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Rawlings-Blake says 'deals got done' at Vegas conference

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Tuesday evening she's been able to secure undisclosed business deals for the city at a Las Vegas convention.

"Out of this conference, there will be new-to-the-city retailers," Rawlings-Blake said in a telephone interview from the three-day Global Retail Real Estate Convention. 

The mayor declined to give any details about the deals, but said there would be announcements soon. "Within the next 60 to 90 days, people will be able to talk about some of the deals that got done here," she said. 

The conference is considered a "who's who" event, where the worlds of government and business mix among the glitz and glamour of casinos and parties.

In all, 669 Marylanders were slated to attend, including 10 from Baltimore's government. Rawlings-Blake, City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young, Council Vice President Edward Reisinger and Councilman Carl Stokes all made the trip. 

Rawlings-Blake said she has focused on reducing the city's food deserts by recruiting grocers.

"There are many grocers that are interested in Baltimore," she said. "A lot of people were eager to walk away with the food desert map and dig deeper into the potential locations."

Colin Tarbert, Rawlings-Blake's new deputy mayor for economic development, said a redevelopment of East Baltimore's Old Town Mall has also drawn attention.

"Old Town was mentioned a few time by various developers," he said. "There’s a lot of interest in that site." 

The city's Board of Estimates recently approved $2,400 Rawlings-Blake and Tarbert to attend and $2,600 for police officer Kyle Gooden to accompany the mayor. The city has also approved $4,600 for Young and his staffer Carolyn Blakeney to attend, and $2,400 for Reisinger's trip.  

Also attending the convention, which is sponsored by the International Council of Shopping Centers, were Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker; Harford County Executive David Craig, a candidate for governor; and Maryland Transportation Secretary James Smith, the former Baltimore County Executive, according to the convention's site.

While at the ICSC convention last year, Rawlings-Blake made news when she officiated a wedding between two of the top lobbyists in Baltimore, Lisa Harris Jones and Sean Malone.

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, multiple state legislators and a host of State House and City Hall staff members attended the wedding.

This year, the mayor said, there has been little time for fun.

"It’s been non-stop meetings for two days," Rawlings-Blake said.

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/lukebroadwater

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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