Stories for August 2008

Friday, August 29

Airline Zooms Out of Lindbergh

Zoom Airlines Ltd., which offered twice-weekly service from San Diego to London, has suspended operations, it said Aug. 28.

Moody's Raises City's Credit Rating

Moody's Investors Service raised its rating on the city of San Diego's general obligation bonds to A2 from A3.

Mexican President Helps Sempra Dedicate Terminal

Mexican President Felipe Calder & #243;n was on hand Aug. 28 in Bajamar, Mexico, to help Sempra Energy dedicate its Energ & #237;a Costa Azul liquefied natural gas import terminal.

Thursday, August 28

USD Economic Index Dips Again

The University of San Diego Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County fell 1.5 percent in July.

Wednesday, August 27

Poverty Rate Unchanged, Census Bureau Reports

The percent of San Diego County residents living at the poverty level in 2007 stayed about the same, 11.1 percent, as it was in the prior year, when adjusted for inflation, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau Aug. 26.

North County Hospital Bond Fails

The Tri-City Healthcare District failed to get a two-thirds majority vote to issue $589 million in bonds for hospital reconstruction during a special election Aug. 26.

Golf and Tennis Gathering Celebrates Black Enterprise

La Costa Resort and Spa will be the site of the 2008 Black Enterprise/Pepsi Golf & Tennis Challenge, which is expected to draw more than 1,000 of the nation's most notable black professionals, business executives and entrepreneurs.

Tuesday, August 26

New Jmar Unit Focuses on Radiological, Nuclear Detection

Jmar Technologies Inc. has formed a new subsidiary, Spectral Labs Inc., to design and develop equipment that detects and identifies radiological and nuclear threats with minimum intrusion, it said Aug. 22.

Barnhart to Offer Construction Consulting Services

Doug Barnhart, who sold his San Diego construction company to Atlanta-based Heery International Inc. in June, is hanging out his consulting shingle, aiming to help other construction firms.

Amylin Reports More Deaths Associated With Diabetes Drug

In a conference call Aug. 26, executives with Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. acknowledged four more deaths reported to the FDA , but not previously made public , associated with the diabetes drug Byetta.

Monday, August 25

Sales and Leases

Sales and Leases: Westcore Properties has sold Mira Oberlin Plaza, a 77,309-square-foot office building on 1.8 acres at 5880 Oberlin Drive in Sorrento Mesa.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Landlords can no longer rent certain types of properties to multiple tenants under San Marcos' "mini-dorm" ordinance that took effect Aug. 7.

Charlotte Russe Board Circles Wagons Amid CEO Retirement

It's been an exciting August at Charlotte Russe Holding Co., the parent of San Diego-based retailer Charlotte Russe, which specializes in apparel for young women.

Banks Striving to Counter Slew of Problem Loans

Two more local banks are feeling the pain from the rising numbers of problem loans.

Foreclosure Deals Sound Too Good to Be True? They Probably Are

As the housing crisis drags on, the thousands of San Diego homeowners facing foreclosure are easy marks for unscrupulous "foreclosure consultants" offering to get their mortgages lowered by lenders.

Veterans Affairs Health Clinic to Be Built Near Camp Pendleton

Progress Report: Design is under way for the new 80,000-square-foot, two-story outpatient clinic for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at Seagate Corporate Center located north of Oceanside Boulevard in Oceanside.

Poseidon Lands Approval for Desalination Project

Poseidon Resources Corp., a Connecticut-based company that has a regional office in San Diego, received approval Aug. 22 from the State Lands Commission for its proposed $300 million desalination plant in Carlsbad.

Health of In-Home Care Industry Holds Strong

San Diego has sprouted hundreds of businesses dedicated to providing home-based care and companionship.

Week In Review

Top Business News: Aug. 15 - 21, 2008

FDA Warning About Amylin's Diabetes Drug Sends Stock Down

Worries about a potential link between the diabetes drug Byetta and six reported cases of a dangerous pancreas inflammation, which resulted in two deaths, sent shares of Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. down 13 percent Aug. 18.

Defense Activity Helps Safeguard Region's 'Vitality'

Pentagon spending in San Diego County has increased an estimated 22 percent in the past three years to reach $15.5 billion, according to results of a study by a local defense contracting group released Aug. 19.

State Officials Taking Aim at Fair Ballot Practices

Distrust of electronic voting machines around the country, and a decision last summer by California Secretary of State Debra Brown to decertify machines in 39 counties, including San Diego, has left the county elections supervisor with $25 million of moth

Sharp Move: Rotary Club Set to Honor Health Care Board Member

Yvonne Larsen will be recognized as Mrs. San Diego at the San Diego Rotary Club luncheon set for Sept. 4 at the Sheraton Harbor Island East Tower.

Hines Withdraws From Redevelopment Competition

The highly competitive bid process to redevelop the San Diego Civic Center for the city became a bit less heated this month.

