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Howard Hughes locks in new leases with five companies in Downtown Columbia

Five companies have committed to opening new offices in Downtown Columbia, developer Howard Hughes Corp. announced Thursday. The firms are leasing over 50,000 square feet of combined office space across three buildings, one of which is a 12-story tower at 6100 Merriweather Drive, located in the Houston-based developer’s emerging Merriweather District. The new leases include Advarra, Ames Watson, Applied Network Solutions, Insperity and Olive AI.

Internet, business groups challenge Maryland’s digital ad tax

National groups representing the likes of Facebook and Google are challenging Maryland’s first-in-the-nation tax on digital advertising in federal court, hoping to block its implementation and ward off attempts in other states to pass similar laws. They’re seeking an injunction to prevent the new tax, which they call a “punitive assault” on digital advertising, from being collected. They allege the tax will violate federal laws that bar discriminatory taxes on e-commerce and ban states from regulating interstate commerce and actions outside their borders.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore hit with 25% loss in private sector jobs due to Covid-19, report shows

Private sector jobs in Baltimore dropped 25% in 2020, wiping out hiring gains made during 2019, the city’s economic development arm revealed on Thursday. There were just 6,200 new jobs created in the city last fiscal year amid Covid-19. That is a stark contrast to the 31,900 new jobs during the same period in 2019, a report from the Baltimore Development Corp. showed. The report provided a micro-level snapshot of the local hiring landscape amid the pandemic.

How Michelle Gemberling got Bethesda’s Indigo Octopus off the ground amid Covid-19

When Covid-19 began to shutter retail stores in March, Michelle Gemberling’s Fenwick Island, Delaware, store was already closed for the season. There was time to think about what would come next. But just a few months prior, Gemberling and her husband had signed a lease for a new location of their beachy retail store, Indigo Octopus, in Bethesda’s Wildwood Shopping Center. Construction was underway. They’d have to move forward.

Time lapse photography of road
Maryland taps Transurban-led team for Beltway, I-270 widening and toll lane project

A team led by Transurban, the company behind Northern Virginia’s existing network of toll lanes, has been selected to develop and operate similar high-occupancy toll lanes on the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 via a new American Legion Bridge, the Maryland Department of Transportation announced Thursday. The selection of Accelerate Maryland Partners LLC is still subject to approval by the Maryland Board of Public Works and would apply only to a year of predevelopment work that could ultimately lead to a complex public-private partnership arrangement.

Group of Annapolis restaurant owners asks for a break on liquor license renewal fees amid COVID pandemic

A group of Annapolis restaurants has requested the city reduce their liquor license renewal fees to help lagging revenues from the coronavirus pandemic. If approved, the move could cost roughly $467,000 the city receives annually from these fees, further worsening its budget constraints. The group, led by Anthony Clark, who co-owns Galway Bay, first approached Alderwoman Elly Tierney, D-Ward 1, last month with the request, she said.

Read More: Baltimore Sun
Baltimore City will lift one-hour dining limit on restaurants

Baltimore City will lift its one-hour limit on restaurant visits starting next week, Mayor Brandon M. Scott announced Wednesday. Scott said the limit, instituted as part of an effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in public spaces, will be removed thanks to improving coronavirus metrics. He noted Baltimore now has the lowest seven-day positivity rate in the state, at 3.1%. The limit will be lifted at 6 a.m. Monday, said Stefanie Mavronis, a spokesperson for the mayor’s office.

Maryland surpasses $2 billion mark in PPP second round

Maryland surpassed the $2 billion mark in loan approvals for the second round of the Paycheck Protection Program last week as another 6,000 businesses across the state were authorized for funds. The latest data from the U.S Small Business Administration shows that 26,646 borrowers in Maryland received approvals for a combined $2.37 billion in loans as of Feb. 15. That represents a nearly 21% increase from $1.96 billion on Feb. 7. So far in the $284 billion second round, Maryland ranks 24th in borrowers and 17th for dollars.

Continued remote work could impact the region’s economy, report finds

Remote work has become a way of life for many during the pandemic — and it’s no surprise many employers will continue with at least some widespread teleworking options once the region reaches a level of immunity from Covid-19. But what will the ripple effects of that shift mean for the region’s economy? The Greater Washington Partnership, a regional alliance of CEOs and business leaders of the largest local employers, came out with a report Tuesday that presents some potential longer-term impacts to downtown cores, transit agencies and existing inequities in the region that would be created by a shift to more regular remote work.

Millions of jobs probably aren’t coming back, even after the pandemic ends

Millions of jobs that have been shortchanged or wiped out entirely by the coronavirus pandemic are unlikely to come back, economists warn, setting up a massive need for career changes and retraining in the United States. The coronavirus pandemic has triggered permanent shifts in how and where people work. Businesses are planning for a future where more people are working from home, traveling less for business, or replacing workers with robots. All of these modifications mean many workers will not be able to do the same job they did before the pandemic, even after much of the U.S. population gets vaccinated against the deadly virus.

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