Stories for January 2010

Friday, January 29

Breeza Reports One-Third of Units Sold

Breeza, the nine-story, mixed-use complex at Pacific Highway and Ash Street on the Embarcadero, said Jan. 26 it was offering prospective residents 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages as low as 3.38 percent.

Cymer’s Quarterly Net Income Beats 2008 Figure

Cymer Inc., the San Diego maker of laser equipment used to fabricate semiconductors, reported fourth quarter net income of $12.1 million compared to net income of $3.9 million during the fourth quarter of 2008.

New Life Tech Machine Cuts Cost of Sequencing Genome

In a move that’s sure to raise the bar among genetic technology competitors, Life Technologies Corp. of Carlsbad has introduced the latest version of its next-generation genetic sequencing machine, which lowers the cost of decoding DNA to $6,000.

State OKs Bonds for Carlsbad Desalination Project

Poseidon Resources, which is building the seawater desalination plant in Carlsbad, said Jan. 27 that it hit a financing milestone as the state approved a plan to issue $530 million in bond money for the project.

Life Technologies Earns $145M in the Year of H1N1

Carlsbad-based life sciences tools provider Life Technologies Corp. reported higher-than-expected profit for the fourth quarter Jan. 28, partly fueled by sales of H1N1 flu-related products.

RF Industries Reports Yearly Sales of $14M

RF Industries Ltd., a San Diego maker and distributor of radio frequency coaxial cables, reported Jan. 29 that it had fourth quarter net income of $268,000 on sales of $3.8 million.

Thursday, January 28

Lending Grows as Net Loss Shrinks at Torrey Pines Bank

Torrey Pines Bank, based in Carmel Valley, reported Jan. 28 its 2009 net income, excluding its Partners First credit card division, was $5.53 million.

Wednesday, January 27

Supervisor Cox Named to Airport Board

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors, meeting Jan. 26, named Supervisor Greg Cox to a seat on the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority’s Executive Committee.

Jury Finds Currency Trading Firm Operator Guilty

A Solana Beach man who ran a foreign currency trading firm, Universal Money Traders, was found guilty of eight counts of mail fraud, six counts of wire fraud and one count of filing a false tax return by a federal jury Jan. 26, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

Meruelo Group Tries Second Bid for Rubio’s

An investment partnership led by the Meruelo Group seeking to buy Rubio’s Restaurants Inc. upped its bid offer by 50 cents a share to $8.50, or an aggregate $85 million.

Cal Western, UCSD Join Forces to Consider Law School

In a move intended to establish a law school at UC San Diego, faculty and administrators with California Western School of Law and UCSD have formed a joint committee tasked with exploring ways of combining faculty, attracting students and financing a school.

Tuesday, January 26

Burnham Institute Gets $50M Gift, New Name

Billionaire philanthropist T. Denny Sanford has committed $50 million toward the nonprofit Burnham Institute for Medical Research in a five-year naming gift that will be put toward pushing new discoveries into the clinic and, eventually, the marketplace.

Facebook Users Link Chase With Charity

Chase, the consumer banking unit of JP Morgan Chase & Co., and Facebook selected San Diego-based Invisible Children as the winning finalist charity based on the number of online votes it received in a recently concluded contest that distributed about $5 million in total grants, the organizations said Jan. 25.

Monday, January 25

Four Companies Get ‘Best Employer’ Awards

Two San Diego-based firms and two other firms based elsewhere but with a large presence here were named to Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list released last week.

Charges Dismissed for 5 in Pension Case

Five of six San Diego defendants in the long-running felony conflict of interest pension board case are off the hook after the California Supreme Court dismissed the charges Jan. 25 that were originally filed by county District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis in 2005.

Partnership Helps Small Biz Secure Much-Needed Financing

While traditional bank loans for startup businesses are rare, especially in this credit crunch, a partnership among CDC Small Business Finance, Score San Diego and Borrego Springs Bank, N.A. is helping fledgling entrepreneurs find the financing they need.

Real Estate Roundup

Grossmont Union High School District is making progress toward the modernization of schools in its district with funding provided by Propositions H and U.

Only the Best-Managed Businesses Will Survive

Business owners face more obstacles today than at any other time in U.S. history. Even in the depths of the Great Depression, businesses were not saddled with the quagmire of government regulations and tax mazes that exist now.

How Reflective Leadership Affects an Organization

Have you reflected lately on what your leadership says about your organization? Perhaps you’ve found yourself saying some of the following statements: “I don’t understand what is happening in my company.” “Nobody is telling me the truth.” “Most of my managers are not meeting their goals.”

Office Market Presents Opportunities for Upward Mobility

REAL ESTATE: Declining Rents Encourage Tenants to Shop for Upgraded Space

The current tenants’ market for leased office space has created a game of musical chairs among businesses in San Diego County.

Bright Spots Bring Some Relief to Stunted Industrial Sector

REAL ESTATE: Central Areas Retain Single-Digit Vacancy, Growth Reported in N. County

Analysts agree that the industrial sector of the commercial real estate market in San Diego County has taken a beating during the past two years, but opinions differ when it comes to how quickly it will recover.

