Stories for September 2008

Tuesday, September 30

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

Web Editor Brad Graves provides highlights from the Sept. 29, 2008 issue of the San Diego Business Journal. Or listen to archived podcasts from as far back as January 2007.

AT & T; Turbocharges U-verse With Multi-tasking Video Player

AT & T; rolled out a new product in its U-verse TV line for the San Diego market on Sept. 30 that allows viewers to play back recorded shows from a single digital video recorder on up to seven connected TVs in the home.

Fate of Grantville Redevelopment Money Spurs New Legislation

State Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, said Sept. 30 she will introduce legislation to stop the type of redevelopment funding transfers that recently occurred in the Grantville neighborhood of San Diego.

Maric College Campuses Take the Kaplan Name

Eleven Maric College campuses in California celebrated their name change Sept. 26. The new name, Kaplan College, reflects the campus' association with the Kaplan Higher Education group of academic institutions.

Leap and MetroPCS Gain New Markets in Spectrum Exchange

A day after settling an acrimonious lawsuit, Leap Wireless International and MetroPCS Communications entered into a 10-year agreement to exchange wireless spectrum and share national roaming services to give their customers access to each company's market

Consumer Confidence, Jobless Claims Drag USD Index Lower

San Diego's economy continued a downward spiral in August, according to an economic index released Sept. 30 that registered its 10th consecutive drop.

Monday, September 29

Special Report Profile - Dave Carey

Dave Carey is vice president and general manager of the Kyocera Wireless consumer products group.

Leap Wireless Expands Cell Phone Services and Subscribers

Leap Wireless International expanded its cell phone services, which doubled its number of wireless service subscribers from 2005 to 2007, and is poised to double its reach again by 2010.

Tribute to Innovators

While Qualcomm chips were making their debut in Google's new Android G1 cell phone, San Diego's wireless giant was bestowing praise on 10 San Diego technology startups for innovation in the wireless space.

Wireless Carrier Dials Into Major Markets

Vinculum Communications of San Diego isn't a household brand, but chances are good that anyone placing an international call could be routed onto its VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) network.

New Home Permit Numbers Bleak

Median home prices are down; sales are down and so is the number of new home projects in the county.

Fashion Valley Draws Upscale Retailers, Even in Topsy-Turvy Economy

Back-to-school sales slumped nationwide, and retail analysts are saying that Wall Street is the new Christmas Grinch.

FDA Seeks Regulation of DNA Tests

Tests that allow individuals a sneak peek at their genetic predisposition for everything from baldness to breast cancer have fueled dozens of startups, including one that says it can predetermine the likelihood of a successful romantic relationship by ana

Upgrades Nearly Completed at Torrey Pines Research Center

Progress Report: BioMed Realty Trust is nearing completion of a multimillion-dollar building improvement program at the University Science Center in Torrey Pines.

Fearful Depositors Find Comfort in Community Banks

The barrage of negative news surrounding the nation's financial markets is causing some customers to withdraw deposits from large institutions that appear to be tottering and put their money into smaller community banks.

Guilty Plea in Cunningham Bribery Case

Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, the former executive director of the Central Intelligence Agency and co-defendant in the Duke Cunningham bribery scandal, pleaded guilty to a single count of defrauding taxpayers of honest services, a charge that carries a maximum sent

Economic Case for Removing Carlsbad's Power Plant

Until recently, power plants had to be located on California's coast because they needed seawater for cooling the massive turbines that kept our lights on and the economy humming. It was a decent trade.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Marilyn Shea

Nanotech Leads to New Generation of Plastic for Cell Phones

PowerMetal Technologies of Carlsbad, which uses nanotechnology to build components for consumer sporting goods, has partnered with DuPont Engineering Polymers to develop a super strong polymer plastic used in hand-held electronics casings and other device

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: SeaShell Awnings USA has begun operations in the Gray Hawk Court industrial complex.

Quarter Acre Fetches $6.75M in Downtown San Diego

Developer OliverMcMillan purchased a quarter of an acre on the northwest corner of 15th Street and Island Avenue in downtown San Diego from Escondido Property Managers LLC for $6.75 million.

Distressed-Property Manager Lays It Out:

Bill Hoffman has been through a few economic cycles in his career, but the current financial morass has this veteran executive stumped.

Proposed $700 Billion Bailout Bill Is a Cop-Out

Somewhere along the recent timeline of fast-moving events, those wonderful folks in Washington (and Sacramento, and many state capitals in between) decided that the government is the economy, and the economy is the government.

Hungering for Good News?

While downtown's restaurateurs bemoan the lease rates that building owners charge, particularly as they see patronage declining, demand for space created by a continual stream of operators coming on line means those rates will keep going up.

Stocks Drop, Bankers Field Calls: 'I've Been Off the Hook'

The 778-point Dow Jones freefall on Sept. 29 shocked most in the financial services industry including a few who were around for a much larger decline when measured in percentage terms in 1987.

Executive Profile - Mark Fangue and Liz Allen

Mark Fangue and Liz Allen run Exotic World Gifts, a Web-based wares dealer that connects customers with talented artisans in developing countries by selling their art online.

Look to the Future, It's a Bargain Basement Economy

The cataclysmic economic events of the past two weeks cause me to think about the recovery phase of the market.

Military Feeds Region's Telecommunications Sector

With a total economic impact of $24.6 billion and 27 percent of all jobs in the region tied to the Department of Defense, San Diego is the No. 1 county recipient of military spending in the nation, according to a San Diego Military Advisory Council study.

Feds Probe Biotech Sites for Pointers

Anti-Bioterrorism Research? Last week, about a dozen "analysts" from the U.S. Army's secretive Dugway Proving Grounds in Utah were out and about visiting companies in San Diego's biotech sector to learn about how to set up labs that can make potentially d

AT & T; Reducing Workforce in the County

AT & T; has reduced staffing in San Diego County by 300 workers in recent weeks, including shifting two units to other parts of the company, a spokesman said Sept. 26.

