Sears will close stores at Hunt Valley Towne Centre and in Hagerstown

Sears will shutter stores at Hunt Valley Towne Center in Baltimore County and in Hagerstown in a new round of closings announced Friday, part of cost cutting measures the struggling retailer is taking to shore up its business. The two Maryland locations are among 20 unprofitable stores where Sears Holdings Corp. will terminate leases with landlord Seritage Growth Properties. The locations represent about 3.8 million square feet, Seritage said Friday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. "We are making the difficult, but necessary decision to close" the Sears and Sears Auto Center on Shawan Road, and Sears in Hagerstown, Howard Riefs, a Sears spokesman, said in an email Friday. (Balt. Sun)

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Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que closes in Annapolis

If you are a fan of the barbecue at Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que you'll have to drive a bit farther to get a serving now. The restaurant in the Annapolis Restaurant Park on Jennifer Road closed recently as the Minnesota-based chain refocuses because of declining sales. In early May, the company announced to shareholders that it would speed up plans to re-franchise more than 120 locations and concentrate on its 33 company-owned restaurants in the next two years. The company said it had already closed three restaurants in the first part of the year, and could shut more. (Capital)

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June 23 // Legal battle over State Center redevelopment to continue Monday

The Baltimore City Circuit Court will hold a hearing Monday and make a decision on a request by the developer of the State Center redevelopment asking Gov. Larry Hogan's administration to provide information about why it nixed the project. State Center LLC, the would-be firm behind the $1.5 billion redevelopment of the Midtown Baltimore site, asked Hogan's administration through a court motion to provide documents in discovery regarding its basis for terminating the project last December. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Riot lawsuit offers look inside looting of Baltimore businesses

A liquor store owner was beaten and robbed of his wallet and car keys, which were used to steal his car and drive it from the West Baltimore business to his home about 30 minutes away, as dozens of other businesses were looted during the April 2015 rioting, according to a lawsuit filed by about 60 impacted business owners in the city. The liquor store owner’s account was among those of other property owners and store employees affected by rioting and looting included in a 700-page complaint filed this week in federal court. (Balt. Sun)

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Former Provident Bank attorney named Maryland's top financial regulator

Gov. Larry Hogan has appointed former Provident Bank executive Antonio "Tony" Salazar as Maryland's new commissioner of financial regulation. Salazar, formerly an attorney at Columbia law firm Davis, Agnor, Rapaport, and Skalny LLC, will move into his role July 5. As commissioner of financial regulation, Salazar will be the top regulator overseeing Maryland's 54 banks, credit unions and trust companies. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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McKeldin Square reopens with grass and trees in place of fountain

Thick grass, trees and terrace seating have replaced the brutalist-style fountain and blocks of concrete at McKeldin Square in downtown Baltimore. The Downtown Partnership of Baltimore unveiled on Thursday a $4 million makeover of the square at the corner of Pratt and Light streets. The improvements triple the amount of usable space in the plaza and are intended to offer a more welcoming resting spot for tourists, residents and workers looking for a break from the office. (Balt. Sun)

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Live Casino hires former Constellation executive as CIO

Live Casino & Hotel has hired former Constellation Energy executive Beth S. Perlman as chief information officer for the Anne Arundel County attraction. As CIO, Perlman will lead and evolve Live Casino's information technology strategy and focus to enhance the customer experience. She will also help ensure the IT programs comply with local, state and federal regulatory protocols. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Live Casino hosts event to connect small firms to gambling industry

Live Casino & Hotel in Hanover teamed up with the American Gaming Association Thursday to promote business opportunities for small, minority-owned firms and highlight the industry's economic impact in Maryland. Association representatives are touring U.S. casinos to highlight gambling's impact on local businesses. Events at the Hanover facility included a minority business outreach fair and panel discussion with industry, state and county officials led by Donald Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee. (Balt. Sun)

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