Stories for April 2009

Thursday, April 30

State Distributes Stem Cell Funds

San Diego scientists came away with more than $36 million in funding from the state's stem cell institute at its board meeting April 29.

Kelly Capital Buys Earl Scheib

Kelly Capital, a San Diego private equity firm, completed the purchase of auto paint and collision firm Earl Scheib for $16.7 million, including assumed debt and transaction costs, Kelly said April 30.

Economic Index Slides Again

The San Diego area economy worsened in March, and showed no sign that it would improve anytime soon, according to a local economic index released April 30.

Security Business Bancorp Locks In Profits

Security Business Bancorp, parent of Security Business Bank of San Diego, reported unaudited first quarter net income of $202,000, compared to net income of $309,000 for the first quarter of 2008.

Sequenom Stock Price Suffers on Report

Sequenom, which is developing noninvasive genetic tests for pregnant women, will delay the launch of a product that tests for Down syndrome due to "employee mishandling" of research and development test data and results, it said April 29.

Holstein Heist Hits Highbrow Retail District

An all-out alert was put out April 30 for a faux cow that was stolen from a La Jolla arts festival.

Health Officials Count Eight Flu Cases in County

San Diego County public health officials confirmed three more cases of swine flu in the area April 29, bringing the total number of local people infected to eight.

Wednesday, April 29

Border Commerce Flows Despite Flu Concerns

The borders at San Ysidro and Otay Mesa remain open and there are no plans to shut them, said Vince Bond, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, on April 29.

Sony Electronics Trims 18 Percent of Staff

Sony Electronics confirmed April 29 it is cutting 340 positions in San Diego or 18 percent of its 1,900-person full-time workforce, starting in June.

Isis and Alnylam Strike New Deal

Isis Pharmaceuticals of Carlsbad has signed a licensing deal with longtime partner Alnylam worth up to $31 million to co-develop single-stranded RNA interference technology, the companies said April 29.

Cruise Ships Change Itineraries During Flu Scare

The swine flu outbreak has caused cruise ship lines that normally call in Mexican ports to stop in San Diego for the time being, said the Port of San Diego April 28.

New 'Navy Mayor' Takes Seat This Summer

The Pentagon on April 28 named Adm. William French to relieve Adm. Len Hering as Navy mayor. Hering is set to retire this summer.

Tuesday, April 28

County Has Five Swine Flu Cases

San Diego County health officials confirmed a case of swine flu in a 20-year-old male April 27, bringing the total number of confirmed cases of the deadly virus in the county to five.

Case-Shiller Index Shows Home Prices Leveling Off

The closely watched S & P;/Case-Shiller Home Price Index shows that home prices began to level off in February.

Nassco Dedicates $45M Paint Building

Shipbuilder General Dynamics Nassco dedicated a $45 million blast and paint building during ceremonies April 28.

Monday, April 27

$85M Building Under Construction for Medical Examiner

Just a few hundred feet from the construction site of the new County Operations Center, ProWest Constructors is putting up an $85 million structure to house the San Diego County medical examiner's office.

Investments in Region's Startups Growing Thinner

Investors held off on new ventures last quarter amid continued economic uncertainty that has brought initial public offerings to a standstill and created a backlog of later stage companies.

Week In Review

Top Business News: April 17-23, 2009

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Timothy Psomas

Mexican Style Eatery Maria Maria Signs Hazard Center Lease

Maria Maria La Cantina, a Mexican restaurant inspired by recording star Carlos Santana, is slated to open late summer in space once occupied by Prego Ristorante in Mission Valley's Hazard Center.

Washington's TARP Money Has First PacTrust Bancorp Covered

Given some recent proposals to alter Washington's TARP, or Trouble Asset Relief Program, you'd think few banks would want to take the money.

Cal Bank & Trust Wins Nod for Support of The Old Globe

California Bank & Trust is being honored by the San Diego City-County Reinvestment Task Force for its undisclosed amount of financial support of The Old Globe Theatre.

U-T Circulation Figures Fall

Weekday circulation for The San Diego Union-Tribune stood at 261,253 on March 31, down from 288,785 on the same day last year, according to a report released April 27 by the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Architect Has Designs on Creating Creative Work Space

"Mix," an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, opens May 21 featuring nine local architects and designers who blend architectural design and art into their projects.

Qualcomm, Broadcom Settle

Qualcomm and Irvine-based Broadcom agreed to settle their long-running patent litigation, the two competitors said April 26.

