Baltimore hotels struggling to draw guests, latest numbers show

Baltimore hotels continued to struggle to fill rooms last year, and a recent report sheds light on just how much. Occupancy, average daily rates and revenue per available room — key metrics tied to the health of the hotel market — dropped in the second half of 2018, according to information from STR, a data and analytics company. And though there were new additions to the hotel scene, revenue for the industry grew by only 0.1 percent overall in 2018. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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CEO of Maryland medical system taking leave of absence

The president and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical System is taking a temporary leave of absence after reports that about a third of the system’s board has received compensation for their businesses through the network’s contracts, the chairman of the board announced Thursday. Board Chairman Stephen Burch said Robert Chrencik’s leave of absence will begin Monday. Burch also announced after an emergency meeting that the board voted unanimously to engage an outside, independent accounting and legal firm to conduct “an exhaustive review and assessment of Board contractual relationships.” (AP)

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EagleBank CEO Ron Paul cites health reasons for stepping down

Longtime and well-known local bank president Ron Paul has announced his resignation as president and chief executive officer of Eagle Bancorp, citing health issues, effective immediately. Paul founded EagleBank in 1998 and has headed the Bethesda, Maryland-based institution since. EagleBank’s board of directors has elected vice chair Norman Pozes to succeed Paul as board chairman. Pozes, former chair of Fidelity & Trust Bank, has been a member of the board since 2008. Chief Operating Officer Susan Riel, who has been with the bank since its founding, has been named interim president and CEO. (WTOP) 

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Md. Gov. Larry Hogan still trying to lure Amazon

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan isn’t giving up luring Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters to his state. According to The Washington Post, Hogan said Tuesday he recently pitched Amazon execs about Maryland being a possible alternative to New York for part of the e-commerce giant’s second headquarters. “We’re not giving up,” said Hogan, who, according to the report, reached out to Amazon the day news surfaced the company was considering stepping away from plans in Long Island City, New York. “I’m never satisfied. I’d like to have 50,000 jobs instead of 5,000.” (Wash. Bus. Journal)

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LifeBridge, MedStar board members also get contracts from systems

The University of Maryland Medical System has drawn criticism this week for contracts awarded to members of its board of directors, but two of Maryland’s other large health systems also have financial relationships with members of their boards. LifeBridge Health and MedStar Health joined the University of Maryland Medical System in paying millions of dollars in contracts to the businesses of the members of their system and hospital boards, according to disclosure reports filed with the state Health Services Cost Review Commission. Like the University of Maryland Medical System, both LifeBridge and MedStar are private nonprofits. (Daily Record)

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Northern Baltimore County becomes hotbed of mouth-watering manufacturing startups

In an unassuming industrial park in Timonium, a row of squat commercial offices labeled alphabetically hardly gives off the impression that anything creative or mouth-watering is being produced inside. But that notion is quickly dispelled as, upon opening the door to office “G,” visitors are met by the welcoming scent of freshly baked granola. Michele’s Granola, at 1904 Greenspring Avenue, occupies a 10,500-square-foot office and manufacturing space where, each week, most of the business’ 40-plus employees assist in making, from scratch, 20,000 pounds of granola in small batches. (Balt. Sun)

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Philly home flipper expanding contractor-finding app to Baltimore

 

A home flipper from Philadelphia built an app to help folks in his industry find the right subcontractors. Now, he is expanding his business to Baltimore. About a year ago, CJ Koch launched DirectSubs, an app that aims to solve a specific problem he and other renovators commonly faced in the home flipping and development industry: finding subcontractors to do the right home renovations job, at the right time. A few hundred people in the Philadelphia area are now using the app, and Koch said he is ready to expand its user base to Baltimore. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Merritt finalizing plans for 90,000-square-foot Timonium office building

Merritt Properties has started marketing a proposed office building planned in Timonium, the firm's latest in a business park located just off Interstate 83. Merritt is finalizing the design of the three-story, 90,000-square-foot Class A building. The project, known as Timonium III, is planned on the site of a current overflow parking lot for neighboring office buildings and a warehouse formerly occupied by industrial supply company Grainger. Merritt acquired the 2-acre Grainger site off Greenspring Drive for $2.8 million in 2017, state tax records show. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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