Skip to content
Newton, Needham, Watertown, Wellesley

Finally, some good news to share related to the T

Need to Knows Graphic

Finally, some good news to share related to the T

The amazing biotech co-working space Labshares in Newton is looking to open new locations in Greater Boston and beyond, the BBJ's Rowan Walrath is reporting this morning.

The move comes as CEO and founder Jeff Berhrens (one of the nicest guys among all nice guys) is stepping back. Philip Borden, a venture capitalist with roots at Galen Partners, Oxford Bioscience Partners, and Frazier Healthcare Partners, takes over a majority stake with private equity firm Pacific Lake Partners.

Finally, some good news to share related to the MBTA 

Keolis Commuter Services, the company that operates the commuter rail for the T, is preparing to expand service this fall, adding late-night departures from Boston and adding more trains during peak periods on select lines, reports Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth.
Among the changes set to start Oct. 2, the Worcester Line (which runs through Newton and Wellesley) is shifting from hourly service to 45-minute intervals at peak periods.

The new schedule will also add late trains from Boston on weekdays and weekends to accommodate people with unconventional work schedules or those attending late-night events.

That includes the Needham Line which will be pushing back the last train on weekdays from 11 p.m. to 11:55 p.m., but retaining 10:15 p.m. for the last train on weekends.

Online schedules will soon be available here.

But there’s still a major rail problem in Newton

This is indisputably good news from a slow-to-rebound T.

But it's not as good in Newton (and for commuters next door in Watertown) as it is for commuter rail riders everywhere else.

That's because due to some really poor decisions made back in the 60s, the Newtonville, West Newton, and Auburndale stops on the line to only have stations on one side of the tracks.

That excludes the stations from the all-day rail service that all other stops offer, making it hard for workers to get to and from jobs in our region and hindering plans to revitalize the Washington Street corridor.

It also means they aren't accessible to people with disabilities, strollers, or pretty much everyone in bad weather.

But so far efforts to get funding for a fix beyond a design phase have stalled.

 Proposal offers new life for a tired block in Needham

Boston Development Group is proposing to build a 50,000-square-foot medical office building along an in-need-of-a-facelift block in Needham between the former Three Squares restaurant and Cross Street on Highland Ave.

The by-right proposal calls for the existing five buildings on the 2-plus-acre site to be demolished and replaced by a single building of two stories.

The office space would be built atop a two-level garage that would be mostly below street level and have 250 spaces accessible from both Avery and Cross streets, explains Peter O'Neil at the Needham Observer.

The Needham Planning Board public hearing resumes on Oct. 3.

Life science jobs continue to grow 

Despite tough times in the life sciences, the Massachusetts biopharma workforce still grew by nearly 7% in 2022, according to MassBio’s 2023 Snapshot.

Biopharma job openings in Massachusetts have increased every month since March.

“We never like to see company closures or layoffs, but we also know the nature of our industry is one of big risks for researchers, founders, and investors, and big rewards for patients with unmet medical needs around the world,” said Kendalle Burlin O’Connell, MassBio’s CEO & president.

“We are optimistic that we are emerging from what was the perfect storm for a sector that was left exposed to a cooling off after a red hot 2020 and 2021.”

State Rep. John Lawn, who represents parts of Waltham, Watertown, and Newton and chairs the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, said he has “seen firsthand how the presence of this industry can positively impact a community.

"From a diversified tax base to consistent foot traffic, life sciences development has the ability to be an economic driver in addition to everything it does for patients,” Lawn said.

Newton City Council run-off results 

Dan Gaynor (803 votes) and David Micley (678 votes) will face each other on Nov. 7 to succeed Ward 2 City Councilor Emily Norton in yesterday’s preliminary election. The third candidate, Peter Bruce (546 votes) was eliminated.

In the contest to fill the seat that's being vacated by Ward 6 Councilor Brenda Noel, it will be Martha Bixby (882 votes) vs. Lisa Gordon (584 votes). Third-place finisher Mark Holt (124 votes) was eliminated.

For those keeping score at home, Fig City News scooped the Newton Beacon by several hours in the race to publish results first. (And it sure is fun to have two independent sites covering Newton!)

We love it when our chamber communities work together 

A four-legged Wellesley resident was rescued from the Charles River over the weekend thanks to a joint effort from the Newton Fire Department and Wellesley Police DepartmentWatch the dramatic video here. 

Today's grab bag 

  • Newton Wellesley Hospital will host a "purple flag ceremony" today (Sept. 13) at 12:30 p.m. to remember and honor the lives of Massachusetts residents lost to the opioid epidemic.

  • Small businesses interested in learning more about the ribbon-cuttingplan to rezone Newton’s villages to allow opportunities for more housing and foot traffic are invited to attend a meeting tomorrow (Sept 14) at 7 p.m. at the Ciociaro Social Club, 144 Bridge St.

  • The final draft of Watertown’s Comprehensive Plan will be reviewed at a joint meeting of the city council and planning board on Sept. 21 at 6:30 at City Hall. This draft includes changes recommended by the council’s Economic Development & Planning Committee.

  • Lyft is introducing a feature that would help match female drivers with female passengers on its ride-hailing app. The move aims to improve safety and encourage more women to drive with the company. (Globe)

  • Natick-based clean energy startup, Electric Hydrogen Co., or EH2, has landed its first commercial customer. (BBJ

  • Are you planning a grand opening or celebrating a major renovation or new location? Learn about the chamber’s ribbon cutting program and how each event helps a chamber member nonprofit. We’ll even bring the scissors.

Video coming soon from yesterday's real estate forum 

Thanks to our speakers and the nearly 200 employers, policymakers, real estate professionals, and advocates who joined us at yesterday’s Regional Real Estate Forum at the UMass Amherst Mount Ida Campus.

The event was recorded by NewTV. We'll share it via this newsletter as soon as it's available.

In the meanwhile, here are the slides from Chris Klutchman, with the state’s Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities, related to the MBTA Communities Law.

Find information related to Newton’s proposed Village Center Zoning hereAdded FAQs here.

These benches cap a year long recycling effort

Watertown bench

Finally today, have you noticed those colorful benches being placed at locations across Watertown?

They're made of recycled plastic bottle caps as part of a public-private partnership between the Department of Public Works and a New Hampshire company called Plastic Recycled,

It's part of a pilot program launched last year. Residents have been collecting and dropping off the caps at the DPW. The company then converts into benches, just one of many uses for the products, reports the Watertown News. 

For every 500 pounds of plastic caps, the city receives one free bench. WBZ has more about the company here.

That's what you need to know for today, unless you need to know about the British pub that’s embracing congestion pricing for beer. 

Be back Friday with the next in our "Get to Know" videos, this time visiting Wellesley.
Greg Reibman (he, him)
Powered By GrowthZone