Torrey Pines Mesa Research Facility on Tight Schedule

A local consortium is on track to break ground in January on a $115 million stem cell research facility to be built atop Torrey Pines near the Salk Institute and the Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Week In Review

Top Business News: Sept. 19 - 25, 2008

Party Lights Dim on Companies' Plans for Holiday Galas

It's that time of the year when companies start planning holiday parties. Or it certainly was before the economy went south.

Nonprofit Profile - Neighborhood House Association

A conversation with Rudolph A. Johnson III, president and CEO of Neighborhood House Association.

Heavenly Hosts

Remember the TV series "Touched by an Angel"? Talk about your happy endings. Well, a generous bunch of angels is headed this way.

Hines Receives the Gold for Its Green Office Tower in UTC

Texas real estate developer Hines has earned the gold for environmentally friendly and sustainable building design with the completion of its University Towne Center office tower earlier this month.

Rents Rise as Home Prices Plummet

Average rent prices ticked up 2.5 percent, or $33 a month, to $1,344 a month in the last six months in San Diego County, according to MarketPointe Realty Advisors, which tracks real estate trends in Southern California.

Two Schoolteachers Donate $1 Million

The San Diego State University Library received a $1 million donation from Christopher and Karen Sickels to fund an endowment to help support its collection of children's literature.

Syzygy on Winning Streak for Gaining Defense Contracts

Numerous local information technology and engineering services companies are benefiting from the increase in government spending earmarked for improvements to IT systems and services.

Flying Dutchman?

To the untrained eye, the metal-hulled craft tracing a figure 8 course in the waters off Harbor Island looked like a standard, 36-foot motorboat.

Heller Has Few Alternatives

Following a breakdown in merger talks with multiple suitors and a string of partner defections, law firm Heller Ehrman has struggled to find its footing in a muddy economy.

Sales and Leases

Sales and Leases: Las Terrazas and Bougainvillea apartment communities, at 1440 Oak Drive and 1466 Bonair Road, respectively, in Vista, were sold for $9,747,500 and $10,515,000.

Lilly Signs 10-Year Lease on UTC Lab Facility

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly stirred some "oohs" and "aahs" from the local life sciences industry last week when it announced it had signed a 10-year lease on a 125,000-square-foot lab facility in the University Towne Center area.

Cardinal Spinoff Will Make Its Home in San Diego

Cardinal Health, the Dublin, Ohio-based maker of medical and surgical supplies and technologies, said Sept. 29 it will spin off its clinical and medical products unit as a separate public company headquartered in San Diego.

Legal Vet Jeffrey Lake to Lead L.A. Firm's Expansion

Los Angeles-based Theodora Oringher Miller & Richman said Sept. 25 it's opening an office in San Diego, bringing its total number of offices in California to three.

UCSD's StarCave Gives Scientists 3-D View of Research

Scientists at UC San Diego are using a five-sided virtual reality cave with surround sound to plunge into the extreme edges of reality , from nanoparticles to galaxies.

Small Pest, Big Trouble for Growers

A pest no bigger than a drop of water is alarming local citrus growers, who fear the insect could wipe out crops much like it did across Florida.

Local SBA Lending Rattled By Wall Street Tumult

The Wall Street tumult is being felt locally with fewer loans made, including those guaranteed by the Small Business Administration.

Friday, September 26

Convention Center Takes First Step Toward Possible Expansion

The San Diego Convention Corp.'s board of directors voted 6-0 to acquire a lease option on 8.5 acres of land and water adjacent to the 2.6 million-square-foot downtown facility for a proposed expansion that could add up to half a million square feet of ex

Heller Ehrman to Wind Down Operations

Heller Ehrman LLP provided its attorneys with a 60-day notice of employment Sept. 26, signaling the end of more than 100 years in business.

Tapestry Solutions Goes Under Boeing's Wing

Boeing said Sept. 26 that it acquired San Diego-based defense contractor Tapestry Solutions.

Thursday, September 25

Poinsettia Bowl Organizers, Midshipmen Look Ahead to 2010

The folks who put on the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl said Sept. 23 they have arranged to have the U.S. Naval Academy play in their 2010 game, providing that Navy wins at least six of its 12 games in that season.

Kratos Receives $2.9M Army Deal

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions said Sept. 24 that its Madison Research Division, based in Huntsville, Ala., received a one year, $2.9 million deal to provide integrated logistics and field engineering technical support to the Army.

Verimatrix Pulls In Venture Capital

Verimatrix, a San Diego-based firm that makes security software for the pay television industry, said Sept. 24 it closed a third round of venture capital investment of about $20 million.

Heller Ehrman Faced With Few Options

Following a breakdown in merger talks with multiple suitors and a string of partner defections, law firm Heller Ehrman has struggled to find its footing in a muddy economy.

Appeals Court Deals Qualcomm a Mixed Ruling

Qualcomm has suffered a setback in the patent infringement case brought in 2005 by fellow chipmaker Broadcom, which competes against the San Diego chipmaker in the wireless communications market.

Nextwave Wireless Lays Off 67

Nextwave Wireless Inc., a San Diego-based provider of wireless broadband and mobile multimedia products, laid off 67 people from its local work force effective Sept. 24, according to the firm.

Wednesday, September 24

Ligand May Pay as Much as $70M for Pharmacopeia

San Diego-based Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., developer of the painkiller Avinza, said Sept. 24 it would buy Pharmacopeia of Cranbury, N.J. in a stock deal valued as high as $70 million.

Trio of Downtown Buildings Goes for $20.6M

Interwest Capital Corp., a privately held commercial real estate investment firm headquartered in La Jolla, purchased a downtown property of three buildings for $20.6 million from CIM Group Inc. of Los Angeles.

Fast Train Called Just the Ticket for Job Growth

A high-speed train proposed to run from San Diego to Los Angeles to San Francisco and Sacramento could create 45,000 jobs in San Diego alone, according to a study released Sept. 24 by the San Diego Institute for Policy Research.

