Stories for February 2009

Friday, February 27

Aethercomm Buys Carlsbad Building

Aethercomm, a local technology company, purchased an industrial building in Carlsbad for $7.3 million.

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. Or listen to archived podcasts going back to January 2007.

County Pension Fund Seeks Return of $78M

The county employees pension fund is trying to retrieve $78 million from a Connecticut-based investment fund run by two managers that were arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Del Mar Might Shorten Racing Season

The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club said Feb. 27 that it is considering shortening its 2009 racing season.

FDA Spells Out Concerns About Somaxon Insomnia Drug

The FDA has rejected an application by San Diego-based Somaxon Pharmaceuticals to approve its insomnia drug.

Cubic to Mark 50 Years by Ringing NYSE Bell

Executives with San Diego's Cubic Corp. will ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange March 5 to commemorate the company's 50th anniversary as a public company.

Thursday, February 26

Scripps Reveals Strategy for Fighting Flu

Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla say they, too, have discovered an antibody that appears to target the Achilles' heel of a wide range of influenza viruses, including bird flu and other deadly strains.

AMN Cutting Staff by 10 Percent

San Diego-based health care staffing company AMN Healthcare Services said Feb. 25 it will reduce its work force by 10 percent, or about 190 jobs, as part of a restructuring of its travel nurse staffing division.

Make Way, Mammoth: Construction Site Yields Whale

Construction crews have unearthed the remains of a second prehistoric creature at the future site of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in downtown's East Village, according to law school officials.

Verve Wireless to Deliver Weather Forecasts to Cell Phones

Encinitas-based Verve Wireless has partnered with to give Verve customers access to localized weather information.

USD Index Loses 2 Percentage Points

An index measuring San Diego's economic health shows the patient getting worse, and little sign of a quick recovery.

Wednesday, February 25

DJO Wraps Up Year With Net Loss

DJO, the Vista maker of orthopedics and other medical devices, reported nearly doubling its sales last year to $980 million, mainly from its merger with Reable Therapeutics, the firm said Feb. 25.

Tuesday, February 24

Data Backs Optimer Drug Candidate

Optimer Pharmaceuticals said Feb. 24 that its experimental drug aimed at treating traveler's diarrhea outperformed a placebo in a second late-stage pivotal trial.

Sempra Energy Net Income Reaches $1.11B

Sempra Energy reported Feb. 24 it had net income of $1.11 billion, or $4.43 per diluted share, up 6.5 percent from 2007 net income of $1.10 billion or $4.16 per diluted share.

Normal Heights Apartments Sell for $1.32M

A 12-unit apartment property in Normal Heights sold for $1.32 million. The sale was announced Feb. 24.

Monday, February 23

Borrowers in Short Supply

Local community banks receiving federal funds through Washington's controversial Troubled Asset Relief Program say they are making loans, but agree the economy has shrunk the pool of borrowers.

County Auctioning Properties to Collect $335K

The county treasurer-tax collector plans to host a live real estate auction Feb. 25 to collect $335,100 in back taxes on 151 properties.

Nonprofit Profile - Voices of Women

A conversation with Jenni Prisk, president and founder of Voices of Women.

There Is No Such Thing as Free Booze at Local Bars

How much free booze does it take to lure customers into bars these days?

San Diego Hospice Celebrates Its Anniversary

Among the many economic concerns faced by the Obama administration, health care costs remain a complex issue. There are few easy, proven answers.

Outplacement Coaches, Consultants Finding Lots of Work

As layoffs continue in every sector of the economy, an increasing number of business professionals are turning to coaches and consultants to fine tune resumes, practice interviewing skills and get an edge in a challenging job market.

Power of Positive Thinking Can Overcome Downturn

I'd like to begin my column with a riddle. If you are a success-driven person, then read on.

North County Health Care Districts to Explore Collaboration

Two of North County's three public hospital districts have opened up discussions of collaborating in hopes of saving money.

BBB Hands Out Torch Awards

Fresh Start Surgical Gifts won in the nonprofit category and United Through Reading was named a finalist in the Better Business Bureau's annual Torch Awards.

Seven Handy Tips While Looking for Work

Well, times are tough, and many of us are out looking for work, or worrying about our next job.

Educate Small Businesses About Business Tax

One of my top priorities on the San Diego City Council will be to foster a jobs-friendly environment.

SBA, CDC Small Business Finance Piggyback on Green Movement

The U.S. Small Business Administration and CDC Small Business Finance, its local partner lender for commercial property loans, are jumping on the "green" bandwagon by doubling the maximum lending amounts for those mortgages that benefit the environment.

Reputation on the Line

According to Rubicon Consulting, word-of-mouth advertising is still king when it comes to information sources that influence purchasing decisions. Yet recent studies show that online reviews are in second place.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Amid discussions of dropping some operations, Phoenix Footwear Group CEO Cathy Taylor and Chief Financial Officer Doug Ford stepped down from their positions.

