Boston Landing’s secret weapon
Of the dozen or so politicians and executives who cut the ribbon for the new Boston Landing train station, one of them must have been particularly relieved.
We’re talking about Keith Craig (right), director at NB Development Group. New Balance chairman Jim Davis had the vision (and the money) to redevelop the 15 acres he acquired several years ago in this section of Brighton overlooking the Mass. Pike. But it was Craig’s job to turn that vision into a reality.
For Craig, the new train station in Brighton is crucial to continuing Davis’s success. The Boston Landing station was five years in the making.
“This is a game-changer,” Craig said in an interview after last Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting event, “not only for our properties, but all the neighborhood.”
Craig is a city planner by training, and his resume includes stints with the then Boston Redevelopment Authority and the city of Somerville, as well as other private-sector roles. He joined NB Development in 2011 as Davis’s vision for the once-faded industrial area around New Balance’s headquarters was taking shape.
Frequent Mass. Pike commuters know what’s happened since. New Balance moved into a new headquarters in 2015, just down the street from the old one. Then, the Warrior Ice Arena opened last year; it’s the new training facility for the Boston Bruins and its building also includes significant office space. The Rail Stop restaurant is opening in June. Next up: 295 apartments in 2018, as well as a new practice facility for the Boston Celtics.
Future projects will include an indoor track, a hotel, and additional offices and retail spaces.
“It’s nice working for an owner with a vision and the ability to undertake it,” Craig said. “The vision isn’t just about creating the most valuable real estate. . . . It’s about creating a destination.” — JON CHESTO
During Monday’s call with investors to talk about its acquisition of Commerce Bancshares Inc. and the shift of its headquarters to Boston, the CEO of Berkshire Hills Bancorp recalled a time when the city was home to several regional banking powerhouses.
Michael Daly, the chief executive officer of Berkshire Bank, said he’s been talking to business leaders in the Boston area in recent years and they feel the absence of a regional bank headquartered in the city. When they have a problem and need to talk to bank executives, there’s no one local on speed dial, Daly said.
“More than one have said to me, ‘it would be really hard for us to get a hold of one of the CEOs of one of the other regional behemoths because most of them don’t exist in this country or if they are, they are in North Carolina,’ ” Daly said.
Daly didn’t go into detail about which bank executives were hard to reach. But he may have been referring to Santander Bank NA, which is headquartered in Boston but owned by the Spanish Banco Santander SA, and to Wellesley resident Brian Moynihan, who heads Bank of America and commutes during the week to Charlotte, N.C., where that bank is headquartered.
Daly believes Berkshire Bank can become a player in the Boston-area financial scene. The bank is moving some of its executives to Boston and is hunting for a new headquarters office. — DEIRDRE FERNANDES
ImprovBoston has been doing corporate training for decades, but last fall, as the presidential election heated up, the Cambridge comedy company started getting a different kind of request: Can you help Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton supporters get along?
Companies were reporting coworkers getting in fights or refusing to collaborate, even requesting transfers to different departments, said Deana Criess, head of corporate training. Bernie Sanders devotees were bemoaning Hillary voters. Hillary supporters were complaining about Trump bumper stickers.
To address these political conflicts, ImprovBoston wove the antibullying work it does in elementary schools into corporate conflict sessions normally used to deal with layoffs or mergers. To help coworkers find common ground, the company uses the “Yes, and” concept, in which two people are given a topic and required to acknowledge the other’s opinion. What starts out as a discussion about something as innocuous as cilantro, sometimes turns into: “Yes, you do think Hillary’s e-mails are a problem, and I think your guy’s an idiot.”
By being forced to hear each other out, former adversaries can set aside their differences, Criess said. “We’ve had people cry, we’ve had people hug.” Since September, about half the calls for corporate training have included concerns about political bullying, Criess said. And she thinks: “You know what you need? That thing we do with third-graders.”
— KATIE JOHNSTON
Direct to Brooklyn? There’s a bus for that
Taking a trip to Brooklyn? A New York entrepreneur wants to spare you the schlep through Manhattan.
Typically, a coach bus service from Boston to the Big Apple means a trip to the streets of Manhattan’s grid. But with Brooklyn and the Bronx becoming increasingly popular for travelers, Jared Maldonado, a Brooklyn resident, is trying to launch a service that gets travelers right there.
“Brooklyn has become a destination in its own right,” Maldonado said.
His company, Catch-a-Ride, is in its early stages, so far only running on select test weekends. He rented buses to run between Boston and New York last Thanksgiving weekend and again over Easter. The next run will come Memorial Day weekend, with trips each way on Friday and Monday.
Maldonado, who has worked as a bus driver and also operates an occasional coach service for college students who live on Long Island, said he hopes to run the buses every weekend by the end of the summer, and eventually offer daily service.
Though coach bus service is often designed to capitalize on the steady stream of business travelers — hence the Manhattan focus — Maldonado said he believes his idea can serve New York-born students at Boston’s many colleges, and transplanted Bostonians living in New York’s outer boroughs. — ADAM VACCARO
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified the bus company Catch-a-Ride.