Business Briefs: 6/18/14

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URA wants to restrict use of August Wilson Center

The sale of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, Downtown, should be bound by deed covenants that would restrict the use of the property, the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority argued Tuesday. In a motion for declaratory judgment, the URA asked Judge Lawrence O’Toole of Allegheny County Common Pleas Orphans’ Court to restrict the use of the building to an African-American cultural center until June 10, 2021, and to prohibit major changes to the exterior without the URA’s consent. If the judge rules in the URA’s favor at a hearing July 3, it likely would kill the deal court-appointed conservator Judith Fitzgerald has reached with New York developer 980 Liberty Partners to buy the building for $9.5 million.

PPG to expand Brazil plant, will add dozens of jobs

PPG Industries said it will invest $40 million to expand a plant in Brazil that makes coatings for automotive equipment makers and industrial customers. The plant is located in Sumare, Sao Paulo. The project includes adding a 65,000-square-foot facility to make resins used in PPG’s electrocoat products. Downtown-based PPG said it expects the project to be done in 2015 and that it will add more than 30 jobs at the facility.

Alcoa to modify Va. plant, adding 75 jobs over 3 years

Alcoa is investing $25 million at its Hampton, Va., plant to modify existing equipment and add a new production line that will produce light-weight blades for jet engines. The expansion is expected to be completed next year and will add at least 75 jobs over three years.

Marketing analytics firm gets $3 million in funds

Pittsburgh marketing analytics provider Rhiza has closed a $3 million Series-A funding round led by Pittsburgh-based Draper Triangle Ventures with participation from Arthur Ventures, and Camp One Ventures. Rhiza plans to invest in growing its sales, marketing and customer service teams.

EMC to settle suit with San Francisco

Education Management Corp. has agreed to pay $4.4 million to the city of San Francisco to resolve litigation over the Art Institute of California-San Francisco and other Art Institute locations in the state, according to a regulatory filing. The Pittsburgh for-profit education company did not admit wrongdoing. The money will go toward the city’s legal fees as well as scholarships for students who enrolled but did not earn degrees and for current students.

Highmark Health names chief financial officer

Highmark Health announced Tuesday that Karen Hanlon, formerly Highmark’s senior vice president of financial planning and analysis, will be the company’s new chief financial officer. Nanette DeTurk, who has been Highmark’s CFO for years, will now be the company's chief administrative and strategy officer, and company treasurer.

PLCB warns of exploding bottles of wine

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is asking consumers to dispose of certain bottles of Prosecco “following several reports of full wine bottles spontaneously exploding” at state stores. The sparkling wine in question is Indigenous Selections Prosecco Brut 2013 (PLCB No. 33283, 750 ml). Those who bought the brand should call 1-800-272-7522, then press 3, or email, in order to get a refund.

Consumer prices rise 0.4 percent in May

The consumer price index rose 0.4 percent in May, the biggest one-month jump since a 0.6 percent increase in February 2013, the Labor Department reported Tuesday.

Homebuilding declined 6.5 percent in May

Builders started work at a seasonally adjusted annual rate on 1.01 million homes last month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That was down 6.5 percent from 1.07 million in April.

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