Stories for September 2010

Thursday, September 30

Jack in the Box Shutting 40 Locations

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.

World Trade Center Pulls in Export Grant

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

Local Economic Index Goes Flat

An index measuring San Diego’s economy was flat in August, breaking a string of 16 consecutive monthly increases.

Real Estate Executive Lands at Rival Firm

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.

$21M Grant to Drive Cancer Studies

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

Home Prices Grow Again

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

Commerce Department Figure Talks Innovation

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.

Port CEO Takes His Leave

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 Pulls in $5.5M Order

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.

West Wireless Names Chief Strategy Officer

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.

Availability of Manufacturing Properties Keeps Market in Low Gear

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.

Tech Firms Follow Favorable Migration Patterns

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.

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Entrepreneur Aims High With New McClellan-Palomar Airline

The health of the airline industry will be put to the test in Carlsbad where a new airline is about to enter the marketplace.

Local Credit Union Feels Pain Of Failures at Other Institutions

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.

Series of Investments Marks a Turning Point in Apartment Activity

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.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

SDSU Rejuvenates Its Corky McMillin Center for Real Estate

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.

Fundraiser Puts Live Theater And Technology on Center Stage

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.

Hospital Bond Watchdog Panel Reorganizes

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.

Interest Rate Minimized on $572M Airport Bonds

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.

First Franchise Urgent Care Clinic to Open

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.

Execs Try to Make Motorola Feel at Home

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.

New Solar Panels May Be Produced Locally

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.

Point of View

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.

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CEO Steps Down From Cassidy Turley BRE Commercial

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.

Training the Troops ‘Hyperrealistically’

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.

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‘Indiana Jones’ On Museum’s Honor Roll

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.

Hotel Approval Process: Solution in Search of a Problem

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.

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Couple Invest in the Future With Gift to UC San Diego Fund

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.

Executive Profile: David Malmuth

David Malmuth is the president of David Malmuth Development LLC.

Brokers Share the Inside Scoop on Surviving a Challenging Market

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 to Put More Shares on the Market

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.

Wine Tasting Event Benefits Cancer Research

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 Makes Buy in Chicago and Beyond

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 Issues Notes, Modifies Credit Facility

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.

Shopping Center Industry Leaders Converge

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

Wilson Named Receiver for Studio City Condo Project

Douglas Wilson, owner of San Diego-based Douglas Wilson Cos., has been appointed receiver for an unfinished, $11 million condominium building in Studio City.

La Mesa Apartment Complex Sold for $14M

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

Noble Group Buys Sempra-RBS Unit

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.

Fast 100

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.

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Green Travel: Take Only Pictures, Leave Just Footprints

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.

Striving to Be Best in the U.S.

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.

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ESET Polishes the Apple, Now Protects Macs

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.

City OKs Changes to Hotel Approval Process

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.

National City, Are You Ready for Some Football?

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.

Industrial Biotech Summit Convenes in San Diego

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.

Local Firm’s Software Aids Gulf Oil Spill Cleanup

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.

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Plans for Housing Key to Updating The General Plan

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.

Foreclosure Sales Strategy Aims to Give Owners an Edge Over Investors

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.

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Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

Hotel Makes Room for Some Big Changes at Its Bayfront Property

Jarring change has become a constant for San Diego County’s hotel scene during the past three years.

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Viejas Band’s Bank Is Growing, Making Plenty of New Loans

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.

Ground Breaking: Heartland Fire Training Facility Locker Room Addition

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.

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Training Surpasses Talent in Sales Arena, Coaches Say

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.

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Lessons in Effective Selling Are Taught in Many Formats

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.

Salespeople Deftly Approach, Connect and Follow Up With Clients

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.

People

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Real Estate Roundup

Projects, developments and other activity in cities in and around San Diego County

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How to Salvage the Downtown Office Market

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.

Style and Convenience Are a Match on This New Women’s Fashion Web Site

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.

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Executive Profile: John E. Small

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.

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Executive Profile: Ann marie Houghtailing

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.

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Cancer Survivor Makes Waves at Luau & Longboard Fundraiser

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.

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Friday, September 17

August Jobless Rate Falls to 10.6 Percent

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.

