Stories for September 2011

Wednesday, September 28

Burnham Gift to Generate a Look at Region’s Future

“If you take a seed and plant it just right, you can grow a pretty big tree,” said Malin Burnham, a former San Diego real estate executive, in describing why he just provided a $5 million endowment for a brand new nonprofit center that will help shape this region for realities of the future.

Tuesday, September 27

Economic Index Decline Renews Recovery Concerns

An index measuring the San Diego economy fell by 1 percent in August, the largest decline since March 2009 and the second decrease in the past three months, causing concern about the sustainability of the tepid recovery.

Pat & Oscar’s Files for Bankruptcy Protection, Closes 3 Locations

Carlsbad-based restaurant chain Pat & Oscar’s has filed for Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy and closed three corporate-owned locations in Carlsbad, El Cajon and Temecula. Eleven franchised locations remained open as of Sept. 27.

Barnhart Balfour Beatty Takes Parent Firm’s Name

Locally based Barnhart Balfour Beatty has been renamed Balfour Beatty Construction, marking the final step in a transition following the 2008 acquisition of the former Barnhart Inc. by Dallas-based Balfour Beatty Construction.

Monday, September 26

Pacifica Buys Historic La Jolla Hotel for $41 million

A unit of San Diego-based Pacifica Cos. has purchased the historic La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla for $41 million.

Web Firms Keep Pace With Industry Changes

TECHNOLOGY: Tools Constantly Evolving; Security Still an Issue

As the online realm continues to mature, companies on the San Diego Business Journal’s Web Development and Design Firms list are encountering a range of issues surrounding security, social media and digital platforms.

App Could Be ‘Game-Changer’ For Busy Athletes

TECHNOLOGY: Partners Seek Wide Participation To Generate Advertising

It looks like the entrepreneurial DNA has been passed to the next generation of La Jollans. Aaron Royston, son of San Diego venture capitalist Ivor Royston, and Nick Shiftan, son of high-profile oncologist Thomas Shiftan, are two of three graduate students behind 9-month-old startup, Sportaneous Inc.

Stadium Plan May Incorporate Convention Center

HOSPITALITY: Mayor Says Meeting Facility Is On Track for Expansion

The San Diego Chargers are examining the inclusion of convention center space as a design option for a potential new stadium in downtown San Diego, although city officials are standing by plans for an expansion of the existing convention center.

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Two Waterfront Recreational Projects Get Port’s OK

Significant waterfront development projects are moving forward in National City and Coronado, after getting the green light from the Port of San Diego.

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Path to Approval Outlined for Obesity Drug

MEDICINE: Orexigen’s Treatment Is Seen as a Potential Blockbuster

After months of uncertainty as it sought to resolve a dispute with the Food and Drug Administration, La Jolla-based Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. surprised Wall Street last week with the announcement that it would revive plans for advancing its experimental obesity drug Contrave.

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Carlsbad Closer To Its ‘Poseidon Adventure’

Some big North County news took place recently worth noting.

Port Tosses Lifeline to Cruise Ship Industry

HOSPITALITY: Recovery Efforts Include Repairing Image of Mexico Tourism

Port of San Diego officials are looking to set a new course for the region’s ailing cruise ship industry, a challenge made tougher by a consultant’s prognosis that it could be 2015 before a rebound even begins.

Entrepreneurs Put Best Investor Pitch Forward in Annual Contest

NONPROFIT: Event Held to Attract Startups To Tech Coast Angels

The 14 finalists at this year’s San Diego Quick Pitch Competition range from a 3-year-old business that makes snacks for video gamers to one that aspires to find the cure for cancer.

Kohl’s Growth Strategy Is Still Locations, Locations, Locations

RETAIL: Encinitas Store Will Be San Diego’s 11th, Creating About 150 Jobs

Wisconsin-based discount retailer Kohl’s Corp. will soon open its 11th San Diego County store in Encinitas, continuing a wide and rapid growth strategy that industry observers say predated the recession and hasn’t been dimmed by continued fallout from a struggling economy.

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Multifamily Housing Surge Pushes Up Residential Land Prices

REAL ESTATE: Apartment Builders Face Competition For Desirable Properties

Experts say residential land prices have been trending up during the past year, especially as apartment builders scout locations to meet rising demand in regions with limited supplies of undeveloped parcels, including San Diego County.

Executive Profile: Lars Helgeson

Lars Helgeson is the founder of GreenRope, a Web-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software package which includes email marketing, sales pipeline tracking, marketing automation, project management, event management, websites with e-commerce, Web analytics, forum, wiki, and social media management tools all integrated into one platform.

