Worcester’s largest office complex now has local owners


Worcester’s largest office complex now has local owners

Worcester’s biggest office complex is now in the hands of local owners. Washington Capital Management has sold its controlling interest in the Mercantile Center — two office towers on Front Street that encompass 646,000 square feet of space — to a group of mostly local investors and Front Street Capital. The refinancing includes $75 million in bank debt from four local lenders and $15.5 million in new equity. Before the deal, Front Street Capital, led by Chip Norton, was a minority investor in the property. Norton said the largest tenants include UMass Memorial Health Care and Reliant Medical, which was recently sold to Optum. — JON CHESTO



Former Toys R Us workers to share in $20m fund

Two private equity owners of the iconic Toys R Us toy chain will be handing over a $20 million hardship fund to the thousands of former workers left jobless and without severance after the chain was liquidated in June. The move by KKR and Bain Capital is aimed at helping the 30,000 workers affected by the store closures and comes following efforts by worker-backed groups. Workers are pushing to get an additional $55 million they believe they’re owed and are looking to other firms that had a stake in Toys R Us and that they believed played a role in the chain’s demise. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Lowe’s to close stores in Mexico

Lowe’s Cos. continued to revamp its operations under new chief executive Marvin Ellison, saying it will exit about a dozen stores in Mexico and two small business units. These moves came as it reported a sluggish third quarter and cut its annual forecast. Same-store sales rose 1.5 percent, trailing analysts’ estimates of 2.9 percent. The US units the company is divesting are Alacrity Renovation Services and Iris Smart Home. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Slowdown in building of single-family homes

US home construction improved a slight 1.5 percent in October, but in a troubling sign, ground breakings for single-family houses fell. The Commerce Department said Tuesday housing starts rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.23 million, up from 1.21 million in September. The gains came entirely from apartments. Starts for single-family houses slipped 1.8 percent last month. Housing has stumbled in recent months as mortgage rates have climbed, putting the ability to buy a home or move up to a nicer property out of reach for more Americans. A sharp increase in mortgage rates has led to a marked decline in home construction since May, such that ground breakings have fallen 2.6 percent over the past 12 months. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Twitter CEO gets in trouble in India with comment on caste system

Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey landed in a raging controversy in India by posing for a photo with a sign alluding to the touchy subject of the country’s caste system. While on a tour of one of Twitter’s fastest-growing markets, Dorsey met with a group of women activists and journalists, and was photographed alongside them holding a poster that read: ‘‘Smash Brahminical Patriarchy.’’ The photograph went viral and Dorsey got trolled on the very social network he built. In India’s hierarchical Hindu caste system, Brahmins top the four caste groups and historically include teachers, priests, and intellectuals. Patriarchy, meanwhile, isn’t limited to any single caste in India. Some furious tweeters said the act amounted to racism, while an apology by Twitter only riled up activists who oppose the caste system and patriarchy. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Target stocks fall on cost of revamping stores

Target’s ramped up investments online and in stores are bringing in shoppers, but they’re also bruising the bottom line. Company shares fell sharply, by more than 11 percent, after Target missed profit expectations for the third quarter, the last look at the retailer’s performance as it heads into the holiday shopping season. Early last year, Target began an aggressive three-year plan to invest $7 billion in its stores and online operations. The company has been remodeling its stores and building brands from scratch like trendy electronics under the Heyday brand and men’s clothing brand called Goodfellow. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Mass. investment adviser pleads guilty to fraud charges

A Massachusetts investment adviser has pleaded guilty to defrauding her clients of more than $3 million and using the money for vacations, luxury vehicles, and other personal expenses. Federal prosecutors say 51-year-old Kimberly Kitts, of Orleans, pleaded guilty Monday to investment adviser fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Sentencing was scheduled for March 20. Authorities say starting in 2011 Kitts engaged in various schemes to misappropriate her clients’ assets. In one scheme, she directed client assets to a bank account for Marquis Consulting, an entity she controlled. In another, she cashed her clients’ annuities, transferred funds out of her clients’ brokerage accounts, and directed distributions from her clients’ Individual Retirement Accounts. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Israel threatening Airbnb with high taxes over dropped listings from West Bank settlements

Israel is threatening vacation rental company Airbnb with high taxes and legal repercussions over its decision to remove listings from Jewish West Bank settlements. The threats step up Israel’s fight against a global movement advocating for boycotts over the country’s treatment of the Palestinians. Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin says Tuesday that Israel will seek to impose ‘‘very high taxes’’ on the company in order to restrict its operations in the country. He also says Israel will encourage hosts in settlements to sue the company to make it ‘‘pay’’ for its decision. Airbnb’s decision on Monday sparked outrage among Israeli officials and settler leaders, but was welcomed by Palestinian officials and human rights groups that had long pressured the company to end its contentious West Bank settlement listings. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Trump renews criticism of Fed

President Trump renewed his criticism of the Federal Reserve on Tuesday, describing the US central bank as a “problem” as he called for lower interest rates. The fresh presidential assault on the nation’s monetary authority comes as stocks tumble on concerns ranging from slower global growth to a widening trade war between the United States and China. “I’d like to see the Fed with a lower interest rate,” Trump told reporters in Washington. “We have much more of a Fed problem than we do with anyone else.” The Fed held borrowing costs steady at its meeting earlier this month but investors expect it to raise rates in December, which would mark the fourth hike since Trump-appointed Jerome Powell became chairman in February. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


TJX stock falls on weaker fourth-quarter guidance

Shares of The TJX Cos. fell more than 4 percent Tuesday after the company reported weaker-than-expected guidance for the fourth quarter despite posting strong revenue in the third quarter. The parent of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls reported a 19 percent boost in profit to $762.3 million, or 61 cents per share, matching the average Street estimate. Excluding a tax benefit and pension settlement charge, profit came to 54 cents per share. The Framingham-based company reported a 12 percent boost in revenue to $9.83 billion, topping expectations for $9.5 billion. Sales in stores open at least a year — a key metric of a retailer’s health — rose 7 percent, also topping expectations. — ASSOCIATED PRESS