Site cleared for Morgan State’s business school

The former Hechinger’s and Burlington Coat Factory stores at the corner of Hillen Road and Argonne Drive in northeast Baltimore are now history.

The site today is cleared — and ready for development to begin on a $72 million business school at Morgan State University. The 138,000-square-foot school will be named after Earl G. Graves, a Morgan alum.

Left standing is the rest of the Northwood Plaza Shopping Center, originally built in the 1930s.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2012.

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If you care to comment on the city’s efforts to rewrite the zoning code and haven’t yet found the time, here’s some good news.

City planners have extended the deadline to render remarks to Jan. 6. After that, final revisions and new maps will be drawn up for presentation to the City Council. Public hearings will be held after that as well.

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Rawlings-Blake’s inaugural theme: ‘Growing Baltimore’

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake tried out elements of what could be her inaugural speech Monday at the Greater Baltimore Committee’s 37th annual Mayor’s Business Recognition Awards Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Hotel at the Inner Harbor.

“Our number one goal in the next 10 years is to grow Baltimore,” the mayor said, echoing the theme of her Tuesday inaugural, “Growing Baltimore.”

“We need to seek dynamic growth at a time of limited resources,” she continued. “We must focus every resource we possess as people. We believe that  Baltimore can grow again.”

The mayor handed out 13 awards to business owners and corporations that have “demonstrated significant corporate leadership and service for a better Baltimore.” Among the winners: Arris; a Design Studio, Inc.; Kaydon Ring & Seal; KPMG LLP; Southern Management Corp.; and Constellation Energy.

“There are businesses who say it’s not enough to make a profit,” she said, addressing the winners and lauding them for giving back.

Wearing a purple suit she said is now her standard, Monday wardrobe choice after a Ravens victory, Rawlings-Blake was given a round of applause in anticipation of the 11:30 a.m. ceremony Tuesday at City Hall’s War Memorial Plaza.

A spokesman for the mayor said Monday afternoon her speech would center on making city government more efficient and making Baltimore “better, safer and stronger.”

The mayor is expected to unveil a 10-year plan for Baltimore early next year, said Ian Brennan, her spokesman.

Rawlings-Blake was first elected to the City Council in 1995 at age 25. Her inauguration will be for a full, four-year term. Formerly the president of the City Council, she took over the  mayor’s job on Feb. 4, 2010 after the resignation of Sheila Dixon following a conviction in Baltimore City Circuit Court on corruption charges.

Top 5 – ‘Maryland is unique in that’

A new, luxury rental development opening in Owings Mills and Gov. Martin O’Malley announcing early successes during his trade mission to India are among the most-read business stories of the week. Also making the list is Disney pulling out of National Harbor and the auction of undeveloped lots in Camden Crossing. Here are the Top 5 stories of the week:

1. Doctors now can’t profit from sending patients for MRIs — by Ben Mook

Nearly nine months after a ruling by the state’s highest court took effect, the Maryland Board of Physicians has fully implemented a ban on orthopedists, cardiologists and other doctors from referring patients for treatment on MRI or CT machines in which the doctors have a financial interest.

State law prohibited such self-referrals, but it took a supporting decision by the Court of Appeals in January before the physicians board could move forward with ensuring compliance with the law. A subcommittee of the Maryland Senate this week began a review of the board, which is a semi-independent division of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, amid concerns of its performance as the agency overseeing physician misconduct.

2. Luxury rentals open in Owings Mills — by Melody Simmons

The first residents in a new 375-unit luxury rental development in Owings Mills are moving in following completion of phase one of construction at The View at Mill Run.

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Big Matty’s Diner fills gap left by Rallo’s closing

When the small diner at 838 E. Fort Ave. in Locust Point — the legendary Rallo’s — closed in September, many regulars were doubly bereft.

They mourned the death of personable owner Vincent Rallo, from lung cancer on July 7, followed by the shut down in September.

Enter Matthew Gurczynski.

A devotee of Rallo’s, he stepped up and opened Big Matty’s Diner opened this fall and rehired all of Rallo’s cooks and waitresses for what has to be the comeback of the year on the South Baltimore peninsula.

The small, homey dining room with its black and white checkerboard floor, lunch counter, booths and tables for four is once again open for business at 7 a.m., serving eggs, home fries and toast followed by soups, sandwiches and platters of meatloaf and crab cakes for lunch.

The diner has been a fixture in Locust Point for nearly 100 years. Vince’s father opened the original Rallo’s near Ft. McHenry in 1920. In 1962, the diner moved up to Fort Avenue.

The same group of 25 regulars comes in each morning for breakfast. They include developers Patrick Turner and Bill Struever as well as City Councilman William H. Cole IV. Employees of Phillips Seafood’s “world headquarters” offices, located across the street, are also known to partake of the good, solid grub here.

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The Baltimore Development Corp. is seeking a developer for three properties at Charles Street and North Avenue, including the old Parkway Theatre, which is patterned after London’s famed West End Theatre in Leicester Square.

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