Economy Forces Tenants to Think Short-Term

Tenant leasing remains weak, according to Grubb & Ellis|BRE Commercial's first-quarter office report released this month.

SBA Lending Activity Plummets

Small Business Administration guaranteed loans have hit their lowest level in years, falling 42 percent in both the number of loans and dollar volume for the first half of the fiscal year.

The Next Generation Predator Takes Flight

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems reported three successful test flights of its jet-powered Predator C Avenger military aircraft this month.

Center of Attention

Need to register to vote or file a fictitious business name? Well, you have to travel to two separate locations in Kearny Mesa to run these errands, but the county is constructing a County Operations Center that would centralize many services and offices

Region's Retail Vacancy Rate Increases as Stores Close

Weak consumer spending and slowing tenant activity are driving up vacancy rates.

Qualcomm's Mobile TV Service Preparing for National Rollout

MediaFlo USA President Bill Stone has kept his foot on the pedal since joining the business in February.

ConVis Ad Campaign Has Promoters Smiling About Results

The San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau just received some encouraging, although preliminary, results for its "Happy Happens" spring advertising campaign that was launched in March with an emphasis on cable TV spots, its revamped Web page and Internet

Cleaning Up: Tech Firm's SmartCover Device Can Prevent 'Nightmares'

Hadronex founders David Drake and Gregory Quist are trying to save the environment, and city budgets, one sewage spill at a time.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Live Stores, an e-commerce business, says it has launched, which markets 1,000 heaters for business, industrial and residential use.

Sacramento Fails to Fuel Gas Bill

We've already lost a lot of 'em, but more independent service stations might be going the way of the long extinct dodo bird, thanks to the failure of lawmakers in Sacramento to advance a bill April 20 granting a "holiday" to meet tougher standards for vap

Amylin Board Facing Pressure From Key Investors

Last week, billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn made known his intentions to push for a sale of San Diego-based Amylin Pharmaceuticals to partner Eli Lilly & Co.

City Council Vote a Step in the Right Direction

More collaboration is still needed to reform City Hall.

Ground Breaking: El Cajon Valley High School Science Building

El Cajon Valley High School Science Building

Power Couples: Marsha and Howard Berkson

Howard and Marsha Berkson are owners of Anthology, a restaurant and concert

The New Currency: Pro Bono Help for Nonprofits

In the world of corporate philanthropy, cash has long been king.

Region Gets $7M to Create Summer Jobs

For the first time in a decade, federal dollars are being funneled into a summer jobs program. The money could put as many as 3,000 young people into temporary work assignments.

Personal DNA Kits Make Their Way Over-the-Counter

Until recently, consumers interested in a closer look at their genetic makeup had limited options: purchase a genetic test kit online or participate in a clinical trial offering the test.

Sales and Leases

The 4,560-square-foot building at 3580 Adams Ave. in San Diego has been sold for $735,000.

Recession, Legal Woes Lead to Loss for Qualcomm

Qualcomm reported a loss last quarter due to lower revenues in the global recession and a $748 million litigation charge from a settlement with rival Broadcom that was announced late April 26.

Work Progressing On $40M Pacific Station Project

Site excavation and the pouring of foundations are complete at Pacific Station, a $40 million mixed-use development at 687 S. Coast Highway 101 in downtown Encinitas.

Friday, April 24

NTN Buys Internet Company

NTN Buzztime of Carlsbad is purchasing iSports, an Internet company that publishes sports and entertainment news including game scores on mobile devices such as Blackberries.

Cohu Takes Loss, Trims Guidance

Cohu, which makes equipment to test semiconductors, as well as microwave communications gear and television cameras, said April 23 it lost less money last quarter than the previous quarter amid signs that companies purchasing its semiconductor testing equ

Thursday, April 23

California Community Bank Grows, Posts Loss

California Community Bank, based in Escondido and with $184 million in assets, reported a first quarter net loss of $250,000 compared to a net profit of $13,000 in the like quarter of 2008.

Sequenom Trims Staff 12 Percent

Citing a weak outlook for capital equipment sales this year, prenatal test maker Sequenom said April 23 it is trimming 30 employees, or about 12 percent of its workforce, to conserve cash.

Stem Cell Breakthrough Reported

A team of scientists led by The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla has demonstrated a new way to reprogram cells without introducing new genes, a major advance toward the goal of one day turning an individual's own cells into a powerful tool for comba

SBA Sets Awards Luncheon for May 27

The local office of the Small Business Administration will honor local companies and small business advocates at its annual luncheon next month, the SBA said April 22.

