Business Digest

BUSINESS DIGEST

February 16, 2005

In the Region

Shopping center REIT buys 31 sites in Baltimore and D.C.

Regency Centers Corp., a real estate investment trust that develops shopping centers anchored by grocery stores, said yesterday that it has bought 31 properties in Baltimore and Washington.

The properties total 3.5 million square feet. Macquarie Countrywide Trust of Australia was a partner in the deal with Jacksonville, Fla.-based Regency. The Baltimore properties include Elkridge Corners Shopping Center, Festival at Woodholme, Northway Shopping Center, Parkville Shopping Center, Southside Marketplace and Valley Centre.

The acquisitions were part of Regency's acquisition of 101 properties nationwide from CalPERS/First Washington.

Biohabitats design company moving to Clipper Mill

Clipper Mill, a former machine-manufacturing plant in North Baltimore that is undergoing a $52 million makeover, has signed its 13th tenant, Biohabitats Inc., an environmentally oriented design company that plans to move its headquarters and 27 employees to Clipper Mill from Timonium this summer.

Developers Struever Bros. Eccles & Rouse bought the abandoned building and its 17-acre property last year, converting them into a residential and corporate campus with 39,000 square feet of commercial offices and 51,000 square feet of art studios.

The first commercial tenants moved in late last year; 40 percent of the space is still unleased. Residences - including townhouses and loft apartments - are expected to be ready by midyear.

Elsewhere

Continental Airlines to cut director fees, forgo stock options

Continental Airlines Inc., the fifth-largest U.S. airline, said yesterday that its board has agreed to reduce fees for most directors by 30 percent and forgo stock-option grants this year to help cut labor costs.

The move affects the annual retainer, which the company's 2004 proxy statement says was $35,000 last year for each director. It also affects per-meeting fees of as much as $2,000 for non-employee directors.

A spokesman declined to say how much the changes, effective Feb. 28, will save the Houston airline.

Continental said Jan. 6 that it might lose hundreds of millions of dollars this year and might have to scrap an aircraft order unless it can trim labor costs $500 million by Feb. 28. Continental is in talks with its unions and has arranged $169 million in reductions from nonunion workers. The company has posted losses of $871 million since 2000.

Tyco knew of huge loans, took no action, Prue says

Tyco International Ltd.'s former head of human resources testified yesterday that the company's compensation committee took no action when it learned in early 2002 that top executives had millions of dollars in outstanding loans from the company.

Under cross-examination by defense lawyers in her fourth day on the stand, Patricia Prue, senior vice president of human resources at the Bermuda-based conglomerate from 1998 to 2002, said the directors made no changes to the company's loan programs other than to ask for a regular update of loan balances exceeding $50,000.

The committee learned in February 2002 that L. Dennis Kozlowski, the former chief executive, had more than $18 million in outstanding loans and that Mark H. Swartz, the former chief financial officer, had more than $7 million in outstanding loans, Prue said.

Prosecutors say Kozlowski and Swartz used the loan programs as a line of credit.

Kozlowski and Swartz are on trial in New York State Supreme Court on charges of grand larceny, securities fraud and other crimes in connection with large bonuses and other compensation they received while top executives at Tyco.

This column was compiled from reports by Sun staff writers, the Associated Press, Dow Jones and Bloomberg News.

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