July 17 // Sinclair-Tribune merger in jeopardy after FCC Chairman expresses 'serious concerns'

Sinclair Broadcast Group’s proposed $3.9 billion takeover of Tribune Media appears in jeopardy after the head of the Federal Communications Commission raised concerns Monday about the controversial deal. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, an appointee of President Donald J. Trump who has been viewed as friendly to such a merger, said in a statement that after a thorough review, “I have serious concerns about the Sinclair/Tribune transaction. “The evidence we’ve received suggests that certain station divestitures that have been proposed to the FCC would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law,” Pai said. (Balt. Sun)

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Data firm says Russian investors had no access to Maryland's voting system

A state Board of Elections vendor whose ties to a Russian investor are under investigation said Monday the investor has no access to Maryland’s voting system. Annie Eissler, chief marketing officer for the vendor, ByteGrid LLC, sought to assuage worries from top Maryland leaders after the FBI last week alerted them to ties between the company and a Russian oligarch. ByteGrid LLC owns the servers that hold the Maryland data for voter registration, candidacy, election management, and election night results, state elections officials said. (Balt. Sun)

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Plan for White Marsh outlet stores scrapped as new developer eyes warehouse space

The new owners of a prominent 52-acre parcel of land in White Marsh said Monday they will scrap plans for an outlet shopping center and instead build warehouses aimed at retailers who want to store goods for quick turnaround for customers. Baltimore-area developers Atapco Properties and Chesapeake Real Estate Group LLC said the shift is a response to demand for warehouse space along the Interstate 95 corridor from retailers. The partners bought the land at Route 43 and Interstate 95 last month for $15.3 million from Paragon Outlets Baltimore, according to CoStar Group, a real estate information company. (Balt. Sun)

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Baltimore-based kosher certification company reduces number of acceptable Starbucks drinks

A Baltimore-based leader in kosher certification has said it can no longer vouch for Starbucks drinks with “syrups, sauces, toppings, powders, soy or almond milk.” Star-K said this month that Starbucks ended an expanded kosher certification program with Star-K, and that the company “can no longer vouch for the kashrus of many of the flavored items previously listed.” An online petition urging Starbucks to resume its expanded certification program with Star-K has nearly 9,000 signatures as of Monday evening. (Balt. Sun)

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New eateries and shop announced at BWI

Two new eateries, a bar and a travel bag shop have opened at BWI Marshall Airport, the concession operator announced Monday. Sir Veza’s Kitchen and Kantina opened a 1,000-square-foot restaurant in the main terminal, offering Mexican and American street food, including tacos, burritos, burgers and wings in what it concessionaire Freport Maryland called a “rustic garage ‘sports and gastropub.’” A craft cocktail bar called martini opened in the A/B food court. In addition to cocktails, craft beers and signature martinis, it also offers sandwiches and bar snacks. (Balt. Sun)

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Cross Street Market liquor license request heads to board

As work on a $7.2 million redevelopment of the Cross Street Market advances, developer Caves Valley Partners is headed to the liquor board to ask for a license that will allow alcohol sales for multiple vendors within the space. The Board of Liquor License Commissioners for Baltimore City will consider the request at a hearing scheduled for July 26. A liquor license for the Federal Hill market was a key negotiating point for Caves Valley. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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July 16 // Mayor Pugh targets three communities for new redevelopment fund

Three blighted Baltimore communities have been targeted by City Hall for upgrades under a new $80 million reinvestment fund. Requests for proposals for redevelopment in Upton, Park Heights and Coldstream Homestead Montebello were released Friday by the Department of Housing and Community Development. The projects aim to produce affordable and market-rate housing units. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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MGM National Harbor unveils $48 million expansion of gambling spaces

MGM National Harbor, the Prince George’s County casino, hotel and entertainment complex, opened a $48 million expansion Sunday in response to strong demand, the casino operator said. The move adds a larger poker room, off-track horse betting in partnership with the Maryland Jockey Club, 285 slot machines and dining and bar options to the second floor of the $1.4 billion casino project that opened near Washington in December 2016. (Balt. Sun)

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