Job Rate, Hiring Remain Bleak Across Many Sectors

The fact that San Diego's unemployment rate rose to 6.4 percent in July, its highest mark since October 1995, didn't shock many economic observers, who say the signals for a turnaround aren't evident.

Convention Group Rolls Out Red Carpet for Executives Association

Steve Johnson, vice president of public affairs for the San Diego Convention Center Corp., said that when the American Society of Association Executives & The Center for Association Leadership last came to town in 1999, San Diego went all out to entertain

Landlords Offer Concessions Galore to Bring Tenants Into Office Space

With the shift to a buyer's market in real estate, now is a good time to be a tenant searching for office space.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Paula Richardson

Executive Profile - Reesey Shaw

Reesey Shaw is director of the Lux Art Institute, an organization that promotes visual art through experiencing the artistic process firsthand.

Area's Top 15 Commercial Property Sales in '08 Total Whopping $450M

While the number of office building sales has slowed, numerous multimillion-dollar transactions have already closed in San Diego County this year.

New Leaf Gets Slick About Producing 'Eco-Friendly' & #8201;Biodiesel

A local company is putting some elbow grease into saving the environment.

Big-League Firms Occupy Largest Commercial Spaces Leased This Year

This year's top 15 commercial property leases in San Diego County cover a combined 721,600 square feet of office space.

Real Estate Profile - Jim Abbott

Real Estate Profile: Jim Abbott is a licensed California real estate broker who has been selling residential property in San Diego since 1985. This year, he opened ARG Abbott Realty Group, a firm with 15 agents and employees, in downtown San Diego.

Action Sports Retail Industry Swimming Along

Shopaholic teenagers may be responsible for keeping at least one retail sector afloat this summer.

Fenway Group to Sport Local Office in October

A Boston-based sports marketing firm with ties to the Red Sox plans to set up its first satellite office in San Diego.

Proposed Desalination Plant in Carlsbad Gets Green Light

After nearly a decade of blood, sweat and tears, the city of Carlsbad and its partner, Poseidon Resources Corp., could finally raise their water glasses and cheer Aug. 6 when the California Coastal Commission finally approved all of its stipulations to al

Liberty Station Raises the Bar for Fitness Retailers

Former college athlete Allison McCurdy discovered the Bar Method, a fitness center with its own signature routine she would later call an "addiction," while visiting a friend in San Francisco.

Medtronic Sues NuVasive Over Patent Dispute

NuVasive Inc., which makes spinal devices for minimally invasive surgeries, said Aug. 19 that medical device giant Medtronic Inc. filed a patent lawsuit against several of its products.

Letters

'Destructive' & #8201;Commentary Should State the Billing, Wage Facts More Clearly, Proposed Paid Sick Leave Bill Bad for Small Business

Cohn Group Looks to Create More Dining Destinations

Cohn Restaurant Group, which has a large footprint in the bustling Gaslamp Quarter, is now heading to other parts of the county to build on its success.

Speaking About Identity Theft: You Could Be Next

What's in a name? Your checkbook, credit card and Social Security card all hold critical information that, when placed in the wrong hands, gives thieves the tools they need to assume your identity.

Friday, August 22

Red Door Buys Colorado Counterpart

Red Door Interactive Inc., a San Diego company offering Web site design and related services, said Aug. 21 that it is acquiring a similar company, Denver-based Breckenridge Communications.

Shopping Center Refinanced

Capstone Finance's San Diego office said it originated the $30.5 million refinancing for the Carmel Mountain Ranch Town Center recently to borrower Sudberry Properties.

CCDC to Put Projects Under Scrutiny

Centre City Development Corp. said Aug. 22 that it will review all downtown projects that involve a pair of development companies with business ties to former CCDC President Nancy Graham.

Thursday, August 21

Patriot Scientific Mulls More Acquisitions

Patriot Scientific Corp., a Carlsbad firm that co-owns a portfolio of microprocessing patents, said Aug. 20 that it retained Imperial Capital LLC, a Los Angeles investment bank, to help the company identify and negotiate possible future acquisitions.

Novatel Shares Slip 25 Percent

Shares of Novatel Wireless Inc., a San Diego maker of wireless modems, plunged 25 percent Aug. 20 to $6.29 after the company released preliminary results for its second quarter that were less than the numbers Wall Street analysts expected.

SAIC Found Liable for $5.9M; Company May Appeal

Science Applications International Corp., one of San Diego's largest public companies and employing about 5,000 workers locally, is liable for a payment of $5.91 million to the federal government following a jury trial in which the research company was fo

Lilly Completes Acquisition of San Diego Biotech

Shareholders of San Diego-based SGX Pharmaceuticals Inc. voted in favor of a $64 million acquisition Aug. 20 that gives pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. control of SGX.

Wednesday, August 20

Study: Pair of Marine Terminals Create $1.8B in Economic Impact

San Diego's two marine terminals generate an annual economic impact of $1.8 billion to the regional economy, and help create some 19,000 jobs, according to a study released Aug. 20 by the San Diego Institute for Policy Research.

