City Officials Say They Won't Sell Money-Losing Hilton

City officials said Thursday that they've ruled out selling the money-losing Hilton Baltimore convention center hotel, but hope to turn a profit on the $300 million project within a decade. The city could lose $60 million to $90 million if it sold the hotel now, officials said. A consultant's report released Thursday called the hotel's finances "markedly improving" and showed projections of increased income over five years. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore City Panel Approves 25th Street Station Shopping Center

The third time was the charm Thursday, as the Baltimore City Urban Design and Architectural Review Panel gave its blessing to the planned 25th Street Station shopping center with a Walmart in Remington. UDARP had criticized aspects of the Walmart design in two previous hearings, but this time agreed that proposed landscaping and design changes would make the center and its Walmart super center store more aesthetically pleasing and better integrated into the community, as well as more pedestrian-friendly. (Patuxent)

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Del. First To Launch Full Internet Gambling For Competitive Edge

Delaware became the first state Thursday to launch what officials call a full suite of Internet gambling, an effort the governor and casino operators hope will revive revenues from an industry hit hard because of competition from border states. Twenty-five to 75 players who have registered online at sites maintained by Delaware’s three racetrack casinos will be permitted to play during a week of testing of the system. (Daily Times)

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MECU Gets Maryland OK To Buy Advance Bank

Maryland banking regulators on Thursday approved MECU of Baltimore’s plans to acquire Advance Bank. MECU’s purchase of Advance Bank would be the first of its kind in Maryland in which a credit union buys a bank. When the MECU-Advance Bank deal was announced, Advance Bank CEO John Hamilton said his customers would benefit by having access to a wider array of services, including smartphone banking and auto loans. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Maryland Banks Increase Small Business Lending Under Federal Program

The four Maryland banks participating in a federal loan program have boosted lending to small businesses by $362.9 million since the program started in 2010. One criticism of the program is that some banks used some of their SBLF loans to repay earlier funding they received under the Treasury Department’s Capital Purchase Program. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Developer David Tufaro Plans Bridge To (Almost) Nowhere To Get Approval For Next Mill Project

Now that developer Terra Nova Ventures LLC’s Mill No. 1 is 95 percent complete, developer David Tufaro is heading north on the Jones Falls for his second mill conversion. Like Mill No. 1, the potential for flooding on the Jones Falls raised safety issues for planners, who wanted to ensure residents could evacuate the building during a storm. Tufaro has helped calm planners’ concerns with an agreement to construct a pedestrian bridge that will allow residents to walk (or run) to higher ground on Mill Race Road. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Halloween Big Business For Local, National Retailers

Halloween rolls in and the trick-or-treaters roll out looking for sweets, but candy isn’t the only thing up for grabs on day that’s now big business across the country. Halloween has become a one-day financial juggernaut in the U.S. Americans spend a total of $6.9 billion on the holiday. Of that money, $2.6 billion goes towards costumes and $330 million is spent on pets. (WJZ-TV)

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Bethesda-Based Women's E-Commerce Site Raises $2.5 Million

Skye Associates, LLC, the Bethesda e-commerce firm that runs online shopping sites that include SimplySoles and Boutique to You, has raised $2.5 million from investors for the company's future growth. The funding, which came from local investors, will help Skye Associates increase marketing efforts for the sites it already owns, to build up the company's executive team and to finance future acquisitions, Hanin said. (Wash. Bus. Journal)

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