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1 Blood Work

Plasma processing brings jobs east of Atlanta.

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Photos: Courtesy Baxter International

The business of producing blood plasma for use in medical treatments is growing and expanding into Covington, Ga. Baxter International says it will spend more than $1 billion in the next five years to build a state-of-the-art factory that will employ more than 1,500 people in the process of turning donated blood plasma into medicines.

The plant, scheduled to open in 2018, will have the capacity to process as much as three million liters of plasma a year into basic components used to treat immune deficiencies, severe burns and trauma, and other illnesses, Baxter says.

The plant, scheduled to be built in a 1,600-acre, master planned development called Stanton Springs, will comprise a million square feet and include operations that “fractionate” plasma into its components, and purify and test it, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reports.

“Baxter’s decision to come to Georgia marks a new era in the growth of our biosciences industry and will have a far-reaching impact on our economy,” Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said in a statement. “We are honored to welcome this flagship company to Georgia.”

2 High Rollers

A new all-downhill transportation system is in the offing in Vegas.

Forget about waiting in the lines for cabs or the tram, Las Vegas folks soon may have a zippy new way to get around the Strip. The only problem is it only goes one way.

MGM Resorts International has gained county approval for a zigzag set of zip lines running from the top of the Luxor Hotel pyramid to the Turrets of the Excalibur Hotel and beyond, says the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The next approval needs to come from a higher power, the Federal Aviation Administration, since McCarran International Airport is nearby.

MGM Resorts has said the idea is still in its beginning stages, but the project’s consultant Greg Borgel told the Review that it’s “not a hypothetical.”

3&4 Fast Sellers

Some Western markets turn lively.

If you are selling your home in Oakland, Calif., or Denver, the odds are good that you’ll sell your house before the next mortgage payment is due. These were the fastest-selling home markets in the country in March. Houses in these two markets sold after a median of 28 and 33 days respectively on the market. That compares to 48 and 46 days in March 2011, according to Realtor.com.

Phoenix folks have even more to celebrate as their market appears to be living up to its name and rising from the ashes. Phoenix’s homes-for-sale inventory fell 48 percent in a year, its median home inventory age has dropped to 58, and its home listing prices were up by nearly a quarter in March.

5 Tax Breaks on the House

Baltimore slot machine profits to reduce property taxes.

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Photos: Courtesy iStock

Put a quarter in a slot machine in downtown Baltimore, and you may help pay somebody’s property tax bills.

The city is planning to install slot machines downtown with plans to channel 90 percent of the revenue to reduce property taxes and 10 percent to pay for new schools, the Baltimore Sun reports. That’s after whoever manages the slots parlor takes its cut. Caesar’s Entertainment is the leading bidder for that job.

The total tax break is expected to save a homeowner $40 a year. Baltimore’s tax rate is more than double that of surrounding counties, the newspaper reports.

“Under this bill, vacant homes do not qualify for a tax cut; vacant lots don’t qualify; and speculators and owners of blighted properties won’t get a penny of tax relief ... . This tax cut is for city homeowners first,” says Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Atlanta, GA, Baltimore, MD.