Week In Review

Top Business News: Feb. 13-19, 2009

Insurance Firms Track Effectiveness of Wellness Programs

Corporate wellness programs , including fitness, stress release and nutrition education , are giving employees the opportunity to enjoy the healthier side of life and likewise improve workplace productivity.

Decade Makes a Difference for Ahern Family's Brokerage

Family owned and operated Ahern Insurance Brokerage is a modest firm of 31 employees that's growing its national client base of 2,600 law firms.

Insurance Commissioner Suspends Westland's Brokerage License

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner suspended the brokerage license of Westland Insurance Brokers and prohibited owner James Sim from engaging in the sale of insurance, allegedly because he took premium funds for his personal use.

Trump Pulls His Name From Baja Condo Project

Real estate mogul Donald Trump recently pulled his name from the luxury condotel project in Tijuana at the same time that he stepped down from the board of Trump Entertainment Resorts and filed for bankruptcy a third time.

Regulators Order Changes at Imperial Capital Bank

Imperial Capital Bank, based in San Diego and with $4 billion in assets, said it entered into a cease and desist order with state and federal regulators to take a number of actions aimed at improving the bank's condition.

Optimer Pharmaceuticals Takes on Chief Scientific Officer

Optimer is developing late-stage drugs to combat Clostridium difficile, a drug-resistant "superbug" known to wreak havoc on a patient's gastrointestinal tract, and traveler's diarrhea.

Real Estate Leases

Tuyen Huynh and Thanh Du Nguyen, doing business as Loving Hut restaurant, leased 1,750 square feet of retail space located at 1905 El Cajon Boulevard in San Diego.

Vical Flies High on Bird Flu Vaccine News

Vical's experimental pandemic bird flu vaccine, Vaxfectin, was safe and effective in an early stage human study, the local biotech reported Feb. 13.

Film Industry Gets New Incentive to Work Locally

You didn't hear it at the Oscars, but California scored a red carpet victory of its own recently.

Qualcomm Plays Let's Make a Deal on International Stage

Coinciding with an international technology conference Feb. 16-19 in Barcelona, Spain, Qualcomm rolled out several announcements on new wireless products and agreements.

Lean Times Call for Cutbacks in Health Care Benefits

San Diego employers are cornered into making distressing decisions between providing health care benefits to workers and staying in business during a recession, say experts.

Burnham Team Part of Flu Breakthrough

A team of researchers, including scientists from the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, said they have discovered a novel approach to combating the H5N1 bird flu and other strains.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Bradley Miller

Sales Flat for Jack in the Box

Flat as a griddle. That's how Jack in the Box executives describe the road ahead.

In Fate's Hands

At a time when many biotechs are scraping for cash, one local startup is preparing to enter the clinic with $22.5 million raised.

McMillin Expanding Into Asset Management Projects

Numerous residential developers are expanding their business to include asset management services to landowners, banks, investors and receivers, as home sales have slowed.

Gemological Institute Cutting 9 Percent of U.S. Staff

The nonprofit Gemological Institute of America said Feb. 21 that it would pare its U.S. work force by 9 percent. That includes 71 jobs at its Carlsbad headquarters and 32 at its New York offices.

Insurance Profile - Arlene Lieberman

Arlene Lieberman is a principal with Barney & Barney, a privately held insurance brokerage founded in 1909.

Executive Profile - Dan Mogin

Dan Mogin is managing attorney for The Mogin Law Firm, which represents entrepreneurial businesses, consumers and investors in antitrust, consumer protection, investment and other types of complex business litigation.

New Startup Tackling Web Strategies as Well as Design

Early 2009 may seem like an inopportune time to start a business, but a threesome of friends in January launched a product development firm to help businesses improve their online presence and strategy.

Friday, February 20

Prevost Completes Upgrades to BioMed Science Lab

Prevost Construction has completed a multimillion-dollar construction project on University Science Center, a facility owned by BioMed Realty Trust located at 3545 John Hopkins Court in Torrey Pines.

Borrego Solar to Sell Residential Business

Vermont-based solar power installer groSolar has entered into an agreement to purchase the residential unit of Borrego Solar Systems of El Cajon, the companies said Feb. 18.

Westfield Cuts Store Hours

Retail real estate giant Westfield will cut operating hours at nearly all of its 55 U.S. shopping centers including six in San Diego County as a result of weakened consumer demand and foot traffic.

Pacific Office Properties Sees Loss in Quarter

Pacific Office Properties Trust Inc. which acquires and operates West Coast office buildings, reported a loss in its fourth quarter.

Temecula Valley Bank Makes Pact With Regulators

Temecula Valley Bank has agreed to a cease and desist order with federal and state regulators to take corrective actions regarding its operations, the bank's parent firm announced Feb. 18.