Mixed-Use Projects Keep Hope for Retail Expansion Afloat

REAL ESTATE: Recovery Tied to Return of Lending, Consumer Confidence

Tough conditions for commercial retail in San Diego appear to have bottomed out from last year’s recession, and brokers and analysts say the market will bounce back with more jobs and more lending.

Expansion in Multifamily Residential Banks on Continued Demand

DEVELOPMENT: Quarry Falls Alone Planning 4,700 Homes, Including 800 Apartments

Multifamily residential development is alive and well in San Diego, with projects under way anticipating future demand for high-density infill development.

Turner Construction Executive Has Zest for Complex Projects

DEVELOPMENT: Jamie Awford Dives Into Latest Challenge, The $471M Airport Expansion

Twenty-year construction veteran Jamie Awford has the uncanny ability to attract complex and challenging projects other builders generally shy away from.

Nasdaq Eyes Nextwave Share Price

Nextwave Wireless, a San Diego company that operates local software firm Packet Video, said Jan. 25 that it received a delisting notice from the Nasdaq global markets exchange because its shares were trading below the minimum bid price of $1.

Four Companies Get ‘Best Employer’ Awards

Two San Diego-based firms and two other firms based elsewhere but with a large presence here were named to Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list released last week.

Charges Dismissed for 5 in Pension Case

Five of six San Diego defendants in the long-running felony conflict of interest pension board case are off the hook after the California Supreme Court dismissed the charges Jan. 25 that were originally filed by county District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis in 2005.

Port Working to Expand Its Cruise Ship Business

CONSTRUCTION: Ad Hoc Group Opposes Project

Framing work on a new cruise ship terminal at the Broadway Pier is about halfway done, but it’s only part of the Port of San Diego’s efforts to retain and expand its cruise ship business, says Rita Vandergaw, the port’s marketing director.

Sempra Energy Making a Series of Executive Changes

ENERGY: Jessie J. Knight Jr. to Take Over as CEO of SDG&E

If the head honchos at Sempra Energy were seeking a new face to better communicate what the Sunrise Powerlink project is all about, they probably couldn’t have found a better person than Jessie J. Knight Jr.

Slam-Dunk

SPORTS BUSINESS: CONNECT Teams With Bill Walton, Establishes New Trade Organization In Support of Local Sports and Entertainment Industry

For former NBA star Bill Walton, combining passion with profits in the sports industry is the best of both worlds. So, it was a natural for the San Diego native to take the helm of a new organization designed to give local sports and entertainment companies a serious boost.

Contractors Head To Camp Pendleton Seeking Work

CONSTRUCTION: $5.4B Worth of Projects Set for 7 Marine Corps Bases

If anyone wanted visual evidence of the hunger for federal construction work, they could find it in the sea of faces in a meeting room at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton on Jan. 15.

Well-Funded Amira Focuses on New Drug Discoveries

BIOTECH: Firm Develops Experimental Asthma

Pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. Inc. withdrew its research laboratories from San Diego five years ago, but some of its top scientists kept their heels dug into the sands of biotech beach.

Chamber Dinner Sizable Event of the Year

It’s a big deal, trust me. The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce schedules its annual dinner for Feb. 3 at the Town & Country Resort to install regional Wells Fargo Bank executive Tom Wornham as chairman for 2010. New this year is the “Herb Klein Spirit of San Diego Award.”

Financing Woes Delay Stem Cell Lab Construction

A taxpayer-funded stem cell research laboratory planned for the Torrey Pines Mesa is among three such facilities in the works statewide that have hit snags in their construction timelines.

Knobbe Martens Moving Closer to Clients, Away From Courthouse

Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP, downtown San Diego’s longtime occupant at 550 W. C St., says it will relocate its headquarters to Del Mar Heights this summer.

News in Brief

The San Diego Open has been renamed the Farmers Insurance Open after the Farmers Insurance Group agreed to become the title sponsor for the area’s premier golf tournament, according to a Jan. 18 announcement.

San Diego Business Journal Names Associate Publisher

Scott T. Whitley has been named associate publisher of the San Diego Business Journal. President and Publisher Armon Mills recently made the announcement.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

The Counter Gourmet Burgers, a Santa Monica burger-craze-turned-nationwide franchise, has opened a location at 1923 Calle Barcelona. The build-your-own-burger eatery allows diners to choose from more than 312,000 ingredient combinations.

Reality Changers Gives Scholarships to 2 High School Seniors

Kudos/Giving

Reality Changers presented scholarships to two high school students recently. Da’rell Andrews, a senior at Midway Baptist High School, received a $20,000 scholarship at the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl; and Michael Gaulden, a senior at San Diego High School, received a $5,000 scholarship at the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

Firm’s Energy Storage Devices Keep Going and Going

MANUFACTURING: Sales Soar at Maxwell Technologies

Nothing lasts forever, but the folks at Maxwell Technologies Inc. might argue otherwise. The San Diego company makes an energy storage device called an ultracapacitor that may have an infinite life span, says its top promoters.