Cubic Helps Army Study Korean Contingencies

Cubic said April 23 it received a $70 million contract supporting computer simulation work at the Korea Battle Simulations Center.

Arena Pharmaceuticals Plans 130 Staff Cuts

Weight-loss drug maker Arena Pharmaceuticals said April 23 it will cut 130 employees, or 31 percent of its U.S. workforce, over the next four weeks, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Wednesday, April 22

Maxwell Technologies Generates $13.5M Deal

San Diego-based Maxwell Technologies has landed a $13.5 million purchase order from three of China's leading transit bus producers to supply energy storage systems and batteries for up to 1,000 hybrid diesel-electric transit buses.

Qualcomm Delays Earnings, Says Broadcom Talks in Process

Qualcomm said April 22 that it will delay its second-quarter earnings statement because of advanced settlement discussions with rival Broadcom that would affect financial results for the quarter.

Salk Gets $5.5M From Helmsley Estate

A $5.5 million gift from the estate of the late Leona Helmsley, billionaire real estate heiress who left millions to her pet Maltese, will go toward new research into metabolic diseases at the nonprofit Salk Institute in La Jolla.

Cymer Revenue Dips 44 Percent From Previous Quarter

A little more than a month after announcing layoffs to 16 percent of its workforce, Cymer reported a loss that exceeded analysts' expectations.

Wells Fargo Reports $3B in Net Income, $101B in Mortgage Originations

Wells Fargo, which holds more than $8 billion in local deposits, reported net income of $3.05 billion for the first quarter in an April 22 report which trumpeted a big increase in advancing new credit to borrowers.

San Diego Trust Keeps Profitable Streak Alive

San Diego Trust Bank reported April 22 first quarter net income of $126,000, down from $150,000 in net income for the like quarter of 2008, and up from the $112,000 in net earnings for the fourth quarter of 2008.

Tuesday, April 21

Cal Bank & Trust Net Income Slides 23 Percent

California Bank & Trust, San Diego's largest bank with about $10 billion in total assets, reported net income of $17 million for the first quarter, compared to $22.3 million for the like quarter of 2008.

Port Commissioner Resigns

Laurie Black, one of three representatives from the city of San Diego on the Board of Port Commissioners for the San Diego Unified Port District, resigned last week, citing family health issues.

Amylin Says No to Sale Proposal

Amylin Pharmaceuticals, maker of the injectable diabetes drug Byetta, has rejected a proposal by billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn to sell the company to pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co. in an ongoing proxy fight.

Stonecrest Eyes Ramona Site for Town Houses

A 10-acre parcel at the end of 14th Street in Ramona sold for $420,000.

Monday, April 20

Military Ushers in $5B Spending Spree

We're not just a Navy town, after all! Adm. Len Hering, who commands Navy Region Southwest here, tells a KPBS FM audience April 13 that the military is spending close to $5 billion to upgrade and expand facilities countywide.

Elephants to Get $45 Million New Home

In four short weeks, the San Diego Zoo plans to unveil its largest exhibit since opening in 1916.

Businesses Reaching Out to HR Firms for More Support

In an attempt to bend and not break in this precarious business environment, companies have turned to human resources outsourcing firms to manage recruiting, payroll, benefits and training, as well as perform employee assessments.

Fourth Largest Credit Union Reducing Number of Offices

North Island Credit Union, the area's fourth largest with $1.5 billion in assets, is closing three branches next month as part of an ongoing cost reduction plan.

Five Business Lessons from the Recession

Paying attention to business is one of the major benefits of a recession.

Power Couples: Robert B. Horsman and Katherine Kennedy

Robert B. Horsman and Katherine Kennedy came to San Diego in 1971 and consider the organizations in the community that they're involved in to be their children.

Temecula Developer Breaks Ground on San Marcos Site

Temecula-based Community Collective broke ground in mid-March on the Autumn Terrace development, a 93,900-square-foot mixed-use community in San Marcos.

Charlotte Russe Board Opponent Withdraws His Slate of Directors

What had been shaping up as a major showdown between Charlotte Russe Holding, the young women's retail chain, and its biggest shareholder has turned out to be a dud.

Carlsbad's Conglomeration of Eateries Is Quickly Expanding

A lot adjacent to Interstate 5, between Palomar Airport and Cannon roads, is rapidly becoming a haven for dining.