Sempra Energy Hikes Dividend

Sempra Energy, a utility and energy services company, said Feb. 20 that it increased its annual dividend 11 percent to $1.56.

CCDC Lays Off Two Executives

The Centre City Development Corp. said Feb. 19 that it laid off two executives.

Thursday, February 19

Albertsons Plans to Shutter Three Stores

Albertsons said it's closing two stores in the San Diego region in Chula Vista and Encinitas Feb. 20 as part of a reorganization that began earlier this year.

Biofuels Venture Set to Grow

Energy giant British Petroleum said Feb. 18 it plans to extend its existing partnership with Massachusetts-based biofuels company Verenium to develop what would become the world's largest commercial facility to use inedible plants for the production of bi

La Jolla Pharmaceutical Announces 'Substantial' Job Cuts

La Jolla Pharmaceutical indicated Feb. 19 it would undergo a major staff reduction as it deals with the aftermath of its failed experimental lupus drug.

Federal Jury Takes Dim View of Biofrequency Device

A San Diego man who sold thousands of altered and misbranded medical devices claiming to treat an array of illnesses ranging from AIDS to ulcers was found guilty by a federal jury Feb. 17.

Kelly Capital to Buy Car Painter Earl Scheib for $8M

Kelly Capital, a San Diego private investment firm, said Feb. 19 it agreed to acquire car painter and collision repair company Earl Scheib for $8 million in cash.

Wednesday, February 18

Roth Capital Partners Gathering Showcases Eight Local Companies

Eight San Diego companies ventured into Orange County for the annual Roth Capital Partners investment conference, which attracted 1,800 investors and analysts.

Cadence Goes After Private Placement

Cadence Pharmaceuticals, the San Diego-based biotech developing a topical gel to protect against hospital-acquired infections, entered an agreement to raise $86.6 million through a private stock placement, it said Feb. 17.

County Sets Real Estate Auction

The county treasurer and tax collector will host a live real estate auction Feb. 25 to collect $335,100 in back taxes on 151 properties.

Royale Calls Off Tender Effort

Royale Energy, a San Diego developer of oil and natural gas wells in Western states, said Feb. 18 it was suspending a stock tender effort to acquire part of Aspen Exploration, a Denver-based energy firm.

Tuesday, February 17

Mixed Results for California Community Bank

California Community Bank, based in Escondido and with four offices, reported fourth quarter net income of $112,000, compared to $105,000 for the like quarter of 2007.

Nokia and Qualcomm Team Up on Handsets

Strange bedfellows a recession makes. Former court foes Qualcomm and Nokia announced a partnership Feb. 17 to jointly develop smart phones for the North American market.

Manchester Mansion Listed at $33M

Doug Manchester has lowered the asking price for his La Jolla oceanfront mansion.

A Letter from the Editor

We want your feedback.

Cricket Starts Chicago Service

Leap Wireless International said Feb. 17 that it is rolling out its Cricket cell phone service and associated retail operations in Chicago and surrounding regions.

Nassco to Draw Plans for Mobile Landing Ship

San Diego's General Dynamics Nassco, the last major shipbuilder on the West Coast, was awarded a new design contract from the Navy for a mobile landing ship, the company said Feb. 17.

Monday, February 16

Law Profile: Craig Hunsaker

Craig Hunsaker is managing partner of the San Diego office of Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo, which is staffed with 32 lawyers locally.

Qualcomm Unleashes Announcements at Spain Conference

Coinciding with an international technology conference in Barcelona, Spain, Qualcomm rolled out several announcements on new wireless products and agreements.

Realty Income Names New Chairman of the Board

Realty Income, a real estate investment trust, is under new leadership.

Patent Model Display Recalls Horse and Buggy Days

A Thomas Jefferson School of Law construction site that yielded up a 500,000-year-old mammoth skull and two tusks has people talking. However, it's not the only place in downtown San Diego where a person can take an unexpected detour back through time.

Employee Ownership Growing in Popularity

When the owners of Pegasus Building Services decided to retire, instead of selling the business, they set up an employee stock ownership plan, or ESOP, which took effect last month.

Nonunion Contractors RallyAgainst Looming Labor Deal

Adopting a project labor agreement would mean more than setting standards for contractors vying for work to be paid for under San Diego city schools' $2.1 billion bond measure, approved Nov. 4.

Cal Bank & Trust Takes Over Alliance Bank in Culver City

San Diego's largest bank measured by assets, California Bank & Trust, got larger Feb. 6 when it took over most of the assets of failed Alliance Bank in Culver City.

Law Profile: Jerrilyn Malana

Jerrilyn Malana is an attorney at the downtown office of Littler Mendelson, a national law firm with more than 750 attorneys at 46 locations, according to the firm's Web site.

