Daily Briefing

DAILY BRIEFING

October 14, 2008

Cordish Co. halts role in Ky. redevelopment

Baltimore-based The Cordish Co. has pulled out of a $250 million redevelopment of downtown Louisville, Ky., that proposed a mix of shops, lodging, homes and offices and would have extended the Cordish-developed Fourth Street Live entertainment district. The developer said it could no longer hold the resources and cash committed to the "Center City" project, after the Louisville Metro Council last week failed to take action on the city's part of a development agreement with Cordish. The city had agreed to invest more than $24.4 million, including acquiring some land. "Unfortunately, without the support of the Council, we have no choice but to turn our focus to other markets that desire our expertise and capital, and understand the dynamics of complex public private partnerships," Blake L. Cordish, a Cordish vice president, said in an Oct. 10 letter to Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson.

Lorraine Mirabella

SSA downtown workers may move

The federal government's landlord has proposed moving the Social Security Administration's downtown Baltimore employees to a new facility on Wabash Avenue in Northwest Baltimore. The employees now work in the 28-year-old Metro West building on North Greene Street. The facility, which the General Services Administration has deemed "obsolete," was designed to hold more than 5,000 workers. Automation has reduced that number to fewer than 2,000. The new facility would be about 538,000 square feet and include more than 1,000 parking spaces. It would be located on the same parcel as the Maryland Transit Authority Police training facility in the 6100 block of Wabash Ave. The site was selected over one in Liberty Village at 2600 Liberty Heights Ave. The General Services Administration is accepting written comments on the proposal until Nov. 11.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in yesterday's editions about the relocation of Social Security Administration employees to a new office in Baltimore incorrectly described an existing facility on the proposed site. It is a Maryland Transit Administration Police training facility.
The Baltimore Sun regrets the errors.

Melissa Harris

Permal Group aims at dumped hedge funds

Legg Mason Inc.'s Permal Group, which invests about $34 billion with hedge funds, said yesterday it was starting a fund to buy hedge fund stakes dumped as "distressed investors are forced to exit." Permal, a division of Baltimore-based Legg, said its Permal Hedge Fund Opportunities Ltd. will be seeded by the group and have a target of $500 million. The fund will start Nov. 1 and make discounted secondary market investments in hedge funds, now on pace for their worst year in two decades with a drop of 9.4 percent this year through the end of September, according to Chicago-based Hedge Fund Research Inc.

Bloomberg News

GM to close Mich. stamping plant

General Motors Corp. says it will close its metal stamping plant near Grand Rapids, Mich., by the end of 2009, costing about 1,340 hourly jobs. Workers at the 2 million-square-foot factory in the suburb of Wyoming were notified yesterday afternoon. The move comes as GM tries to cut costs in the middle of a U.S. sales slump and global financial crisis. The automaker announced earlier yesterday that it would end sport utility vehicle production at its Janesville, Wis., factory in December, which is earlier than previously announced. The plant will close in mid-2009.

Associated Press

Waste Management withdraws Republic bid

HARTFORD, Conn. : Waste Management Inc., the nation's largest garbage hauler, withdrew its $6.73 billion bid to acquire smaller rival Republic Services yesterday, saying the move wouldn't be prudent given current financial market turmoil. The announcement ends a three-month takeover struggle that began in July when Houston-based Waste Management first offered to buy rival Republic Services Inc., the nation's No. 3 trash hauler, and continued when Waste Management sweetened its takeover bid in August. The moves were seen as an effort to derail an earlier deal between Republic Services and Allied Waste Industries Inc.

Associated Press

United Technologies drops Diebold offer

CLEVELAND : United Technologies Corp. has dropped its unsolicited $2.6 billion bid to buy ATM manufacturer Diebold Inc., which had frustrated UTC because it wouldn't discuss the offer and delayed releasing its financial information. Diebold's chairman said the company is encouraged about its future, even as its stock remained far less than the $40 a share that UTC had offered. United Technologies made its offer Feb. 29 in an effort to broaden its security business and expand into China.

Associated Press

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