Courtyard Marriott part of affordable housing project

A Courtyard Marriott hotel is coming to Bulfinch Triangle, part of an affordable housing development that broke ground Thursday. Developers Related Beal said their 14-story building at 1 Beverly St. (rendering at left) — which will have 239 apartments with rents affordable to low- and middle-income tenants — will also include a 22-room Courtyard Marriott hotel, to be operated by partners Turnberry Associates. Cash flow from the the hotel is part of an intriciate financing package for the project, which city officials say could be a model for more workforce and affordable housing developments. It it is set to open in 2018. — TIM LOGAN



Council wants role on waterfront

The Boston City Council wants to be included in the Massachusetts Port Authority’s ambitious waterfront development plans. Councilor Michael Flaherty (right) on Wednesday called for a council hearing to discuss Massport’s plans for developing parcels that are owned by the city but controlled by Massport through long-term leases. Flaherty is particularly concerned with the South Boston waterfront, part of the neighborhood where he lives, and with Massport’s plans to seek a developer for 23 acres in the city’s marine industrial park. In an interview, Flaherty said he wants to hold a hearing on the issue to ensure Massport acts in a more coordinated way with city officials. He said Massport should have waited until a master plan for the industrial park, currently in the works, is finished before seeking new developers for the 23-acre portion of the site along Fid Kennedy Avenue known as the “Massport Marine Terminal.” Flaherty also said Massport should have renegotiated its long-term lease with the Boston Redevelopment Authority for the land to extend the current lease that expires in 2070 before putting the development rights out to bid. Flaherty said that a longer lease could encourage more competition among potential bidders.


R.I. AG lifts hope for DraftKings

DraftKings Inc. got a bit of good news from a state regulator Thursday: Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin ruled that daily fantasy sports games are legal in the state. But Kilmartin added that state lawmakers should enact new regulations for daily fantasy sports to help ensure underage players are barred and “criminal elements do not infiltrate the game.” In a letter to Governor Gina Raimondo and legislative leaders, Kilmartin noted the Rhode Island Supreme Court’s test for defining illegal gambling only bans contests where random chance is the “dominant factor,” far outweighing a player’s skill. Daily fantasy sports contests for cash prizes, he wrote, “are a mixture of those factors.” But the amount of skill that participants exercise in constructing fantasy rosters means that chance is not dominant in determining the winners, he concluded. — CURT WOODWARD



Backstep on Amazon good news for Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble Inc. shares soared as much as 15 percent after a shopping-mall executive stepped back from a claim that Amazon.com Inc. is planning to open hundreds of physical bookstores. The episode began on Tuesday, when General Growth Properties Inc. chief executive Sandeep Mathrani said that Amazon planned to open 300 to 400 bookstores. Though Amazon does operate a physical outlet in Seattle, the e-commerce giant has never expressed a desire for such a large brick-and-mortar footprint. Though Amazon declined to comment on the matter, Mathrani made a fresh statement on Wednesday, saying the original remark “was not intended to represent Amazon’s plans.”



Times Co. reports higher profit, flat revenue

Buoyed by strong digital growth and cost savings, The New York Times Co. reported Thursday an increase in quarterly profit, but said revenue was flat as its print business continued to decline. The Times’ net income for the fourth quarter was $52 million, an increase of 48 percent compared with the same period in 2014. The Times Co. has set an ambitious goal to double its total digital revenue, a number that includes digital advertising and digital-only subscriptions, to $800 million by 2020. The company said it added 53,000 net digital subscribers in the quarter, the most added in a quarter in three years. The Times now has close to 1.1 million paid digital-only subscriptions. — NEW YORK TIMES


Rise in labor costs stokes recession fears

The biggest rise in US labor costs in eight years is squeezing company profits and heightening fears of a recession. Expenses per worker, so called unit labor costs, increased 2.4 percent last year, the most since 2007, after a 2 percent gain in 2014, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department. The rising wage bill is taking a bite out of companies’ bottom lines and prompting concern among some economists that firms will slash spending and hiring in response. — BLOOMBERG


Mortgage rates fall

Average long-term US mortgage rates fell for the fifth straight week amid volatility in world financial markets. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac says the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage slid to 3.72 percent this week, down from 3.79 percent last week and the lowest since it averaged 3.68 percent in April 2015. The average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage slid to 3.01 percent from 3.07 percent last week. Mortgage rates have continued to fall despite the Federal Reserve’s decision in December to raise the short-term rate it controls for the first time since 2006. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Falling zinc costs mean cheaper pennies

A penny just got a little cheaper — to make. While the billions of new US pennies put into circulation every year still cost more to make than they are worth, the government is catching a break from the collapse in metals prices. Each one-cent coin, made almost entirely of zinc, cost 1.43 cent to produce last year, down 14 percent from a year earlier and the lowest since 2008, according to data from the US Mint. As recently as 2011, the price tag was 2.41 cents. Since then, zinc prices fell 34 percent from a peak as demand slowed in China, the world’s biggest buyer. The last time a penny cost what it was worth was in 2005. — BLOOMBERG


Online, women seen, not heard

The world just got some pretty strong evidence that online news is sexist. A new study found that women are more likely to be appear in photographs than in the text of news stories. Researchers in the United Kingdom used artificial intelligence software to catalogue an enormous body of English-language news on the Internet, some 2.3 million articles published by 950 online news sources, from the BBC to the New York Post, over six months from October 2014 to April 2015. “When women do show up in the news, it is often as ‘eye candy,’ thus reinforcing women’s value as sources of visual pleasure rather than residing in the content of their views,’’ the authors said. — BLOOMBERG