Early Briefing: Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Sandra and Tony Brewer cheer for Georgia, where their son, Troy Brewer, is a freshman guard. (Photo: Kevin Clark -- The Washington Post)

*That's my kind of ballgame, anyway: college basketball. Troy Brewer of Georgia got to play, and his father, an executive of Sodexho in Gaithersburg, was there to watch. (The Bulldogs couldn't keep up their momentum from the SEC tournament and lost to Xavier.)

Fans like Brewer were a boon to nearby businesses, including Clyde's at Gallery Place. See story

*Capitol Hill's Murky Coffee was closed down last month, surprising its neighbors. The D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue says the neighborhood coffee shop owes more than $427,000 in sales and franchise taxes. Owner Nicholas Cho dispute that amount but not the fact that he owes money. Cho is also being sued for nonpayment of rent, according to court records.

"In a nutshell, we've gained a pretty good reputation for our coffee quality. That's the side of the business I've done pretty well at," Cho said. "The financial management side I haven't." See story

*D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty submitted his budget request to the D.C. Council, requesting $5.66 billion in local funds, an increase of 0.7percent over this year's budget. As part of the plan, the administration proposed altering the commercial property tax cut.

Under the council's plan, all city businesses would be taxed 91cents per $100 of assessed value on the first $3 million of the value of their properties. Above that, the standard $1.85 rate would apply. The plan was projected to save businesses about $96 million next year.

Under Fenty's plan, the tax rate for larger commercial properties would drop from $1.85 to $1.80. Properties assessed at $3 million or less as of Jan.1 would see their tax rate reduced by 15 cents a year until 2011. That would mean a decline from $1.85 per $100 of assessed value to $1.70 to $1.55, and then to $1.40. That plan would save the businesses about $15 million next year and more than $100 million over three years, said City Administrator Dan Tangherlini. See story

*The New York Post reported that D.C. developer Franklin Haney, who lost a bid to buy the Washington Nationals, has snapped up the 28,000-square-foot Villa di Venezia, the 52-room Vanderbilt estate near Palm Beach, Fla., for more than $20 million. The paper reports Haney and his wife are restoring the mansion for their five children.

*Sunrise Senior Living of McLean, which operates more than 450 retirement communities, said Mark Ordan will be its chief investment and administrative officer. Ordan most recently was chief executive of Mills Corp., a shopping mall developer in Chevy Chase. See press release.

*TierOne, a bank based in Lincoln, Neb., terminated a takeover agreement with CapitalSource previously valued at $652 million after the deadline for completion passed. CapitalSource is a commercial finance firm in Chevy Chase. TierOne does not have to pay a breakup fee, the company said. TierOne also said it will buy back as much as 10 percent of its common shares "from time to time."

*Biotechnology company PharmAthene of Annapolis said it will buy Avecia Biologics' vaccines unit for $20 million in cash and future milestone payments. PharmAthene, which focuses on treatments for biological and chemical threats, said it will gain an anthrax vaccine from the buyout. Avecia is eligible for milestone payments up to $20 million. About 50 of Avecia's British office employees will transfer to PharmAthene but remain based in Britain.

*A division of General Dynamics has won a $324.9 million Navy contract boost to procure materials for the construction of two Virginia Class attack submarines, the Defense Department said. The Falls Church firm's Electric Boat division will procure materials for steam and electric plant components, miscellaneous hull, mechanical and electrical system components and the main propulsion unit and ship service turbine generator set.

*Moody's Investors Service affirmed the investment-grade debt ratings on AvalonBay Communities, an apartment real estate investment trust, but revised the outlook to stable from positive.
Moody's affirmed the Alexandria company's senior unsecured debt ratings at Baa1.

Moody's said the company has adequate liquidity to meet near-term needs and is encouraged by the company's solid operating performance and conservatively managed balance sheet.

*Capital One Financial of McLean won federal approval for a new bank branch, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said. The branch will be in Houston. The agency also said it received two requests to open additional branches in Texas. If approved, the branches will be in Pasadena and Fort Worth.

By Terri Rupar  |  March 21, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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