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Top 5 business stories of the year

It seems food was never far from the minds of The Daily Record’s online readers in 2011. News about the comings and goings of supermarkets in Baltimore and Maryland are among the most-viewed business stories of the year online. The list also includes personnel changes at The Baltimore Sun and Rosecroft Raceway getting a new owner.

The Top 5 most-viewed business stories online of 2011 are as follows:

1. Fresh & Green’s opens in downtown Baltimore — July 1

Downtown Baltimore’s former Superfresh store reopened Friday, albeit a couple of hours later than officials said it would, with its new name, Fresh & Green’s, and new ownership.

Fresh & Green’s is owned by Scarsdale, N.Y.-based Mrs. Green’s Management Corp., which recently bought 10 local Superfresh stores in a joint venture. The  store at Charles and Saratoga streets was mostly full of inventory and new produce Friday.

Many of Superfresh’s employees who re-applied for jobs were hired at the new store, said Matt Williams, CEO of parent company Natural Market Restaurants Corp., which owns the Mrs. Green’s chain.

2. Baltimore Sun looking to buy out up to 25 employees — Aug. 10

Management at The Baltimore Sun gave a buyout proposal to the Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild Wednesday, looking to cut from 20 to 25 positions.

“The company has initiated bargaining today with the guild over the terms of a voluntary buyout offer,” Renee Mutchnik, director of marketing for The Baltimore Sun, said in a statement.

Mutchnik wrote in an emailed response to questions that this is the first voluntary buyout offer since 2008.

3. Penn National outbids Angelos, buys Rosecroft for $10.25M — Jan. 28

Penn National Gaming bought bankrupt Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George’s County for $10.25 million in cash Friday.

Penn National outbid two other potential buyers, including Peter G. Angelos, who had originally agreed to buy the track for $9 million in cash, plus $5 million if a referendum to expand gambling was approved and slots were operational at the facility by December 2012.

4. Superfresh stores in Md. to be sold — April 13

The parent company of Superfresh said Wednesday it wants to sell nearly all of its stores in Maryland as part of its plan to emerge from bankruptcy.

The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company Inc. said in a release that it is seeking court approval of bidding procedures to market and sell 25 Superfresh stores, including 22 in Maryland, two in Delaware and one in the District of Columbia. The company said it expected to complete the sales by mid-June.

5. Baltimore drops value of fixed assets by $223 million — Sept. 30

An accounting rule that was missed on some municipal construction projects in Baltimore forced the city to drop the value of its fixed assets by 5 percent and reflect that in revised financial statements for 2010.

On Friday, Edward J. Gallagher, Baltimore’s director of finance, issued a statement saying that mistakes in the value of Baltimore’s $4.46 billion in fixed assets meant that their value had to be dropped by $223 million.

The mistakes centered on an accounting rule that capital projects such as road resurfacings and building renovations are put in an asset category called “construction-in-progress” until completed, when they are reassigned as “fixed assets” and then depreciated in value.

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