Vista’s Optelec Innovates to Help People See the World Anew

HEALTH CARE: Company Produces Products to Assist People With Impaired Vision

As the baby boomer generation ages, Vista-based Optelec US Inc. is positioning itself to serve the growing market of people who need products to help them overcome impaired vision at home and in the workplace.

San Diego People

Len J. Lauer has been named president and CEO of Memjet, a color printing technology firm, by its board of directors. In the newly created role, Lauer will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of the company’s business and will serve on the board of directors.

Sempra Energy Making a Series of Executive Changes

ENERGY: Jessie J. Knight Jr. to Take Over as CEO of SDG&E

If the head honchos at Sempra Energy were seeking a new face to better communicate what the Sunrise Powerlink project is all about, they probably couldn’t have found a better person than Jessie J. Knight Jr.

Tease photo

Slam-Dunk

SPORTS BUSINESS: CONNECT Teams With Bill Walton, Establishes New Trade Organization In Support of Local Sports and Entertainment Industry

For former NBA star Bill Walton, combining passion with profits in the sports industry is the best of both worlds. So, it was a natural for the San Diego native to take the helm of a new organization designed to give local sports and entertainment companies a serious boost.

Friday, January 22

PacWest Bancorp Dealt Loss, Remains Well-Capitalized

PacWest Bancorp, the San Diego parent firm of Pacific Western Bank with $5.3 billion in assets, reported Jan. 21 a fourth quarter net loss of $7.8 million. For the full year, PacWest reported a net loss of $9.4 million.

December Unemployment Rate Declines in Seasonal Shift

San Diego’s unemployment rate dipped to 10.1 percent in December from November’s 10.6 percent jobless rate, but the decline will be short-lived as most of the new jobs were temporary hires in the retail sector to accommodate the Christmas shopping season.

Elevation Pharmaceuticals Raises $30M

San Diego-based startup Elevation Pharmaceuticals Inc. has raised $30 million in a Series A venture round it will put toward the development of a treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, the company said Jan. 22.

Somaxon Makes New Bid, Stock Price Doubles

Somaxon Pharmaceuticals said Jan. 22 that it has resubmitted its FDA application for its sleeping pill Silenor, making it the third try for the Solana Beach-based company.

Somaxon Makes New Bid, Stock Price Doubles

Somaxon Pharmaceuticals said Jan. 22 that it has resubmitted its FDA application for its sleeping pill Silenor, making it the third try for the Solana Beach-based company.

PacWest Bancorp Dealt Loss, Remains Well-Capitalized

PacWest Bancorp, the San Diego parent firm of Pacific Western Bank with $5.3 billion in assets, reported Jan. 21 a fourth quarter net loss of $7.8 million. For the full year, PacWest reported a net loss of $9.4 million.

December Unemployment Rate Declines in Seasonal Shift

San Diego’s unemployment rate dipped to 10.1 percent in December from November’s 10.6 percent jobless rate, but the decline will be short-lived as most of the new jobs were temporary hires in the retail sector to accommodate the Christmas shopping season.

Elevation Pharmaceuticals Raises $30M

San Diego-based startup Elevation Pharmaceuticals Inc. has raised $30 million in a Series A venture round it will put toward the development of a treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD, the company said Jan. 22.

Thursday, January 21

Life Technologies Unit Has High Hopes for DNA Kit

A forensic DNA kit made by Applied Biosystems Inc., used for obtaining results from damaged or degraded samples, has been added to a national database used by the FBI, the company said Jan. 21.

Cassidy Turley BRE Commercial Makes Early Debut

BRE Commercial will take on its affiliation with Cassidy Turley earlier than planned.

Former Chamber Head Takes CEO’s Chair at Electric Utility

Jessie Knight, the former president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, was named as CEO of San Diego Gas & Electric, replacing Debra Reed, who is transferring to another unit of Sempra Energy, SDG&E’s parent corporation, the company announced Jan. 20.

County Prepares for Property Auction

The county plans to auction 330 properties Feb. 26. It is the government’s way of collecting some $1.5 million owed in back taxes, said County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister Jan. 19.

Cassidy Turley BRE Commercial Makes Early Debut

BRE Commercial will take on its affiliation with Cassidy Turley earlier than planned.

Former Chamber Head Takes CEO’s Chair at Electric Utility

Jessie Knight, the former president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, was named as CEO of San Diego Gas & Electric, replacing Debra Reed, who is transferring to another unit of Sempra Energy, SDG&E’s parent corporation, the company announced Jan. 20.

County Prepares for Property Auction

The county plans to auction 330 properties Feb. 26. It is the government’s way of collecting some $1.5 million owed in back taxes, said County Treasurer-Tax Collector Dan McAllister Jan. 19.

Life Technologies Unit Has High Hopes for DNA Kit

A forensic DNA kit made by Applied Biosystems Inc., used for obtaining results from damaged or degraded samples, has been added to a national database used by the FBI, the company said Jan. 21.

