A new business tipped off in Montgomery County earlier this week with some very tall employees.
Two of the employees actually stand 7 feet tall. They are the centers for the Maryland Nighthawks, the first professional sports franchise to play in the county.
Tom Doyle, a Rockville lawyer, bought the American Basketball Association team last year, when it was playing in Prince George's County. For this season, he moved it to Montgomery, where he grew up.
"I know a lot of people around the county, and I wanted to bring something here that had never been done before," said Doyle, who practices medical malpractice and personal injury law with Siegel and Doyle LLP. "I wanted to do something different and affordable."
Tickets to the team's home games, which are played at Montgomery College, are $5 or $10. And Doyle added an unusual clause to his players' contracts.
"They have to stay on the floor at the end of the game to sign autographs," he said. "The kids have to be able to touch these guys, to talk to them. We want this team to be a part of this great community."
And Doyle said he is in for the long haul.
"This is a long-term investment," he said. "It's ludicrous to think you will make money in your first year of business. We really need to tap the energy of youths in this community. We need to build a fan base over time. We need to create businesses within businesses."
By that he means making money off branded apparel sales, mascot visits to birthday parties and basketball camps in the summer. Personal connections with players are the only way to make such business endeavors successful, he said.
Doyle's team has several high-profile players who either made it to the NBA or got close. One standout is Lawrence Moten, a former all-American player from Syracuse University who played in the NBA for the Vancouver Grizzlies and the Washington Wizards.
"I guarantee you this: The product I have here is good basketball, and it's fun," Doyle said. "I know my product. If people come, if families come, they will come back."
About a thousand people showed up for the team's first home game Sunday. But the Nighthawks lost their first game of the season to the Rochester Razorsharks, 120-102.
To the sizable list of apartment complexes going condo, add the Pavilion Apartments in Rockville. Triton Pavilion LLC has finalized its $117 million purchase of the 432-unit property at 5901 Montrose Rd. The company will rename the complex as Monterey.
Triton said it intends to spend $34 million on "high-end improvements," including installing modern kitchens with stainless-steel appliances, granite countertops, new cabinets and tile flooring. Triton also plans to enclose the balconies and turn them into sunrooms.
Current tenants have a right of first refusal to buy the units they are living in, Triton said.
Biotech Happy Hour
MdBio, an organization that promotes Maryland biotech companies, will hold its sixth and last MdBio Happy Hour of the year tomorrow from 5 to 8 p.m. at O'Donnell's Restaurant in Gaithersburg.
The event includes an appetizer buffet and an opportunity to win a new Apple iPod Nano. Attendance is limited to employees of bioscience companies, universities and federal research institutions.
For information, go to www.mdbio.org.
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