Swiss Giant Ferring Opens Lab in Sorrento Valley

In a little more than a month, Ferring Pharmaceuticals will introduce a new treatment for advanced prostate cancer.

Food Fight Finished? Feeding America Could Align, Merge With Food Bank

As unlikely as it sounds, Feeding America San Diego, which was founded by some disgruntled ex-board members of the once scandal-tainted San Diego Food Bank, could realign with or possibly even merge with the other agency.

County Bar Foundation Awards $112,500 to Local Nonprofits

The San Diego County Bar Foundation, charitable branch of the county Bar Association, is awarding $112,500 to 11 local nonprofits.

High-Rise Owners Getting Aggressive in Their Sales Efforts

With hundreds of condominiums on the market downtown, developers and resellers are getting aggressive in their sales efforts, including lowering their prices and offering other incentives.

New Biofuels Effort Focusing on a Lowly Desert Shrub

First came algae, revered for its oily makeup and natural ability to prosper in brackish water, which spawned a handful of San Diego companies dedicated to turning it into the next commercial biofuel. Now, another robust, long-lived organism has potential

Zoo Honors a Walk on the Wild Side

Well, our opening bit of news is based on a walk on the wild side. In fact, a very, very long walk on the wild side.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: David Romero

Startup Borrows Netflix Rental Concept for Children's Toys

A San Diego startup is borrowing a page from Netflix by loaning toys for monthly subscriptions.

La Jolla Clothing Store to Shut Doors

A high-end women's clothier, Donna Marsh, is going out of business a little more than a year after opening on Fay Avenue in La Jolla.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: A local builder that made national headlines last year by giving away a condo with every estate home sold is having trouble paying its bills.

Construction Starts on $40 Million Mixed-Use Transit Station

Final architectural designs are complete and construction is now under way at Pacific Station, a $40 million mixed-use redevelopment project along Highway 101 in downtown Encinitas.

Stimulus Is Salve, Not Surgery, for the Economy

I read the other day that sales at Chrysler were off 55 percent for the month of January. There's nothing surprising about that bit of news. But what was amazing was that the ailing automaker had a 151-day supply of new cars jamming factory parking lots a

Chambers Still a Draw

Despite the downturn, the county's largest chambers of commerce have experienced only minor declines in membership.

Executive Profile - Stewart Duncan

Stewart Duncan is the founder of Thinkbig Media, a public relations firm with an office located in downtown San Diego.

Piracy Shields Raised in Defense of Sports Inventions

Patent attorney James Cleary was riding in a limousine with a group of snowboarding pros when he had an epiphany.

Law School Excavation Digs Up Mammoth Bones

Construction crews unearthed the bones of an Ice Age Columbian mammoth at the future site of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

Topping Off: McClellan-Palomar Airport Terminal Expansion

McClellan-Palomar Airport Terminal Expansion

Sycuan Band Contributes $1.25M to YMCA Project

The McGrath Family YMCA will receive $1.25 million from the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation for its building project in the Rancho San Diego area.

Week In Review

Top Business News: Feb. 6-12, 2009

Bright(Scope) Idea: Firm Launches Site to Compare 401(k)s

Consumers in the market to buy cars, computers or practically anything can turn to a plethora of resources to find the best deal. But when it comes to 401(k) plans, workplace retirement savings plans for employees that have supplanted pensions, there's a

Profits Rise at ViaSat, Encore Capital, But Stocks Fall

Yes, Virginia, some businesses are actually doing better than a year ago.

Distressed Asset Manager Says Newer Hotels Facing Turmoil

Bill Hoffman, who heads Trigild, which specializes in distressed property management, mainly for lenders, says hotels are rapidly becoming a bigger part of his business. Winning Battle Against HP, Sees Sales Soar, an information technology support company in Solana Beach, said it has generated $20 million in revenues in fiscal year 2009, which ends July 1, following a record first half.

Uncle Sam's Stimulus Is Down Payment on Economic Security

According to the San Diego Association of Governments, the region's planning agency, an estimated $7.4 billion of federal infrastructure funds are being sought for our region.

Sales and Leases

Shannon Smith, successor trustee of the Franklin Down and Martha Lyman Smith Revocable Trust, purchased a 21,000-square-foot building at 692-694 Rancheros Drive in San Marcos.

Phoenix Footwear CEO Resigns; Shoemaker Cuts 17 Jobs

Amid discussions of dropping some operations, Phoenix Footwear Group CEO Cathy Taylor and Chief Financial Officer Doug Ford stepped down from their positions.

Nonprofit Profile - 211 San Diego

A conversation with John Ohanian, CEO of 211 San Diego.

Harvey Levine Directs High Drama in the Courtroom

Harvey Levine was enjoying a life of travel in the early 1970s when he decided on an extended visit to Southern California.

State Budget Crisis Hurting Nonprofit World

"That's a billion , with a B." Most news stories trying to explain the budget crisis use this phrase at least once to describe the chasm that is the state's deep financial hole.

