Thursday, March 30, 2017

BizWeekly 12/13/2016

December 13, 2016

Posted in: Latest News

BizWeekly 12/13/2016

The Kane Company Starts ‘Wind Down’ Operations
The Elkridge-based Kane Company, the nation’s largest commercial mover and a long-time presence in the Baltimore-Washington area, ceased operations at most of its locations as of Sunday, Dec. 8, and is laying off about 950 employees. The company is conducting what it terms “an orderly wind down of operations” and will eventually close the business.
“Having explored multiple paths with the assistance of financial and legal advisers, it has become clear that the best course of action for the company and its creditors is to wind down our operations. This difficult decision has not been made lightly and comes after many long discussions with key management, advisers and family. I am truly grateful for the hard work and dedication of our employees that has enabled us to provide ‘Best in Class’ service to our many loyal customers for 47 years in business,” said John Kane, president and CEO. “Unfortunately, we have not been able to find a strategic alternative that could generate a viable transaction within the time frame allowed by our limited cash resources and lender.”
The goal of the company during the wind-down process will be to divest the company’s assets and collect on receivables in order to satisfy obligations to creditors. This will include working with customers to phase out current contracts and projects. Kane will also continue running its Office Shredding and Office Archives operations until further notice.
Additionally, the company’s human resources team will be focused on assisting employees with finding other employment, including through partnership with the Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia Departments of Labor and Workforce Development.
The company, which had run its Baltimore-area operations out of Elkridge and its Washington operations out of Lanham and Alexandria, Va., also ran a staffing service center for Fort Meade in Severn, and its Office Movers division headquarters out of Elkridge. Kane also ran other offices in the Baltimore-Washington region, plus various locations in Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, Arizona and California.
Village of Long Reach Named Sustainable Community by Maryland DHCD
The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) announced that the Village of Long Reach in Columbia has been awarded a Sustainable Community designation, based on an application submitted last June by Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman and the county’s Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ). Working in collaboration with the Long Reach Village Board, the Howard County Council, Columbia Association, business owners and others, the county sought the designation to increase opportunities for revitalization and reinvestment in Long Reach.
The Sustainable Communities program emphasizes public and private investments and partnerships to support community growth, revitalization and reinvestment in older communities. This includes fostering a healthy local economy, green infrastructure, mix of land uses, sustainable housing, walkability and recreational opportunities. Obtaining the sustainable community designation, which lasts five years, opens eligibility for state programs and resources, such as Neighborhood BusinessWorks, Community Legacy and the Strategic Demolition Fund. The designation also enhances competitiveness for state programs, such as Maryland Bikeways.
Long Reach’s 30-page application was developed by a Sustainable Communities Workgroup with representatives from DPZ, the Department of Public Works, Office of Transportation, Office of Community Sustainability, Economic Development Authority, Housing Commission, Columbia Association, Columbia Art Center, Long Reach Village Board and staff, Long Reach High School and area business owners. The workgroup will now help identify funding options, pursue resources and guide implementation of the Sustainable Community Action Plan.
“The Long Reach Community Association applauds the designation as a Sustainable Community,” said Nina Basu, chair of the Long Reach Village Board. “Long Reach is one of the oldest villages in Columbia and its largest village. While Long Reach has a strong community and is located in the center of Howard County, as many of the buildings and developments approach 50 years, it is important we revitalize and make sure residents have access to improved amenities and opportunities that become possible with this designation.”
Howard Solicits Proposals for
Redevelopment of Long Reach Village Center
The Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to redevelop the Long Reach Village Center. Howard County purchased the 7.7-acre site in 2014 and 2015 under the county’s Urban Renewal Law for the purpose of revitalizing the property. The county and seller closed on the last piece of property on Feb. 20, 2015.

County Executive Allan Kittleman launched the Re-Imagine Long Reach Village Center effort with a series of five community meetings beginning in April 2015 to engage the community and lay the foundation to reimagine and revitalize the center. Those meetings helped shape the Re-Imagine Long Reach Center Plan, which identified revitalization objectives for the center, including economic sustainability, connectivity, community spaces and building and site design. The plan can be found at www.howardcountymd.gov/longreach .