Week In Review

Top Business News: April 10-16, 2009

Nonprofit Profile - HeadNorth Foundation

A conversation with Randal Schober, executive director of HeadNorth Foundation.

Topping Off: Mesa College Parking Structure

The parking structure at Mesa College in Linda Vista is a five-level structure that accommodates 1,100 cars and includes space for alternative-fuel vehicles used by the Mesa College Police.

Kyocera Realigns Local Wireless Business Unit

Kyocera has realigned its San Diego wireless business unit to better integrate a unit that came with its $400 million purchase of the cellular handset business of Sanyo Electric in April 2008.

Executive Profile - Lee Goodman

Lee Goodman is president and chief executive of Jerome's Furniture. Founded in 1954, Jerome's is a San Diego-based family owned and operated business that sells furniture. It has 370 employees.

Going for Broke: Personal Bankruptcy Filings Soar

The sheer volume of bankruptcy filings in San Diego County by individuals and businesses has reached levels unseen since 1999, county and city officials said last week.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Dan Tate

'Banks' Popping Up to Handle The Buying, Selling of Patents

When Santa Clara-based telecommunications software firm LongBoard became saddled with debt after a $5 million bridge loan coupled with lackluster revenues, it began winding down operations.

Marriott Cuts Back Free Newspaper Delivery

If things aren't bad enough in the newspaper industry, Marriott International said last week that it's going to stop dropping free papers at guests' doors at 2,600 hotels across the country starting June 1.

Networking Startup 6 Degrees Makes Online Connections

LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter. In the age of the Internet, these types of social networks have replaced the Rolodex and day planner and are quickly becoming the preferred means of connecting and maintaining business and personal relationships.

Aptera Electric Technology Is Disruptive, Innovative and Timely

Aptera Electric Technology Is Disruptive, Innovative and Timely

Merging Human Resources Firms Establish National Presence

San Leandro-based TriNet, which provides human resources outsourcing services, says it is acquiring Florida-based Gevity HR, another HR outsourcing business with a San Diego office, for $98.8 million in an all-cash transaction.

Two Figures Sentenced in Cocaine Trafficking Case

A federal court in Harrisburg, Pa. sentenced a Carlsbad pilot to 10 years and five months in prison April 17 for his role in a major cocaine trafficking case that also involved a Carlsbad defense attorney, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Pennsy

Interactive Design Concept Lands Sports Illustrated Kids

Up until recently, Collar Free, a one-year-old, e-commerce firm founded on the notion that consumers will enter competitions and buy T-shirts and other apparel emblazoned with their own designs, survived primarily on investment capital. Then a phone call

No Leisurely Cruise

Not long ago, defense contractor SGIS received government preferences as a small business.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: The county of San Diego awarded Cartridge Discounters a five-year, $3.8 million contract to provide the governmental agency with printer, copier and fax ink cartridges.

Local Hotel Sales Endure Slump as Lenders Look to Sell

San Diego's hotel market, considered sizzling hot just a few years ago, continues to lose steam.

Boot Camp Offers Advanced Education in Accessing Web

Dmitry Shapiro, founder and CEO of the online TV service Veoh Networks, and former Veoh executive Francis Costello are stepping into the classroom with a new venture.

Ailing Economy Has Companies Cutting Back on Benefits

One way businesses are trying to trim expenses in a struggling economy is by cutting back on employee benefits, from health insurance to retirement plans, experts say.

GA Aeronautical Systems Flies New Drone

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems successfully flew a new model of its Predator unmanned aircraft early this month, it said April 20.

Executive Profile - Dale Stein

Dale Stein is co-founder of Technology Assurance Group, or TAG, which provides sales, technical, management and financial education services.

Sales and Leases

Coronado Isle Townhomes purchased the 10-unit apartment building at 2234-2244 Brant St. from East West Bank for $1,300,000.

Winter Break for Decline in Area Housing Prices

San Diego home prices did a funny thing in late winter. They stabilized.

Private Educator's IPO a Success

Given the uncertainty that rules Wall Street these days, Bridgepoint Education's initial public offering is a success, observes one local stock analyst.

Podcast: This Week's Front Page, at a Glance

Web Editor Brad Graves provides highlights from the current issue of the San Diego Business Journal.