Wednesday, January 20

Aldila Stock to Trade Over the Counter

Aldila Inc., the Poway maker of golf shafts, voluntarily filed to delist its stock from the Nasdaq stock exchange and move its listing to the OTCQX U.S. Premier over the counter market operated by Pink OTC Markets Inc.

DefenseWeb Closes Book on Record Year

DefenseWeb Technologies Inc. said Jan. 19 that it completed its best year ever, practically doubling its revenue and increasing staffing by 79 percent.

Aldila Stock to Trade Over the Counter

Aldila Inc., the Poway maker of golf shafts, voluntarily filed to delist its stock from the Nasdaq stock exchange and move its listing to the OTCQX U.S. Premier over the counter market operated by Pink OTC Markets Inc., the firm announced Jan. 19.

DefenseWeb Closes Book on Record Year

DefenseWeb Technologies Inc. said Jan. 19 that it completed its best year ever, practically doubling its revenue and increasing staffing by 79 percent.

Tuesday, January 19

Taco Bell Founder Dies at 86

Rancho Santa Fe businessman Glen W. Bell Jr., who founded the Taco Bell quick service restaurant chain and played a part in creating several other fast-food restaurant concepts, died Jan. 17 at his home at the age of 86, according to a statement from Taco Bell Corp.

Stem Cell Facility Delayed

A taxpayer-funded stem cell research laboratory planned for the Torrey Pines Mesa is among three such facilities in the works statewide that have hit snags in their construction timelines.

Halozyme, BioAlta Team Up Against Disease

San Diego-based biotech Halozyme Therapeutics Inc. has entered into a research collaboration with contract management firm BioAlta LLC of San Diego aimed at finding potential treatments for cancer and other conditions.

Monday, January 18

As Tournament Time Nears, Farmers Steps In as Sponsor

The San Diego Open has been renamed the Farmers Insurance Open after the Farmers Insurance Group agreed to become the title sponsor for the area’s premier golf tournament, according to a Jan. 18 announcement.

For Davlyn, Del Mar’s Hacienda Is Where the Heart Is

REAL ESTATE: Sale Marks Start of Foreclosed Office Property Coming to Market

Davlyn Investments likes its most recent buy so much — $15.6 million for the Hacienda Del Mar office building — that it is moving its company headquarters there from Mission Valley.

Stormy Weather Ahead for New Board Chair?

SDBJ Insider

It’s a cash crunch for the county. Dark clouds are gathering as Pam Slater-Price is unanimously elected to head the county Board of Supervisors for 2010.

DefenseWeb Helps Launch Soldiers Into Cyberspace

TECHNOLOGY: Virtual World Gets Medical Data to Troops, Connects Families

The U.S. Army maintains camps in South Korea and bases in Europe. With the help of a San Diego contractor, it has an outpost in cyberspace too.

Manufacturing Job Losses Mounting Countywide

LABOR: Industry Shed Nearly 8,000 Positions in First 11 Months of 2009

San Diego lost 135 more manufacturing jobs last month when Koch Membrane Systems Inc. announced it was moving its production line from Scripps Ranch to the company’s headquarters in Wilmington, Mass.

Ivy Re-Brands as Hyatt’s Andaz Hotel

TOURISM: Downtown Property Seeking International Travelers

Historically, downtown San Diego hotels that don’t sit along the waterfront struggle in a recession. The Ivy Hotel — a chic property that made its debut in 2007 in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter — is no exception.

Supervisors to Reconsider North County Housing Project

REAL ESTATE: Plans Call for 2,630 Homes, Retail, Biological Preserve

With its 3-2 vote Jan. 13 to reconsider the proposed development of the 2,327-acre Merriam Mountains project, the county Board of Supervisors breathed new life into a bitter fight.

FDA-Approved Device to Help Surgeons’ Efficiency, Cytori Says

San Diego-based regenerative medicine company Cytori Therapeutics Inc. said Jan. 8 that it received U.S. regulatory clearance to market its PureGraft system, a bedside device capable of removing, purifying and re-injecting a patient’s fat tissue in about 15 minutes.

News in Brief

Maxwell Technologies Inc., the San Diego maker of industrial power storage systems, said it delivered its one millionth large cell ultracapacitor last month.

Boutique Law Offices Appear More Charming

In an economic environment that has stifled some legal work, many seasoned attorneys found themselves packing their briefcases after lackluster profits forced layoffs, or voluntary departures, at large, multinational firms.

Conference Underscores Inequities in Cancer Funding

HEALTH CARE: Hopeful Research Continues Despite Lackluster Support for ‘Smoker’s Disease’

Major genetic advancements have revolutionized the treatment of lung cancer in recent years, but medical researchers who met last week in San Diego said they’re concerned that federal funding and public support continues to lag far behind other cancer types.

New Year Brings Positive Outlook, New Business to North County

Business in the North County — Ted Owen

The beginning of the new year is bringing some new businesses to North County, some accolades for a few existing businesses, and a positive outlook for a much better 2010.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Jan. 11 that it has added a new cardiovascular drug to its development pipeline.

