Stories for September 2010
Thursday, September 30
San Diego-based Jack in the Box Inc. announced Sept. 29 that it will close 40 underperforming, company-operated restaurants, primarily in the Southeast and Texas.
The World Trade Center San Diego received a $425,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to spur exports from U.S. technology companies working in the field of potable water use in the Middle East, North Africa and India.
Wednesday, September 29
An index measuring San Diego’s economy was flat in August, breaking a string of 16 consecutive monthly increases.
Commercial real estate services giant CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. announced Sept. 29 that John Frager will lead its office services group, overseeing brokerage and investment operations in the United States, Canada and Latin America.
The Cancer Center at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute said Sept. 28 it has received a $21 million grant from the National Cancer Institute.
Tuesday, September 28
While the nation’s housing values slowly rebound, prices in the San Diego region show a consistent growth trend, and increased for a 15th consecutive month in July.
Monday, September 27
John Fernandez, assistant U.S. secretary of commerce for economic development, will headline a panel discussion Sept. 30 on the Obama administration’s innovation initiatives at a CONNECT public policy forum.
Charles Wurster, president and chief executive officer for the Port of San Diego, tendered his resignation Sept. 24 after only 21 months on the job, saying “it was time to move on.”
ViaSat Inc., the Carlsbad-based maker of satellite equipment, said Sept. 27 that the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command has placed an additional order for tactical radio system terminals valued at $5.5 million.
Dr. Mohit Kaushal has been named executive vice president of business development and chief strategy officer of the San Diego-based West Wireless Health Institute.
REAL ESTATE: Potential And Current Tenants Are Negotiating Good Deals
While manufacturing doesn’t immediately spring to mind as a core part of San Diego’s $170 billion economy, products from golf clubs to Predator drones are made here and contribute $20 billion to $30 billion each year, according to Marney Cox, chief economist for the San Diego Association of Governments.
REAL ESTATE: Companies Flock to Commercial Space Near Their Related Cohorts
San Diego has its share of regions now known as meccas for technology-oriented companies geared to similar pursuits.
The health of the airline industry will be put to the test in Carlsbad where a new airline is about to enter the marketplace.
Once held up as bastions of conservative lending, credit unions are failing or being forced to merge (such as San Diego’s USA Federal CU earlier this month) in far greater numbers this year.
The brokerage and research firm Marcus & Millichap recently issued a quarterly investment report predicting that improving San Diego apartment fundamentals will serve as a “springboard to more robust revenue growth in 2011” for apartment operators.
EDUCATION: Economic Forces Lead to Changes in Funding and Leadership
Organizers formally debuted a San Diego State University program aimed at preparing the next generation of real estate professionals for what remains a challenging climate.
TECHNOLOGY: Event Gives Industry Leaders Networking Opportunity
Innovation Night, a networking event that attracts the leaders of biotech, high-tech, cleantech and related industries to an evening of theater, will be held Oct. 6 at the La Jolla Playhouse.
HEALTH CARE: Committee Ensures $247M Is Managed Correctly By Officials
Keeping an eye on one government agency’s coffers is part of the business at hand for a citizens’ oversight committee created four years ago to monitor officials and their allocation of bond funds at Grossmont Healthcare District.
FINANCE: Debt Issue Maximized as Sale Draws Eager Investors
A hungry bond market combined with a favorable environment for fixed-income debt resulted in a much lower interest rate on nearly $600 million in revenue bonds issued Sept. 22 for San Diego International Airport’s Green Build project.
HEALTH CARE: Santee’s Doctors Express Facility Promises Speedy Service
A longtime local health care executive is hoping to attract some of the county’s urgent care business when he opens the first franchise clinic of a national chain tailored to these types of patients.
WORK FORCE: Local Leaders Lobby Company to Set Up Headquarters in San Diego
Regional political and business leaders spent their summer discreetly working to attract a new corporate headquarters to San Diego.
MANUFACTURING: Plan Is Expected to Create Jobs at Chula Vista Plant
A Canadian solar panel company plans to make its panels at an existing Chula Vista plant, a development that will create and retain 105 full-time jobs, according to the city.
ARCHITECTURE: Jennifer Luce Creates Work Spaces With Soul
Among local projects that cemented architect Jennifer Luce’s reputation as a designer’s designer, perhaps the most high-profile in the past five years was a renovation of Nissan Design America Inc. in La Jolla.
