrlich knows a thing or two about catching a good wave: The chief executive of Verde Farms sees the rising interest in buying humanely raised livestock, and he’s ramping up his Woburn business to take advantage of it.
The meat importer’s revenue last year exceeded the $50 million mark, more than double 2013 levels, Ehrlich says. He moved Verde from its Somerville digs to 4,000 square feet in Woburn in the fall, and the firm signed a lease to add another 2,000 square feet last week. He hopes to add 10 people to the 20-person staff by the end of 2016.
Ehrlich launched Verde more than a decade ago, during his days at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. He went to Argentina as part of an exchange program and enjoyed grass-feed beef there, and realized it wasn’t easy to find it in the US.
During his time at Tuck, he met his Verde Farms partner, Pablo Garbarino. He also met an important future customer: Boloco chief executive John Pepper, a Tuck alum. Boloco started sourcing its burrito beef from Verde several years ago. Other prominent clients today also include Whole Foods Market, Wegmans, and Market Basket.
Sure, grass-fed beef costs more but Ehrlich points to the health and environmental benefits. Plus, he says, it just tastes better. He says demand in the US will continue to rise in 2016: “Everyone is jumping on the bandwagon.” — JON CHESTO
North-South Rail Link? They’ll study it
For a long time after 2003, the North-South Rail Link seemed dead. That’s when Governor Mitt Romney killed it, the price topping $8 billion.
But now after heavy lobbying from two former governors, Mike Dukakis and Bill Weld, and a star-studded support group that includes congressman Seth Moulton, the state transportation department will go ahead with plans to spend up to $2 million on a study.
That’s peanuts for a project of this complexity — building a mile-long tunnel to connect North and South stations — but Dukakis will take it.
“That’s all we are looking for. A lot of work has been done on this,” says the former governor referring to a previous state analysis.
Dukakis figures a follow up study can be done in six months and that should “give a good sense” of whether the link is viable.
While the Baker administration favors the $1.6 billion expansion of South Station, transportation secretary Stephanie Pollack is taking another look at connecting the city’s two main transit hubs. That’s because one of the tricky issues with a bigger South Station is where to store trains.
Dukakis and Weld argue that if you build the rail tunnel, you won’t need to re-do South Station. The link would relieve congestion and add rail capacity — all without needing to buy land for layover tracks.
“We are going to do a feasibility re-assessment,” says Pollack, “and how it affects the need for track space and how it affects for layover.”
— SHIRLEY LEUNG
For HHS staffer, opioid work was personal
When Charlie Baker promised to make the opioid epidemic a big part of his agenda as governor, Rhonda Mann knew she wanted in.
The former TV journalist-turned-marketer left her job as chief marketing officer of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and became communications chief for the Office of Health and Human Services.
Mann is familiar with the opioid crisis: her 25-year-old daughter struggled with addiction and is now two years into recovery.
At HHS, Mann worked on the “State Without StigMA” campaign, to raise awareness about drug addiction.
“I felt a real pull to help out with that initiative,” Mann says. “I think the amount we did in one year was amazing.”
Now, after that year, Mann is out at HHS. She’s launching her own marketing and communications firm in Natick, called Longfellow Creative. She hopes the new role will allow her more time to spend with her daughter, who works as a recovery aide on Cape Cod.
“I would be thrilled to work on the opioids issue again in any way, shape, or form,” Mann adds.
— PRIYANKA DAYAL MCCLUSKEY