Friday, January 15

CCDC Bond Issues Make the Grade

Fitch Ratings affirmed three tax allocation bond issues by the Centre City Development Corp. as A+ for two issues and A- for a third, the credit rating service said Jan. 14.

Atlanta Bank Arrives to Serve Wealthy Clients

SunTrust Sports and Entertainment Specialty Group, a division of Atlanta-based SunTrust Bank, recently opened two new offices in the area to serve wealthy clients.

Thursday, January 14

Telenueva TV Pairs Up With Hispanic MediaWorks

San Diego-based Telenueva TV, a content development and syndication company, is partnering with the full-service advertising and media sales firm Hispanic MediaWorks of New York.

Technology Outsourcing Plan Heads to City Council

Mayor Jerry Sanders is seeking City Council approval of the first step in a plan to outsource the city’s information technology services by hiring a Gardena firm for its help desk and desktop support services.

Flu Shots Available at Lindbergh, Including 24,000 H1N1 Doses

The San Diego International Airport said it will begin offering flu shots to passengers traveling through its terminals starting Jan. 15.

VF Makes Changes at Eagle Creek

VF Outdoor Inc., a subsidiary of North Carolina-based VF Corp., named Michael Millenacker president of its Eagle Creek brand, which is based in Vista, on Jan. 14.

Maxwell Technologies Delivers One Millionth Ultracapacitor

Maxwell Technologies Inc., the San Diego maker of industrial power storage systems, said it delivered its one millionth large cell ultracapacitor last month.

Tuesday, January 12

WD-40 Net Income Rises 23 Percent

WD-40 Co., the San Diego maker of lubricants and cleaning products, reported Jan. 11 that it had net income of $9.4 million in its fiscal first quarter ended Nov. 30, up 22.5 percent from the prior year first quarter.

Borrego Springs Resort Goes Dark

Borrego Ranch Resort & Spa, formerly named La Casa del Zorro, became another hotel victim of the recession, announcing it shut its doors Jan. 8.

VentiRx Raises $25M

San Diego-based VentiRx Pharmaceuticals said Jan. 12 that it has raised $25 million in an extended round of Series A financing, bringing its total raised to $51.8 million.

U.S. World Cup Bid to Include San Diego

San Diego was selected as one of 18 cities to host several World Cup games in 2018 or 2022 if the United States is chosen to host the world’s biggest sports event later this year.

Covario Snags Netconcepts to Pursue Growth Market

Covario Inc. said Jan. 12 that it acquired Netconcepts of Madison, Wis., for undisclosed terms.

Life Technologies Buys Northern California Firm

In the latest in a string of purchases, Life Technologies Corp. of Carlsbad has agreed to buy diagnostic controls company AcroMetrix of Benicia for an undisclosed amount.

North County Businesses Pool Knowledge on Biofuels Project

SG Biofuels, a San Diego-based plant science company that aims to produce high-quality crude oil out of the jatropha shrub, said it has partnered with Life Technologies Corp. of Carlsbad to advance the development of its biofuels initiative.

Monday, January 11

Tandem Diabetes Care Raises $52.3M

Tandem Diabetes Care, an early stage medical device company focused on insulin pumps for diabetes, has completed a $52.3 million financing round it began in May, according to a regulatory filing.

Industry Leaders Poised for Growth in the Local Marketplace

ACCOUNTING: CPAs Bring Wealth of Experience To Their Varied Roles

San Diego is neither a branch-office town nor a mega-corporation hub, but more of an entrepreneurial hotbed for life sciences and technology. Despite the down economy, there is life and growth in the accounting and management consulting sector that counsels the region’s not-for-profits, family businesses, small- to medium-sized enterprises and startups. Over the years, San Diego’s largest accounting-related consulting groups and the men and women who lead them have identified profitable and useful niches in the local marketplace. As companies realign and rethink their business strategies for 2010, the following accounting industry leaders are poised to help.

Stormy Weather Ahead for New Board Chair?

SDBJ Insider

It’s a cash crunch for the county. Dark clouds are gathering as Pam Slater-Price is unanimously elected to head the county Board of Supervisors for 2010.

BRE Commercial Set to Unfurl New Flag

REAL ESTATE: Grubb to Stay; Cassidy Turley To Debut in 57 Locations

Real estate brokerage firm BRE Commercial San Diego is parting company with Grubb & Ellis Co. to join seven other firms around the nation to form a network of commercial brokerages to be branded as Cassidy Turley.

L.A. REIT Buys Office Complex for $75 Million

Sale Is Area’s Largest Commercial Real Estate Transaction of 2009

The recent acquisition of Seaview Corporate Center, the largest commercial real estate transaction in San Diego in 2009, could be a long-awaited sign that there is once again movement in the office-space sector.

Navy’s Cyber Command Office Creates Business Opportunities

DEFENSE: Cyberwarfare Support Deal May Be Worth $250M Over Five-Year Span

San Diego executive Tony Nufer reaches back to the 1950s for a way to describe the military’s new offices dedicated to cyberwarfare.