John Frager has resigned from his post after eight years as president and CEO of local commercial real estate brokerage firm Cassidy Turley BRE Commercial, the company announced Sept. 27.
DEFENSE: Fast-Growing Firm Aims to Keep Soldiers Safe
As a U.S. Army commander, Jamie Latshaw helped train troops being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, but felt the training they received could be improved.
Veteran Hollywood actor Harrison Ford, a licensed airplane and helicopter pilot, tops a long list of important personages in aviation to be honored Oct. 23 when the San Diego Air & Space Museum holds its annual gala celebration.
The region’s economy is still losing private-sector jobs. San Diego County lost 2,200 jobs in August and the unemployment rate is now 10.6 percent.
Richard Atkinson, former University of California president and UC San Diego chancellor emeritus, and his wife, Rita, have given $5.7 million for the graduate fellowships at UCSD to support the “Invent the Future” campaign, which has a goal of raising $50 million for graduate fellowships and undergraduate scholarships.
SALES: Agents Find There Are Deals to Be Made in a Down Cycle
Although the commercial real estate market was flattened by the end of 2008, and brokers remain guardedly optimistic about a slow recovery, many are doing well in this crazy and unpredictable market.
Friday, September 24
Vical Inc., a San Diego biotechnology company that develops gene therapies and experimental vaccines, announced Sept. 24 the pricing of an underwritten public offering of 15 million shares of its common stock at $2.25 per share.
A wine tasting event set for Oct. 2 in La Jolla will raise funds to equip local labs for cancer research.
Thursday, September 23
Leap Wireless International Inc., parent of San Diego-based Cricket Communications Inc., said Sept. 23 it entered into an agreement to purchase the remaining 17.5 percent interest in Denali Spectrum LLC.
Wednesday, September 22
Encore Capital Group Inc., a San Diego collector of bad credit card debt, said Sept. 22 it issued $50 million in senior secured notes to Prudential Capital Group through a private placement.
About 3,000 people were expected to attend the International Council of Shopping Centers’ annual Western Conference, running Sept. 22-24 at the San Diego Convention Center.
Tuesday, September 21
Douglas Wilson, owner of San Diego-based Douglas Wilson Cos., has been appointed receiver for an unfinished, $11 million condominium building in Studio City.
JH Real Estate Partners Inc. of Newport Beach is acquiring the 124-unit Central Park apartment complex in La Mesa for $14 million.
Monday, September 20
Sempra Energy, parent of San Diego Gas & Electric Co., said Sept. 20 it sold its Energy Solutions unit belonging to a joint venture to the Noble Group Ltd. for $317 million in cash. Noble will also assume the unit’s $265 million in debt.
We Are Proud That Our Fastest-Growing Private Companies List Has Become So Coveted an Honor
The San Diego Business Journal is publishing its seventh annual list of the county’s fastest-growing private companies in this week’s issue. No. 1 on the list, Integrity First Financial Group is a real estate firm specializing in residential lending. The company increased its revenue from $373,862 in 2007 to $2,459,542 in 2009, a growth rate of nearly 560 percent. To read more about these high-achieving businesses, turn to the 100 Fastest-Growing Privately Held Companies supplement.
Many people hear the term “green travel” and picture someone camping in Big Bear or cycling through Baja. You don’t need to sacrifice creature comforts to be a green traveler; you can visit big cities or small villages.
FINANCE: Operating in the Black, CAO Says County Can Be No. 1 Organization
In matters of the pocketbook, San Diego’s county government goes against conventional wisdom.
CYBERSECURITY: Developer of Anti-Virus Software Scores Big Win With Macintosh Computers
ESET LLC, a San Diego-based software firm, introduced a new anti-virus security system for Apple Inc.’s Mac computers last month, with the consumer versions available in retail outlets in November.
DEVELOPMENT: Council Seeks Final Say on Downtown Projects With 100 or More Rooms
The San Diego City Council has taken the first step in a controversial move to give itself a final say in the approval of downtown hotel projects with 100 or more rooms, down-shifting the role of the agency that has overseen those developments for the past 30 years.
Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Looks like my beloved California Golden Bears at UC Berkeley are getting a little competition in the football department.
CLEANTECH: Focus on Clean Fuels, Remediation and Green Technology; Algae Agenda
Biotechnology community representatives from around the state gathered in downtown San Diego on Sept. 15 and 16 to take stock of the fast-growing industry at the California Industrial Biotech Conference.
