As usual, this week’s Banker & Tradesman is full of great stories and important information.

Regarding new developments and projects planned and under construction in Boston:

Residential construction continues to be strong. Although there were some high profile projects canceled, others have broken ground, and even more are on the way. Lovejoy Wharf is scheduled to break ground sometime over the next 18 months – it will include 250 residential units and 40,000 square feet of retail space at the underutilized 2.1-acre waterfront site … I don’t think there’s any way that the whiners at Strada234 will be able to stop it.

I also think that both towers on the Prudential Plaza will receive city approval. I think the office tower will be shrunk, considerably. The residential tower, not so much, since it’s in a less prominent location and will have little affect on abutters (except the whiners who rent in the buildings next door).

Also under way: Fan Pier and the Filene’s building.

And, the commercial real estate market continues to be on fire. Vacancy rates in downtown Boston are at historical lows, as prices per square foot jumped to historic highs (actually, I have no idea whether or not that’s true).

Separately, B&T reported that, contrary to what you might think, the number of people employed in the real estate and mortgage business in Massachusetts has remained constant, even as the market has slowed down and even after some high-profile companies have withdrawn from Massachusetts, completely.

In August, the state Division of Banks counted 1,711 total state-licensed mortgage broker and/or lender companies … up from the renewal date in May, when 1,501 companies renewed their licenses, and up even further from May 2006, when there were 1,458 company licensees …

Between November 2005 and November 2007, [the Department of Workforce Development] found, employment in those fields decreased from 139,800 to 137,900 …

Employment in the Financial Activities sector, in which real estate and banking are included, increased from 222,700 to 223,700 during the same period …

(Just because there are more companies doesn’t mean there are as many people employed, of course.)

Developers Face Constant Challenges – By Thomas Grillo, Banker & Tradesman

Chase Home Finance Offering Refuge to Former WaMu Staff – By Amy Wyeth, Banker & Tradesman

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