VA, Kaiser Share Digital Medical Records

HEALTH CARE: Locally Tested Program Allows Data Transfer in Seconds

A new electronic health records initiative between Kaiser Permanente and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will allow physicians to share information about a patient’s allergies, medications and medical condition for the first time without delay.

High-Speed Rail Project’s High Cost

Boondoggle blues ... With Sacramento’s budget nightmare rocketing beyond epic proportions, many critics now doubt that the proposed high-speed rail line between San Francisco and Southern California will ever get built.

Hosiery Maker Wraps Clothes Around Toes

MANUFACTURING: Athletes And Others Find Health Benefits in Wearing Toe Socks

San Diego’s Injinji has found a toehold in the uber-competitive world of sportswear.The 10-year-old business makes socks with five separate toe coverings, an innovation the company says improves toe movement, reduces friction and results in healthier feet.

Startups Thrive On the Scraps Of Defunct Life Sciences Firms

BIOTECH: Savvy CEOs Pick Up Used Lab Equipment At Bargain-Basement Prices

Organovo Inc. CEO Keith Murphy couldn’t justify spending tens of thousands of dollars on new laboratory equipment last year, so the small regenerative medicine startup scrapped a few pieces from a neighboring biotech on the move.

News in Brief

San Diego’s economy should rebound this year, but the growth will be modest at best, said a trio of economists at the 2010 Economics Roundtable held Jan. 7 at the University of San Diego.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

Resource Nation Inc., a locally based operator of an Internet site connecting businesses with pre-screened vendors, said Dec. 30 that it more than doubled its vendor network in categories such as business telephone systems and payroll services in 2009.

Kyocera International to Get New Leader

PUBLIC COMPANIES: Lanthorne Stepping Down As President March 31

Rodney Lanthorne, the longtime president of Kyocera International Inc., will leave his position March 31 to become vice chairman of the board of directors, the company said Jan. 4. He’ll be replaced by John Rigby, the current president of Kyocera Industrial Ceramics Corp.

Eco-Chic Products Generate Green for Solana Beach’s Kirei USA

SMALL BIZ: Microsoft, McDonald’s Use Firm’s Interior Design Materials

When John Stein started his eco-chic interior design materials company, Kirei USA, in 2003 “green” was a dirty word. Even back then, many people regarded building green as the equivalent of wearing hemp shirts and Birkenstocks.

Nonprofit Profile

Hunger at Home - Ewell Sterner, Founder and President

Mission of organization: To reach out to the community and create awareness about the hunger crisis, and many needs the world is facing. To educate local community members on health and nutrition in their everyday lives. To unite as a culturally diverse community in recognition of hunger, homelessness and malnutrition as an international concern, while creating an immediate focus locally.

San Diego People

John Crawford has joined the Clearity Foundation’s board of directors and has been appointed chief financial officer. For the past 28 years, Crawford has been an executive officer and director for more than a dozen life sciences firms, with five of them being in cancer drug development. Most recently, he was CFO of Phenomix Corp. and three other San Diego-based biotechnology firms. Crawford holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematical sciences from Stanford University and an M.B.A. in finance from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago.

Supervisors to Reconsider North County Housing Project

REAL ESTATE: Plans Call for 2,630 Homes, Retail, Biological Preserve

With its 3-2 vote Jan. 13 to reconsider the proposed development of the 2,327-acre Merriam Mountains project, the county Board of Supervisors breathed new life into a bitter fight.

1st Pacific Bank Trims Staff as It Faces Regulatory Challenges

1st Pacific Bank of California continues to shrink both in size and in people as it deals with multiple enforcement actions.

Real Estate Roundup

Shea Homes, recently ranked No. 1 among San Diego County home builders according to MarketPointe Realty Advisors, has begun construction on 32 homes in five San Diego-area neighborhoods.

$1.25M Donation Certain to Help 2 Balboa Park Gardens Grow

Two Balboa Park gardens received funding from the estate of Thomas and Lilyan Frank that will be used to fund the continued upkeep of the Inez Grant Parker Memorial Rose Garden and the Japanese Friendship Garden. The $1.25 million donation was split equally into two endowment funds established through The San Diego Foundation.

Ivy Re-Brands as Hyatt’s Andaz Hotel

TOURISM: Downtown Property Seeking International Travelers

Historically, downtown San Diego hotels that don’t sit along the waterfront struggle in a recession. The Ivy Hotel — a chic property that made its debut in 2007 in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter — is no exception.

Manufacturing Job Losses Mounting Countywide

LABOR: Industry Shed Nearly 8,000 Positions in First 11 Months of 2009

San Diego lost 135 more manufacturing jobs last month when Koch Membrane Systems Inc. announced it was moving its production line from Scripps Ranch to the company’s headquarters in Wilmington, Mass.

DefenseWeb Helps Launch Soldiers Into Cyberspace

TECHNOLOGY: Virtual World Gets Medical Data to Troops, Connects Families

The U.S. Army maintains camps in South Korea and bases in Europe. With the help of a San Diego contractor, it has an outpost in cyberspace too.