TECHNOLOGY: Large Vessels Can Be Tracked With Web-Based Service
The folks managing the cleanup of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico this summer received some help from a San Diego software company.
DEVELOPMENT: County Supervisors to Review Zoning Revisions Soon
When it comes to setting long-term strategies for handling growth, San Diego County planners prefer to avoid do-overs.
FINANCE: Firm Works With Minority Brokers Interested In Stabilizing Neighborhoods
Home foreclosures may have declined in recent months both in San Diego and California, but Jim Park sees more pain coming down the pike.
Jarring change has become a constant for San Diego County’s hotel scene during the past three years.
Borrego Springs Bank reported a net profit of $257,000 for the second quarter, which was much better than its first quarter when it lost $1.1 million, according to its call reports filed with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
A 1,340-square-foot locker room and shower facility to be provided as an exterior addition to the existing Response Center of the Thomas H. Owen Heartland Fire Training Facility.
EDUCATION: Instructors Nurture Selling Skills in Novices to Professionals
Whether it’s real estate agents engaging in unethical practices to sell undesirable properties in David Mamet’s play, “Glengarry Glen Ross,” or the people who staff the phones in the movie, “Boiler Room,” the classic salesman has been characterized for better or worse as the glib magician — part charmer and part charlatan.
EDUCATION: Students Role-Play Pitches, Review Corporate Sales Playbooks
Having the skills needed to more effectively sell a product or service is a key component of myriad educational offerings in San Diego.
WORK FORCE: Pros Share Strategies They’ve Learned From Experience
Top salespeople all have their theories on what makes them successful at getting people or businesses to buy products or services.
In so many ways, the good real estate fairy has smiled graciously on downtown San Diego over the past decade or so. With one wave of the magic wand there appeared Petco Park; with another, a major convention center expansion. Along with several small flicks of the scepter came thousands of new condominium units, scores of new restaurants of every flavor, bars and bistros, and more retail outlets than even my wife could ever hope to patronize.
MARKETING: Style Cliques Helps Shoppers Explore Their Options
When Christina Clay launched Encinitas-based Style Cliques in April, her goal was to carve out a business niche that combined women’s desire to look their best with the convenience of shopping on the Internet.
John E. Small is chairman and chief executive officer of Tapestry Resorts and LaTour Hotels and Resorts — two of the world’s leading time-share resort/homeowners association board management companies.
Ann marie Houghtailing is principal of The Houghtailing Group, a boutique sales consulting and business development firm that empowers clients to create opportunities and generate revenue in every economic climate.
Connie Matsui, a retired executive vice president of Biogen Idec, volunteer and cancer survivor, was honored at the annual UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center Luau & Longboard Invitational.
Friday, September 17
San Diego’s jobless rate declined in August to 10.6 percent from a revised unemployment of 10.9 percent in July, but the region showed a net loss of nearly 10,000 jobs over the 12 months, the state Employment Development Department reported.
Despite making the cut from 111 teams to the final seven, North County-based Aptera Motors finished out of the money in the 30-month Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize, according to a Sept. 16 news release.
Wednesday, September 15
The San Diego City Council has taken the first step toward giving itself a final say in the approval of downtown hotel projects with 100 or more rooms.
Fitch Ratings assigned an A rating to $424 million in airport revenue bonds that will be issued next week as part of a financing package for the $1 billion expansion project at Lindbergh Field, the company said Sept. 14.
A Chinese national was sentenced to 96 months in prison Sept. 13 after being found guilty by a San Diego federal jury in May of smuggling defense components and devices from this country, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
Tuesday, September 14
The U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest has awarded a $15.4 million task order to San Diego-based T.B. Penick & Sons Inc. to construct bachelor quarters at San Clemente Island.
Monday, September 13
Entropic Communications Inc., a San Diego maker of semiconductors and software for home networking television systems, said Sept. 13 it now expects its third quarter revenue to range from $60 million to $61 million, an increase of 47-50 percent above its previous quarterly revenue forecast.
RF Industries, a San Diego distributor of coaxial connectors and cable assemblies, reported Sept. 13 fiscal third quarter net income of $312,000, compared to net income of $10,000 for the like period of the prior fiscal year.
Saying goodbye to someone is tough. Remembering someone is also tough. What is it in a person that makes us want to emulate him or her?
Craig Fravel is the newly appointed president and general manager of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
The National Credit Union Administration, the main regulatory agency to the nation’s 8,000 credit unions, filed an amended lawsuit against 15 former officers and directors, including two top San Diego executives, for their alleged role in the failure of Western Corporate Federal Credit Union.
