20-story hotel planned near South Station


20-story hotel planned near South Station

A tiny lot near South Station could soon be home to a 20-story hotel. Developers the Hudson Group filed initial plans Wednesday with the Boston Planning & Development Agency to put a “striking, slender mid-rise tower” at 150 Kneeland St., in the Leather District, for a “top-quality hospitality facility.” The 215-foot building would sit on the site of the old Splash Ultra Lounge, with about 250 rooms and a ground floor restaurant, but no parking. More details are expected in the coming months. — TIM LOGAN


Way cleared for brewery

The Waltham Zoning Board of Appeals has cleared the way for a 23,000-square-foot brewery operated by Mighty Squirrel Brewing Co. to open in Waltham’s Waverley Oaks office park near Route 128. Mighty Squirrel will contract its brewing through Ipswich Ale Brewery until its brewery space is ready. NAI Hunneman represented both Mighty Squirrel and property owner Duffy Properties in the lease negotiations. Also this week, Naukabout Brewery & Taproom announced that it has opened its doors in Mashpee. More than 150 craft brewers do business in Massachusetts today, about five times the number that existed a decade ago. — JON CHESTO


Wynn may sell some or all of his stake in casino company

Steve Wynn plans to sell some or all of his entire $2.2 billion stake in the casino company he founded, a week after settling an acrimonious court fight with his ex-wife that freed each to do as they wish with their share of the family fortune. His plans for the 12 percent holding in Wynn Resorts Ltd. were outlined in a regulatory filing Wednesday. The 76-year-old mogul “will seek to conduct such sales in an orderly fashion and in cooperation with the company,” it said. “No assurance can be provided that Mr. Wynn will elect to sell common stock.” The potential sale and the unwinding of the shareholder agreement that prevented Elaine Wynn from lowering her 9.3 percent stake potentially make Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts vulnerable to a takeover. Casino regulators in Nevada, Macau, and Massachusetts are still investigating the company’s handling of harassment claims against Steve Wynn that were first raised in the couple’s bitter six-year court battle — probes that could result in him being found unfit to be the largest shareholder in a casino company. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Actresses want higher wages for tipped workers

Sixteen actresses including Jane Fonda, Sarah Jessica Parker, Reese Witherspoon, and Natalie Portman are urging New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to raise the wage made by tipped workers. The women signed onto a letter to the Democratic governor as his administration examines whether to eliminate the subminimum wage paid to restaurant servers and other workers who make tips. The actresses invoked the #TimesUp hashtag and wrote that relying on tips forces many workers to endure widespread sexual harassment. Others signing on to the letter include Lily Tomlin, Rashida Jones, Amy Poehler, America Ferrera, Jessica Chastain, Amber Tamblyn, Brie Larson, Debra Messing, Michelle Williams, Erika Alexander, Ashley Judd, and Sarah Silverman. Cuomo has called for hearings on the tipped wage to be held around the state. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



African leaders sign off on free trade agreement

African leaders on Wednesday signed what is being called the largest free trade agreement since the creation of the World Trade Organization. The deal creates a continental market of 1.2 billion people, with a combined gross domestic product of more than $3.4 trillion. A major goal is to boost intra-African trade and rely less on the volatility of commodity prices that affect many exports. The aim is to have agreement, signed by 44 of the African Union’s 55 member states, enter into force by the end of this year, said the chair of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat. States now must ratify the deal, but the number of countries needed to put the agreement into force has not yet been agreed upon. ‘‘Our peoples, our business community and our youth in particular cannot wait any longer to see the lifting of the barriers that divide our continent, hinder its economic takeoff and perpetuate misery, even though Africa is abundantly endowed with wealth,’’ Mahamat said. He urged strong follow-up to ‘‘confound those who, outside Africa, continue to think, with barely concealed condescension, that our decisions will never materialize.’’ — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Less OPEC than ever coming into the US

US refiners are taking less OPEC-produced oil than ever as the group’s members continue trimming output. Crude imports from seven OPEC members fell to an unprecedented low of 1.86 million barrels a day last week, a 14 percent drop, according to preliminary government data. The decline comes as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies make significant strides in trimming a global supply glut. The group saw record compliance with production-cut targets in February. Overall, US crude imports fell to the lowest level in a month in the week ended March 16, according to the US Energy Information Administration. The biggest drops came from Ecuador, which saw shipments to the United States fall 86 percent, and Kuwait, which shipped 58 percent less crude than it did the prior week. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



N.H. lottery drops ‘Luck Yeah!’ ad campaign over profanity concerns

The New Hampshire Lottery Commission has replaced its ‘‘Luck Yeah!’’ ad campaign with ‘‘Win Time’’ over concerns that the original phrase sounded like a profanity. WMUR-TV reported that at least one state official, Republican Executive Councilor Russell Prescott, criticized the phrase last month after it started showing up online and in television commercials. But Lottery Executive Director Charlie McIntyre defended the ads. He had said that the word ‘‘luck’’ is an inherent part of the business. He apologized if it was insensitive. But he added, ‘‘certainly it is effective.’’ McIntyre had said Prescott’s complaint was the first he had heard, but noted that the ad was designed to make viewers pay attention. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


UBS AG to pay $230m to settle mortgage-marketing investigation

UBS AG agreed to pay $230 million to resolve a New York state probe into its marketing of residential mortgage-backed securities before the financial crisis, boosting the state’s recoveries in the investigation to almost $4 billion. The settlement includes $189 million in consumer relief and $41 million in cash for the state, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Wednesday in a statement. He said the bank ignored the advice of its own diligence vendors in packaging and selling loans that didn’t conform to its underwriting guidelines. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc agreed earlier this month to pay $500 million to settle a parallel investigation by Schneiderman, moving the government-owned lender a step closer to resolving a series of costly US investigations. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp. previously paid $1 billion and $800 million, respectively, to settle New York’s probes into sales of residential mortgage-backed securities. Citigroup Inc., Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have also settled. "New Yorkers are still recovering from the housing crash, as communities grapple with the effects of plummeting home values, vacant properties and an affordable housing crisis,” Schneiderman said. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Judge puts a halt to Arkansas medical marijuana licenses

An Arkansas judge on Wednesday struck down the state’s decision to issue its first licenses to grow medical marijuana, ruling that the process for awarding the permits and the rankings of applicants were unconstitutional. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen granted a preliminary injunction preventing the state Medical Marijuana Commission from awarding cultivation licenses. Griffen last week issued a restraining order preventing the state from awarding licenses to five companies. Griffen ruled that the process for awarding the licenses violated a state constitutional amendment voters approved in 2016 legalizing marijuana for patients with certain conditions. He ruled the commission’s rankings of the 95 applicants for the cultivation licenses were null and void. Griffen sided with an unsuccessful applicant that had sued the state over claims the process for awarding the licenses was flawed. In his ruling, Griffen said he ‘‘takes no joy’’ in blocking the state from issuing the licenses. ‘‘The prospect that Arkansans must now endure more delay before gaining much needed access to locally grown medical marijuana should be unpleasant to anyone concerned about providing relief to people who suffer from serious illnesses,’’ Griffen wrote. The attorney general’s office did not have an immediate comment on Griffen’s ruling. — ASSOCIATED PRESS