Friday, February 13

Mad Catz Musters Quarterly Loss With Goodwill Charge

Mad Catz Interactive, the maker of accessories for video games such as Rock Band, reported revenue for its fiscal third quarter ended Dec. 31 was $40.8 million, up 19 percent from the like quarter in 2007.

Ligand Reports '08 Loss

Despite major licensing deals and an FDA approval last year, Ligand Pharmaceuticals ended the year with a net loss of $98.1 million on revenues of $27.3 million because of expenses related to the purchase of New Jersey-based Pharmacopeia.

Thursday, February 12

Convention & Visitors Bureau Cuts Back

The San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau announced Feb. 12 that a $1.7 million budget shortfall will result in operational, program and across-the-board staff cuts.

Cymer Reports Profit, But Business Slows

Cymer, the San Diego maker of industrial lasers used in the microchip fabrication process, was profitable for the fourth quarter and for 2008, though sales and profits were down.

Lupus Drug Developer Gets Bad News

Shares of La Jolla Pharmaceutical plummeted Feb. 12 after the company said its experimental lupus drug Riquent failed to meet its goals in a late-stage study.

Wednesday, February 11

Cricket Rolls Out Mobile Music Service

San Diego-based Leap Wireless announced Feb. 10 a new music service offered to Cricket Communications customers. Cricket's Mobile Music service operates similar to Apple's iTunes, the largest music retailer.

Realty Income Finishes Year With Net of $107.6M

Escondido-based Realty Income Corp., which leases its portfolio of property to local and national retail chains, reported late Feb. 11 it had fourth quarter net income of $28.3 million on revenue of $82.7 million.

Free Love? No, It's 1-Cent Valentine Movies

There may be no such thing as a free lunch, but Time Warner Cable is offering free movies. Well, almost.

Tuesday, February 10

Poway's Pentair Cuts Jobs

Pentair Electronic Packaging, one of Poway's largest employers, is cutting 158 jobs from its local payroll as part of a consolidation that will shift many of the jobs to the company's Warwick, R.I. facility.

Airline Takes Marketing Push to the Streets

Being in the right place at the right time could net some lucky passers by a chance to hitch a free plane ride.

Monday, February 9

March Launch for 'Happy Happens' Marketing Campaign

Times are tough, but the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau managed to open its annual breakfast meeting Jan. 29 on an optimistic note.

Industrial Vacancies Increase; Decline in Retail Blamed

Although spending in defense and the life sciences industries anchor the local economy, the two are not able to help fill the vacant industrial space left behind by ambitious developers.

Sorrento Mesa Building Eyed as Rock-Climbing Gym

A research and development building in Sorrento Mesa sold for $4.95 million.

Sequenom CEO Pursuing New Product in Volatile Market

Call it Wall Street's new baby. During the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, San Diego-based Sequenom watched as its stock shot up more than 100 percent last year to stake a claim as the region's top performer.

PowerGenix Appoints New CFO

PowerGenix, which makes rechargeable nickel-zinc batteries, has hired former ID Analytics executive John Creelman as chief financial officer.

No Furniture Is as Expensive as a Government Bureau

The early take on 2009 is a wait-and-see scenario. Waiting to see what the administration's stimulus program will look like and who or what will be included.

Pressure to Decide Civic Center's Fate Picks Up Tempo

While a plan to redevelop a new downtown Civic Center has lain dormant for six months, it is by no means dead, city officials say.

Rugby Tournament Expecting to Draw 50,000 Fans to Petco Park

Most sports fans, especially football fans, get rugby. After all, the game is the forerunner of what is now our national pastime, but organizers of the USA Sevens International Rugby Tournament that stops at Petco Park Feb. 14 and Feb. 15 say the event at

MindTouch 'Dekis' Speeds User Collaboration at Customer Web Sites

Who runs government? It's a question is attempting to address with, a new Web site in beta format powered by MindTouch.

Marriott Foundation Gives $2.4M to SDSU's Hospitality School

San Diego State University has received a $2.4 million donation to its School of Hospitality & Tourism Management from the Marriott Foundation, the largest gift to a hospitality program in the western United States. The gift will endow the school's Studen

San Diego People

U.S. Bank has promoted Erik Daniels to president of its Small Business Administration division from SBA division national sales manager. He has been with the financial institution for one year. The Cal State Polytechnic Pomona graduate has 17 years of ind

Padres' Moores Selling Team for Five Times His Purchase Price

John Moores' sale of the San Diego Padres to a group led by former Arizona Diamondbacks CEO Jeff Moorad must bring joy to practically every die-hard Padres fan.

Upgrades in the Works for Veterans Group's Oceanside Headquarters

Smith Consulting Architects has been selected to design tenant improvements for the Veterans Association of North County's 9,250-square-foot headquarters at 1617 Mission Ave. in Oceanside.