In an effort to ensure the community and the Long Reach Village Board will continue to be a part of the process and provide input on the future of the village center, the county executive will appoint three members of the public to serve on the RFP Review Committee. He has asked the Village Board and Councilman Calvin Ball, who represents the area, to each submit one nominee.
More than 17,000 people live in Long Reach, within 6,108 households. The median household income and the percentage of the population with a bachelor’s degree or higher in and around the property is considerably higher than the population as a whole in Maryland. The deadline for submitting redevelopment proposals is March 1, 2017.
Cordish Plans $2.2B Hotel, Entertainment District in Madrid
The Baltimore-based Cordish Companies, owner of the Maryland Live! Casino, at Arundel Mills, has submitted plans to build a $2.2 billion entertainment resort district in Madrid, as it looks to expand its gaming division internationally. The Cordish Global Cities Madrid Live! SA affiliate submitted plans to the Madrid Regional Autonomous Government to develop Spain’s first Integrated Entertainment Resort Destination.
The proposed district will be located on approximately 300-plus acres in the Torres de la Alameda sector of Madrid, offering proximity to major infrastructure and attractions, including IFEMA (the Trade Fair Institution of Madrid), the Madrid Atocha Train Station, Barajas International Airport and the Madrid City Center, making the site easily accessible to the majority of the population in Spain, and allowing the majority of the western European population to access the site by air, car and/or train in less than two hours.
“The Live! Integrated Resort & Entertainment District in Madrid is one of the most exciting and unique integrated resort & entertainment developments in Europe that will not only enhance the regional resort and entertainment markets, but also serve as a major domestic and international tourism destination,” said Joe Weinberg, managing partner, The Cordish Companies, Global Cities. “We look forward to working with the Madrid Regional Autonomous Government and the entire community as we move forward on our proposal to develop the region’s first world-class integrated resort destination.”
The Live! District, at full build-out, would include up to 2,700 new hotel rooms, including destination spas and lagoon style pools; more than 1 million square feet of retail and shopping outlets; nearly 170,000 square feet of dining venues, offering Mediterranean, French, Asian, American and regional Spanish cuisine; nearly 275,000 square feet of convention and meeting space; approximately 450,000 square feet of luxury prime office space; and approximately 125,000 square feet of gaming entertainment.
It also would include approximately 200,000 square feet of entertainment and live performance venues, including Broadway-style theaters, comedy clubs, bowling, live music venues and movie theaters. The Great Central Plaza at the heart of the project will include a large Mercado, specialized bars, lounges, dance clubs and cafes.
New Website Aims to Give Back to Lab Community
GiveBack365 (www.GiveBack365.org), a new community initiative and website sponsored by Columbia-based COLA, aims to build public awareness and support of laboratory medicine by encouraging industry partners to “Give Back” – and help to enrich the lives of current and future laboratory professionals.
The program provides resources to current and future laboratory professionals, while encouraging industry partners, including laboratories of all sizes, educational institutions, regulatory agencies, membership organizations, manufacturers and more, to get involved in promoting the value of laboratory medicine.
The foundation of the site is based on four key components: Student Enrichment, Scholarships, Student Mentoring and Disaster Relief Resources. For instance, GB365 provides resources for any organization interested in enriching the experiences of students of all ages about the field of laboratory medicine through on-site presentations, STEM festivals and school-sponsored events. Resources include a Give Back School Speaking Kit, career posters, videos and interactive laboratory experiments.
“GB365 was built around the idea of creating a unique, community-reinforcing program that brings awareness to the clinical laboratory profession,” said Douglas Beigel, CEO of COLA. “With so many medical laboratory technology and science programs closing their doors, there is a greater need than ever before to spread knowledge and interest in the profession among students of all ages, to ensure the future of quality laboratory medicine.”
Howard County Selects PACE Financial as Commercial Program Manager
The Howard County government has announced that PACE Financial Servicing (PFS) has been selected as the county’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program manager. PACE is an affordable way for commercial, industrial and nonprofit building owners to pay for energy improvements.
Through PACE, these property owners secure no-down-payment, low-interest loans from private lenders. The loans are repaid to the county as an additional assessment on property taxes over 20 years; the county then forwards the payment to the lender to satisfy the loan. The program is administered with minimal cost to the county.
PFS specializes in providing turnkey administration for PACE financing programs at the state and local levels. Its role is to build programs that seamlessly connect PACE capital to interested building owners, resulting in increased economic activity, reduced environmental pollution and new jobs.
PACE has been adopted in 10 Maryland counties and the City of Baltimore, and is also active in 15 states. It has contributed to the creation of 3,600 jobs and more than $300 million of investment into commercial buildings.
The Howard County program will launch in January. PFS will host a Lender’s Roundtable on Wednesday, Jan. 18,  and a Contractor’s Training session will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 8, with times and locations to be determined. If you are interested in attending, email info@mdpace.com or call 443-910-4932. For more information, visit www.md-pace.com/howard . Video from the announcement can be viewed at https://youtu.be/v0UUcrLq9Bg.
State to Receive $15M in Federal Funding to Expand Preschool Programs
U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, together with U.S. Reps. Steny Hoyer, Elijah Cummings, Chris Van Hollen, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Donna F. Edwards and John Delaney (all D-Md.), have announced that Maryland has been awarded $15 million through the Preschool Development Grants program to provide high-quality preschool programs in 19 school districts across Maryland. In the past three years, Maryland has been awarded more than $45 million in federal funds to expand proven-beneficial preschool programs throughout the state.