Area Businesses Leading Clean-Tech Economy

2009 will be remembered for many things. Perhaps among them, the year clean technology, climate change and various shades of “green” captured the world’s attention in a more meaningful way. Global environmental issues shifted from the fringe into the political mainstream.

Mayors Should Take Control of School Districts

On his desk during his tenure as superintendent of the San Diego Unified School District — perhaps to keep his sanity — Alan Bersin kept handy a quote from Mark Twain: “In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made School Boards.”

More Than a Numbers Game, Accounting Firms Diversify Services

FINANCE: Consulting Gives Clients Range of Options for Streamlining Their Business

While finances are squeezing businesses into paring down and streamlining, the need for sound financial advice has not gone away. Local accounting firms say they are finding a greater market for financial services beyond their standard tax and audit offerings — a need that’s being met by consulting firms spun off from traditional practices.

RoseRyan Opening Q5 Unit To Serve Southern California

RoseRyan, a financial consulting company, is dividing into two independent companies.

In Financial Staffing Crunch, Positions Filled With Temporary CFOs

LABOR: When Unemployment Runs High, Flexible Arrangements Become a More Viable Option

With local and national unemployment rates continuing to hover around 10 percent, more of San Diego’s managerial elite may enter the path of temporary consulting and part-time work.

Accountants Make Sense of Financials With Mixed Bag of Offerings

FINANCE: Extra Manpower Helps Businesses Stay Afloat Even During a Recession

Just what are those accounting and consulting firms doing? More than inspecting receipts and wielding red pencils, they are applying what they’ve learned from years of studying numbers to the day-to-day operations of businesses.

Executive Profile

Robert E. Lofgren

Robert E. Lofgren is a partner at Lavine, Lofgren, Morris & Engelberg LLP. The CPA firm works closely with many notable San Diego businesses, private investors and executives to achieve their goals and improve their business effectiveness and profitability in an ever-changing environment. Tax and audit/review services are offered for most industries within the community with resources to assist those with multi-state or international matters.

Sales and leases

Chang Family Trust purchased a 45,496-square-foot industrial building at 6640 Cobra Way for $7.4 million. The Chang Family Trust owns and operates American Electronic Materials Inc. and will move the company headquarters into the new building. Dean Asaro of CB Richard Ellis represented the buyer. Bill Cavanagh and Bryce Aberg of Grubb & Ellis/BRE Commercial represented the seller, Randall S. Koch.

Friday, January 8

Airport Parking Rates to Inch Higher in July

Short-term parking rates at Lindbergh Field will increase starting July 1 following action Jan. 7 by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, the public agency that manages the downtown facility.

Quarterly Profit Holds Steady at PriceSmart

PriceSmart Inc., the San Diego operator of foreign warehouse club stores mainly in the Caribbean, reported Jan. 8 that it had higher sales but slightly lower profits for its fiscal first quarter.

Thursday, January 7

Prometheus Laboratories Has New Financing in Hand

San Diego-based Prometheus Laboratories Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company that pairs its drug offerings with diagnostics, said Jan. 7 that it has secured $260 million in financing.

Economists Expect 2010 to Be ‘Less Bad’ Than Its Predecessor

San Diego’s economy should rebound this year, but the growth will be modest at best, said a trio of economists at the 2010 Economics Roundtable held Jan. 7 at the University of San Diego.

Petco Starts Year With More Than 1,000 Stores

San Diego-based Petco Animal Supplies Inc. is opening four stores with the beginning of the year.

Wednesday, January 6

Reno Contracting Expands Energy Evaluation Role

San Diego-based Reno Contracting said in December that it has formed a new business unit, Reno ESP, devoted to energy efficiency in commercial buildings.

Dot Hill to Buy New York Software Firm

Dot Hill Systems Corp., a Carlsbad maker of data storage equipment, entered into an agreement to acquire Cloverleaf Communications, a Woodbury, N.Y.-based, privately held software company, Dot Hill said Jan. 5.

Tuesday, January 5

Longtime Radio Show Taken Off the Air

A perennial morning radio show has left the San Diego airwaves. KGB-FM said Jan. 4 that it had canceled the Dave, Shelly and Chainsaw Show.

Sorrento Mesa Complex Sells for $75M

San Diego’s largest commercial real estate transaction of 2009 came very late in the year, closing on Dec. 29

Monday, January 4

Adventrx Sends Drug to FDA, Sells Preferred Stock

San Diego-based specialty pharmaceutical company Adventrx has submitted its lead cancer drug to the FDA for approval, it said Jan. 4.

Port Commission Names New Chairman

Robert “Dukie” Valderrama will be sworn in as the new chairman of the Port of San Diego’s board of port commissioners Jan. 5, the agency said.

Ex-Qualcomm Exec Lands at Memjet

Memjet Home and Office, an Idaho business that has yet to take its printing technology to market, said Jan. 4 that it hired former Qualcomm Inc. executive Len Lauer as its president and CEO.

Damage Is Done: Lower Room Rates Hurt Hotel Industry

TOURISM: Guests Not Paying ‘Crazy’ Prices

A dismal economy and the plummeting cost of an average room made 2009 a year the hotel industry would just as soon forget.