Tuesday, September 23

Qualcomm Chip Helps Android Make Its Debut

Qualcomm said Sept. 23 that its microchip sits at the heart of T-Mobile's G1 handset , a cell phone that has the distinction of being the first powered by Google's Android software.

Inovio Army Deal Worth $933,000

Inovio Biomedical Corp. said Sept. 23 that it received a $933,000 contract from the Army.

UC San Diego Goes Off Campus for Space

UC San Diego has signed a 10-year lease for research space valued at more than $19 million in Torrey Pines, according to a Grubb & Ellis|BRE Commercial announcement Sept. 23.

Lilly Signs Lease on UTC Property

Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co. has signed a 10-year lease on a 125,000-square-foot laboratory facility in the University Towne Center area of San Diego, where it will combine local subsidiaries SGX Pharmaceuticals and Applied Molecular Evolution.

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

Web Editor Brad Graves provides highlights from the Sept. 22, 2008 issue of the San Diego Business Journal.

Monday, September 22

North County Area Code Change Carries Hidden Costs

The area code 760 debate gained a new dimension Sept. 4 at the Carlsbad City Council chambers when more than 300 business leaders, elected officials and residents gathered to address an administrative law judge representing the state Public Utilities Comm

Hotel Sales Slump

Compared to the buying binge that peaked in 2005 when San Diego saw 36 properties exchange hands, local hotels have become a hard sell.

Sky's the Limit

Seeking millions of dollars in new revenue, San Diego defense contractor AP Labs Inc. has formed a business unit to try to capture a slice of the $1.5 billion in-flight communications and entertainment market.

Corporate Shaker Carl Icahn Ups His Ownership in Amylin

Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, known for shaking up the public firms he gains control of, raised his stake in Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. on Sept. 12.

Guidelines Offered For Complying With Medical Waste Act of '91

The California Department of Public Health offers guidelines to companies and individuals involved in producing, transporting and treating medical waste.

Columnist Gerry Joins Team Jerry at City Hall

Surprise! Surprise! Veteran U-T journalist Gerry Braun suddenly announces his departure from the paper after less than two years in his new role as hard-hitting metro columnist.

Domus Lights Fire Under Encinitas' Push for New Stations

Design work at San Diego-based Domus Studio Architects is heating up as work continues on several new fire stations in Encinitas.

Stem Cell Group Still Millions Shy of Building $115M Facility

A $30 million gift from billionaire philanthropist T. Denny Sanford will help fund the construction of a shared stem cell research facility on the Torrey Pines mesa, but fundraisers still have a ways to go before they collect enough money for the project'

Hotels Keeping Rates in Check

San Diego's hoteliers may not be prepared to raise their room rates as much as they have in the past few years. However, they're still in positive territory, despite a summer season slowed by economic uncertainty and declining consumer confidence.

Employers of Reservists, Guardsmen Feted

The Southern California Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, in conjunction with the Fleet Week Foundation and San Diego Rotary Club, sponsored a luncheon Sept. 11 at the Sheraton Harbor Island Hotel & Marina.

Proposed Merger to Be California Coast's Second This Year

California Coast Credit Union is joining forces again, this time with Financial 21 Community Credit Union, just a few weeks after completing a merger with First Future Credit Union , which was touted as the largest merger of credit unions with at least $5

Biotech Exec Starts Up Intercept's Local Branch

Dr. David Shapiro is more grounded these days, working close to home while launching Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s new University City branch.

Week In Review

Top Business News: Sept. 12 - 18, 2008

Digitaria Basks in Accolades, Receives Four WebAwards

Digitaria Interactive, a San Diego-based online services and consulting firm, took four of the Web Marketing Association's WebAwards, which were presented Sept. 16.

Boom to Bust

Despite a bloodletting of historic proportions on Wall Street last week, veteran investment pros say the nation's financial system is still alive and kicking.

RF Industries Poised to Buy Back Stock

RF Industries, a San Diego designer and distributor of radio frequency cables and connectors, said Sept. 22 that its board authorized the repurchase of up to 100,000 shares of the company's common stock in the open market.

Texas Outpacing California's Struggling Economy

In March, as Texas and Ohio prepared for their historic presidential primaries, The Wall Street Journal contrasted the economic outlooks of the two states. The editorial graphically illustrated the opposite policies they had pursued and the results of suc

Ashworth Trying to Hack Its Way Out of Stagnant Market

No matter how many hats, windbreakers and shirts they sold at the U.S. Open in June, it wasn't enough to staunch Ashworth Inc.'s red ink.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Southland Paving Inc. construction crews are set to begin widening Barham Drive from two to four lanes beginning next month as part of a $30 million improvement project shared betwe

Biotechs Look to Foundations to Support Rare Disease Research

Unlike cholesterol drugs or antidepressants, which can reach blockbuster status because of their potential to treat millions of patients, investment returns on drugs that treat rare diseases are minimal considering their small patient reach, often less th

Two Women Step Up Battle for Historic Jobs

This is a tale of two high-profile political candidates who don't simply happen to be women.

Hazardous Materials Handlers an Indispensable Resource

For local life sciences firms, in between the research and the results is the pesky medical waste, which has fueled an industry in San Diego dedicated to dealing with it.

'Staycations' a Mirage

With gas prices and airfares on the rise, tourism bureaus hoped to convince residents to economize by partaking in what their own cities offer.

The Layoff Bug Is Infecting Regional Technology Industry

State employment officials are bracing for layoffs from several high tech employers in the San Diego area.

Dressing Up the Del: Hotel Seeks Expansion

Citing a need to stay competitive, owners of the Hotel del Coronado are pursuing an expansion that will add 144 condominium hotel rooms, underground parking and enlarged conference facilities to the complex, whose original structures date back to 1887.

Sales and Leases

Sales and Leases: Oakdale Gardens, a 64-unit apartment complex on Oakdale Avenue in El Cajon has been sold for $6.7 million, or $105,000 per unit.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Diane Salucci

Junk Food Fighter

It's not exactly peas and carrots, but YoNaturals Inc. says its vending machine concept provides a healthier alternative to students who would otherwise throw their spare change and health away on Snickers and Cokes.