Aptera Settles for Runner-Up in X Prize Competition

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

San Diego Moves Ahead With Changes to Hotel Approval Process

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.

Airport Agency Bonds Get Positive Ratings

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.

ViaSat Electronics at Center of Smuggling Case

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

Going West for Work: Firm Gets $15.4M Project on Isolated Island

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 Raises Forecast

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.

RFI Sees Net Income Grow, Brings Back Dividend

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.

People

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Flag Man and Carlsbad Mayor Make Region Proud

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?

Executive Profile: Craig Fravel

Craig Fravel is the newly appointed president and general manager of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.

Credit Union Regulator Cites 2 Local Execs in Amended Lawsuit

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.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

MIT Counts Local CEO Among World’s Top Young Innovators

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.

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Bikes a Starting Point for More Transmissions

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.

CareFusion Launches Spinal Treatment Device

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.

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Chargers’ New Season One of Its Last in San Diego?

The kickoff of professional football here has some fans worried about the old end-around.

Leap Wireless Seeks National Branding

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.

Squeaks in China, Russian Rust Aid WD-40

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.

Credit Union Finds Merger Partner

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.

Hoteliers Hustle to Generate New, Repeat Business

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.

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County’s Five-Diamond Hotels Offer Rooms a Cut Above the Rest

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.

Lodging Fee Goes a Long Way Toward Promoting Tourism

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.

Executive Profile: Douglas R. Korn

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.

Real Estate Roundup

Projects, developments and other activity in cities in and around San Diego County

Dinner Series Whets the Appetite for San Diego Opera’s 2011 Season

American Express is the presenting sponsor of this year’s Taste of Opera series beginning Oct. 22

Are Reductions in Home Ownership Permanent?

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.

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A Hunger to Help

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.

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Navy Awards Camp Pendleton Hospital Contract

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.

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Friday, September 10

Cannon Sells Power From Wind Farm, Under Construction

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.

Port to Launch Environmental Study for Convention Center Addition

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

Fewer Employers Plan to Hire in Fourth Quarter

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

News in Brief

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.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

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Real Estate Roundup

Projects, developments and other activity in cities in and around San Diego County

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Executive Profile: Stephen P. Doyle

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.

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Desert Expansion Increases Bank’s Regional Branches to Six

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.

Executive Profile: Erik Groset

Erik Groset is president and co-founder of Digital Group Audio, a Carlsbad-based manufacturer of portable audio products.

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Home Builders Scale Back as Real Estate Recovery Hits a Wall

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.

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Custom Homes Get High-End Treatment From Front to Backyard

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.

Dedication, Hard Work Are Secrets to Agents’ Superstar Success

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?

Animals Joined Festivities at Humane Society’s Fur Ball Fundraiser

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.

People

Hirings, promotions and other moves at local businesses

Region Is a Scientific Hub on Canvas of Excellence

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.

Residential Construction Activity Up; Commercial Building Down

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.

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Property Sales Give Biotech Brokers the Jitters

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.

Metro United Tasked With Improving Operations

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.

Price of Rare Coffee Could Roast Your Pocketbook!

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.

For Retail Growth, Jobs, Housing Picture Must Improve

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.

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Firm Was Rolling, Until Bankruptcy

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 Is Loyal While Scouting New Territory

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.

Plixi Provides Platform for Sharing Snapshots Via Social Networks

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.

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County Tops Nation In Military Payrolls

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.

Technology Incubator Hatches

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.

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Ground Breaking: Rady School of Management Phase 2 at UC San Diego

Rady School of Management Phase 2 is a five-story structure that connects with an earlier project, Otterson Hall, on four levels.

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Friday, September 3

Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel Deal Appears Dead

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, Japanese Firm Ink $1B Partnership

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 Closes Sale of Biofuels Business

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

$451M Camp Pendleton Hospital Deal Awarded

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 in San Diego Has New Owners

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.

Wednesday, September 1

AMN Closes Purchase of Nursefinders

AMN Healthcare Services, the San Diego-based nursing staffing company, said Sept. 1 it completed the purchase of the parent firm of Texas-based Nursefinders Inc.