Warehouse is awarded 'green' designation
A warehouse in Chesapeake Commerce Center, the industrial park on the former site of General Motors' van assembly plant in Southeast Baltimore, has become the first industrial building in the state to win a "green" designation from the U.S. Green Building Council. The developer, Duke Realty Corp., said this week that the fully leased, 117,600-square-foot office/industrial warehouse at 5901 Holabird Ave., one of two finished buildings, won the council's LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, designation. The developers said they recycled 98 percent of materials from demolishing the former auto plant and used crushed concrete and asphalt to build stone bases for the new buildings. They also reserved 5 percent of parking for fuel-efficient vehicles and designed pedestrian access between buildings.
Hopkins brain institute to occupy new lab space
The Brain Sciences Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine will become the newest tenant at the Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins, the developer of the East Baltimore biopark said this week. The institute, which applies new discoveries to advancing treatments for neurological diseases, has signed a lease for 25,000 square feet of laboratory space in the park's first completed office building at 855 N. Wolfe St., said the developer, Forest City-New East Baltimore Partnership. The lab space will also be used by Hopkins' neurology department. The planned 1.1 million-square-foot technology park, under development north of the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, is one piece of community redevelopment overseen by East Baltimore Development Inc. that will include housing, office and retail space.
Credit unions, Chrysler, GM widen loan effort
NEW YORK: Automakers General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC, along with a group of credit unions, said yesterday that they are expanding to all 50 states programs that offer low-cost loans and special pricing incentives to credit union members. David Adams, president and chief executive of the Michigan Credit Union League and the national credit union group CUcorp, said the expansion of the "Invest in America" program is expected to give 90 million members of nearly 8,000 credit unions potential access to low-interest loans for GM and Chrysler vehicles. With the expansion of the program, more than $80 billion in credit is now available for auto loans through credit unions across the country, enough to finance the purchases of about 4 million vehicles, Adams said. The program started last month as an deal between Detroit-based GM and about 1,200 credit unions in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Ohio. A week after GM's original announcement, a group of credit unions in the Midwest and South pledged another $12 billion in low-cost auto loans for member purchases of vehicles from Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Chrysler.
Insufficient relief found in post-Christmas sales
NEW YORK: The latest data released yesterday on holiday sales show stores got some relief in the days after Christmas as Americans shopped for bargains, but it came much too late to compensate for the holiday season's dismal sales. ShopperTrak RCT Corp., which tracks traffic and sales at more than 50,000 outlets, reported that foot traffic was unchanged for the week ended Jan. 3, compared with 2007, while sales rose 11.6 percent, compared with the year-ago period. But that's little comfort for the industry. ShopperTrak believes total holiday sales fell 2.4 percent and foot traffic dropped 15 percent.
Case made for detention in the Madoff scheme
NEW YORK: Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff and his wife sent at least 16 watches, a jade necklace and a diamond bracelet to family and relatives, proving he will continue to dissipate what little is left from his $50 billion fraud, a prosecutor told a judge in arguing that Madoff be jailed. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc Litt said in a letter released Wednesday that Madoff violated a court order barring him from dissipating, concealing or disposing of any assets when he and his wife sent the items to close relatives and two friends. "The need for detention in this case is clear," Litt wrote in a letter to Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis. "The continued release of the defendant presents a danger to the community of additional harm and further obstruction of justice." Madoff was arrested Dec. 11 on a securities fraud charge after the FBI said he confessed to swindling investors. Authorities say he told his sons he ran a $50 billion Ponzi scheme and had only a few hundred million dollars left. Although he has been freed on $10 million bail, he has been confined to his $7 million Manhattan penthouse with an electronic bracelet and 24-hour guard. During a bail hearing Monday, Ellis asked Litt and defense lawyer Ira Sorkin to file documents explaining their positions after Litt said Madoff should lose his freedom.