“We never get do-overs when it comes to our children’s early development, which makes this continued federal investment in Maryland to strengthen and expand our preschool programs incredibly important,” said Cardin. “Our goal is to ensure that early learners have the chance to acquire the skills they need to be successful throughout their lives. With this federal investment, we will be able to provide additional opportunities to meet that goal, as well as meet growing demand to expand access to high-quality preschool programs.”

“This is the type of common sense investment Americans expect during these tough times,” said Ruppersberger. “Research suggests that Pre-K can improve a child’s chance of success in school and in life – children who attend Pre-K are more likely to graduate from high school and earn more as adults. It is an investment in our future.”

Through these awards, more than 35,000 additional children across 18 states will be served in preschool programs that meet high-quality standards in the third year of the program, an increase from 28,000 in the first award year in 2014. States receiving grants will develop or expand high-quality preschool programs in regionally diverse communities – from urban neighborhoods to small towns to tribal areas – as determined by the state. Since 2014, the departments of Education and Health and Human Services have provided more than $750 million to states in Preschool Development Grant awards.

Maryland is one of 18 states to receive an expansion grant, which were designated for states that currently serve 10% of more of 4-year-olds or have received a Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant. States receiving expansion grants have ambitious and achievable plans to implement and sustain high-quality preschool programs that can reach and serve additional eligible children. Up to 5% of the expansion grant award may be used for state-level infrastructure and quality improvements.

Maryland Among Four States to Receive C+ on Adult Financial Literacy Report Card
Maryland is one of just four states that received a C+ on the 2016 National Report Card on Adult Financial Literacy on Dec. 12 as determined by Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy in Burlington, Vt. The other states are California, Colorado and New York.
John Pelletier, director of Champlain College’s Center for Financial Literacy, said that even those states earning higher grades – none received an A or A+ – are merely the best among a group of low-performing states. The Champlain College Center’s report card shows that more than three-quarters of adults live in states with poor grades.
“Our report shows that our nation has dramatic room for improvement, so one should not be misled by grades,” said Pelletier. “For example, while adults in Maryland perform well in important areas like spending within their means, they can improve in other areas, like household budgeting and having adequate life insurance.”
The report card assesses the problem of adult financial illiteracy nationally, and gives grades to each state based on data gleaned from national organizations that track Americans’ financial knowledge, credit, saving and spending, retirement readiness, investing and levels of insurance. Forty-eight percent of Maryland’s grades were C, D or F (34 out of 71 financial literacy grades).
NFIB Statement on Gov. Hogan’s Mandatory Paid Leave Proposal
In response to Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement regarding paid sick leave, the following statement was issued by National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Maryland State Director Mike O’Halloran.
“Anytime a new mandate is introduced, it gives the small business community reason to be alarmed. That being said, we certainly appreciate the efforts by the Administration to address concerns expressed by the business community when considering this proposal. The Governor’s common-sense approach to this issue fares much better than the legislation passed by the House of Delegates during the 2016 session. If the legislature is intent on passing a paid sick leave bill, we hope they will consider the Governor’s proposal as it provides much-needed protections for the small business community.
“It is incumbent upon lawmakers considering mandatory paid leave in any form to understand that increasing regulations and mandates on employers will result in fewer jobs in Maryland. Additionally, our members feel strongly that offering paid leave to entice employees is a decision that should be left up to individual businesses, not legislated. Tax relief for job creators often paying taxes as pass-through entities is certainly something that we support, but we hope such relief will stand on its own merit without the need to pass a mandate onto businesses.”
Howard County Housing Department Seeking Nonprofit to Administer Program
Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman and the Howard County Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) are seeking a nonprofit organization to administer the County’s REvitalizing Neighborhoods EveryWhere (RENEW) Howard program. RENEW Howard is designed to create an incentive for homebuyers to purchase and renovate older homes by offering low-interest mortgages with funds built-in for home improvements.

Kittleman said the selected nonprofit will receive a $2 million grant from the county to establish a loan loss reserve fund that could potentially leverage $20 million in funds from private banks to provide mortgage loans as part of this program. There are more than 7,000 homes in Howard County that meet the program’s general eligibility requirements.
“Helping people buy and restore older homes is critical to maintaining the vitality of our older communities,” said Kittleman. “This program will help restore older communities by giving new homeowners a chance to fix up homes that might need some tender loving care.”