Tuesday, August 19

Median Home Price Falls 25 Percent; Some Neighborhoods Keep Value

New and existing home sales in San Diego County jumped 10.5 percent on the year in July as bargain hunters swept up foreclosure properties in affordable neighborhoods, DataQuick real estate information service reported Aug. 18.

Port Commissioners Put Their Own Stamp on Terminal Initiative

The Port of San Diego amended the language on a Nov. 4 ballot initiative intended to permit the construction of hotels, retail shops and a possible stadium over its Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal in an Aug. 19 vote by its board of port commissioners.

Mad Catz Stock Rises on Revenue News

Shares of Mad Catz Interactive Inc., a San Diego-based maker of accessories for video game manufacturers including Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, soared 72 percent in after-hours trading Aug. 19 to $1.03 after the company released its financial results for

Monday, August 18

Buick Invitational, Gala Drive Home Big Checks

The Century Club of San Diego raised $2.7 million to benefit San Diego organizations, schools, nonprofits and military programs.

RJC Architects Wins Contract For $24M CSUSM Parking Structure

Progress Report: A local design firm recently won a design/build competition for a $24 million parking structure at Cal State San Marcos.

Gotta Have Spunk

Like many successful ventures, WD-40 Co. made its way to marketplace prominence with a niche product, in this case a multipurpose lubricant and degreaser.

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

Web Editor Brad Graves provides highlights from the Aug. 18, 2008 issue of the San Diego Business Journal.

Tomato Growers Seeking to Replant Seeds of Perception Following Salmonella Scare

Much of the attention surrounding tomatoes thought to have been contaminated by salmonella bacteria has passed, but San Diego growers said they still fight misperceptions about locally grown produce that could cost them significant profits in the long run

Foreclosures Pull Down Median Home Prices in July

Foreclosures continue to sap the housing market as median prices slid in July after more homeowners defaulted on their mortgages.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Connecticut-based Reed Exhibitions and the California Restaurant Association say that the 2009 Western Foodservice & Hospitality Expo will be held at the waterfront Convention Cente

America's 'Foreclosure Capital of the World?'

For years, we've been called America's Finest City. When the pension crisis hit, we were dubbed "Enron by the Sea." Now NBC "Today Show's" Barbara Corcoran has tabbed us, "Foreclosure Capital of the World." Why?

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Ali M.M. Mojdehi

SAIC Computer Deal Could Reach $410M

SAIC said Aug. 18 that it received an information technology deal that could be worth as much as $410 million.

Running a Business in Tough Economic Times

For small-business owners, everything is amplified.

CPA Develops Playful Side By & #8201;'Keeping the Numbers' & #8201; of His Toy Shop

Henry Ho, 45, a certified public accountant and partner in Rogers & Ho of La Mesa, never thought he'd be in the toy business.

Credit Worthiness Carries More Weight in SBA Lending Decisions

In this era of tight credit, the San Diego offices of the Small Business Administration have begun to guarantee fewer, but bigger loans.

Saving California's Coast Requires More Than Bold Statements

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently joined the governors of Oregon and Washington to announce ambitious goals to safeguard critical marine resources along the West Coast.

Maximum Efficiency

When school administrator Caroline Blackwell was trying to organize a national workshop, she turned to Pelotonics LLC to get teachers nationwide on the same page, or portal, as it were.

The Real Estate Market Not Nearly as Dire as Many Assert

To be successful in real estate, it is essential to anticipate the market. If you correctly predict, and act accordingly, you will make money.

Official Says Jobs in Building Down 5,000-7,000 Countywide

Construction employment fell 10 percent in California compared to 5.9 percent nationwide from June 2007 to June 2008, however, many suspect employment fell even sharper in San Diego.

Pacific Trust Parent Declares Dividend Despite Net Loss for Quarter

FirstPac Trust Bancorp, the Chula Vista parent to Pacific Trust Bank with nine branches, sustained a net loss for the second quarter and reported a surge of problem loans, but that didn't stop the board from approving another quarterly stock dividend.

Week In Review

Top Business News: Aug. 8 - 14, 2008

Former Blink-182 Bassist Alleges Scam Over McDonald's Pitch

A San Diego company that allegedly told investors it was developing self-service cashier terminals for McDonald's restaurants is being sued by the former front man of pop punk band Blink-182, who, along with his wife, invested $600,000 in the company.

Ayres Buys Real Estate-Backed Portfolio at Fire-Sale Price

A San Diego firm has purchased a loan portfolio backed by distressed real estate properties in one of the first major deals among private investment funds, also known as vulture funds, trolling for bargains.

Executive Profile - William Gurtin

William Gurtin is chief executive officer of Gurtin Fixed Income, a Securities and Exchange Commission-registered investment adviser in Solana Beach with more than $5 billion in assets under management.