Nonprofit Profile - San Ysidro Health Center

A conversation with Ed Martinez, CEO of San Ysidro Health Center.

First of a Kind?

Proponents for building a 40-foot deck above the 96-acre Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal say the project would generate increased taxes and create new jobs while maintaining existing maritime operations.

Executive Profile - Federico Leff

Federico Leff is director of operations for San Diego Valet Services, a dry cleaner that has catered to the local hotel and resort industry for more than 20 years.

Rule Ensures That Pollutants Won't Shift From Ship to Shore

In July, those who live and work along the coast may be able to breathe easier thanks to a new state regulation that will require all tankers, cargo and cruise ships sailing into California ports to use more expensive, cleaner-burning fuel within 24 miles

Hazard Construction Wins Contract For Footbridge

Progress Report: Hazard Construction Co. has been awarded a contract to build the new Viejas Boulevard Bridge over a tributary of the Sweetwater River in the unincorporated community of Descanso, located north of Interstate 8 at Route 79.

Measure Would Force Hospitals to Reveal Infection Rates

Pending state legislation would require California hospitals to reveal their antibiotic-resistant infection rates, giving rise to a new level of public scrutiny that state hospitals have become accustomed to in recent months.

Toll Road Fight, Not Football, Is Big Monday Spectacle for Some

The fight over the extension of state Route 241 continued with a public hearing before federal authorities Sept. 22 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

Friday, September 19

August Unemployment at 6.4 Percent

San Diego's unemployment actually dropped a tenth of a percent in August to 6.4 percent, but that's because the state Employment Development Department recently revised its original 6.1 percent unemployment figure for July, according to an EDD report rele

Thursday, September 18

AIS Takes Wraps Off Data Center, Outlines Changes

American Internet Services, which dedicated a new, 80,000-square-foot collocation data center Sept. 18, said Sept. 17 that it had been acquired by the New York-based venture capital firm Seaport Capital, and that its chief executive officer, Robert DeuPre

PowerGenix Charges Up With $30M in Funding

PowerGenix, which makes nickel-zinc rechargeable batteries designed for everything from scooters and power tools to military and light electric vehicles, has closed on a $30 million round of venture capital, the company said Sept. 17.

Wednesday, September 17

Port District Executive to Retire

Bruce Hollingsworth, who held the president's job at the Port of San Diego for nearly six years, announced his retirement Sept. 17, effective the end of this year.

Algae Green: Sapphire Energy Collects Series B Capital

Sapphire Energy, the San Diego firm that is planning to convert algae into gasoline, got a boost from Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates' investment firm in its latest round of funding.

Chula Vista Council Fires City Manager

The Chula Vista City Council terminated City Manager David Garcia in a late-night session Sept. 16, the city announced Sept. 17.

U.S. Treasury Honors Neighborhood National Bank

Neighborhood National Bank said Sept. 17 it received a $675,000 Bank Enterprise Award from the U.S. Treasury based on its lending in areas underserved by other banks, such as low-income businesses and residents.

Ship's Launch Calls Up Chapter of Navy History

Adm. Gary Roughead, who as chief of naval operations is the Navy's top admiral, plans to make remarks during ceremonies to launch General Dynamics Nassco's newest Navy cargo ship Sept. 18.

Bayfront Hilton Appoints General Manager

The Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotel has named 26-year industry veteran J. Peter Lynn to the post of general manager.

Tuesday, September 16

Stem Cell Research Effort Gets $30M Boost

Billionaire philanthropist T. Denny Sanford has offered up $30 million to a consortium of San Diego researchers to hasten the pace of stem cell research.

Monday, September 15

North County Businesses Dial Up Objections to New 442 Area Code

North County business owners dreading a phone number switch may want to circle Oct. 16 on their calendars.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Encinitas City Council members are working on an ordinance to spur more ground floor retail and make the area more pedestrian-friendly.

California's Banks: They Are Strong, Safe and Secure

This summer there has been an endless flow of news stories across the state that may have given many the mistaken impression that we are in the midst of a financial meltdown, centered on the faltering health of our banks.

McCarthy Starts Work on $14.6M Parking Project at Grossmont College

Progress Report: McCarthy Building Cos. Inc. has begun construction at Grossmont College on a 400,000-square-foot, three-level parking structure and adjacent 3,200-square-foot facility for the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District's Public Safety

San Diego Still Among Top 10 Rental Markets

San Diego fell five spots to rank as the 10th best apartment market in the nation for rentals, according to Marcus & Millichap's annual apartment report released this month.

Special Report Profile - Gary Cady

Gary Cady is president and chief executive officer of Torrey Pines Bank.

Amylin Shares Gain as Icahn Shows Interest

Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn has raised his stake in Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc., a San Diego-based developer of drugs to treat diabetes and obesity, according to a Sept. 12 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Market for Exports Will Continue to Expand

For the past several months, the one bright spot for the U.S. economy has been the export sector.

Perk Up!

While Starbucks Corp. , still king of the hill when it comes to java joints , slated several of its underperforming shops for closure, and other coffee chains such as The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf are gaining ground here, an East Coast entrant thinks it has

When It Comes to Carbon, American Assets Taking a Neutral Stance

A San Diego developer plans to build the most carbon neutral project in the U.S. American Assets Inc. says it will submit plans for a $250 million environmentally friendly and energy-efficient development to the city of Novato in Marin County this month.

New Product Safety Legislation Has Firms Gearing Up for Business

A law spurring changes to the Consumer Product Safety Act has prompted local law firms to ramp up their related legal offerings, with some choosing to dedicate entire practice groups to serving clients affected by the new mandates.

Staffing Firm Touches Down Near McClellan-Palomar Airport

Skillstorm, a staffing firm based in San Diego, relocated its San Marcos office to Carlsbad.

