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New master developer chosen to remake former Weymouth air base


New master developer chosen to remake former Weymouth air base

A team led by Brookfield Properties has won the right to be the new master developer at Union Point, the stalled-out redevelopment of the former South Weymouth Naval Air Station. The Southfield Redevelopment Authority picked Brookfield, one of the largest real estate managers in the world, for the job on Wednesday. Brookfield’s team will include New England Development, which successfully restarted the University Station mixed-use project in Westwood. Another team member is Tony Green, who created The Pinehills development in Plymouth in partnership with New England Development. Brookfield replaces LStar, which the Southfield authority terminated as master developer nearly a year ago after the company rang up millions of dollars of debt on the site. This master developer contract covers a roughly 400-acre portion of the nearly 1,450-acre former air base, which straddles the towns of Weymouth, Abington, and Rockland. So far, more than 1,100 housing units have been built there. The zoning for the property calls for nearly 2,900 units of housing in total and up to 6 million square feet of commercial development. But Brookfield is expected to rework that zoning to allow for more residential on the property based on market demand; the amount of commercial buildout that has occurred there so far is negligible. — JON CHESTO


CEO of Smith & Wesson owner out after misconduct allegations

The parent of Smith & Wesson has replaced its chief executive following misconduct allegations. Springfield-based American Outdoor Brands, which owns an array of shooting, hunting, and outdoor brands, said in a statement Wednesday that its board of directors found that James Debney had ‘‘engaged in conduct inconsistent with a non-financial company policy.’’ American Outdoor did not provide specifics about the policy or when the violation allegedly took place, and it did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. ‘‘We appreciate James’ contributions toward the growth and development of our company and its infrastructure,’’ Barry Monheit, chairman of the board, said in the statement. Debney had been at the helm of American Outdoor and its predecessor company since 2011, expanding its portfolio through a slew of acquisitions. — WASHINGTON POST



A happy holiday for retailers

The nation’s largest retail trade group says holiday sales increased 4.1 percent, the top end of its forecast. The National Retail Federation had expected growth in a range of 3.8 percent to 4.2 percent for the November and December period. The growth is nearly double the 2.1 percent growth seen during the holiday 2018 period, which was hurt by a government shutdown, stock market volatility, and interest rate hikes. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Panel says US approval of new planes is safe, despite two fatal crashes

A government committee asked to review US approval of new passenger planes after two deadly crashes involving the Boeing 737 Max has found that the system is safe and effective but could be improved. The committee differed sharply with legislators who are investigating Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration, which approved the Max. Key lawmakers have said they may try to stop the FAA from letting Boeing do some inspections and safety analysis on its own planes. Thursday’s report came from a committee appointed by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in April, after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia killed 346 people and led regulators to ground Max jets worldwide. The committee said the FAA’s system of delegating some safety work to aircraft manufacturers is effective and helps the US aerospace industry thrive. Lee Moak, a former airline pilot and union leader who co-chaired the committee, said members did not look at internal communications in which Boeing employees raised safety alarms about the Max while it was being developed, and admitted misleading regulators. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



CEO of Hard Rock not pleased with the direction of Atlantic City

The CEO of Hard Rock International says Atlantic City “is going in the wrong direction” and is in worse shape than when the global entertainment company bought its casino there nearly three years ago. Speaking after an employee meeting Thursday where Hard Rock handed out bonuses totaling $2 million to nearly 2,900 full-time employees, Jim Allen said the company is willing to be part of the solution in Atlantic City, but is not encouraged by recent developments. He said Hard Rock is not part of the move to change Atlantic City’s form of government being pushed by the owner of Resorts casino, the head of the city’s main casino workers union, and a retired state senator. That plan, to be voted on in a March 31 special election, would replace an elected mayor with an appointed city manager, and would shrink the City Council from nine members to five. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Charles Schwab’s client assets soar

Charles Schwab Corp.’s groundbreaking plan to eliminate trading fees helped push client assets to a record $4 trillion. Customers opened 433,000 new brokerage accounts in the fourth quarter, an increase from the previous quarter, reflecting the company’s move to zero commissions. The largest US discount broker reported $211.7 billion in core net new assets for the period. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Starbucks expands program to help low-income communities

Starbucks is expanding a program that tries to help low-income communities by opening coffee shops and hiring local workers. The Seattle-based company plans to open or remodel 85 stores by 2025 in rural and urban communities across the United States. That brings the number of community stores Starbucks has opened to 100 since it announced the program in 2015. Each store will hire local staff — including construction crews and artists — and will have dedicated community event spaces. Starbucks will also partner with local United Way chapters to develop programming for each store, such as youth job training classes or mentorship groups. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


NYC among the most expensive cities for rich people

Wealthy bargain hunters should be wary of getting married in New York, hiring lawyers in Hong Kong, or buying fine wines in Rio de Janeiro. That’s according to research from Julius Baer Group Ltd., which broke out the world’s most expensive cities for a variety of luxury goods and services — from houses to whisky to handbags. High local tax rates make Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second-largest city, the world’s most expensive metropolis in five of 18 categories in the Swiss bank’s “Global Wealth and Lifestyle Report 2020.” New York ranked as priciest place to hold a 400-person wedding banquet or hire a personal trainer, while London took top spot for the laser eye surgery that clears blurry vision. Still, Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive city overall, with the former British colony cited frequently in the top 10 priciest municipalities for categories such as fine dining, hotel suites, and luxury cars. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Southwest to keep Boeing 737 Max off its schedules through early June

Southwest Airlines Co., the largest operator of the Boeing Co. 737 Max, is joining US rivals in removing the grounded plane from its flight schedule through early June. The Max will be pulled through June 6 amid continued uncertainty about when regulators will clear the model to fly, Southwest said. American Airlines and United Airlines have already said they won’t fly the Max again until the first week of June. Regulators grounded the top-selling Boeing model in March 2019 after two crashes killed 346 people. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Payless emerges from bankruptcy — again

Payless ShoeSource has emerged from bankruptcy for the second time, with a focus on international markets. The retailer said Thursday it wants to reinvigorate Latin America, its largest business unit. It will also relaunch its US e-commerce site and open some stores in the United States, but no details were offered. Payless filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February 2019 and shuttered the remaining 2,000-plus stores in North America. The latest bankruptcy filing didn’t affect its 710 franchises or stores in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. The chain filed for Chapter 11 for the first time in April 2017. — ASSOCIATED PRESS