Grad Student Develops Software To Keep Track of Stolen Laptops

A graduate student at UC San Diego helped develop free software that tracks stolen or lost laptop computers

Sales and Leases

Sales and Leases: A two-story, multi-tenant office building at 7596 Eads Ave. in La Jolla was sold for $3.9 million.

Mission Valley Mall Takes First Steps Toward Expansion

Australian retail center owner Westfield took the first step to expand its Mission Valley shopping center on Aug. 5.

Fresh & Easy Opens in Point Loma

Picketers carrying signs that read, "I won't shop at Tesco," did not seem to faze locals Aug. 13 as they stood in line by the dozens, waiting to flood the aisles of San Diego's newest Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market on opening day.

Housing Crisis Touches Agency

The housing and credit crunch continues to take its toll on related businesses that service the real estate sector.

As Customer Base Grows, IMS Gets Larger Cut of Metal Supply Biz

There isn't a customer or project too small for Industrial Metal Supply Co., a supplier of just about every type of metal.

Credit Union Industry Issues Varying Economic Outlook

Home prices probably haven't hit the bottom yet and could drop further before stabilizing, said an economist for the state's credit union industry.

FDA Issues Alert Over Amylin's Byetta

The Food and Drug Administration issued an alert Aug. 18 warning consumers of increased cases of a dangerous pancreas inflammation linked to patients taking diabetes drug Byetta.

Scripps Oceanography Partnering to Explore for Oil

With high oil prices prompting an increase in domestic oil exploration, Scripps is partnering with a local firm to pursue technology that could find petroleum below the ocean floor.

Office Condos a Bright Spot in the Commercial Market

With leasing activity slowing, office condominiums continue to do well with prices up 5 percent this year over last, according to commercial broker Cushman & Wakefield.

Luce Approves Growth Plan

Law firm Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps said that it approved a new strategic plan Aug. 5 that will direct the firm's growth and focus through 2020.

Bayside at the Embarcadero

The 36-story Bayside features 232 residences, including 220 tower suites and 12 town homes.

State Assesses Maximum Penalty on Four Area Hospitals

State health regulators issued maximum penalties Aug. 18 to four local hospitals for actions that caused, or were likely to cause, serious injury or death to patients.

Friday, August 15

Construction Activity to Decline, Building Group Predicts

The country's recessionlike conditions will have lingering negative effects on the economy and the construction industry, according to the Portland Cement Association.

Developer Bows Out of Civic Center Competition

One of two finalists vying to redevelop San Diego's civic center complex withdrew its bid Aug. 15, two days after a city analysis showed its proposal was the more expensive one on the table.

County Jobless Rate Highest Since '95

San Diego County's job picture worsened in July as the unemployment rate hit 6.4 percent, up from June's revised 6 percent unemployment and the highest it has been since October 1995.

Thursday, August 14

Contract in Hand, Northrop Set for Hiring Spree

Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman Corp. is ramping up to hire more than 200 engineers, administrators and other office workers to help create the Navy's robot spy plane, after being assured Aug. 11 that it had a $1 billion contract for the project.

Australian Company Pays $14M for Tech Firm

Electronic imaging company Spectrum San Diego Inc. has been acquired for $14 million by publicly traded QRSciences of Australia, which is moving operations to San Diego.

Nanogen Merges Into French Diagnostics Firm

Molecular diagnostics maker Nanogen Inc. said Aug. 14 it would merge its operations into French diagnostics firm the Elitech Group in a deal valued at roughly $100 million.

Conexant Names Mercer Chairman, Decker Remains Director

D. Scott Mercer, chief executive of Newport Beach chipmaker Conexant Systems Inc. since April, has taken on the added role of chairman, replacing longtime leader Dwight Decker.

Waterfront Ballot Measure Faces Court Challenge

A move to challenge a November referendum concerning the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal will be heard in Superior Court on Sept. 4.

HSBC Auto Finance to Cut 400 Jobs

HSBC Auto Finance, which operates from two buildings in Kearny Mesa and is a unit of Mettawa, Ill.-based HSBC Financial, said it is laying off about 400 people from its local offices within 90 days after it decided to exit the indirect auto origination bu

Wednesday, August 13

Region's Stores Spared in Round of Mervyns Closures

Following a July filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the mid-tier department store chain Mervyns announced 26 store closings Aug. 13. No San Diego stores were listed in the closures.

Xenonics Reports Net Loss as New Product Rolls Out

After two quarters of net income, Xenonics Holdings Inc., reported a third-quarter net loss Aug. 13.

Three Teams to Evaluate Best Way to Illuminate Bridge

A selection committee from the Port of San Diego has narrowed its search for a company to design the lighting of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, the port said Aug. 11.

Sandiego.com Recruits Chairman From Tourism Industry

Sandiego.com Inc., which operates the Web site portal by the same name, has recruited local tourism executive Robert A. Rauch to be its board chairman, the company said Aug. 13.

