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Sale of Harriet Tubman House approved

Developers want to put 66 condos on the site of the Harriet Tubman House (above).J. Garland Enterprises


Sale of Harriet Tubman House approved

The sale of the Harriet Tubman House on Columbus Avenue in the South End was approved Thursday by the board of the Boston Planning & Development Agency. United South End Settlements plans to sell its longtime home to developers who want to put 66 condominiums on the site. Some in the neighborhood have opposed the sale, saying the building is an anchor of the area’s African-American community. But USES, a nonprofit social service agency that will receive $16.5 million for the building, said it needs to sell it to remain financially viable. — TIM LOGAN


Wellesley firm in $200m venture to convert methane to natural gas

Vanguard Renewables of Wellesley is teaming up with Virginia-based energy giant Dominion on a $200 million venture to convert methane from manure on dairy farms into renewable natural gas. The venture involves projects in Georgia, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. Dominion will own the projects and market the gas, while Vanguard will design, develop, and run them. Separately from this venture, Vanguard owns and operates five waste-to-energy projects in Massachusetts, and is building one in Vermont. — JON CHESTO


Dunkin’ promotes veteran to run its Americas operations

Dunkin’ Brands has promoted Scott Murphy to run the Americas operations for the Dunkin’ chain. Murphy, a 15-year veteran of the Canton company, was previous chief operating officer of Dunkin’ US. He takes on responsibilities previously held by his boss, Dunkin’ Brands chief executive Dave Hoffmann. Murphy will oversee restaurant development, franchising, marketing, and other aspects of the roughly 10,000 Dunkin’ restaurants in North and South America. — JON CHESTO



DataRobot to buy data management software company

The DataRobot acquisition machine continues to roll: The Boston-based artificial intelligence firm has reached a deal to acquire Paxata, a 100-person firm headquartered in Redwood City, Calif., that makes data management software. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. It is the third DataRobot acquisition to be announced in 2019 and is the fifth since 2017. — JON CHESTO



family selling two buildings in Downtown Crossing

Members of the Naggar family are selling off two buildings in Downtown Crossing: a four-story structure at 40-46 Winter St. and a five-story one at 37-43 Temple Place around the corner. Each building is slightly bigger than 30,000 square feet. The properties together include 30 apartments and four ground-floor retail spaces. Boston Realty Advisors is representing the seller, 3MJ Realty, a limited liability company controlled by members of the Naggar family. — JON CHESTO


NLRB sides with McDonald’s in union organizing case

The National Labor Relations Board has ruled in McDonald’s favor in a long-running case filed by 20 workers who were fired or faced retaliation for trying to unionize. The board said Thursday that it favors a settlement that will require McDonald’s franchisees to pay $171,636 to the affected workers. The franchisees must also notify current and former employees about the settlement and set up a $250,000 fund to handle future claims. The workers were seeking a ruling that would consider McDonald’s a “joint employer” with its franchisees. That would have increased the company’s liability and potentially have made it easier for McDonald’s 850,000 US workers to form a union. But Chicago-based McDonald’s insists it doesn’t directly employ the workers. About 95 percent of its 14,000 US restaurants are owned by franchisees. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Magic mushrooms clear first hurdle as a treatment for depression

Another party drug is showing signs of going legit as magic mushrooms cleared the first hurdle of tests required to become a treatment for depression. The active ingredient in the mushrooms, psilocybin, was found to be safe and well tolerated when given to healthy volunteers in a study by researchers at King’s College London. Unsurprisingly, the subjects got high. The potential of recreational drugs like marijuana as treatment has caught the medical world’s attention. In September, the school of medicine at Johns Hopkins University started a research center to study psychedelic drugs and their effects on behavior and brain function. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Southwest Airlines to share Boeing settlement with workers

Southwest Airlines will share about $125 million from a Boeing settlement with its workers. The Dallas carrier has been among the hardest hit by the grounding of Boeing’s Max 737 airplanes in March after a pair of deadly crashes. Without the planes, Southwest has said that it will cancel about 175 flights each weekday. Southwest had 34 Max planes when they were grounded and had expected more to be delivered this year. Earlier this month, the airline pushed back the return date for the troubled aircraft. The planes will not be included on flight schedules until at least March 6, a month longer than previously planned, citing continued uncertainty. The airline said Thursday that the money given to employees will be funded as part of its annual 2019 profit sharing distribution next year. Southwest workers will also find out next year more details on the percentage of money they will receive. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


French president suggests he will change his pension overhaul plan

French President Emmanuel Macron suggested Thursday that he was ready to make changes to his plans to overhaul the pension system as a major union warned that nationwide strikes and protests could continue unabated until Christmas. Labor strikes crippled France’s train services and Paris metro for an eighth day. Tensions flared in several cities as largely peaceful demonstration were being staged across the country. Police fired tear gas at protesters in Nantes and Lille, and activists set vehicles on fire in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille. Speaking at his arrival at a European Union summit in Brussels one day after Prime Minister Edouard Philippe detailed the government’s pension measure, Macron called for opening new talks with workers unions. The government “has made a proposal and now dialogue must open,’’ he said. Unions have flatly rejected fresh proposals by the government to stagger the roll-out of the plan that would require France’s youngest workers to stay on the job two years longer, until the age of 64, to be eligible for a full pension. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Delta to sell private-jet charter business

Delta Air Lines Inc. will leave the private-jet charter business after 20 years, selling the struggling operation to Wheels Up Partners in a deal expected to close early next year. The airline will retain an unspecified equity stake in closely held Wheels Up, Delta said in a statement Thursday. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Wheels Up chief executive Kenny Dichter will continue leading the combined company, which is based in New York. Wheels Up is an on-demand aviation company with about 6,000 members. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Claims for unemployment at a two-year high

Applications for unemployment benefits increased more than expected to a two-year high amid seasonal volatility in an otherwise stable labor market. Jobless claims rose by 49,000 to 252,000 in the week ended Dec. 7, Labor Department data showed Thursday. The figure was just above the highest forecast in Bloomberg’s survey. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, climbed to 224,000, while the average for continuing claims decreased.