Hamilton Is Recruiting Engineers

Hamilton Sundstrand is hiring for its Kearny Mesa business, which produces aircraft components that the typical traveler never sees.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

Real Estate Roundup

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

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Low Tech, High Savings

Conservation: Water Reduction Systems Pay Off for Some Biotechs

Gen-Probe Inc. is among a handful of San Diego biotechnology companies making a substantial investment in relatively low-tech systems that can save millions of gallons of water per year.

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Samba Gala Makes All the Right Moves to Support Arts Education

The New Children’s Museum’s Sambas for a Purpose gala was held at the museum Aug. 27 with Michael and Lisette Farrell as chairs and Olivia and Peter Farrell, founder of ResMed, as honorary chairs.

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Lending Fund Allows Bank to Help Small Businesses and Itself

Seacoast Commerce Bank joined a group of local lenders who are benefiting from the Treasury Depaartment’s Small Business Lending Fund, a program to spur lending by banks with less than $10 billion in assets.

Time to Tackle the Big Job: Infrastructure

President Barack Obama recently offered up his “jobs” recovery plan. I am eager to support the president in his efforts to put Americans back to work.

Changes at Airport Concessions Highlight a San Diego Connection

HOSPITALITY: Number Of Sites to Increase; New Area Will Feature View

Lindbergh Field’s concession offerings will increase by at least 32 outlets and reflect stronger connections to San Diego than what now exists, say airport officials.

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Next Gen

EDUCATION: High Tech High Preparing Next-Generation Workers With Novel Approach

How do you prepare students for the workforce of the 2010s? Larry Rosenstock, CEO of High Tech High, would advise against business as usual.

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Contrarian Says ‘Double Dip’ Doubtful

ECONOMY: Anemic Recovery Is Not the Same as a Second Recession, Economist Says

Christopher Thornberg, the economist who was ahead of the curve predicting a recession in 2007, said last week that while the recovery remains painfully slow, it’s on track and a feared double dip isn’t in the cards.

Dealer: Demand Surging Past Electric Car Supply

AUTOS: Nissan to Open U.S. Leaf Plant in 2012; Competition Heats Up

In San Diego, which has the highest per-capita adoption rate for electric vehicles in the country, supply isn’t anywhere close to demand, says Leon Kamins, general manager of Mossy Nissan Kearny Mesa.

Friday, September 23

Man Pleads Guilty to Two Counts in Connection to Mortgage Fraud Case

John J. Borzellino, also known as John Ross, a real estate consultant, pleaded guilty to two counts in a federal courtroom Sept. 22 in San Diego in connection with a multimillion dollar mortgage fraud conspiracy case, federal prosecutors said.

United Technologies to Acquire Goodrich for $18.4B

Goodrich Corp., the parent of Chula Vista-based Goodrich Aerostructures, said it agreed to be acquired Sept. 21 by United Technologies Corp. for $127.50 per share in cash or an aggregate of $18.4 billion, including $1.9 billion in debt.

Independa Raises $1.6 Million in Seed-Round Funding

San Diego-based startup Independa Inc. on Sept. 21 said it has closed its first round of venture capital funding, raising $1.6 million to expand and market a line of products that helps the elderly live in their own homes without on-site caregivers.

Thursday, September 22

Prominent Businessman Ernest Rady Joins Bank’s Board

San Diego Private Bank, with about $116 million in assets, located another high-profile businessman to sit on its board of directors.

Tuesday, September 20

Chargers Mull Convention Space Component for Stadium

The San Diego Chargers are examining the inclusion of convention center space as a design option for a potential new stadium in downtown San Diego, although city officials are standing by plans for an expansion of the existing convention center.

Monday, September 19

Fyfe Group Sells North American Holdings to Insituform Technologies

Fyfe Group LLC, a San Diego maker and installer of fiber reinforced polymer systems used to strengthen buildings and other infrastructure, said it sold its North American holdings to Insituform Technologies Inc. of Missouri for $115 million, the company said Sept. 19.

Sales of Optimer’s Inaugural Drug Off to Stellar Start

HEALTH CARE: Hospitals Line Up for Intestinal Illness Antibiotic

For Optimer Pharmaceuticals Inc., the first time is a charm.

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Regents Bank To Be Acquired By Grandpoint

Regents Bancshares, the parent of La Jolla-based Regents Bank, agreed to be acquired by Grandpoint Capital Inc.