SDSU Alumni Association Holds Awards Gala

The San Diego State University Alumni Association honored graduates for outstanding work at its annual Montys Awards Gala held April 11 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront.

7 Social Networking Tips for Professionals

The way people communicate is changing. Status updates on social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn or tweets on Tweeter are often used instead of phone calls and e-mails.

Friday, April 17

Conference Looks Closer at Green Economy

Green technology and green building may be a growth area in a stagnant economy. The San Diego Green Career Conference, an all-day event set for April 25 at San Diego State University, takes a long look at the topic.

Students Compete for $10K in Business Plan Contest

A panel of judges who have braved the real-world economy plan to evaluate the potential of student business plans during a business plan competition April 17 at the University of San Diego.

Regional Unemployment Hits 9.3 Percent

San Diego's unemployment rate rose to 9.3 percent in March, up from 8.9 percent in February, as the area continued losing construction and business service jobs.

Thursday, April 16

Figure in Investment Scheme Receives 63-Month Sentence

A former president of an investment firm that bilked some $4.5 million from retirees was sentenced April 15 to 63 months in federal prison.

Housing Prices Level Out

San Diego home prices did a funny thing in late winter. They stabilized. Median home prices were unchanged at $285,000 in February and March, even as sales volume increased.

Washington Post Taps VMIX

The Washington Post media company has hired San Diego-based video service VMIX to showcase video on six television station Web sites owned by subsidiary Post-Newsweek.

Banker Finds Greener Pastures

Vince Siciliano, who left 1st Pacific Bank of California suddenly last summer as CEO, has landed in San Francisco.

Mall Owner Files for Chapter 11, Says Retail Unaffected

General Growth Properties, one of the largest shopping center owners, filed for Chapter 11 protection April 16. The Chicago-based real estate investment trust is owner of 158 shopping centers including two locally.

Wednesday, April 15

Sempra Thinks Big With Solar Power Proposal

Sempra Energy subsidiary Sempra Generation said April 15 it will construct a 48-megawatt expansion of its existing photovoltaic Copper Mountain solar facility near Boulder City, Nev., which is 40 miles southeast of Las Vegas.

Bersin Takes Federal Job

Alan Bersin was named as the new "border czar" for the Southwest region by Homeland Security Department Secretary Janet Napolitano April 15.

Bridgepoint IPO Raises $142M

Bridgepoint Education, a San Diego provider of higher education classes mainly to online students, issued 13.5 million shares of common stock April 14, with the initial price going out at $10.50.

Tuesday, April 14

Building Projects Sprout From Stimulus

The Navy said April 13 that it has awarded the first two projects from the Pentagon version of the economic stimulus bill, also called the recovery act.

Monday, April 13

Executive Profile - Robert E. Westfall Jr.

Robert E. Westfall Jr. is president of Solatube International, a manufacturer of devices that emit natural light in homes and businesses.

Biocom Panel Looks at Impact of Outsourcing

In "Cutting Costs," which ran in the Dec. 1 Business Journal, I spoke with local life sciences leaders about the emergence of outsourcing in cash-crunched times for drug developers.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: High Tech High, one of five charter high schools in the county, held a grand opening last month, with school officials joining those from San Diego Gas & Electric to tout the buildi

Film Duo Sheds Light on 'Invisible' Homeless Veterans

Crystal Pyramid Productions owners Mark Schulze and wife Patty Mooney shoot events for "Access Hollywood" and "Inside Edition." They film training videos and commercials. But a gig in 2007 made an impression they couldn't shake.

Ralphs Serving Up Nana's Cookies

Nana's Cookies says no to refined sugars, dairy, cholesterol, eggs, hydrogenated oils, trans fats, preservatives, cane and beet products, and Ralphs Grocery, which is beefing up its lines of better-for-you foods, recently said yes to putting Nana's on its

Nonprofit Profile - Carlsbad Educational Foundation

Valin Brown, CEO of Carlsbad Educational Foundation

Ventana's Window Closes; Gateway Pacific Stays on Track

The organizers of Ventana National Bank had lofty ambitions when they began organizing the institution here two years ago. They even planned to open banks in Phoenix and Dallas, as well as San Diego.

Help at the Helm

The folks who run Nassco, a unit of General Dynamics and the last major shipyard on the West Coast, knew they were doing a pretty good job churning out Navy cargo ships and civilian product carriers, but they realized they needed to improve.

The Next Shoe to Drop Is Commercial Real Estate

It is quite probable that the residential markets are reaching the bottom. We cannot know this, of course, until after the fact.