Nonprofit Proposes 'Land Bank' & #8201;to Acquire Foreclosed Properties

The nonprofit San Diego Capital Collaborative is offering up to $20 million to purchase foreclosed properties in the worst hit neighborhoods around San Diego County.

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

Web Editor Brad Graves provides highlights from the Sept. 15, 2008 issue of the San Diego Business Journal.

Will Renters Benefit as Developers Pull Projects From Sales Market?

The slumping housing market, which has fallen 30 percent since its peak in late 2005, should provide a boost to San Diego's traditionally tight rental market, according to Marketpointe Realty Advisors.

Companies Boost Employee Participation in 401(k) Plans

Younger employees at San Diego-based Anacomp Inc. are likely enjoying the benefits of a tax-deferred retirement savings program, but the same can't be said for all of its workers.

What the Freddie-Fannie Takeover Means to San Diegans

Last week's government takeover of the mortgage lending giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae matter more to the San Diego region and all of urban, coastal California than to other less dynamic regions.

Sales and Leases

Sales and Leases: Property West has purchased Cardiff-by-the-Sea Apartment Homes for $71 million.

Sports Retail Expo Skates Out of Town

The three-day tradeshow that drew 18,000 attendees, including 700 surf, skate, swim, snow, motocross and apparel brands, 400 media members and 6,000 buyers has been a Convention Center mainstay since it first came to town in the winter of 1990.

Chairman Bids Adieu to Volcano

Volcano Corp., a maker of medical devices and technologies that allow cardiologists a clearer picture of the coronary arteries, announced the departure of board Chairman Olav Bergheim on Sept. 15.

Broker Sees a Bearish Monday , But No Black Monday

A drop of 504 points on the Dow Jones Industrials index was the biggest since a similar drop right after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, but in terms of percentage declines, the 4.4 percent fall wasn't close to the 22 percent plummet the Dow took on

Efficiency Expert Moves From Tidying Up Homes to Businesses

Stania Rensberger is amazed when she looks at many of her clients' offices.

EveryScape Offers Out-of-Towners Virtual Tours of San Diego

Last week an online service one-upped Google Maps by launching a virtual 3-D replica of San Diego called EveryScape, in which visitors explore not only neighborhood streets but also Balboa Park and San Diego beaches.

New Pact With Denver Conglomerate Could Boost Aging Sports Arena

The 42-year-old San Diego Sports Arena is in for a makeover following the signing of a joint venture agreement between the lease holder, Arena Group 2000, and AEG, a Denver-based entertainment and sporting conglomerate.

After-the-Fires Fund Grants $7 Million to Support Rebuilding Efforts in County

The San Diego Foundation granted $62 million this past year to support nonprofits that carry out missions spanning a spectrum of causes.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Jim Groen

Bake Sale at Mama's Kitchen No Pie in the Sky

More woes? The San Diego Union-Tribune's live radio programming at SignonSanDiego.com apparently has been suspended in the wake of the newspaper's ongoing decline, reports staffers and show guests.

The Forum at Carlsbad Adds Two New Stores, Has Two on the Way

The Forum at Carlsbad, a popular high-end shopping mall, has added two new stores and has another two coming on line this month as part of its new "re-tenanting" to attract more top retailers, said Ward Kampf, president of leasing for Thomas Enterprises,

Credit Crunch Squeezes Out Student Loan Activity Among Local Lenders

Last month, College Loan Corp., a Poway-based student lender, said it ceased making loans, "due to an abrupt cancellation of our third-party financing facilities," according to a terse message on its Web site.

Carrier Johnson Shares in $79M UCSD Contract

Local architectural firm Carrier Johnson has teamed up with Clark Design/Build of California, a unit of Bethesda, Md.-based Clark Construction Co., and won a $79 million design-build contract from UC San Diego.

Executive Profile - Cindy White

Cindy White is president and chief executive officer of ParkerWhite Inc., a brand, design and public relations agency.

Week In Review

Top Business News: Sept. 5 - 11, 2008

'If We Build It, They Will Come'

A cross-border terminal in South County has been a slow moving effort for more than a decade, but recently investors took a big step forward in ferrying air travelers from the U.S. into Tijuana's Gen. Abelardo L. Rodriguez Airport.

With Guidance, Employees Can Put Retirement Savings to Work

The rap against 401(k) plans for a long time was that too many employees were unfamiliar or uncomfortable with investing, they made far more conservative selections than they should have, resulting in tepid positive returns.

Get a Good Deal Online

HotelPlanner.com touts itself as the largest online group travel service in a $30 billion to $45 billion market for group travel.

Friday, September 12

From Batman to BIO: Convention Center Has Record Year

The San Diego Convention Center had its biggest ever fiscal year, and while the numbers themselves are impressive, so is the center's ability to provide a safety net under downtown's hotels and restaurants during a slumping economy, said spokesman Steve J

Court Gives Attorney Fees to City in De La Fuente Dispute

The city of San Diego was awarded about $4.4 million in attorney's fees Sept. 12 after prevailing once again in a remaining claim related to the multifaceted litigation surrounding developer/car dealer Roque De La Fuente, said City Attorney Michael Aguirr

Lawmaker Questions Flow of Grantville Redevelopment Funds

State Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, has asked state Attorney General Jerry Brown to investigate a decision by the San Diego City Council to transfer more than $31 million in redevelopment funds slated for the Grantville neighborhood to downtown proje

Contentious Issues Climb to Top at South County Summit

State Controller John Chiang, who has refused to follow Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's order to pay state workers minimum wages until a budget is passed, said in a Sept. 12 appearance that he has a constitutional obligation to make prescribed payments.

Thursday, September 11

Grossmont Hospital Cleared to Receive Government Funds

An investigation into Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa has satisfied state health officials, who said the hospital can continue to qualify for government funding, according to a letter dated Sept. 10 and addressed to the hospital by the Centers for Med

Wereldhave Buys DiamondView Tower for $161M

The Dutch real estate investment firm Wereldhave said Sept. 8 it purchased DiamondView, a 15-story high-rise in the East Village overlooking Petco Park, for $161 million.