Despite Turmoil, Group Still Pushing for National City Bank

Believe it or not, some folks are still trying to start new banks despite the downturn.

Internet Not to Blame for Crisis in Journalism

The news is not good, if you're in the news business these days.

CB Commercial Exclusive Broker for Big North County Office Park

Ryan Cos. U.S. has named Coldwell Banker Commercial its exclusive listing broker for The Towers at Bressi Ranch, a new office park in Carlsbad.

TV Design Personality at Home Working Behind the Scenes

Interior designer Jennifer Adams may be the best-kept secret among San Diego's wealthiest.

Managing Partner Jumps to Jones Day

Longtime McKenna Long & Aldridge Managing Partner Robert Brewer Jr. has joined the San Diego office of Jones Day, the nation's second largest law firm with about 2,300 lawyers and yearly gross revenues of more than $1.5 billion.

Navy Ships Sailors Ashore

Steady as she goes there, all you apartment mates! The LA Times serves up a front-page story Feb. 2 on the Navy's sprawling 941-unit Pacific Beacon apartment complex at Naval Base San Diego, which will house 1,800 sailors who heretofore often chose to liv

Painful Pampering Still Pulling a Profit at Region's Salons

In these penny-pinching times, it's hard to believe that San Diego ladies are still dishing out the dough every month to remove unwanted hair through the painful process of waxing , but they are.

Executive Profile

Bill Fleck is a senior managing director at the San Diego office of Jones Lang LaSalle, a Chicago-based real estate services business.

Credit Agencies Keep Watch Over Law Firm Turnovers

Amid all this economic uncertainty, one thing is certain: San Diego's legal landscape is in the middle of a transformation.

More Lawsuit Abuse Not What We Voted for in Election

Whatever change voters were seeking in November, there is no record of any mass of them calling for greater rights for lawyers to sue.

Week in Review

Cash Offer For Tepnel: Gen-Probe, the San Diego-based maker of test kits used to screen human blood and diagnose diseases, offered to acquire British diagnostics company Tepnel Life Sciences in an all-cash deal valued at $132.2 million.

UCSD 'Lab to Market' Startup Attracts Investors, Makes Sales

UC San Diego's Rady School of Management has notched a first success story from it's "Lab to Market" course.

Regional Roundup

Chamber Chief Resigns After 2 Years on the Job Chamber of Commerce CEO Gary Tucker abruptly resigned, effective Feb. 6, after two years as the organization's top staff member.

Design Drums Vitality Into City's Dead-End Complex

Imagine the city's downtown Civic Center complex as a center of activity. Instead of dead-end streets, it would actually facilitate flow through downtown: from Barrio Logan and East Village to points west; from the south to Little Italy.

Biotechs Lobby Washington For Research Bailout Funds

As the state budget crisis threatens to stall research and venture capitalists keep a tight grip on their investments, local leaders of the life sciences industry have stepped up efforts to keep federal dollars flowing to the region.

St. Valentine's Day

With bright red boxes lined up, waiting to be filled with handmade confections , some in the shape of long-stemmed roses , for St. Valentine's Day, Dave Close, the owner of the Chocolate Haus, a specialty candy shop in Pacific Beach, anticipates sales sho

Next Chapter for Central Library Includes High School

Mayor Jerry Sanders' last-minute maneuver to keep alive the proposed $185 million Central Library project by incorporating a high school has extended the life of a $20 million state grant crucial to construction.

Sales and Leases

Gladstone and Westcore Properties sold Sweetwater Village in Spring Valley for $6.2 million. The 43,000-square-foot retail center is located at 3505-3515 Sweetwater Springs Blvd. The new owner, a food distribution operator, will occupy the 28,000-square-f

Flipping Houses Proves Profitable for Real Estate Business

Than Merrill has found success investing sweat equity in East Coast real estate, and is looking to grow his business even more from his new Pacific Beach home.

Friday, February 6

Second Mammoth Tusk Unearthed

Construction crews have uncovered a second tusk thought to belong to the same 500,000-year-old Columbian Mammoth discovered Feb. 4 at the future site of the $68 million Thomas Jefferson School of Law in downtown's East Village.

One Hard Rock Nightclub Reopens

In the battle over who has the right to operate a couple of bistros in the Hard Rock San Diego , celebrity nightclub owner Rande Gerber who leased them, or Tarsadia Hotels that developed the hotel, Tarsadia has taken the hill , at least for now.

Thursday, February 5

Frequent Port Visitor Embarks on 100th Voyage

MV Jean Anne, the 579-foot cargo ship carrying autos, sailed out of San Diego Feb. 5 to the Pacific Northwest on its 100th voyage.

Icahn Increases Stake in Amylin

Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn has once again raised his stake in San Diego-based Amylin Pharmaceuticals.