Casinos Find More Room for Fun With New Hotels, Other Amenities

HOSPITALITY: Strategy Gives Guests Options at A Single Destination

Casinos in San Diego County are increasingly expanding their business beyond traditional gaming in an attempt to boost attendance and provide their guests with a better experience.

Company Hits Milestones as It Advances Cancer Drug to Market

HEALTH CARE: FDA To Allow Clinical Trials; Trading Volume Rises

Marshall Edwards Inc., a development-stage company that moved to San Diego from Australia last year, has accomplished a series of key milestones as it seeks to take its lead cancer drug candidate to market.

INNOVATION: Dynamic Duo Create Expanding Line of Portable Audio Products

TECHNOLOGY: Sales Grow as Word Spreads On Stylish Accessories

Self-proclaimed gadget geek Erik Groset fell in love the moment he set eyes on his brand new iPhone in 2007. Luckily for Groset, his love wasn’t blind — he immediately noticed a flaw.

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Furniture Stores on the Move With Expansion Plans

RETAIL: Sales Expected To Increase Steadily; Financing Draws Buyers

New home sales haven’t rebounded to their pre-recession highs, but enough budget-minded consumers are revamping their current digs to bring furniture retailers a steady recovery in sales. Some prominent chains are responding by expanding their store footprint in San Diego County.

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Good Opportunities Bring Out Local REITs’ Aggressive Sides

REAL ESTATE: Solid Financing Puts Them In Position of Power

In a year that’s seen wild fluctuations in equity markets and investor confidence, leaders of some locally based real estate investment trusts say they’re sticking with strategies that have gotten them through plenty of tough times — and also allowed them to aggressively add to their portfolios in 2011.

Retailers and Restaurants Go West to Meet Demand

RETAIL: Chains Focus On Area’s Opportunities; Prime Locations Sought

Following in the footsteps of McDonald’s Corp., watch for the still-growing Subway sandwich chain to expand locally on a “café” concept featuring coffee, baked goods and breakfast items.

Veteran Trial Lawyer Joins MKB’s Litigation Team

John Stephens has joined Mulvaney, Kahan & Barry LLP after 17 years with Robbins & Keehn and the last six with Sullivan, Wertz, McDade & Wallace, now Wertz, McDade & Wallace.

Barnhart Awarded $221M Contract for Women’s Detention Facility

Dallas-based Balfour Beatty Construction and its San Diego-based division, Barnhart Balfour Beatty, have been awarded a $221.5 million contract to build the first phase of a county-run women’s detention facility in Santee.

Eateries Put Their Best Fish Forward To Hook Taco Fans

DINING: Battle for Market Share Heats Up in a Crowded Field

These days, no one corners the fish taco market.

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Next Mayor Must Get Off to a Running Start

Last month, this column addressed the bold moves San Diego’s next mayor needs to make upon taking office. However, space limitations precluded a full airing of what I believe the next mayor’s priorities should be — as well as what they should not be.

Companies Need to Know Their ‘Fitness’ Level

Piloting an organization through calm seas can be challenging enough. But when skies darken, winds howl and the full fury of a storm engulfs a business, there is a need for leadership to step up, calm fears, set the tone and show the way

In The Dark

ENERGY: SDG&E Awaits Results of Investigations Before It Can Make Changes

San Diego Gas & Electric Co. said it’s waiting on the results from a series of investigations into the largest power outage in the region’s history before it can make any significant changes to its operations.

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Mr. San Diego Title Earned by Coming Through for the Community

The Rotary Club of San Diego honored Pete Ellsworth naming him Mr. San Diego at the Sept.1 meeting.

Nonprofit Profile: Vicky Carlson

Vicky Carlson became president and CEO of Lead San Diego in 2010.

Westfield Group Pours $180M Into Major UTC Mall Renovation

Australia-based Westfield Group, among the world’s largest mall operators, has embarked on what one company official says is its biggest investment to date in San Diego County: a $180 million renovation of its Westfield UTC.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

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Blockbuster Project: ‘Top Gun’ Goes 3-D

ENTERTAINMENT: Local Firm Converting $354M Movie; Other Big Hits to Get Similar Treatment

Legend3D Inc. is converting “Top Gun,” the 1986 blockbuster that put the Navy’s Miramar fighter jet training complex on the map, to a 3-D format for Paramount Pictures for its release in early 2012, according to a published report and several sources.