Activists Foil Foie Gras Aficionados

A science scene? The night got a bit tense when the brilliant but controversial author, evolutionary biologist and super-atheist Richard Dawkins appeared on the UC San Diego campus April 8 to accept the Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest.

Startup Medical College to Offer Certificate Training

Two physicians are betting the declining economy will bring students to their new venture, the California Medical College, which offers five certification programs.

Anadys Seeks Partner to Advance Hepatitis C Drug

Anadys Pharmaceuticals is tempting suitors to help bring its experimental hepatitis C drug to market by offering them a look at unreleased clinical data.

Mothers and Daughters Club Raises $40K

Willis Allen Point Loma joined forces with Mothers and Daughters Club Assisting Philanthropies, or Madcaps, and sponsored United We Give, the 49th annual musical review at Correia Junior High School in Point Loma.

Coronado First on Road to Profitability, CEO Says

Coronado First Bank reported April 13 an unaudited first-quarter net loss of $149,000, compared with a net loss of $79,000 for the first quarter of 2008.

Mayor Deserves His Pension and His Pay

Jerry Sanders has come under no small amount of scrutiny lately for taking a $104,000 a year salary as mayor of San Diego while collecting close to $90,000 annually in pension benefits for all the years he worked as a city cop.

Revamped Lounge Set to Sway Celebrities to Its Doors

The Keating Hotel's subterranean bar and lounge is getting into the swing of things , or make that the sway of things.

Notebook Was an Arrogant And Irresponsible Piece of Writing

Notebook Was an Arrogant And Irresponsible Piece of Writing

Ledcor Takes Charge of Multiplex

Ledcor Construction has been awarded a $40 million contract for construction of a five-story, 119,392-square-foot Public Safety Center, with an attached 161,259-square-foot parking structure located at 100 Civic Center Way in El Cajon.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Keri Robinson

Climate Change Rules in Tug of War With Economy

At the seventh annual Navigating the American Carbon World conference held April 1-3 at the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina, a major topic of discussion was how AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, and related climate change regulations will affec

Aptera Revs Up Plans for New Electric Car

In the race to introduce new electric automobiles, Vista-based Aptera Motors plans to roll out a three-wheeled, battery-powered two-seater in the fourth quarter.

SBA Given Tools to Boost Small Businesses

The Obama administration is determined to employ the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the U.S. Small Business Administration to make a big dent in the small-business credit crunch.

Week In Review

Top Business News: April 3 - 9, 2009

Making the Trek as a Medical Patient

There are many considerations to make when evaluating a destination for specialized or discounted medical treatments that could involve, for instance, a plane to Costa Rica for a hip replacement , one that could also require a hired medical escort back.

LM Capital to Manage $300M Portfolio

LM Capital Group, a San Diego manager of fixed income portfolios for institutional investors, said April 13 that the Municipal Employees' Annuity and Benefit Fund of Chicago selected it to manage $300 million of its portfolio.

Biotech Seeking To Disrupt How Bacteria Communicate

Pico Pharmaceuticals, a biotech startup with plans to make more potent cancer and anti-infective drugs, is starting off small. A staff of three full-time employees. A modest office in the University Towne Center area.

Office Building Nears Completion in Rancho Bernardo

Construction of a Class A office building at Summit Rancho Bernardo is nearing completion.

Topping Off: Ventana Real

Ventana Real is a three-building, Class A office park at 2173, 2175 and 2177 Salk Ave. in Carlsbad.

StatRad Growing With After-Hours Radiology Services

Cash-strapped hospitals are finding it cheaper to outsource X-ray, CT scan and MRI readings as their operating budgets shrink in today's economy.

Pursuit of Owner-Occupied Real Estate Holding Steady

Despite the downturn in many commercial and industrial real estate segments, the sale of detached, owner-occupied space continues, albeit at a slower pace.

Sources Say 'Challenged' 1st Pacific Bank of California Is in Play

Several local banks are poring over the books at 1st Pacific Bank of California for possible purchase, say sources close to the Business Journal.

Sony Electronics Merges Operations, Expects Layoffs

Locally based Sony Electronics is restructuring its consumer sales and marketing operations and eliminating an undisclosed number of positions.

Sales and Leases

Town Plaza Communities, a 68-unit apartment complex at the corner of Ballantyne Street and East Park Avenue in El Cajon, has been sold for $6 million, or $88,235 per unit.