1st Pacific Posts Net Loss

1st Pacific Bancorp, parent of 1st Pacific Bank of California, cited the write-off of $10 million in goodwill on a bank acquisition and adding $9 million to reserves for problem loans as reasons for a net loss of $14.9 million last year, compared to a net

MediaFLO to Hit Barcelona; U.S. Delay Disappoints Qualcomm

A day after expressing disappointment with a U.S. House of Representatives vote to delay the digital TV transition until June 12, Qualcomm announced a deal Feb. 5 to showcase its mobile TV technology , which is dependent on digital only broadcasts , at a

Law Firm 'Not Immune' to Slowdown, Cuts Jobs

McDermott Will & Emery, a Chicago-based law firm with about 10 attorneys in San Diego, became the latest in a string of firms to issue job cutbacks in a slumping economy.

Wednesday, February 4

Economic Forecast Mixed

San Diego's economy shrunk last year by 0.4 percent, which isn't much, but it was the first time in 15 years that's happened, according to a Feb. 4 report from the National University System Institute for Policy Research.

Borrego Solar Raises $14 Million to Fuel Growth

One of the fastest growing energy companies, Borrego Solar Systems of El Cajon said Feb. 4 that it has secured $14 million in venture funding to expand into the mid-Atlantic region and support its next phase of growth.

Excavation Pulls Up Mammoth Skull

Construction crews unearthed the tusk and skull of a mammoth thought to be about 500,000 years old at the future site of the new Thomas Jefferson School of Law, the law school said Feb. 4.

Tuesday, February 3

Shopping Center Trades Hands for $6.2M

Sweetwater Village Shopping Center in Spring Valley sold for $6.2 million. The 43,400-square-foot shopping center on the 3500 block of Sweetwater Springs Blvd.

Sequenom Stock Falls on Revised Test Data

Shares of San Diego-based Sequenom took a hit Feb. 3 after the company revised data on its Down syndrome test showing that its results were less effective than previously thought in identifying the condition in pregnant women.

KPBS Has New General Manager

Public Broadcasting station KPBS has tabbed one of its longtime employees, Tom Karlo, to be its new general manager.

Moores to Sell Padres to Moorad

The San Diego Padres said Feb. 3 that they have entered into an agreement to sell the club to a group led by Jeff Moorad, who resigned last month as CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

THQ to Close San Diego Office

The international game developer THQ plans to close its San Diego wireless division and lay off 31 employees as part of a companywide restructuring that will result in a total of 100 layoffs, according to published reports.

Nonstop Flights to Calgary on the Horizon

Air Canada will introduce nonstop daily, round-trip service between San Diego and Calgary, Alberta, Canada starting May 15, the carrier announced Feb. 3.

Eastbourne Puts Pressure on Amylin

Another investor group intends to shake up the board of directors at Amylin, the San Diego-based maker of diabetes drug Byetta.

Monday, February 2

Residents Object to Grantville Redevelopment Plan

A couple of months ago at the Grantville Stakeholders Committee we got a preview of things to come.

Some Credit Unions Hurt By Losses

When it comes to lending, credit unions run a tight ship. For example, they shunned subprime mortgage lending, which caused banks to rack up record losses.

Hollis-Eden to Cut One-Third of Work Force

Citing poor economic conditions, San Diego-based Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals said Feb. 2 it will eliminate 20 employees, or about 33 percent of its work force.

Silvergate Bank Shifts Into Growth Mode

After shrinking in the face of what it presciently viewed as an overheated housing market, Silvergate Bank is shifting gears, seeking to make loans and grow in size.

General Contractors Merge to Increase Versatility

Two San Diego-based general contractors, DBC Construction and TSA Contracting, have merged and are operating as TSA Contracting. The businesses made the announcement Jan. 26, but did not disclose financial terms of the deal.

San Diego People

Hayes & Associates has named Kara Hayes Smith a partner. She earned her certified financial planner distinction in 2008 and completed her certification at Boston University. She has five years of experience in financial planning and is a graduate of UC Sa

Progress Report

A $3.5 million construction project has begun on a new kindergarten facility and lower school science complex at La Jolla Country Day School in La Jolla.

Bio-Matrix Signs Pact to Bank Stem Cells in New Facility

San Diego-based Bio-Matrix Scientific Group, a publicly held maker of disposable instruments for plastic surgeons, is branching into the stem cell storage business.

Sharp Preparing For Closure of Point Loma Nursing Facility

In the next few weeks, Sharp HealthCare will transfer or discharge the last remaining patients at Point Loma's Sharp Cabrillo Skilled Nursing Center as part of plans to shut down the facility by the time its lease expires April 3.