TECHNOLOGY: Leader Honored for Advancements In Monitoring Brain Activity
At an age when most entrepreneurs still are seeking recognition, Philip Low, the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of San Diego-based NeuroVigil Inc., is making his mark in the fields of science and business.
TECHNOLOGY: Venture Funding, Planned IPO Help Firm Gear Up for Expansion
Its technology can be found today mostly in bicycles but in the near future, the gearless transmissions developed by Fallbrook Technologies Inc. may be incorporated into lawn mowers, electric vehicles, cars and wind turbines.
CONSTRUCTION: Joint Venture to Build Estimated $451M Facility
CareFusion Corp., a medical technology company based in San Diego, has launched the AVAmax Vertebral Balloon, a device designed to improve and reduce the costs of kyphoplasty, a treatment for spinal compression fractures.
The kickoff of professional football here has some fans worried about the old end-around.
TELECOM: Cricket to Offer Smartphones, Revised Pricing
Al Moschner, chief operating officer at Leap Wireless International Inc. equates what is happening at his company to what Southwest Airlines achieved in the last decade – a national brand.
MANUFACTURING: Earnings Per Share Expected to Meet or Exceed Top End of Its Guidance
From its modest beginnings as the Rocket Chemical Co. in 1953, WD-40 Co. has grown into a global operation with a product used worldwide.
FINANCE: World’s Largest CU A ‘Good Fit’ for USA Federal
USA Federal Credit Union, which lost $45.1 million in the last three and a half years and was significantly undercapitalized, said its board voted Sept. 8 to merge with Navy Federal Credit Union.
HOSPITALITY: Cost-Cutting Measures Are Balanced With Adequate Guest Services, Perks
The recession was officially over months ago, but the hospitality industry is feeling the effects of an economy that still has consumers watching their wallets.
TOURISM: Travelers Look To AAA Symbol to Guide Them to Deluxe Properties
What qualifies as a five-star hotel? Diamonds, it turns out. Five stars are the European system for rating hotels, while the U.S., under the AAA system, goes by the brilliant stone — a girl’s best friend.
MARKETING: Extra Assessment Produces Over $20M Annually
Lorin Stewart, executive director of the San Diego Tourism Marketing District, is hopeful that a five-year plan he oversees to fund marketing campaigns and events that draw tourists to local hotels will go well beyond 2012.
Douglas R. Korn is general manager of The US Grant, a Luxury Collection Hotel. The hotel is owned by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation and operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts and is currently preparing for its centennial anniversary on Oct. 15.
American Express is the presenting sponsor of this year’s Taste of Opera series beginning Oct. 22
There is considerable pundit buzz lately about the fact that the much heralded home ownership rate will permanently drop as a result of the recession.
It’s not quite FedEx or the post office, in scale or appearance. But a logistical feat similar to that performed by the big delivery services happens every couple of days from the basement of a church north of downtown San Diego.
CONSTRUCTION: Joint Venture to Build Estimated $451M Facility
One of the plum construction projects from the federal government’s 2009 stimulus bill has finally been awarded.
Friday, September 10
Cannon Power Group, a Del Mar-based provider of wind-generated energy, said it closed a sale of a 20-year block of renewable power to the Southern California Public Power Authority for $547 million, in a Sept. 9 announcement.
The San Diego Unified Port District’s Board of Port Commissioners directed its staff to begin an environmental review process for the proposed expansion of the San Diego Convention Center in a vote Sept. 7.
Tuesday, September 7
San Diego employers are still skittish about hiring based on the results of the latest Manpower Employment Survey which showed 16 percent plan to hire more staffers in the fourth quarter, down from 24 percent who said they would hire more workers in the third quarter.
Monday, September 6
The Navy has awarded a contract worth as much as $451 million to design and build a new hospital at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
Stephen P. Doyle is president of Brookfield San Diego Builders Inc., a land development and home building company with expertise in the industry stemming back to the 1990s.
Sometimes a good deal is hard to pass by. That was the case recently when the Bank of Southern California, formerly called First Business Bank, arranged the purchase of two branches from troubled Palm Desert National Bank, expanding its branches from four to six.
Erik Groset is president and co-founder of Digital Group Audio, a Carlsbad-based manufacturer of portable audio products.