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Real Estate Roundup

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

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Habitat’s Efforts Build Interest at Construction Site

San Diego Habitat for Humanity will frame a new home as part of a special “Habitat Off Broadway!” event taking place downtown at Horton Square next door to Horton Plaza Sept. 30 through Oct. 5.

Hotels Make Selves at Home on Multiple Websites

HOSPITALITY: San Diego Is Third Most Requested City for Online Bookings

San Diego recently ranked third in the nation for searches by visitors to the travel booking sites of Expedia Inc., behind only Las Vegas and New York City.

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Professional Profile: Jon Dominy

Architect Jon Dominy’s custom residential portfolio is valued at well over $25 million and includes contemporary urban condos, a custom “Home of the Year,” and several multimillion dollar homes in La Jolla and Del Mar for the CEOs of San Diego’s largest companies.

Sales Event Aims to Get Hearts, Drivers Racing

MARKETING: Unusual Test Drive Exciting Part Of Car And Plane Show

Speed sells? A hands-on event that lets people maneuver a sports car from Porsche AG around a curvy course, as well as walk through various models of aircraft, might be a good way to get affluent people into automobile showrooms, analysts say.

Development Aims for Complete Community

Housing construction in San Diego is still far below where it was in the housing bubble years, but smack dab in the center of Mission Valley there’s a project under way by Sudberry Properties that will eventually create nearly 5,000 new homes and redefine what smart urban growth should be.

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Friday, September 16

Summer Season Yields a Small Gain in Jobs

San Diego’s unemployment rate dipped to 10.2 percent in August from a revised 10.6 percent in July, according to a Sept. 16 report from the state’s Employment Development Department.

Thursday, September 15

Sempra Announces Personnel Changes, Realignment of Subsidiaries

Sempra Energy, the parent company of San Diego Gas & Electric, announced several executive appointments and a realignment of three subsidiary companies on Sept. 14.

Wednesday, September 14

Proposed New Airline in Carlsbad Clears First FAA Hurdle

The operator of the proposed California Pacific Airlines, aiming to offer service out of Carlsbad, has received the first in a series of federal clearances required to attain certification as a commercial air carrier.

Tuesday, September 13

Some Local Companies Planning to Hire in Fourth Quarter, Survey Finds

Sixteen percent of San Diego companies participating in the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey say they expect to hire more workers in the fourth quarter, while 70 percent say they expect to maintain their current staffing levels, according to the Sept. 12 report.

Monday, September 12

Fitness Center Planned at Westgate Hotel

San Diego-based PureFitness Sports Club will open a new 37,000-square-foot fitness and spa facility next year at downtown San Diego’s Westgate Hotel, the company announced Sept. 12.

Solar Company Gives Retail a Chance to Shine

ENERGY: Outlet a First Locally; Opening Near SDG&E Center

Amid blazing competition among solar-panel dealers in San Diego, one is seeking to differentiate itself by changing the way that consumers and businesses shop for rooftop photovoltaic systems.

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Century Club Spreads the Wealth to Schools and Other Charities

The Century Club of San Diego held a luncheon Aug. 24 at the Town and Country Resort Hotel to announce raising of $1.36 million during the 2011 Farmers Insurance Open.

Tenants Still Occupy Top Spot in Local Office Real Estate Market

San Diego has a lot of company among U.S. cities when it comes to the recovery of its office real estate market.

Firm Fashions a Popular Niche in the Device Field

TECHNOLOGY: Wireless Gets Its Own Wardrobe In Company’s Covers

Consumers’ desire to instill their own personalities into cellphones and other electronic devices is sending sales at Skinit Inc. into the stratosphere.

Hotel Dispute Makes Waves in Waikiki

HOSPITALITY: Courts to Sort Out Management Firm Switch, Bankruptcy Filing

The attorney representing the San Diego-based owners of a posh but struggling Hawaii hotel, locked in a high-profile battle with operator Marriott International Inc.

INNOVATION: Online Tool Helps Companies Plan for Health Care Changes

TECHNOLOGY: Firms Can Estimate the Costs Of Benefits Through 2018

Employers who think dropping health insurance for workers will save them big money in the new world of health care reform may have to reconsider their calculations.

Governor Pays Visit to Gen-Probe in Effort to Promote Jobs Plan

ECONOMY: Tax Incentives For Hiring, Purchasing of Equipment Are Proposed

California Gov. Jerry Brown made a stop last week at the San Diego headquarters of Gen-Probe Inc., a maker of blood screening and other clinical diagnostic kits, as part of his push to get the Legislature to pass the California Jobs First plan.