Stem Cell Agency Divides $14.9M Among Six Young Researchers

Six young San Diego stem cell researchers received almost $15 million in the latest round of grants handed down by the state's $3 billion stem cell agency.

San Diego Millionaires: 42,742 and Counting

It ain't what it once was, but getting to a million dollars in net worth is still an accomplishment that interests entities like Merrill Lynch.

Tuesday, August 12

Princess Mariana Makes Grand Entrance

One of the largest yachts in the world is docked at San Diego's Embarcadero near the Star of India awaiting a major retrofit later this month.

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

Web Editor Brad Graves provides highlights from the Aug. 11, 2008 issue of the San Diego Business Journal.

CVS Buys Longs Drugs for $2.9B

Longs Drug Stores Corp., a Walnut Creek-based company, has been acquired by national pharmacy chain CVS Caremark Corp. for $2.9 billion, including the assumption of net debt.

Buyers Look South for Multifamily Units

A 30-unit block of condos within the Villa Bonita Condominium complex has been sold to Renovation & Restoration LLC, which paid more than $4.52 million, CB Richard Ellis said Aug. 11.

Northrop Gets Go-Ahead on $1.16B Aircraft Contract

A federal agency has turned aside Lockheed Martin Corp.'s protest of a $1.16 billion aircraft contract award to Los Angeles-based Northrop Grumman Corp.

Monday, August 11

'Economic Turmoil' Takes Mental Health Toll on CEOs

Between the e-mail boxes stuffed with messages, the stacks of unread papers and the phone calls to be made lies a lesser-known item on the executive to-do list: improve mental health.

Destructiveness of Unions Must Be Stopped

Not a day goes by where we don't read about the latest disaster to befall some segment of our city and state that is due, in large or small part, to unions.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Brad Mason

Three Local Architects Partner to Launch New Firm

Three former Roesling Nakamura Terada Architect employees recently started a new firm.

Executive Profile - Rob Bilbro

Rob Bilbro is president of Bilbro Construction Co., one of San Diego's midsized general contractors.

Pop Front Man Sues Over Investment

A San Diego company that told investors it was developing self-service cashier terminals for McDonald's restaurants is being sued by the former front man of pop punk band Blink-182, who, along with his wife, invested $600,000 in the company.

Baja Condo Projects Mired In Economic Quicksand

The residential real estate market in Baja California, Mexico is mirroring the slowdown in both units sold and lower median prices in Southern California.

$589M Tri-City Bond Necessary to Build Hospital for the Future

Tri-City Healthcare District may be many things to its constituents, but one thing is for sure , it is determined.

UCSD Pharmacy School Coping With Fiscal Crisis

Just six years old and barely through its third class of graduates, UC San Diego's pharmacy school is already struggling with financial problems that could weigh heavily on its accreditation status.

Real Estate Profile

Real Estate Profile: Matt Battiata is CEO of the Battiata Real Estate Group in Carlsbad.

Pace at Trump Ocean Resort Slows As Investors Weather Downturn

Amid rumors of failure to secure financing and reports of having no construction permit from the city of Tijuana, Trump Ocean Resort in Baja California is continuing development of its $200 million-plus condo hotel resort, albeit at a slow pace.

Reserve a Table at the Neighborhood House Association's 'Virtual Gala'

A sign of the times, I suppose. The San Diego Food Bank's Chris Carter released stats Aug. 4 showing an eye-popping increase in demand for help from the county's residents.

Muttropolis Pampering Pets Despite Tight Economic Leash

A Solana Beach-based specialty pet retailer proves that if all other expenditures are cut, people are still spoiling pets in a struggling economy.

Local Airfares Hold Their Own While Going Up Elsewhere

Airfares are on the rise at major airports nationwide, but if it's any comfort, they've remained flat in San Diego.

Local Athlete Going for the Gold In Paralympics Bicycling Event

Beijing's smog is no match for the will of paralympian Oscar 'Oz' Sanchez, a San Diegan representing the United States in cycling in the Paralympics, which runs Sept. 6-17 in Beijing, following the current Summer Games.

Declining Home Prices Lowering Costs for Affordable Housing Units

Falling housing prices are narrowing the price gap between market rate homes and affordable housing units set aside for low-income buyers. As a result, some developers report slower sales of affordable units in their projects.

T.B. Penick Wraps Up Project at Naval Air Station

Progress Report: Johnson & Jennings General Contracting has been awarded a contract for the 27,000-square-foot build-out of Woodbury University School of Architecture at 2212 Main St. in San Diego.

The Old Globe Breaks Ground on Conrad Prebys Theatre Center

The Old Globe broke ground on Aug. 4 on the new Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, which encompasses the Old Globe Theatre, a new second stage complex and education center.

IDW Publishing Brings Comic Approach to Presidential Campaign

San Diego comic book publisher IDW Publishing is making comic biographies of the two leading presidential candidates, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, set to debut in comic book stores and on cell phones Oct. 8.