CONSTRUCTION: Diminishing Sales Match With Smaller Floor Plans
Despite the worst recession in the nation’s history and other barriers that have dampened buyer demand, new-home construction is still happening in San Diego, just far off the levels that were seen only a few years ago.
CONSTRUCTION: Even Apartments Are Built With Top Tech, Energy Amenities
When the time comes to build the ultimate custom home, the options for blending environmentally friendly features with digital technology are only limited by the owner’s budget.
REAL ESTATE: Entrenched Salespeople Tough It Out In Fickle Housing Market
What does it take to be one of San Diego’s top residential real estate agents? Is it where you came from, who you know, how you market or where you focus marketing efforts? Or is it sheer persistence and tenacity teamed with knowing the market and the mentality of buyers, sellers and their agents?
The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA’s 24th Annual Fur Ball “Casabarka” was held at its campus Aug. 14. Michele Militi and her dog, Tucker, were among those who attended this year’s event which raised $320,000 to support the SDHS and SPCA in its mission to promote the humane treatment of animals, prevent cruelty to animals and provide education to enhance the human-animal bond.
During the past 50 years, San Diego’s exponential growth as a globally respected scientific hub has developed on a canvas of excellence born from rigorous scientific research and development and the private sector’s transfer of technology for commercialization.
Construction activity continues to be a mixed bag of trends in San Diego County, with the residential side slowly improving and the commercial side still stuck in a rut.
REAL ESTATE: Prominent Pasadena Firm Buying 3 Veralliance Buildings
Experts say the recently announced purchase of three San Diego life sciences buildings by Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc., already among the dominant players in local biotech real estate, marks a continuing trend toward consolidation, and could also signal a spree of acquisitions within the biotech lab sector in coming months.
BANKING: Chief Executive Attributes Troubles to Loans In Commercial Real Estate
Metro United Bank, based in San Diego and with about $462 million in assets, received a consent order from its two regulators in July, agreeing to take a number of steps to correct and improve operations, according to a document recently filed with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Jolt of Java! Bird Rock Coffee Roasters in La Jolla purchases 300 pounds of one of the world’s most exotic coffees, a special varietal grown by a plantation in Panama. Esmeralda Special – Geisha varietal sells for $56 a pound, a bargain compared to the $130 retail price just a few years ago.
RETAIL: Lowe’s Chain Looking to Open Three Stores in Carlsbad, National City and Poway
The Lowe’s home improvement chain has at least three new stores in the works for San Diego County, one each in Carlsbad, National City and Poway.
ENERGY: ISE Seeks Loan to Get Through Restructuring Period
From all accounts last year and into the first quarter, ISE Corp. looked like the poster child for the region’s clean-tech energy industry.
Petco Animal Supplies Inc., the San Diego-based pet supplies retailer, said it might expand its offices beyond San Diego, but isn’t relocating its headquarters elsewhere.
TECHNOLOGY: Visionary Web Site Attracts $2.6M in VC Funding Its First Year
Shedding its old name because executives felt it was “too limiting,” a 17-month-old social networking Web site operator became Plixi Inc. on Aug. 31.
DEFENSE: San Diego Outpaces Norfolk, Va.; Washington, D.C.
San Diego County has eclipsed Norfolk, Va. as the community receiving the largest dollar amount of military payrolls in the United States.
REAL ESTATE: Irvine Co., EvoNexus Strive to Make UTC Area a High-Tech Cluster
IO Semiconductor is getting ready to leave the nest, also known as EvoNexus, a technology incubator now operating in the University Towne Center area that had a big financial impact in getting the fledgling company off the ground.
Rady School of Management Phase 2 is a five-story structure that connects with an earlier project, Otterson Hall, on four levels.
Friday, September 3
A deal that would have had Manchester Grand Resorts LP sell a controlling interest in its Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel to Orange County-based Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc. is apparently off the table.
Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. said Sept. 2 that it signed a $1 billion co-development agreement for an experimental anti-obesity drug called Contrave with Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceuticals.
Verenium Corp., based in Massachusetts but with San Diego operations, closed the sale of its cellulosic biofuels business to BP Biofuels North America for $98.3 million, the firm said Sept. 2.
Thursday, September 2
The Navy has awarded a contract worth as much as $451 million to design and build a new hospital at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.
Mission Plaza Hotel & Suites in San Diego, which was foreclosed on earlier this year by its lender, has been sold to an affiliate of La Jolla-based Reven Capital and Jet Stream Hotels & Resorts.