Real Estate Roundup

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

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Discount Retailers Move to Renovate, Expand as Frugality Flourishes

CONSTRUCTION: Target Adds Fresh-Food Items; Wal-Mart Seeks Space

Discount retail giants Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. will keep riding the wave of frugality among skittish consumers, with plans for several store renovations and expansions in San Diego County.

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Interest Soars in Temecula Firm’s Hypobaric Chamber

TECHNOLOGY: Various Uses Explored; Company Pursuing Additional Patents

A Temecula-made machine that simulates air pressure at high altitude, and rapidly adjusts that pressure up and down, has piqued the interest of medical researchers and fitness enthusiasts.

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Executive Profile: Rocky Sheng

Rocky Sheng joined Bridgepoint Education, a San Diego-based provider of postsecondary education services, in January 2004.

2 Local Designers, Builder Honored For New Library

The new East County library building gets the gold for going green. Ramona’s new 21,000-square-foot public library building recently received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council

Some Local Restaurants Are Setting a Course for Expansion

HOSPITALITY: Diverse Economy, Customer Base Help Eateries Survive Here

Despite a national economy that one research firm says is taking the biggest bite out of independently run eateries, some San Diego-based restaurant operators are actually growing their presence with new locations.

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Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

Company’s Place in Community Worth Preserving

As you drive down West Hawthorn toward North Harbor Drive, near Pacific Highway, you’ll notice a sign that’s rare these days: “Now Hiring.”

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CHARGERS PLAYING CATCH-UP

SPORTS BIZ: Hampered By the NFL Player Lockout, the Team Is Trying to Beef Up Ticket Sales

It’s somewhat telling of just how deep this recession is. As of Sept. 7, the San Diego Chargers, one of the top teams in the National Football League with four division titles in the past six years, were still trying to sell out their Sept.

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Pair Finds Franchise in Caregivers’ Daily Rounds

SERVICES: An El Cajon Couple Goes to Market In Boomers’ Own Homes

Age Advantage Home Care Franchising Inc. is getting ready to ride the wave of aging baby boomers — a wave that began to build on Jan. 1 when the oldest of the roughly 76 million boomers turned 65.

Friday, September 9

Manchester Grand Hyatt Set For Big Renovation

The new owner of the Manchester Grand Hyatt, San Diego’s largest hotel, is planning an extensive renovation of the 1,625-room property.

Power Restored to Most Within 12 Hours After Major Blackout

San Diego Gas & Electric said it had restored power to most of its 1.4 million customers by 3:25 a.m. Sept. 9 after a major blackout nearly 12 hours earlier hit San Diego County along with areas of Orange County and parts of Mexico.

North County Clean-Tech Conference Slated for Sept. 16

The San Diego North Chamber of Commerce is holding a half-day legislative conference on Sept. 16 to get elected officials on board with its plan to draw more clean technology manufacturing firms to the region.

Westfield Plans $180M Revamp at UTC

Australia-based Westfield Group this fall will launch a $180 million renovation and expansion of its Westfield UTC mall, which will include a new, 14-screen ArcLight Cinema Co. movie theater.

Thursday, September 8

Satellite Launch Delayed Again

ViaSat Inc., the Carlsbad maker of satellite equipment, said it is delaying the launch of ViaSat-1, its broadband Internet satellite, for the second time to mid-October.

Wednesday, September 7

Los Angeles Firm to Acquire Regents Bank

Regents Bancshares, the parent company of La Jolla-based Regents Bank, agreed to be acquired by Grandpoint Capital Inc., the Los Angeles parent firm of Grandpoint Bank, with about $875 million in total assets, the companies announced Sept. 6.

Qualcomm Set to Acquire Video Processing Business

Qualcomm Inc. said on Sept. 7 that it will buy a video processing business from San Jose-based Integrated Device Technology Inc. Qualcomm will pay $60 million and assume certain liabilities, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Monday, September 5

In Record-Setting Stretch, Hotel Owners Sell High

HOSPITALITY: Local Market Ranks Second Nationally With $1.5 Billion in Property Sales

In the 20-plus years he’s been tracking hotel sales, Atlas Hospitality Group President Alan Reay said he’s never seen a stretch in San Diego comparable to what happened in the first half of 2011.

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Profession Deserves Credit for Improving Workplace

This is our Labor Day edition, so it is only fair to acknowledge that without early union leaders this would not be a holiday week.