Fermanian School Names Dealmaker Award Finalists

Winners of the 2008 Dealmaker of the Year awards sponsored by the Fermanian School of Business at Point Loma Nazarene University will be announced at a Sept. 19 breakfast at the Kona Kai Resort on Shelter Island.

Regulators Penalize LPL, Say Data Was at Risk

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed an enforcement action and levied a penalty of $275,000 against LPL Financial Corp., an independent broker dealer with headquarters in San Diego as well as Charlotte, N.C. and Boston, according to a press statem

Legend Films Gets $5M in Venture Funds

Legend Films, a Carmel Valley-based media firm, said Sept. 11 it obtained $5 million in venture capital investment with the lead investor Augustus Ventures Ltd. of New York and participation from Par Investments Partners of Boston.

Median Price of Existing Homes Slides to $390,000

The median price of existing homes fell 4.4 percent to $390,000 in August, which is nearly one-third lower than August 2007, according to Sandicor's Multiple Listing Service released Sept. 10 by the San Diego Association of Realtors.

Wednesday, September 10

Sempra Declares Dividend

Sempra Energy declared a dividend of 35 cents per share of common stock Sept. 9. The sum is payable Oct. 15 to shareholders of record Sept. 25.

Illumina Shareholders OK 2-for-1 Stock Split

San Diego-based genetic analysis company Illumina Inc. said Sept. 10 that shareholders approved a move to more than double the number of company shares, clearing the way for a 2-for-1 stock split.

Appeals Court Allows Waterfront Issue on Ballot

A referendum that would permit the construction of hotels, restaurants, stores and possibly a football stadium at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal will be on the Nov. 4 ballot, following a ruling from the state's 4th District Court of Appeal Sept. 10.

Tuesday, September 9

La Jolla, Sioux City Are Extremes in National Housing Price Survey

The average price of a four-bedroom single-family home in La Jolla is the highest in the nation in 2008, according to a survey released Sept. 9 by the real estate firm Coldwell Banker.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Comes Into Focus at UCSD

UC San Diego's School of Medicine said Sept. 9 it will lead a $60 million, five-year effort funded by the Department of Defense to study and treat post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

Pyron Solar Gets $1M in Venture Capital

Pyron Solar Inc., a San Diego developer of solar and optic technologies, has received a $1 million investment with an addition $1 million option by New Energies Invest Ltd. based in Switzerland, the company said Sept. 8.

Sports Council, Hall of Champions Merge

Alan Kidd, president of the San Diego Hall of Champions, said Sept. 9 he's assumed the title of president of the San Diego International Sports Council following a July vote by both organizations' boards to consolidate the two groups.

Monday, September 8

Aguirre's Pension Battle Gets National Notice

San Diego City Attorney Michael Aguirre's ongoing effort to roll back retirement benefits granted to city employees years ago was lauded in a Wall Street Journal editorial in the Sept. 6 edition.

Week In Review

Top Business News: Aug. 29 - Sept. 4, 2008

PowerGenix Putting a Charge in $4 Billion Alkaline Battery Market

PowerGenix says its new nickel-zinc rechargeable batteries will revolutionize the $4 billion alkaline rechargeable market.

Contractors Develop Green Thumb to Satisfy Growing LEED Demands

With an increasing demand for private and public sector construction of green buildings, contractors are responding.

Scripps, Burnham Garner $180M in Federal Grants

Burnham Institute for Medical Research and Scripps Research Institute were the recipients of more than $180 million in combined National Institutes of Health money last week designed to fund research involved in identifying new drug targets.

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

Web Editor Brad Graves provides highlights from the Sept. 8, 2008 issue of the San Diego Business Journal.

Sun County Builders Reach 50% Mark on San Ysidro Center

Progress Report: Sun Country Builders has reached the 50 percent completion point on the Villa Nueva Community Center in San Ysidro.

Sales and Leases

Sales and Leases: LB/VCC Otay Mesa LLC has sold Knapp Development LLC 2,907 square feet of industrial space located at 1574 Lancaster Point Way in Nestor.

Executive Profile - Robert Scherer

Robert Scherer is president of TAG, an accounting consultancy that provides services and software to companies in various industries as well as affluent individuals.

Ronald McDonald House Raises $120K at Golf Tourney

Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego Inc. raised more than $120,000 at its annual golf tournament held Aug. 28 at The Crosby at Rancho Santa Fe.

Ukrainian Achieves American Dream: $327M Contracting Firm

Since 1985, when all Gary Shekhter had was a small El Cajon office, secretary and a will to succeed, he's managed to do just that - achieve the American Dream.

Construction, Real Estate Industry to Repair, Build Homes in Tijuana

Dozens of local contractors, architectural and brokerage firms have committed their time and money to building and rebuilding homes for low-income families this summer despite a slow economy.

National City Retirement Complex Reaches Halfway Point

Construction of a sizable retirement community in National City hit the halfway mark this month.

Contractors See Value of Rolling Green Movement Into Projects

New buildings designed with energy efficiency and environmental harmony continue to gain market favor as the smarter new model of how best to construct a building.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Doug Urbick

Smart Growth, Civic Pride and the Crisis at the Pump

By some reports, the cost of gasoline knows no limits.

Delayed Pedestrian Bridge Receives $6 Million Grant

Groundbreaking for the delayed Harbor Drive pedestrian bridge can move forward with the Sept. 3 award of a $6 million grant from the California Transportation Commission.

Health Care Providers 'Stressed' Over Stalled State Budget

As state lawmakers grapple with an overdue budget, local health care leaders are voicing discontent over proposed reductions to payments made by Medi-Cal, the public health insurance program that provides care to low-income individuals.

Vista Officials Break Ground on $55 Million Civic Center Building

The city of Vista recently broke ground on an environmentally friendly Civic Center made possible by a half-cent sales tax increase approved by voters in 2006.

