Howard unemployment hits lowest rate in 5 years

Howard County's unemployment rate is at its lowest level in five years, County Executive Ken Ulman announced Tuesday. November data show Howard's unemployment rate was 4.5 percent, tied with Montgomery County for the lowest in the state. November unemployment levels are down 0.8 percent from the October levels. The improving numbers show a recovery from October's 16-day federal shutdown, county officials said. (Balt. Sun)

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Marriott Waterfront spending $5M to revamp restaurant, bar area

The Baltimore Marriott Waterfront is undergoing a $5 million renovation that will bring a more communal experience to its first-floor restaurant and bar area. When the renovation is complete in late March, it will combine the hotel’s great room, restaurant and lounge areas into a more fluid space. The Harbor East hotel has undergone previous updates to its 750 guest rooms, ballroom and fitness center, but this project is the property’s first revamp of its food and beverage section since it opened in 2001. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Bwtech incubator may expand again, add accelerator

The growing popularity of cyber security is leading the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s research and development park to look into expanding its CyberHive incubator. The new space would be an additional 3,500 to 3,600-square feet and would cost anywhere from $300,000 to $500,000. (Balt. Bus. Journal)

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Charles Center South sells to L.A. firm

A 25-story tower in downtown's Charles Center complex sold in December for $26.1 million to an Los Angeles company, real estate firm Cassidy Turley announced Tuesday. (Balt. Sun)

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Plumbers, car-repair shops humming as temperatures plummet

Record-low temperatures that descended on Washington County Tuesday took a toll on vehicle batteries and water pipes, keeping plumbers and car repair shops busy. Lack of heat, frozen pipes and frozen coils within heating systems were issues in area homes, said Chet Baker, general manager for Warner Service, which provides plumbing, heating and air-conditioning services. (Herald-Mail)

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Jan. 7 // Cybersecurity, film could receive boost in state budget

Tax credits for the film and cybersecurity industries could expand as part of the legislative session that starts Wednesday. Gov. Martin O'Malley is interested in adding money to the programs, said aides, who declined to provide details. The governor will release a budget and legislative package later this month, as lawmakers work to address a budget shortfall of about $500 million. (Balt. Sun)

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Largo hospital planners will seek another $8M from state

Developers of a new hospital in Largo will ask Maryland lawmakers this year for an additional $8 million on top of the $200 million they've already approved, according to a December regulatory filing. In responses to questions posed by the Maryland Health Care Commission, lawyers for Dimensions Healthcare System said both the state and Prince George's County originally agreed to contribute $208 million to the construction of the hospital. (Wash. Bus. Journal)

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Men's Wearhouse launches hostile takeover of Jos A. Bank

Men's Wearhouse moved Monday to pin Jos. A. Bank Clothiers in a corner with a hostile $1.6 billion bid for its smaller rival. With the offer of $57.50 cash for each of Hampstead-based Bank's outstanding shares, Men's Wearhouse is bypassing the retailer's management to appeal directly to shareholders. The so-called hostile takeover bid is the latest volley in the war to control a merger that analysts now see as all but inevitable. (Balt. Sun)

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