Real Estate Roundup

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

Experienced Bankers Shake Off Retirement to Take Board Positions

Pete Q. Davis and Frank Mercardante, two successful retired bankers, apparently aren’t content with retired life and returned last month to take board positions on local banks.

Guests Will Be Able to Make a Day and a Night of It at Park in 2013

Legoland California has set the date for the opening of its previously announced — and long-planned — hotel that will be built on the grounds of the popular Carlsbad amusement park.

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IT Thefts Hit Home for California’s Economy

The use of stolen information technology is an issue that stretches across the globe.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

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Grant Puts Program in Position to Serve Those Who Served

The Gary & Mary West Foundation gave a $250,000 grant to the “Reboot” program to fund the workshops for veterans.

Green Policies Will Pay Off at Home and Work

By the time my little girl turns 21 in 2030, 90 percent of cars could be electric or hybrid, according to a new study by Google.

HELP WANTED

LABOR: High-Tech Engineers Finding Thousands of Job Openings at Local Businesses

Employees comfortable in the world of software bugs, JavaScript and C++ can find thousands of jobs available in San Diego these days.

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Staffing Agencies See Demand in Technology Sector for Workers

WORKFORCE: Firms Optimistic For Increases In Other Hiring Levels

Although unemployment in San Diego County continues to hover at 10.5 percent, demand for technical, engineering and health care workers in the temporary and permanent placement space is fueling optimism among local staffing agencies.

Viejas Band Unveils Plans for 150-Room Hotel on Reservation

HOSPITALITY: Proposed Project Would Cost $36M, Take 1 Year to Construct

The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians has a bit of good news for the region’s struggling commercial construction industry.

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Kaiser Considers Scripps Ranch Site for Hospital

Kaiser Permanente San Diego is sizing up large parcels of land in central San Diego County, including Alliant International University’s 60-acre campus on Pomerado Road in Scripps Ranch, where it plans to build its second acute-care hospital.

Active Network Is Game for Taking on New Challenges

SOFTWARE: Firm Expands Outside of Athletics; Market Cap Approaches $900 Million

What began as an online registration business catering to runners now helps folks make reservations at golf courses

Hospitals Show Savings With Radio Frequency Tag Tracking System

TECHNOLOGY: Locating Equipment and Patients Part of Capabilities

It all started with an idea for how to track and find kids at amusement parks.

For Hotels’ Waste Program, It’s Garbage In, Compost Out

GREEN: Properties Join Businesses and Others In Environmental Effort

San Diego hotels are joining the latest greening wave, keeping tons of commercial food waste out of local landfills.

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Region Is Place to Be for Mobile Health Firms

TECHNOLOGY: Strong Local Roots Could Draw Company to S.D.; FDA Proposal Criticized

Eric Topol is a cardiologist, not a magician. Yet he’s able to transform his iPhone 4 into a clinical-quality medical device faster than you can say abracadabra.

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Pay Dirt: Crops Up 7 Percent In the County

It’s time to check in with area farmers for an agri-business update. The county releases its annual report on crop statistics in mid-August.

Assorted Perks Come in Technology-Job Packages

WORKFORCE: Firms Offer Their Versions of Silicon-Valley Settings

Bob Slapin uses the term “golden umbilical cord” to describe it.

IPO in the Works for Sustainable Chemical Company

BIOTECH: Genomatica’s Filing Follows Production Milestone and EPA Award

The momentum keeps building for Genomatica Inc., a San Diego biotech company that makes plant-based versions of chemicals that are used in everyday products.

Hotel Group Led By Local Firm Files for Bankruptcy

HOSPITALITY: Dispute With Marriott Centers on 353-Room Honolulu Hotel

Owners of the former Waikiki Edition hotel, led by a San Diego-based real estate fund and recently locked in a battle with Marriott International Inc. over management of the posh Hawaii property, have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Friday, September 2

Two Local REITs in $31M Office Deal

San Diego-based real estate investment trusts were the buyer and seller in a $31 million transaction involving a Los Angeles County office complex.

Thursday, September 1

REIT in Default on Office Complex

The locally based owner of Sorrento Technology Center in San Diego is in default on a loan of $11.6 million, according to its Aug. 15 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

First PacTrust at Work on Two Acquisitions

First PacTrust Bancorp, parent of Chula Vista-based Pacific Trust Bank, continues its expansion, announcing Aug. 31 that it has agreed to acquire Beach Business Bank of Manhattan Beach, with $304 million in assets, for $9.07 per diluted share or an aggregate $37.4 million based on recent financials.