There are no income restrictions for the homebuyers though they must intend to live in these homes to be eligible for the program. The county will host a pre-application conference on Tuesday, Dec. 20, at 11 a.m., in the Housing Conference room at the Columbia Gateway building. Questions may be submitted to the housing office at dgillen@howardcountymd.gov, through Dec. 23. Responses will be posted on the Howard County website on Dec. 29.
The application is available at www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Housing/Publications and must be submitted Jan. 9, 2017. The selected nonprofit will be announced by mid-January.
Annapolis Receives Money for New Light House Bistro Project
The City of Annapolis has been awarded $200,000 in Community Legacy funds from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development to help defray construction costs for the new Light House Bistro, located at 202 West Street.
“I had the opportunity to be part of the groundbreaking celebration for the new Culinary Bistro, and I know the money will help support this self-sustaining, revenue-generating project,” Mayor Mike Pantelides said. “This is such an incredible program, and I am enthusiastically waiting for the Bistro’s mid-January opening.”

The Light House, a homeless prevention and support center, is updating its former downtown Annapolis shelter to create an advanced culinary training center for graduates of its culinary arts job training program, Building Employment Success Training (B.E.S.T.). It will include a 50-seat bistro with a full service menu, a coffee bar staffed by Baristas and a Gourmet Grab ‘n Go and will serve as home for The Light House B.E.S.T. Catering company. Four permanent supportive housing units will be located on the second floor for former Light House residents.

The Light House Bistro will support the ongoing workforce development and housing programs at The Light House. This project will also contribute to the revitalization and economic development of the West Street Corridor.
Startup Maryland Winner to be Announced Today
The winner of the Startup Maryland contest will be announced today, Dec. 13, at the STRT1UP Showcase, the final celebration of the STRT1UP Roadshow and Pitch Across Maryland competitions. The event will be held from 3-7 p.m. at the Innovation Village, located at 1040 Park Avenue, in mid-town Baltimore.
There will be four pitches (from Chord, Real Flexi, Wicked 7 and Dysrupts) for the Rural Innovations Competition, followed by the Great Eight Competition Finalists (Quidient, Ocuflow, Core 22, SecuLore, Gun Bail, Neuro Helmet Systems, Frey, Optio Labs and Cybrary) A panel of judges will select winners for the two remaining competition categories, which will join the already-announced CyberSecurity, Fan Favorite and Champions’ Choice Winners.
Rockburn Branch Park Stream Restoration Project to Begin
A Howard County construction project to improve an eroded stream in the vicinity of 6105 Rockburn Branch Park Road, Elkridge, is scheduled to begin on or about Monday, Dec. 19. The Rockburn Branch, a tributary to the Patapsco River, has been heavily impacted by stormwater and has eroded significantly. The project will include the use of wood and rock structures to reestablish a more natural stream, reducing in-stream erosion and improving water quality. Weather permitting, the project is expected to be completed by late May 2017.

This project is funded through the county’s Watershed Protection and Restoration Fund and a Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund grant. For questions or concerns about Capital Project D-1158, contact Lisa Brightwell, Public Works Customer Service, at 410-313-3440 or email publicworks@howardcountymd.gov.
From Maryland Reporter.com …
Billions more in school aid sought, but commissioners question results: Consultants are recommending that Maryland spend $2.9 billion more on public schools each year, a 29% overall increase. The state share would increase by $1.9 billion and the counties would pick up the rest, with some big winners and Montgomery County the biggest loser in the reallocation of school dollars. The commission that will actually make recommendations to the legislature next year about school funding got its first bite at a thick consulting report

justifying the increased spending, with members questioning the two-year study and its approach. Read more: http://marylandreporter.com/2016/12/09/billions-more-in-school-aid-sought-but-commissioners-question-results
Advocates of public financing of local campaigns in Howard outspent opponents 10-1:

Howard County voters approved setting up a system of public financing for people running for county council and executive with a safe 7,500-vote margin, though the measure actually lost among people who voted on Election Day by 2,000 votes. Question A proponents, a coalition of good government and progressive groups, outspent the organized opponents – mostly Republicans – at least 10 to 1 if in-kind support from progressive organizations is counted. Read more: http://marylandreporter.com/2016/12/07/advocates-of-public-financing-of-local-campaigns-in-howard-co-outspent-opponents-10-1
Major overhaul of state contracting proposed, along with hundreds of changes to regulations: The Hogan administration has unveiled a major overhaul of how billions in state contracts are bid and awarded, along with a revamping of hundreds of regulations designed to making doing business in Maryland easier. Few of the changes have broad impact on the public at large, but they impact hundreds of state contractors and thousands of professionals, such as a real estate agents and mortgage brokers: http://marylandreporter.com/2016/12/06/major-overhaul-of-state-contracting-proposed-along-with-hundreds-of-changes-to-regulations
MarylandReporter.com is a news site for government and politics in Maryland that is published and edited by Len Lazarick. For more information or to sign up for the daily e-news, visit www.marylandreporter.com.

Comments on this entry are closed.