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Top News Links: Wednesday, Jan. 20

Economists: Look for a slow-moving 2016

Don't expect 2016 to be the year that Alabama suddenly rebounds to the heady job and salary levels of a decade ago. The University of Alabama's Center for Business and Economic Research is predicting a slightly lower rate of growth for the state's economy in 2016 -- partly because of economic concerns in China and the effect it could have on manufacturing here. – AP/Baytown Sun

‘Ban the box’ policy proposed for Alabama

As policies that limit when employers may ask applicants about criminal histories gain popularity nationwide, advocates are pushing similar measures in Alabama, which has one of the highest incarceration rates in the country. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have implemented “ban the box” laws, which also are in place in 51 cities and counties in states that haven’t adopted the guidelines, according to the National Employment Law Project. – AP/NOCB

Alabama Policy Institute urges RSA changes

The Alabama Teachers’ Retirement System missed its investment return goals for fiscal year 2015. Domestic and international stock market investments for the year failed to meet the public pension fund’s projected 9 percent annual return on investment. The investments only grew by 1 percent. – Heartland.org

Company working on new Parkinson’s fix

A company that employs fewer than 10 employees may have a new drug which could change the way Parkinson's disease patients get medications.  HudsonAlpha associate company Serina Therapeutics has begun a clinical trial for SER-214. This drug was developed using the company's patented polymer technology. – WAAY

PRT closes $152.8M in fourth quarter

Physicians Realty Trust, a self-managed health care properties firm that does business in Alabama, announced Tuesday the closing of $152.8 million of medical real estate investments, made directly or indirectly through its operating partnership during the fourth quarter of 2015. Total investment activity for 2015 was $841 million, representing 103% growth in gross real estate assets year over year. – News release

Priam Ventures buys Chase Corporate Center

Priam Ventures has acquired Chase Corporate Center in Hoover. The 211,000-square-foot office building is the Nashville-based firm's first property in the Birmingham market. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed; the Chase Corporate Center deal was the first acquisition of one of Priam Venture's private equity funds called Priam Capital. – BizJournals.com

American Midstream Partners downgraded

American Midstream Partners LP was downgraded by Zacks Investment Research from a “hold” rating to a “strong sell” rating in a research report issued to clients and investors on Tuesday, Analyst Ratings Net reports. – Intercooler

Food hall to be part of restored Pizitz building

The restored Pizitz building will be the site of a new food hall when the project opens this fall after a major renovation. Developer Bayer Properties said the Pizitz Food Hall will be a space on the ground floor of the building that serves as an incubator for Birmingham's up-and-coming chefs, with a spot that rotates quarterly to feature new culinary talent. – BizJournals.com

Wallace called fastest growing community college

Wallace Community College-Dothan is the fastest growing community college in Alabama, according to the 2015 Fastest Growing Colleges report published in Community College Week. The report is based on the most recent complete figures from the U.S. Department of Education. The report includes the top 50 colleges in four categories based on enrollment size. – DothanFirst.com

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