Developing County’s Bay-Front Area Expected to Take Years

CONSTRUCTION: Waterfront Projects Simmer While Ambitious Plans Begin to Jell

Planned developments along the local bay front, some ambitious and expensive, could take a few years before becoming reality.

Meeting Venues Offer Concessions To Lure Corporate Clients Back

HOSPITALITY: Promotions Go a Long Way Toward Keeping Hotels Booked for Longer Stays

The continuing trend by corporations to hold more daylong meetings at hotels or resort destinations with fewer overnight stays has led some San Diego-based hoteliers to slash pricing and offer creative package deals.

Waterfront Hotels Start on Long Road to Recovery in 2010

TOURISM: AIG Effect Had Chilling Impact on Corporate Business in ’09

After a challenging 2009, San Diego’s waterfront hotels, like all others, are looking for improved business conditions to attract more visitors this year.

This Is the Year of the New Beginning, Act on It

I am naturally suspicious of prognostications, because there are so many often incorrectly based on past trends. This is especially true in economics, particularly now.

Real Estate Roundup

Bilbro Construction Co. Inc., a full-service general contracting firm based in San Diego, announced that the $45 million construction project for La Jolla Country Day School is nearly complete.

Trio Building 404-Home, Single-Family Neighborhood in Carlsbad

This is my first column of 2010 and, in many ways, I am glad 2009 is over. I am happy it’s 2010 because everyone is predicting a significant upswing in the economy in most sectors.

City National Bank Benefits From Imperial Capital’s Failure

City National Bank, one of the largest banks in Southern California, got a bit larger last month when it purchased most of the good assets belonging to failed Imperial Capital Bank, which was seized Dec. 18.

Gala Generates $2 Million for Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla

The 80th anniversary Ruby Jubilee Candlelight Ball benefiting Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, held Dec. 5 at The Grand Del Mar, raised $2 million for lifesaving care. Betty Knight Scripps served as general chairman, and The Edward W. and Betty Knight Scripps Foundation donated $1 million. The gala was also commemorated with the presentation of a one-of-a-kind rose, the Betty Knight Scripps Rose, to celebrate her ongoing commitment and support of Scripps La Jolla. Other contributors to the event included Faye Wilson, Coast Environmental Inc., Qualcomm Inc., Union Bank, N.A. and Westfield UTC …

San Diego People

Terry Magee has joined Wavestream Corp. as executive vice president in its recently opened local satellite office. In this position, Magee will be responsible for business development, sales, marketing and product management for Wavestream, which designs and manufactures radio frequency amplifiers for satellite communications systems.

News in Brief

The victim in an apparent murder-suicide shooting Dec. 29 at Lakeside’s Barona Valley Resort and Casino complex was revealed the following day as Raymundo Castillas, the 43-year-old executive director for Barona’s gaming commission. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department identified the victim.

$18.8M in Grants to Help Institute Take Aim at Infectious Diseases

Some of the world’s most infectious diseases have eluded researchers working to come up with effective vaccines to combat them. Now, researchers with the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology will join forces with teams from Australia, Brazil and Papua New Guinea to tackle some of the toughest — dengue virus, malaria, smallpox and tuberculosis — in a five-year set of grants awarded by the National Institutes of Health.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

Somaxon Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Dec. 17 that it plans to meet with the FDA on Jan. 20 to discuss plans for the future of its insomnia drug Silenor.

$568M Deal Brings ViaSat Directly to Consumers

ViaSat Inc.’s acquisition of WildBlue Communications Inc., consummated last month, could be considered a huge risk, but if you’re CEO Mark Dankberg, it makes perfect sense.

American Specialty Health Program Geared to Reduce Firms’ Costs

HEALTH CARE: Disease Management Coaching to Help Motivate Employees

American Specialty Health Inc. said it will introduce employers to a new motivational tool designed to improve employee health while helping businesses cut their health expenditures.

Growing Client Base Reaps Benefits of Intercare Solutions’ Services

INSURANCE: Workers’ Health Improves, Premiums

Carlsbad-based Kisco Senior Living is feeling a lot better about its employee health benefit program these days.

Down Economy Drives Online Enrollment Up

EDUCATION: Convenience Also a Key Factor, Local Colleges Report

Students opting to get their degrees via online classes are part of a major growth area of college education locally and nationally.

New Home Sales Activity on the Rise in Downtown San Diego

REAL ESTATE: But Average Price Has Gone From $714K to $500K in the Past Year

The lingering recession continues to create a drag on San Diego’s downtown residential real estate market, but analysts say they’re encouraged by a surge of activity during 2009.

Defense Bill Sends Billions to Region

Breaking briefly from its debate over health care reform, Congress provided some clarity to defense contractors in mid-December by finalizing the Pentagon’s 2010 spending plan.

Ruben Barrales to Lead Chamber for Three More Years

NONPROFIT: CEO Focuses on Helping Small Biz, Water Woes

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce extended the contract of President and CEO Ruben Barrales for three more years last month.