Shiny New Chrome and Bamboo Bikinis on a Web Site Near You

Talk about tuned in. John and Heather Hawthorne, owners of Hawthorne Tire in San Marcos, were recently chosen to be on "Peter Perfect," a reality television show airing on the Style Network.

Education for Change: It's the American Way

It is for the rest of the world to judge whether educating leaders is something America does well.

The Active Network Actively Raising Venture Capital to Expand

The Active Network Inc., a La Jolla-based provider of online sports registration and related services, plugged $80 million into its 10-year-old operations with a sixth round of funding led by ESPN Inc. and participation from previous investors Canaan Part

COST CRUNCH

Ted Bumgardner, principal at Gafcon, says his general contracting firm is not immune to the spiraling costs that have hit most industries.

Bright Ideas Kick-Start DEMOfall Technology Event

DEMOfall 08, a tech conference billed as a launching pad for startups, got under way Sept. 8 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, with 72 companies in attendance.

ViaSat Pulls in $50M Contract

Carlsbad satellite products company ViaSat Inc. won a $50 million contract to install land-based "gateways" to connect European broadband subscribers to the Internet via satellite, the company said Sept. 8.

Summer Conventions Take Edge Off Uncertain Times

Gerri Scott, general manager at Tivoli Bar, arguably the city's oldest since it was built in 1885, or at least the oldest in the Gaslamp Quarter, recalled that the downturn that followed the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, had less of an effect on bu

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Grossmont College has completed renovations on its Exercise Science and Wellness Complex, a $9 million overhaul of one of the community college's oldest facilities.

Ground Breaking: Bressi Ranch Medical Plaza

Bressi Ranch Medical Plaza LLC has secured construction financing for its two-story medical office building at 6221 Metropolitan St. in Carlsbad.

Entrepreneur Profile - Timothy Gendreau

Timothy Gendreau, chief revenue strategist, The Gendreau Group LLC.

Construction Sector Takes a Pounding From Escalating Costs

High costs have hit just about every industry, and construction is no exception.

Though Costly, Big Screens Draw Pigskin Fans to Local Bars

It's a privilege that costs a few thousand dollars, but when San Diego's barkeepers do it right, televised football changes the complexion of their operations.

Real Estate Profile - John van Blerck

John van Blerck is president of JVB Construction Management Inc., which manages the planning, design and construction of projects from inception to completion.

Neurocrine Shares Edge Up After Promising Drug Tests

Shares of Neurocrine Biosciences Inc. rose 11 percent Sept. 3 following positive mid-stage results for elagolix, a drug candidate aimed at treating endometriosis.

Black Enterprise Golfing Event Boasts Dazzling Entertainers

Usually when an emcee introduces a warm-up act by saying he's appeared on various TV shows, it's because you probably haven't heard of him , as you wait to see the real reason you came.

Nonprofit Profile - Casa Cornelia Law Center

Casa Cornelia Law Center, Carmen M. Chavez, executive director

Hines Polishes Off UTC Landmark, a 14-Story Office Tower

Workers are putting the finishing touches on the first high-rise constructed in University Towne Center in more than 15 years.

Raise Your Water Glass to Toast the Final OK of Desalination Plant

In my last column, I remarked that the Carlsbad Desalination Plant was one procedural step away from final approval to begin construction.

Stingaree Owner Sells One Bar, Others May Also Go on the Block

Nightclub owner James Brennan has sold one of his venues, said another is for sale and, according to industry sources, is trying to sell two other high-profile properties, now that three lawsuits have been filed for unpaid bills.

Friday, September 5

Spawar Enlists Indus, IBM for Data Task

Indus Technology Inc., based in Old Town, said Sept. 2 that it received a task order to provide "data cleansing" for the comptroller of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, or Spawar.

Rotary Club Honors Mrs. San Diego

The San Diego Rotary Club honored Yvonne Larsen, a longtime community volunteer, as 2008's Mrs. San Diego at a Sept. 4 luncheon held at Sheraton Harbor Island East.

Thursday, September 4

Port Considers Naming Rights for Cruise Ship Terminal

The estimated cost for a long-planned cruise ship terminal at the Broadway Pier jumped to $28 million, causing the Port of San Diego to include naming rights as a way to finance the project, the port district said Sept. 3.

Judge Rules Waterfront Measure Can Appear On Ballot

A November ballot measure that would permit commercial development including hotels and restaurants at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal will go before voters following a ruling by Superior Court Judge Ronald Styn on Sept. 4.

TorreyPines Promotes From Within

TorreyPines Therapeutics Inc. named a new chief executive Sept. 3 to replace Neil Kurtz, who resigned effective the end of August to pursue the role of president and chief executive of Golden Living, an Arkansas-based provider of long-term care for senior

SDG & E; Ordered to Pay $49.6M

San Diego Gas & Electric Co. must pay $49.6 million to the families of four Marines who were killed in a 2004 helicopter crash at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, a San Diego Superior Court jury decided Sept. 3.

Wednesday, September 3

Gaylord Casts Eye on Phoenix

Gaylord Entertainment, still planning to build a $1 billion convention center and hotel in Chula Vista, said Sept. 3 it entered into a land purchase agreement for 100 acres at the Mesa Proving Grounds, next to Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport, to create an an

Seven-Cent Dividend on Par With Last Quarter

Callaway Golf Co. said Sept. 3 that it will pay a 7 cent per share dividend to shareholders of record Sept. 18.

PacWest Bancorp Gets Capital Infusion

PacWest Bancorp, the San Diego-based parent company of Pacific Western Bank, said Sept. 2 it is receiving a $100 million capital infusion after private equity firm CapGen Capital Advisors agreed to purchase new shares of the company.

SAIC Posts Second Quarter Earnings of $109M

SAIC Inc. said Sept. 3 that it had second quarter net income of $109 million, or 27 cents per diluted share, on revenue of $2.5 billion. The quarter ended July 31.

