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BUSINESS
April 14, 2014 | By Joseph N. DiStefano, Inquirer Staff Writer
John Crowe is the top North American executive for Saint-Gobain , the $55 billion- a-year French construction- materials maker that traces its roots to the group that built Versailles for King Louis XIV. Crowe has been looking for a place to build another palace - in Pennsylvania - as Saint-Gobain's U.S. base and showroom. To replace the company's aging U.S. headquarters near Valley Forge, Crowe scouted sites for "an absolutely spectacular building that will incorporate all aspects of what we know as a building-materials company in terms of energy efficiency and a sustainable, open, collaborative workplace," he tells me. Plus, a research and development center to replace the old labs in Blue Bell.
NEWS
April 10, 2014 | By Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
TRENTONA firm criticized for its post-Katrina recovery work recently won a second Hurricane Sandy-related contract from New Jersey - to oversee environmental reviews of damaged properties - indicating a further expansion of its role in the state. The contract for Virginia-based ICF International, estimated at $17.3 million, follows a January agreement with the state that appeared to expand an earlier contract with the firm for different recovery duties. The new contract, which began March 28 and is to run until March 2017, was announced in a posting on the state Treasury's website but has yet to be listed with other such contracts on the state comptroller's "Sandy transparency" website.
NEWS
April 9, 2014 | By Andrew Seidman and Maddie Hanna, Inquirer Trenton Bureau
TRENTON - New Jersey lawmakers on Monday questioned a top Christie administration official on why a firm with a checkered past in post-Katrina recovery appears to have taken on an expanded role in the state's response to Hurricane Sandy. The state Department of Community Affairs entered into an agreement Jan. 31 with Virginia-based ICF International for the firm to take over some recovery work previously managed by Hammerman & Gainer Inc. of Louisiana, at a cost not to exceed $36.5 million, according to a state document describing ICF's responsibilities.
NEWS
April 7, 2014 | By Troy Graham, Inquirer Staff Writer
  Neighborhood volunteers first began cultivating the idea of converting the ruins of the Reading Viaduct into Philadelphia's own elevated park more than a decade ago. After years of organizing, raising money, and drafting proposals, their efforts - and those of the politicians and professional planners who joined the cause - finally appear ready to bear fruit. Without fanfare, the city and the state have included millions of dollars in their latest budgets toward the first phase of the project: transforming the quarter-mile railroad "spur" that curves through the city's burgeoning Loft District and dead-ends onto North Broad Street.
NEWS
April 2, 2014 | BY SEAN COLLINS WALSH, Daily News Staff Writer walshSE@phillynews.com, 215-854-4172
CITY COUNCIL will pay Concentric Energy Advisors at least $425,000 to help it decide whether to sell Philadelphia Gas Works, Council President Darrell Clarke announced yesterday. The deal with Concentric, of Marlborough, Mass., includes two contracts. The first, worth $225,000, asks the firm to evaluate Mayor Nutter's proposal for the PGW sale - a $1.86 billion deal with UIL Holdings Corp., of New Haven, Conn. - and compare it with bids the administration rejected. Under the other contract, worth $200,000, Concentric will explore alternatives to selling PGW, such as developing its liquefied natural gas capabilities.
NEWS
March 29, 2014 | By Michael Boren, Inquirer Staff Writer
CAMDEN In more than three hours of testimony spread over two days, the former chief executive of a mortgage company said that a group allegedly led by reputed mobsters made false accusations to seize control of his firm. Dan Phillips, 64, was CEO of Texas-based FirstPlus Financial Group until 2007, when he and the company's board of directors relinquished control to an investment group. That group, prosecutors said, was made up of lawyers and other individuals working under the direction of Nicodemo Scarfo Jr., son of jailed Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo, and alleged mob associate Salvatore Pelullo.
BUSINESS
March 27, 2014 | By Linda Loyd, Inquirer Staff Writer
Spark Therapeutics L.L.C., a Philadelphia company developing gene-based medicines for debilitating diseases, has signed a collaborative partnership with a gene-therapy firm in Ireland to develop a product to treat a rare form of blindness, the companies announced Tuesday. Spark, a biotechnology company spun out of research at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said Dublin-based Genable Technologies Ltd. will license certain patents from Spark, which will be the exclusive manufacturer and provide development expertise for a potential treatment for blindness caused by inherited retinal dystrophy.
BUSINESS
March 26, 2014 | By David Sell, Inquirer Staff Writer
Pharmaceuticals wholesaler AmerisourceBergen resumed its expansion into foreign markets Monday, saying it will invest about $100 million for a minority stake in a leading distributor in Brazil, Profarma Distribuidora de Produtos FarmacĂȘuticos S.A. AmerisourceBergen, headquartered in Valley Forge, is the second largest distributor of prescription medicine in the United States, as measured by revenue. Brazil is the world's fifth most populous country, with about 200 million people, so there is opportunity, but also immense challenges.
BUSINESS
March 25, 2014 | By Diane Mastrull, Inquirer Columnist
When a boy is raised by a father who helped pay the bills with gold from people's extracted teeth and their mailed-in jewelry, chances are he's going to have a knack for recognizing value. For Michael Zakroff, being adept at Internet research also helps. He's counting on both, along with financing from father Rick, a pioneer in the cash-for-gold trade, to build his new CashinMyBag.com venture into a thriving exchange for primarily designer handbags. Jimmy Choo shoes and other pricey heels are also welcome.
NEWS
March 22, 2014 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
Like the multinational companies they represent, American lawyers in Russia are collectively holding their breath. U.S. law firms, including major players in the Philadelphia market, have moved into Russia in a big way, drawn by multibillion-dollar energy deals and expansion into the region by multinationals seeking to feed the insatiable Russian appetite for American-made consumer goods. But Russia's lightning-swift occupation of Crimea has revived questions about the safety of investments, and some have put projects on hold.
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