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Top 5: ‘If we fail, we fail’

Jon Sham//February 17, 2012

Top 5: ‘If we fail, we fail’

By Jon Sham

//February 17, 2012

A legislative audit has faulted the state Department of Business and Economic Development in four areas, and a sweet shop in Annapolis opened just in time for Valentine’s Day. Those stories and more in this week’s business top 5.

1. Stevenson, Metro Centre plans drive economic activity in Owings Mills – by Melody Simmons

A $500 million development now under way may help spark the final push needed to solidify the economic activity envisioned for Owings Mills when planners designated this northwest Baltimore County corridor as a growth area more than 30 years ago.

From Interstate 795, the area’s skyline is marked with the symbol of the expansion: a towering crane at the construction site of a six-story, 120,000-square-foot structure to house a new public library and branch of the Community College of Baltimore County as part of the Metro Centre at Owings Mills development.

2. Hollywood Diner opens its doors again – by Jon Sham

With a new look, new staff and some new menu items, the Baltimore landmark Hollywood Diner has reopened after being closed during January.

Owner Cheryl Townsend opened the diner last March with hopes of drawing in downtown lunch customers from City Hall, courthouses, Mercy Medical Center and other nearby businesses. But by September, customers were sparse and she considered closing.

3. Annapolis Sweet Shoppe goes for the personal touch – by Jon Sham

“People are missing the connection,” said Susan Leonard, 45, who cut the ribbon at her candy shop on Annapolis Street on Feb. 4., just in time for Valentine’s Day. “We miss the relationship of a store owner. We miss being able to connect when we walk into a store.”

She hopes that small-shop personal connection, the nostalgic, fine artisan and international candies, and the “Willy Wonka imagination” will draw in customers of all ages. The Sweet Shoppe also provides a venue for children’s birthday parties, and Leonard already has several lined up.

4. Legislative audit faults DBED in four areas – by Maria Zilberman

A legislative audit released Tuesday found that the state’s Department of Business and Economic Development was deficient in four areas, including one that was pointed out in a 2008 report.

The Department of Legislative Services started its audit in October 2007 and ended in November 2010.

5. Exelon’s tax break to expire? – by Melody Simmons

As plans move forward for construction of a $120 million office tower for Exelon Corp. at Harbor Point, one of the tax breaks at the 27-acre site is set to expire in mid-June — setting up a possible faceoff between city officials and the developer over its renewal.

The city’s Enterprise Zones expire on June 14, said Mark Vulcan, director of tax incentives for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, which sets the zones based on income and poverty data from the census every 10 years.


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