New CEO to Help Lead Sandiego.Com Portal's Growth Strategy

The founder of the Web site sandiego & #173;.com has stepped aside as chief executive officer, a position he held since 1995, and turned it over to a banking veteran who will help reorganize the 15-year-old company, company officials said.

Competing Retailers Keep Watchful Eye on Mervyns Bankruptcy

Retail chain Mervyns LLC's July bankruptcy filing may point to rough waters ahead for mid-tier department stores.

Keeping Employees Focused an Olympic-Sized Headache for Firms

Steve Yin, San Diego-based St. Bernard Software Inc.'s vice president of global sales and marketing, anticipates that many employees will be watching the Summer Games, set to start Aug. 8, during work hours.

Nonprofit Profile - Survivors of Suicide Loss

A chat with Bonnie Bear, executive director of Survivors of Suicide Loss.

Metal Thieves Growing Bolder at Building Sites

The high price of copper has turned construction sites, vacant homes and even businesses into targets for thieves looking to cart away the highly valued metal that fetches hard cash on the black market.

Week In Review

Top Business News: Aug. 1 - 7, 2008

Controversial Sunroad Tower Signs First Tenant

The Sunroad Centrum office tower in Kearny Mesa , which had its grand opening delayed by numerous stop work orders in 2006 and 2007 due to federal aviation officials' concerns about its height , has signed its first tenant.

Glut of Office Vacancies Persists Along I-15 Corridor

The San Diego County office market is shifting in reaction to the housing and mortgage industry crisis, economic strife and plentiful supply, local commercial brokers say. The Interstate-15 corridor market is a prime example of growing inventory versus sl

Hotel Lights Out, The Party's Over

If there was any doubt that the recent buying boom, which saw a record number of hotels sold, is over, consider that the historic La Valencia Hotel in tony La Jolla failed to find a buyer after going on the block early this year.

Sales and Leases

Sales and Leases: A 68,000-square-foot shopping center in the 800 block of Euclid Avenue at East Plaza Boulevard in National City was sold recently for $15 million.

Venture Funding Tightening Up, Especially for Startup Firms

Most won't admit it, but venture capitalists are getting more cautious in the types of investments they make.

Two Former SeraCare Life Sciences Execs Settle Regulator Lawsuit

Two former top executives with Sera & #173;Care Life Sciences Inc., previously based in Oceanside, settled a lawsuit July 31 filed against each of them by the Securities and Exchange Commission for their roles in an accounting fraud at the company in 2005.

Port to Pursue Legal Challenge Against Referendum

The agency that manages San Diego's bay front is stepping up opposition to a proposal that would permit the development of hotels, restaurants and possible professional football stadium at its Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.

San Diego County Foreclosures Top 7,000 in July

There were 7,132 bank-owned properties at the end of July and more than 2,000 listed for sale on the San Diego Multiple Listing Service, Houserebate.com of San Diego reported on Aug. 11.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: The construction of a $55 million civic center scheduled to begin Aug. 11 will result in the elimination of the city's only skate park.

New Partners Set to Buy Lease for Proposed Waterfront Hotel

Two local businessmen who planned to develop the Spinnaker Hotel, a posh property with sail-style architecture that would complement the waterfront San Diego Convention Center, are selling their lease on the acreage, according to the San Diego Unified Por

A Guide to Watching the Beijing Olympics

In reality, the Summer Olympics that opened on Aug. 8 create three different categories of events. It's important to understand this.

Friday, August 8

Overland Storage Reports Losses for Quarter, Year

Overland Storage Inc., a San Diego provider of data backup systems, reported Aug. 7 a net loss for its fiscal fourth quarter of $8.6 million, compared with a net loss of $6 million for the like quarter in 2007.

Thursday, August 7

Controversial Sunroad Tower Signs First Tenant

The Sunroad Centrum office tower in Kearny Mesa , which had its grand opening delayed by numerous stop work orders in 2006 and 2007 due to federal aviation officials' concerns about its height , has signed its first tenant.

Sempra Reports Earnings for Latest Quarter

Sempra Energy, parent of San Diego Gas & Electric, reported Aug. 7 second quarter net income of $244 million, or 98 cents per diluted share, compared to net earnings of $277 million or $1.05 per share in the like quarter of 2007.

AMN Enjoys Healthy Growth

AMN Healthcare Services Inc., a San Diego nurse staffing firm, reported Aug. 6 second-quarter net income of $9.4 million, up 4 percent compared with the like quarter of 2007.

Kratos Reports Lower Earnings

Kratos Defense and Security Solutions Inc. reported Aug. 6 that it had second quarter net income of $800,000, compared to net income of $4.2 million for the like quarter of 2007.

Jack in the Box Reports Lower Income

Jack in the Box Inc. said it had third quarter net income of $29.9 million for the period ended July 6, compared to net income of $34.5 million for the same quarter in 2007, in a report released late Aug.5.