C.P. Snow's Two Cultures Are Emerging

Fifty years ago, physicist-turned-novelist C.P. Snow talked about the "two cultures" of physicists and writers, and the "hostility and dislike" that divided the world's "natural scientists," its chemists, engineers, physicists and biologists, from its "li

Trade Center Now Has World at Its Doorstep

World Trade Center San Diego relocated from its former downtown office at 1250 Sixth Ave. to a 7,500-square-foot office at Lindbergh Field, which the nonprofit says is appropriate.

Too Many Rooms At the Inn?

Too many hotel rooms. Too few occupants. According to a forecast by PKF Hospitality Research, the slumping economy and an oversupply of hotel rooms could result in a 10 percent decline in revenue from hotel guest rooms nationwide this year.

We Are the Center of the Universe

Out and about, or here, there and everywhere ... The last time we checked in, radio talk show impresario Mark Larson was trying to settle his contractual dispute with San Diego 1700 AM.

Torrey Pines Institute Opens Florida Outpost

The Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies became the latest local nonprofit biomedical research organization to establish a presence in Florida with the Feb. 2 opening of a $40 million facility in Port St. Lucie.

Nonprofit Profile

Mission of organization: Supporting the lives of children and families through lasting relationships and ensuring that children in the foster care system are able to live with loving, stable families with as little disruption or upheaval as possible.

Regional Roundup

Toyota Escondido is looking to steer more business its way by adding a Sports Network program.

Macy's to Cut Staff

Macy's department store chain said Feb. 2 that it would cut about 4 percent of its total employee count, or 7,000 jobs, as part of an effort to save $250 million this year and $400 million annually starting in 2010.

Changing Market Draws Agents Back to Residential Real Estate

With home prices down and distressed sales up, industry professionals have been forced to adapt to a changing market.

Torrey Pines Bank Takes Loss, Keeps Eye on Expansion

Torrey Pines Bank, based in Carmel Valley and with $860 million in assets, reported a net loss of $12.4 million for 2008, compared to a net profit of $3.7 million for 2007.

Packaged Deals

The San Diego Association of Governments, the region's planning agency, is ready to award millions of dollars in preapproved projects once President Obama signs the $819 billion stimulus package everyone's waiting for.

Encinitas Chamber CEO Resigns

Encinitas Chamber of Commerce CEO Gary Tucker abruptly resigned, effective Feb. 6, after two years as the organization's top staff member.

Requests for Commercial Property Reassessments Expected to Jump

Owners who purchased their properties during the real estate bubble may be able to receive relief on their property taxes.

FDIC Sends Cease and Desist Order to Discovery Bank

San Marcos-based Discovery Bank held 10.6 percent of its assets in capital as of Dec. 31, meeting the 10 percent minimum to be called well-capitalized. But it still couldn't avoid getting hit with a cease and desist order from the Federal Deposit Insuranc

Basic Recipe Used for Pizzeria's Growth

Restaurateur Jon Mangini has found a recipe for success in a recession.

Hotel Indigo Operator Planning a Summer Opening

As recently as two years ago, another boutique hotel under construction in downtown's Gaslamp Quarter would have been, well, just another boutique hotel under construction.

Chargers Not Bolting to L.A. , At Least Not This Year

The San Diego Chargers is telling fans they should be concerned about the team's future in San Diego, but not because of a recent agreement with a Los Angeles marketing firm.

Ex-Navy Pilot Crafts Career in Brewery Business

Despite the downturn, Airdale Brewing in Miramar has taken flight with soaring sales.

Democratic Policies Trigger Gun Sales

A changing of the presidential guard in the U.S. Capital has triggered a spike in gun sales in anticipation of a possible ban on buying firearms.

Anthology Hosts Woodstock Opener and Other Soulful Acts

For those who weren't old enough or couldn't afford the fare and didn't want to hitchhike, the Woodstock Festival , the opening act, anyway , came to San Diego recently.

Sales and Leases

The 133,000-square-foot manufacturing and industrial space at 12400 Stowe Drive in Poway was sold for $15 million. DEI purchased the building and 2.59 acres of land from Hunter Douglas. Additionally, the space was leased for $6.6 million for five years to

Souplantation Parent 'In Great Place to Be' Now

As consumers adjust spending to their recession-era budgets, dinner out is taking a different tone. Before it was fancy drinks and steak. Now it's a trip through the salad bar at Souplantation.

Booming Businesses

Empty storefronts tell a grim tale of retail demise, with "for lease" signs cropping up on buildings countywide.

SDSU Scholarship Program Created for Future Teachers

Costco Wholesale CEO Jim Sinegal has created a new endowed scholarship at San Diego State University. The Janet Sinegal Scholarship was created to honor Sinegal's wife and is in addition to the Jim and Janet Sinegal Scholarship established in 2003.

Executive Profile

Dick Palmer is CEO of General Mortgage, a local mortgage company.

Fitness Clubs Shaping Up For Healthy Profitability

Investments, stocks, mutual funds and housing prices may be down, but bench presses, crunches and curls are still up.