Tuesday, September 2

Judge Orders Qualcomm to Pay Broadcom Over Patent Dispute

A judge ordered Qualcomm on Aug. 29 to offer support services for many 3G cell phones and to pay the profits earned from its QChat walkie-talkie phones to Broadcom, ruling that revenue associated with version 3.0 of the software was subject to royalties.

Scripps, Burnham Receive NIH Grants Totaling $180M

Scripps Research Institute and Burnham Institute for Medical Research garnered a combined $180 million in National Institutes of Health grant money that will join their bicoastal operations with a nationwide network of researchers who will employ high-tec

Monday, September 1

Executive Profile - John Ball

John Ball is principal and creative director of MiresBall, a San Diego-based branding firm.

All the News From Ship to Shore

Ship ahoy, matey! The ninth annual YachtFest San Diego ties up at Shelter Island from Sept. 11-14 and will offer sea gobs , and gals , an insider's view of more than 30 mega-yachts.

SAIC to Restate Results After Uncovering Error

SAIC Inc. said due to a previously undetected transcription error, it underpaid income taxes by $27 million.

Sales and Leases

Sales and Leases: SW1 LLC has purchased a 3,080-square-foot office building located in Scripps Poway Office Park West at 14259 Danielson St. in Poway for $910,000.

Sanders Appoints Members to SEDC's Embattled Board

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders has appointed four new members to the board of directors of the Southeastern Economic Development Corp.

DiamondView Office Tower for Sale?

Is San Diego-based Cisterra Development looking to sell its Class A DiamondView Tower overlooking Petco Park?

$115M Terraces Office Complex Nears Completion

Progress Report: Construction is nearing completion for the Terraces at Copley Point, which encompasses 530,000 square feet of Class A office space plus parking on a 25-net-acre site at 5887 and 5893 Copley Drive in Kearny Mesa.

Lower Prices for Large Apartment Complexes Welcoming Buyers

Sales prices per unit in multifamily investment properties are coming down and welcoming investors to San Diego.

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

Web Editor Brad Graves provides highlights from the Sept. 1, 2008 issue of the San Diego Business Journal.

Ground Breaking: Nordahl Medical Centre

Nordahl Medical Centre is a Class-A, 55,450-square-foot building located on Nordahl Road less than one mile from Palomar Medical Center West.

History's Highest Hurdlers No Spring Chickens

In the obsessive media heat of the just-ended, youth-oriented Beijing Olympics, a once-famous Chinese political figure died at a ripe-young age of 87 , and he goes to the grave almost internationally unnoticed.

Hospitals Taking Steps to Avoid Loss of Public Funds

Three hospitals in San Diego County under state and federal scrutiny because of serious deficiencies in patient care are taking measures to correct their problems in order to maintain government funding.

There's No Business Like Shoe Business

Realizing one of their first attempts in business, retailing cell phones, was going nowhere fast, David Duong and Will Huynh began selling shoes online, which has resulted in record-breaking sales.

Hooray for Hollywood's New Nightclub: The Kress

The Kress, Viscuso Entertainment Collection's newest nightclub in a renovated 1936 dime store on Hollywood Boulevard, is pure Tinsel Town.

Casinos Rev Up Marketing With Luxury Car, Gas Card Giveaways

A shuttle bus operation frequently falls under the umbrella of a casino's marketing department. The bus service works toward the broader goal of getting customers to the casino, explained Lee Torres, director of marketing for Harrah's Rincon San Diego Nor

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: An increase in complaints by beach-goers has prompted City Council members to consider tightening restrictions on surf camps and other commercial uses of public beaches.

In Roundabout Way, Bird Rock Businesses Get Boost

Bird Rock is inviting visitors to slow down and stay awhile.

Despite Drop in Occupancy, Hoteliers Did Good Business in July

The county's inns experienced a decline in occupancy in July, but the numbers were still good, and owners and operators might have raised their room rates and made more money, instead of lowering them as they did to try to bring in more business, says one

EDSA Empowers Tech Firms That Want to Cut Energy Consumption

To reduce energy consumption at information technology data centers, 200 technology firms in 2007 established The Green Grid, an international collaboration.

It's One, Two (and That's It) Strikes You're Out at Chargers Games

California has a three strikes law, but the San Diego Chargers might be tougher. They have instituted a two strikes policy regarding unruly football fans at Qualcomm Stadium.

Barona Resort Donates Gas to Meals-on-Wheels

Barona Valley Ranch Resort & Casino donated a 4,000-gallon tanker full of gasoline to Meals-on-Wheels Greater San Diego Inc.

Is Downtown Civic Center Development Proposal Worth the Risk?

The proposed development of the 2 million-square-foot San Diego Civic Center project , which would include offices, retail, residential and hotel space , might be the most risky project ever conceived in downtown San Diego. It might be worth it.

Casino Staffing Challenges Run High When Economy's Chips Are Down

If you're a human resources manager for a casino in the San Diego County region during an era when customers are spending less, you and your competitors could be shedding jobs by attrition.

Conference Clash: Tech Startups Face Dueling Venues

It's a busy week for tech startups. Too busy, some say, because of competing conferences at opposite ends of the state.

Sheppard Mullin Attorneys Set Up Video Gaming Practice Group

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP, a law firm that employs more than 80 attorneys in San Diego, is the latest entry into the burgeoning video gaming business.

Roads to Riches

A casino needs wheels. Not just the roulette wheels, or the big wheels who give the high-stakes poker tables a whirl. A casino needs transportation.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Julia Marciari-Alexander

Week In Review

Top Business News: Aug. 22 - 28, 2008

Pharma's Buying Spree

The deteriorating U.S. dollar combined with upcoming patent expirations on some best-selling drugs have sent Big Pharma into a buying frenzy for biotech companies.

Community Above Self A New Era for San Diego

During a speech at the Hotel del Coronado in 1923, John Spreckels rhetorically asked, "Why does San Diego miss the train somehow?" He went on to say, "Three words: lack of cooperation."