ViaSat Earnings Boost Stock

The Carlsbad satellite and wireless communications company, ViaSat Inc., posted a 50 percent increase in profits last quarter which has boosted its stock by more than 12 percent, since posting its quarterly earnings after the close of markets Aug. 4.

Illumina Makes $300M Stock Move

Genetic analysis company Illumina Inc. said Aug. 7 it will offer 3.5 million shares of its stock to the public for $87.50 a share. Illumina estimated the offering would provide the company with approximately $300 million.

Wednesday, August 6

Chinese Manufacturer Licensing Qualcomm Technology

Qualcomm Inc. has licensed its wireless handset technology to a Chinese manufacturer that will manufacture and sell Qualcomm handset chips and modem cards in the growing China market.

Sandiego.Com Portal Founder Changes Role, Names New CEO

The founder of the Web site sandiego.com has stepped aside as chief executive officer, a position he held since 1995, and turned it over to a banking veteran who will help reorganize the 15-year-old company, according to an Aug. 5 press release.

Leap Posts Quarterly Loss

Leap Wireless International Inc., the San Diego parent firm of Cricket, a flat rate cell phone service, reported Aug. 5 a net loss of $26 million in the second quarter, compared with a net profit of $9.6 million for the like quarter in 2007.

DEI Holdings Reports $1M in Net Income

DEI Holdings Inc., the Vista- based parent of Directed Electronics, reported second quarter net income of $1 million compared to a profit of $11,000 for the like quarter of 2007.

Tuesday, August 5

North County Times Sells Vista Office

Lee Enterprises Inc., owner of the North County Times, sold its Vista office late last month.

San Diego National Bank's Profits Decline

San Diego National Bank on Aug. 1 reported second-quarter net income of $4.1 million, down 29 percent from the second quarter of 2007.

Monday, August 4

China's Mandate: Become the Innovation Nation

China now boasts more people with Internet connections than any other nation. It's all part of a comprehensive new plan for economic development set by President Hu Jintao of the ruling Communist Party.

Ad Courses Going Digital While Sticking to Basics

Advertising and marketing programs at local universities have jumped on the digital bandwagon, along with the business community, but not at the expense of teaching fundamentals, professors say.

Casino Work Force Shrinking

Whether 400 layoffs at the Pechanga Resort & Casino are an indicator of things to come at the region's American Indian casinos is an intriguing question.

Visual Artists Can Power Up in Carlsbad

He's got a ticket to a ride Barry Robbins, a partner in Chicago Bros. Pizza, Milton's Deli in Del Mar and Milton's Breads, has collected classic and exotic autos , such as his 612-horsepower Maybach 57S , for years. With so many classic and exotic cars

SDG & E; Likely Won't Meet Deadline as Stirling Project Awaits OK

Stirling Energy Systems, which has applied to build a $1 billion, 750-megawatt solar power plant that could partially power San Diego Gas & Electric Co.'s proposed Sunrise Powerlink transmission line, says it has been "quietly perfecting" its technology.

Xantrex Spins Off San Diego Division

Xantrex Technology Inc. of Canada agreed last week to sell its San Diego-based programmable power division for $120 million in cash to Ametek Inc., based in Pennsylvania.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Francesca Bestetti

Sales and Leases

Sales & Leases: Grove, a 12-unit apartment community located at 1423-1433 Grove Ave. in Imperial Beach, was sold for $1,280,000 to Yaroslav Kushnir.

Nonprofit Profile

Mission of organization: End relationship and sexual violence by being a catalyst for caring communities and social justice.

After 1st Pacific Bank Reports $1.7 Million Loss, Shares Drop

Burned by more bad loans, banks are putting aside more reserves. The move means fewer dollars for the bottom line, and sometimes results in net losses, as it did for San Diego-based 1st Pacific Bancorp in the second quarter.

Matalon Architecture Designs $9 Million Senior Housing Facility

Progress Report: Matalon Architecture & Planning of San Diego designed a $9 million, 60-unit senior housing facility in Clovis, Calif.

Ford Motor Announces Effort to Benefit Nonprofits

Home Start Inc. held an open house recently to unveil the new Enchanted Forest playroom. Las Patronas donated funds to create the playroom, but the agency needed help figuring out how to best utilize the funds in creative and inspiring ways.

Week in Review

Top Business News: July 25 - July 31, 2008

Nightclub Owner Unloading 2 Venues

James Brennan, a 35-year-old, bootstraps entrepreneur who founded EnDev LLC, a company that launched several nightclubs in rapid succession in recent years, is in the process of selling one and has another one on the block.

Airport Authority Delays Awarding Contract for $10M

Plans for a $10 million modular building to accommodate the increasing number of workers at Lindbergh Field were put on hold last month because of the struggling economy and uncertainties surrounding the airline industry.