Buyers Flocking to Home Auctions in Search of Better Deals

Home auctions continue to draw big crowds locally. Nearly 1,800 bidders attended an auction April 2 of 80 foreclosed homes at the San Diego Convention Center.

Have Plane, Will Travel for Lower Cost Health Care

Just four days before surgery to alleviate chronic back pain, 36-year-old Sacramento insurance agent Wayne King found out his health care insurer was no longer willing to cover the procedure.

Taking the LEED: Navy Proud Of Green Point Loma Project

This spring, the Navy embarked on a five-year remodel of that same Point Loma site, which now houses 50 tanks that dispense marine diesel fuel and jet fuel.

Executive Profile - Eddie Kaen

Edward Kaen is chief executive of The Keating Hotel Group, a real estate, hospitality and restaurant development group.

Friday, April 10

Port Lands $3.5M Grant for Security Upgrades

The Port of San Diego is getting $3.5 million for security improvements around the bay as part of $388.6 million in grants made by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Developer Buys Parcel for $6.25M

San Diego-based Dunham & Associates sold a 20,000-square-foot parcel at Ash and State streets downtown for $6.25 million to Chhatrala Group, Colliers International said April 10.

Theft May Affect Borrego Springs Bank Customers

Borrego Springs Bank said April 10 that it has contacted some of its customers whose personal data may have been stolen through the theft of seven laptop computers from the office of its auditor.

Thursday, April 9

Hire Puts Moorad's Stamp on Padres

New Padres CEO and eventual owner Jeff Moorad introduced his first hire April 7, naming Tom Garfinkel as the ballclub's president and chief operating officer.

Wednesday, April 8

SAIC Looks to Improve Hawaii's Energy Efficiency

SAIC said April 8 that it received a five-year deal to run the state of Hawaii's energy efficiency program.

FDA Meeting Sets Direction for Somaxon

Somaxon Pharmaceuticals must demonstrate that its sleep drug Silenor works in adult and elderly populations before it can seek FDA approval, the company said after meeting with regulators April 6.

WD-40 Profit Dips

WD-40 reported April 8 that its second quarter net profit was $4.1 million, down 53 percent compared to the like period of 2008.

Tuesday, April 7

Sony Global Restructuring to Hit San Diego

Sony Electronics, based in San Diego, is restructuring its consumer sales and marketing operations and eliminating positions.

Hundreds of New Jobs to Support Military Construction Spree

A spike in military construction means the Navy's building office will hire between 500 and 600 employees in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, a command spokesman said April 7. Most jobs will be in San Diego.

Defense Contractor Sentenced in Bribery Case

A former defense consultant was sentenced to 24 months in prison and three years probation April 6 in a San Diego federal court after pleading guilty to bribery in return for securing a contract from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command.

24 Charged in Mortgage Fraud Case

The U.S. Attorney's Office in San Diego unsealed an indictment April 7 charging 24 people with a variety of fraud and racketeering counts in connection with a mortgage fraud conspiracy that involved more than 220 properties with a total sales price of mor

Monday, April 6

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: An anonymous benefactor has volunteered to match up to $25,000 in donations toward the 2009 version of the U.S. Open Sandcastle Competition.

Play Ball!

Even for a seasoned and powerful sports executive like Jeff Moorad, it was hectic as he completed his purchase of one-third of the San Diego Padres last month.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Diana Alvarez

Sales and Leases

An eight-unit apartment complex consisting of two buildings at 1773-87 Bacon St. in San Diego was sold for $1,395,000 in cash.

One Brokerage Expands North, Another South

One firm's quest to reduce its footprint in San Diego and focus on the South Bay has been an opportunity for Windermere Exclusive Properties.

Publisher Provides Tentacles of Support

Trying to help cash-strapped teachers who often pay out of pocket for supplemental materials, an independent book publisher in La Jolla is providing complementary materials to its books for free online.

Listen Up

TV Ears, a maker of assisted listening devices for televisions, is on a roll.

3E Helps Clients Track, Handle Chemicals

Businesses across the United States, indeed worldwide, lean on 3E for help with regulatory compliance and other services involving the handling of chemicals.

Experts to Discuss Threat of Massive Cyber Assault

Cybersecurity , as it relates to personal security and national security , will be the topic on the table at a panel discussion April 10 at San Diego State University.

