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Cupcakes in Towson, Hilton in Hunt Valley

There’s sweetness happening in Towson’s business hub.

La Cakerie, a brightly painted bakery featuring several varieties of cupcakes including peanut butter and jelly, lemon, red velvet, coconut and maple syrup and bacon, has opened its doors.

So far, the response has been sugary, say owners Adam Klein and Jason Hisley.

“The lines were out the doors for five hours,” Klein said, of opening day last Saturday.

The young entrepreneurs — Klein is 21 and Hisley 24 — have recently minted diplomas in business and pastry creations, respectively.

They said they decided to go all in and try their hand at opening a bake shop at a time when others their age are desperately seeking work and found a vacant site in need of love at 49 W. Chesapeake Ave. that was once a florist shop.

So far, customers have flocked in from the local business area, including Baltimore County workers from the nearby historic Baltimore County Courthouse.

“We wanted to take a space that had been vacant and let go and breathe new life into it,” Klein said.

Hisley, a graduate of Bel Air High School, said the cupcakes, pastries and artisanal bread are baked in an industrial kitchen near Pimlico. The shop will begin taking orders for wedding cakes in December, said Klein, a graduate of Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School, said.

La Cakerie is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is closed Sunday.


The newly named Hunt Valley Inn will soon become a Hilton property, sources say.

The former Baltimore Marriott Hunt Valley Inn, a busy suburban hotel, located off of Shawan Road near the Hunt Valley Towne Centre, will also be getting a $15 million facelift under its new owners in the coming year.

The 393-room hotel and conference center has been the site of many of the metro area’s business meetings and social occasions for years. It opened in 1971 and is located near the headquarters for McCormick & Co.

Marriott pulled its flag from the property on July 1.

Shannon Keaney, the inn’s general manager, declined comment Thursday.


St. John Properties, a leading Maryland-based commercial real estate giant, is dipping its toe into the waters of the local apartment market.

The corporation will soon begin building a 108-unit townhouse development in Dundalk at the site of the former North Point Drive-in, officials say.

The housing is expected to be offered as rental properties when completed late next year. Craftsman Homes is the builder.

The 30-acre drive-in site at North Point Boulevard and Old Battle Grove Road had been the home to a popular eastside Baltimore County flea market for years.

St. John purchased the property “because it was a 30-acre retail zoned property,” said the company’s marketing executive Jerry Wit.

The move to develop housing at the site comes as many investors are seeking to take advantage of the popularity of rental units in the midst of the ongoing housing and economic crisis.

The former drive-in was a well-loved county landmark. The Durkee Corp. first opened the development in 1948 as an outdoor movie hub for 600 cars. The last picture show there was in 1982.


Can one ride a bicycle and chomp a cigar at the same time?

This Sunday, local preservationists will sponsor a bike ride around town that will take in some of the city’s most historic developments “through H.L. Mencken’s Baltimore” aka, the city’s west side.

“The eldest son of August Mencken, a successful local cigar manufacturer, Mencken grew from roaming the alleys and vacant lots with gangs of West Baltimore boys to become one of the youngest reporters at the Baltimore Herald, launching a career in journalism and writing that endured for nearly 50 years,” says a promo from Baltimore Heritage.

The trip will include a ride by the former location of Little Joe’s Bike Shop, where Heritage folks say Mencken first learned to ride a bike in the 1890s, past the shuttered former city landmark Marconi’s on Cathedral Street and onto a stop at the former home of author F. Scott Fitzgerald in Bolton Hill. Then, there will be a tipping of the wings (or handlebars) at the Poe House, located around the corner from Mencken’s birthplace on Lexington Street.

The bike tour begins at 9:30 a.m. at Union Square Park at Hollins and South Stricker Streets and is expected to end around noon at the H.L. Mencken House. The cost is $15 and those interested can sign up at the Baltimore Heritage website.


TIDBITS: Owners of a new Weis Market grocery is preparing to open in the Towson Marketplace shopping center off of Joppa Road in a space vacated by Super Fresh nearly two years ago … Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and city housing Commissioner Paul T. Graziano are expected to kick off demolition of 36 vacant buildings Friday morning in the blighted Johnston Square community… Next Thursday, the gold coast of Harbor East will unveil a new holiday tradition called Window Wonderland – A Holiday Arts Exhibit! Several restaurants and stores will feature unique holiday display windows to be decorated by some of the city’s top local artists. The exhibit will run through New Year’s Day… The new 365-unit luxury apartment community near White Marsh, The Arbors at Baltimore Crossroads, recently won two top awards at the Delta Associates Awards of Excellence competition for apartment home and condominium projects in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Arbors won Best 2012 Baltimore-area Apartment Community and the designation as “Best Lease-Up Pace” for a Baltimore-area apartment community. The development is located within the 1,000-acre Baltimore Crossroads @95, a St. John Property site…TBS Media Group has just inked a lease for 1,305 square feet of new office space in Owings Mills at 11201 Dolfield Road. Pat Franklin, Whit Levering, Lou Boeri and Ashley Combs of Merritt Properties brokered the deal.