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Seaport hotel plan is approved

The Boston Planning & Development Agency approved a plan by the Davis Cos. and Omni Hotel Group to put a 1,054-room hotel on Summer Street near the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.
The Boston Planning & Development Agency approved a plan by the Davis Cos. and Omni Hotel Group to put a 1,054-room hotel on Summer Street near the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

DEVELOPMENT

Seaport hotel clears hurdle

A Seaport hotel that some are hailing as a new model for big development in Boston cleared a key hurdle Thursday. The Boston Planning & Development Agency approved a plan by the Davis Cos. and Omni Hotel Group to put a 1,054-room hotel on Summer Street near the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. Along with creating a large hotel to serve the convention market, the $550 million project has drawn note for the significant involvement of minority investors and construction contractors — rarities in big-dollar Seaport development, as a Globe Spotlight Team investigation showed this week. The emphasis on diversity helped Davis and Omni win development rights for the site from the Massachusetts Port Authority, which owns the property. But several at Thursday’s meeting said the approach could serve as a model for other, privately owned projects in Boston, too. Some proceeds from the development will be shared among six neighborhood and education-focused nonprofits around Boston. Davis and Omni hope to start work next spring. — TIM LOGAN

AIRLINES

Delta buys 100 new jets from Airbus, not Boeing

Delta Air Lines has picked Europe’s Airbus over Boeing for a huge order of new jets. Delta said Thursday that it will order 100 Airbus A321neo jets with a sticker price of $12.7 billion and take an option to buy another 100 jets, a deal that Chicago-based Boeing had hoped to land. Financial terms of the order were not disclosed so it isn’t known how much Delta will actually pay Airbus. Airlines typically get huge discounts off the sticker price of new planes. Delta’s selection of Airbus jets comes after Boeing challenged a smaller Delta order of planes from Canada’s Bombardier. Boeing charged that the sale price was artificially low and amounted to dumping. The US Commerce Department sided with Boeing and proposed stiff duties on Bombardier jets. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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TRAVEL

More expected to journey for holidays

Comforted by a strong economy, more Americans than ever are expected to travel over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Auto club AAA said Thursday that 107 million people will travel between Dec. 23 and Jan. 1, a 3.1 percent increase over last year. It’s the ninth straight increase in Christmas travel, according to AAA. Most will travel by car — about 97 million — despite higher gasoline prices. More than 6 million are expected to fly, and AAA said nearly 4 million will take trains, buses, or cruise ships. While the national average gas price of $2.47 is 28 cents higher than last December, airfares and midrange hotels are cheaper, according to AAA. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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HEALTH CARE

With shortened sign-up season, HealthCare.gov flooded with calls

The Trump administration says it is trying to accommodate consumers as hold times grow for those seeking to enroll in insurance under the federal health care law. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Thursday that some callers to HealthCare.gov are being asked to leave their contact information. A spokeswoman says operators will call them back and they’ll be able to get coverage effective Jan. 1. Sign-up season is half as long this year, but consumer interest has been strong. As of Dec. 9, about 4.7 million people had enrolled in the 39 states served by HealthCare.gov. That’s roughly 17 percent more customers than at the same time last year. Friday at midnight Pacific time is the deadline to enroll in most states. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

CRIME

Masked robbers steal ATMs from Houston hotels

Houston police believe the same group of masked men is responsible in the thefts of ATMs from the lobbies of five hotels over the past six days, including four in the last four nights. Police Robbery Division Lieutenant Cathy Richards said Thursday that in all five heists — the last three at Marriott hotels — the cash machines were not secured to a floor or wall and the gang simply carried them to a vehicle waiting outside. Witnesses say between four and 10 men took part in the thefts, which take less than three minutes. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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MORTGAGES

Rate on 30-year loans drops slightly

The rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages slipped to 3.93 percent this week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the benchmark 30-year home loan rate was down from 3.94 percent last week and 4.16 percent a year ago. The rate on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, popular with those refinancing their homes, was unchanged this week at 3.36 percent. It was 3.37 percent a year ago. The rate on five-year adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 3.36 percent from 3.35 percent last week and 3.19 percent a year ago. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

UNEMPLOYMENT

Jobless claims fall by 11,000

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell by 11,000 last week to 225,000, the lowest in nearly two months and another sign that US workers are enjoying job security. The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average also fell by 6,750 to 234,750. Overall, 1.89 million Americans are collecting unemployment checks, down more than 7 percent from a year earlier and close to a four-decade low reached in November. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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SHOPPING

Sales up in November as holiday season kicks off

US consumers went on a shopping binge last month as the holiday season began, leading to big gains among online retailers, electronics stores, and furniture stores. The Commerce Department said Thursday that sales at retailers and restaurants jumped 0.8 percent in November from the previous month, after a 0.5 percent gain in October. Consumers’ willingness to splurge should give the economy a boost in the final three months of the year. A category that mostly includes online shopping rose 2.5 percent in a sign of the continuing dominance of e-commerce. Sales leapt 2.1 percent at electronics stores and 1.2 percent at furniture stores. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

RETAIL

Sears to sell battery accessories on Amazon

Ailing Sears Holdings Corp. has started to sell DieHard-branded battery-related accessories like jump starters and battery chargers on Amazon.com. It marks the company’s latest partnership with the online leader as it aims to reverse a longstanding sales slump. The Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based retailer, which operates Sears and Kmart stores, said Thursday passenger car tires and batteries will be added to Amazon.com early next year. The announcement follows a move by Sears in July to sell Kenmore-branded appliances on Amazon in some markets. Sears isn’t the only one striking alliances with Amazon. Shoppers at Kohl’s Inc. can find Amazon devices at some stores and return items they bought from the online retailer. Best Buy has partnered with Amazon for voice shopping. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

MANUFACTURING

Goodyear tire plants had high number of worker deaths, report finds

An investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting finds that Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has ranked among the top five manufacturers for worker deaths since 2009. Four died at the Danville, Va., plant in one year. Production demands and leaky roofs at two plants endangered workers and contributed to consumer risks. Tires involved in three fatal accidents since 2011 were made in North Carolina and Virginia. Police say a tire from the North Carolina plant caused a crash that killed two people in Texas. The company recalled that tire and more than 40,000 others like it, saying tread could separate and cause a wreck. The company said it has fixed workplace safety problems and ensures its tires are safe. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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