De-Globalization and the Financial Meltdown

"Globalization." The term has been around for more than 50,000 years, according to "Bound Together" author Nayan Chandra. But it has only been in the last 10 years that the term has penetrated public consciousness and, according to The Economist, was the

Private Screening for Filmmakers

Well, this couple is all wet for good reason. Del Mar residents and documentary filmmakers Howard and Michele Hall attended a private screening of their latest IMAX release, "Under the Sea," which opened April 1 at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Ba

Santee's New Sonic Drive-In First of Many on the Way

The county's first Sonic Drive-In is rolling into Santee this week, literally.

Geary Interactive Lays Off Six

San Diego-based Geary Interactive said April 6 that it laid off six employees on April 2.

Delayed 16-Story Federal Courthouse Set for Construction Downtown

Hensel Phelps Construction will soon break ground on a $412 million green federal courthouse downtown.

Week In Review

Top Business News: March 27 - April 2, 2009


Cygnet Theatre Plans to Rent Second Venue to Other Companies

Radio in a Daze

San Diego's radio broadcasters suffered a revenue drop of 11 percent in 2008, marking the second consecutive yearly decline, and the forecast for the next two years is no better, according to BIA Financial Network.

Executive Profile - Patrick Dahms

Patrick Dahms is executive chef at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront, a 1,200-room hotel in downtown San Diego.

Buyer Sees Potential in Unfinished 10-Unit Building

Coronado Isle Townhomes LLC purchased an unfinished 10-unit apartment building on the 2200 block of Brant Street in Bankers Hill from East West Bank for $1.3 million.

Feds Uncover Fraud in $8B SBA Contracting Program

A federal investigation into an $8 billion small-business program in four cities, including San Diego, found at least 36 instances where firms receiving contracts were not in compliance with regulations.

Rancho Santa Fe Church Getting $16.5 Million Makeover

Village Community Presbyterian Church in Rancho Santa Fe is undergoing a $16.5 million development project that includes a new custom-designed, 9,000-square-foot playground.

Seeking Profitability, UltraStar Cinemas Invests in Latest Technology

So you say you want to be in motion pictures?

One Problem Loan Leads to Larger Net Loss for 1st Pacific

1st Pacific Bancorp blamed most of its amended $21 million net loss for 2008 on a single, unsecured land development loan that it had to classify as charged off or uncollectible.

Unintended Consequences of Toy Safety Bill

Billions of dollars , billions , of perfectly safe toys, clothing, books, bikes, and other children's products are being taken off store shelves and thrown away, small businesses have been forced to close their doors forever, nonprofits and charities are

Military Spending Billions Locally

While the majority of us sit idly back awaiting the "Save the Economy Program" from the Obama administration to filter down to us, the Marines in North County are about to kickoff a major billion-dollar construction program that will keep thousands of our

Ernst & Young Delivers Its Assessment on a New City Hall

The city of San Diego inched another step towards construction of a new City Hall when Ernst & Young presented the results of its independent review on March 25 to the city's redevelopment arm.

IBM Gives $2M Mainframe to UCSD Center

IBM and UC San Diego have teamed to launch the Center for Next-Generation Digital Media, which will explore technologies to power tomorrow's virtual worlds.

Friday, April 3

Airport Takes Wraps off New Eateries

Two new restaurants at Lindbergh Field's Terminal 1 food court celebrated their grand openings April 3.

Veoh Networks Founder Takes CEO's Job

Dmitry Shapiro, founder of Veoh Networks, stepped into the chief executive's job April 1, replacing Steve Mitgang, according to published reports.

Traversa Picks Up Series B Funding

Traversa Therapeutics Inc., a San Diego biotech, said April 2 it obtained $5 million in series B funding.

Thursday, April 2

$6M Buys El Cajon Apartment Complex

A 68-unit apartment complex in El Cajon sold for $6 million.

Foreclosure Prevention Workshop Set

With home foreclosures still rising, some organizations are reaching out to provide advice on how to best deal with the issue.

Airspace and Art Space: Lindbergh Hosts Gallery Show

A new art gallery opened April 1 at the far western terminal of Lindbergh Field, or Terminal 2.

Wednesday, April 1

Orexigen Names Permanent CEO

Obesity drug developer Orexigen Therapeutics has named biotech veteran Michael Narachi as its president and CEO.

Cardinal Health Transition Brings Job Cuts

Cardinal Health said March 31 it will eliminate 1,300 jobs mostly over the next six months as it spins off its clinical and medical products business as CareFusion.