Advertising Profile

Jeffrey Detrick says he self-financed Epicenter Advertising Inc.'s startup in 2001 with an investment of $25,000. Since then, the company has been on the Business Journal's Fastest-Growing Private Companies' list, and last year alone grew by 25 percent, a

Chargers Find It Easier to Secure Wins Than New Stadium Site

Fan optimism is running high as the San Diego Chargers prepare for the 2008 season, but the excitement has nothing to do with the prospects of building a new stadium.

London Column Is Coming

Gary H. London, a noted real estate economist and expert whose client list includes banks, businesses, developers and public agencies, brings his column to the Business Journal on a semimonthly basis beginning with the Aug. 18 issue.

Greenlight Aims to Curb Power Demands for IT Systems

Researchers at UC San Diego have fetched a $2.6 million from the National Science Foundation along with university sources to fund Project GreenLight, an initiative to improve energy efficiency in supercomputers.

Executive Profile

Pollie Gautsch is owner of G & A; Legal, a boutique law firm that provides counsel for the "mompreneur," a female business owner who is balancing the role of mom and entrepreneur. G & A; Legal focuses on aiding these individuals with startup, branding and prote

Builders Group Opposes Recent Bank Lending Practices

Mick Pattinson, the embattled chief executive of Barratt American Inc., has joined forces with more than 30 fellow contractors from as far away as Medford, Ore., to convince banks to restore lending lines that have been shut down as the housing crisis has

Sales Attorney Joins Downtown Construction Law Firm

Scholefield & Associates, a downtown construction law firm, is introducing the newest member of its practice. A salesman.

Trouble's My Name, and Shorting's My Game

Knowing that something is not working, at least not for the general good, is not the same thing as being able to remove the particular evil in the interest of the general good.

Lilly Sticks to Asking Price for SGX Pharma

Eli Lilly and Co. said Aug. 4 it would pay no more than the $64 million it previously offered for the acquisition of San Diego-based SGX Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Simplifying the Internet

Chumby Industries Inc. intends to reduce the clutter of the Internet. The Carmel Valley-based, venture-backed startup sells a wireless device about the size of a grapefruit called the Chumby, which delivers simple "widget" applications such as the latest

Concert Venues Facing Uncertain Times as Economy Slows Down

In response to a recent story in the San Diego Reader, a freebie news magazine that cited "well-connected" anonymous sources saying that San Diego's House of Blues was facing the chopping block due to low turnouts, a Live Nation executive basically said t

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Board members with the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce approved a proposal to merge the Lemon Grove Chamber of Commerce into the East County organization July 23.

Digital Advertising Budgets to Rise 20 Percent This Year

The recent headline on Adweek.com was certainly compelling: "Will Economic Downturn Sink Digital?" But perhaps the answer was a bit too obvious.

PPH Touting High-Tech Plans For Future Hospital

Before the "hospital of the future" debuts in Escondido, Palomar Pomerado Health is tinkering with tomorrow's technologies.

Retailers, Small Businesses in South Bay Hit With ADA Lawsuits

Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits are cropping up again, this time against small business owners in the South Bay.

Helping Olympic Games Go Green Generates Green for Solatube

Solatube International Inc. of Vista is getting exposure for its low energy "daylighting" product at the Beijing Olympics, which have been dubbed the "Green Olympics."

Manchester Financial Bank Planning to Open Doors in October

Doug Manchester's bank, aptly named after the local hotel developer, is now targeting an October opening date, three months later than originally envisioned.

Bridging the Digital Divide

In response to shifting budgets and rising performance pressure, advertising professionals are devoting more of their resources to digital media, particularly online. The name of the game is still reaching the masses, but doing so by way of a robust elect

Qualcomm Exec Heads for Motorola

The president of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies, which makes chips for cell phones, has left the company to lead Motorola Inc.'s handset division, Qualcomm Inc. said Aug. 4.

Sperry Van Ness Sells Franchise Rights to Southern California Offices

Irvine-based Sperry Van Ness recently sold franchise rights to offices in Southern California, Arizona and Oregon, including two offices in San Diego County to Guardian Management LLC, a real estate investment and management firm based in Portland, Ore.,

Friday, August 1

Aguirre Calls for Moratorium on Foreclosures

City Attorney Michael Aguirre called on Bank of America on July 31 to declare a moratorium on foreclosing on certain mortgages made by Countrywide Financial Corp., which BofA acquired last month.

Digital Advertising Budgets to Rise 20 Percent This Year

The recent headline on Adweek.com was certainly compelling: "Will Economic Downturn Sink Digital?" But perhaps the answer was a bit too obvious. The ensuing chorus among advertising insiders, analysts and bloggers familiar with the surveys anchoring the a

Ad Courses Going Digital While Sticking to Basics

Advertising and marketing programs at local universities have jumped on the digital bandwagon, along with the business community, but not at the expense of teaching fundamentals, professors say.