Stories for January 2012

Tuesday, January 31

Outlook for S.D. Economy Stays Positive for 2012

An index measuring San Diego’s economy increased by 0.6 percent in December, the largest rise since May, and the first time since then that it showed gains in consecutive months, according to a Jan. 31 report.

ResMed Posts Higher Earnings in 2Q

ResMed Inc. said its revenue grew 9 percent to $333 million in the second fiscal quarter, even as research and development costs climbed 24 percent.

ESET Sponsoring Business Journal’s IT Awards; Nominations Sought

ESET, a computer security software firm, has agreed to be title sponsor for San Diego’s original Information Technology Executive of the Year Awards, set for Thursday, April 19.

AMN Healthcare Sheds Nursefinders Biz, Cites Uncertain Regulatory Environment

AMN Healthcare Services Inc. said Jan. 30 that it has sold its home health care business to Bayada Home Health Care Inc. — in a deal driven by changes in the national health care market.

San Diego Trust Bank Reports Soaring Profits

San Diego Trust Bank reported Jan. 30 that its fourth-quarter net income more than doubled to $692,000, compared with $333,000 for the like quarter of 2010.

West Wireless Health Institute to Study Portable Fetal Monitoring Device

The West Wireless Health Institute of San Diego announced Jan. 25 that it will be using a hand-held portable wireless device called Sense4Baby in a yearlong research study with the Carlos Slim Health Institute in Yucatan, Mexico.

Fresh & Easy Set to Expand Into Alpine

Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, the U.S. grocery subsidiary of U.K. retailer Tesco Plc., plans to expand its San Diego County footprint with a store set for an August opening in Alpine.

Monday, January 30

Amylin Wins FDA Approval for Once-Weekly Diabetes Drug

San Diego-based Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Jan. 27 that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its drug Bydureon, the first once-weekly injection to treat type 2 diabetes.

RF Industries Posts 19th Consecutive Year of Profitability

RF Industries Ltd., a San Diego maker and distributor of radio frequency connectors and cables, reported Jan. 27 a fourth-quarter net loss of $46,000, compared with a net profit of $435,000 in the like quarter of 2010.

CommNexus Board Draws From Wide Spectrum of Industries

CommNexus, the San Diego technology nonprofit, is headed into 2012 with a new slate of directors and officers.

REIT Acquires Arizona Office Complex for $56M

Excel Trust Inc., a locally based real estate investment trust, has acquired The Promenade Corporate Center, a commercial office property in Scottsdale, Ariz., for approximately $56 million.

February Opening Planned for Luxury Cinema

Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas plans a mid- to late-February debut for its deluxe movie theater set to open in Carlsbad’s La Costa neighborhood at 6941 El Camino Real.

New Company Helps Patients Take Home Testing to Heart

MEDICINE: Convenient Monitoring an Option for Those on Blood Thinner

In 2002, business partners Tim Cady and Mark Howard capitalized on the growing need — and desire — among people with diabetes to test their blood glucose levels at home.

‘Bumpy Ride’ Forecast for DoD Budget

DEFENSE: Former Joint Chiefs Chair in S.D.; Previews Cutbacks

The days of big spending at the Pentagon are over. That’s the message several current and former military leaders laid before a San Diego audience recently.

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Local Firm Buys Office Complex for $34 Million

Cruzan Monroe has purchased Plaza Del Mar, a 117,000-square-foot office campus in the Del Mar Heights area, for $34 million.

Project Is a Big Step on North Park’s Transformative Journey

REAL ESTATE: Former Store Gets a Makeover; Other Changes in Works

The recent filling of a long-vacated former JCPenney department store, dating back to the 1940s, could prove crucial to what recently has been a 21st-century revival for San Diego’s North Park business district.

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Vibra Bank Turns a Profit for First Time Since Launching in ’08

BANKING: Net Income Of $1.28M Achieved in Midst of Dull Economy

Vibra Bank, which launched right at the cusp of the Great Recession in July 2008, reported its first year of profitability last year.

Mixed-Use Formula Working for OliverMcMillan Downtown

DEVELOPMENT: $60M Retail, Apartments Project Fits Into Youth Strategy

When San Diego’s OliverMcMillan begins work later this year on a planned $60 million mixed-use development at 12th and G streets in the East Village

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Local Home Sales Increase, Median Price Declines

REAL ESTATE: Regional Market Shows Signs of Improvement, Some Say

More houses were sold in San Diego in December compared with the prior year, but because the market is still dealing with lots of distressed properties, median values declined

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

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Firm Creates New Business Driver

TECHNOLOGY: Big Rig Ultracapacitor Hits the Road

The energy-storage business at Maxwell Technologies Inc. continues to drive sales in a big way for the San Diego-based company

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UC San Diego Health System to Buy Nevada Cancer Institute

Health Care: Federal Court Approves the Sale of Bankrupt Center

UC San Diego Health System announced that it will move forward with its planned purchase of the private nonprofit Nevada Cancer Institute, a 142,000-square-foot treatment and research facility in Las Vegas that recently filed for bankruptcy.

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Visionary Awards Cite the Leaders Who Make a Difference

LEAD San Diego announced the 2012 Visionary Awards recipients that are scheduled to be presented May 24 at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotel.

Real Estate Roundup

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

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Holding Company Makes Deft Bank Acquisitions

FINANCE: Strategy Is to Buy Business-Oriented Institutions

It’s a twist on the banking acquisition model, but one that Regents Bank is happy about.

ROCKIN’ AND ROLLIN’

CONSTRUCTION: $2.5 Billion Project Rising at Old Quarry

The Mission Valley site where a quarry was first mined 75 years ago to feed a growing city’s demand for new roads and buildings is now busy with construction of houses and apartments at Civita

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Jobseekers Need to Tap This ‘Hire Power’

Hiring in San Diego and across the nation is on the rise, but many job candidates are hardly interview ready.

Businesses Help City Shine in Solar Study

ENERGY: Region Ranks 1st in State for Solar Roof Installations

Companies such as Kyocera, SPG Solar Inc. and some 3,500 local solar-related businesses have helped San Diego rank No. 1 in the state in solar roofs installe

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Costa Concordia’s Sister Ship Pays a Brief Visit Locally

Did you miss it? The Costa Deliziosa, sister ship of the ill-fated Costa Concordia, which ran aground in Italian waters earlier this month killing at least 15 people

A Negotiated End to the Water Wars Is Near

Many of us remember the film “Chinatown,” starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, which was based in part on real events that fostered water wars when William Mulholland acted on behalf of Los Angeles interests to secure water rights in Northern California.

Decision Affecting Solar Turbines, Developer Coming Soon

DEVELOPMENT: Project Would Threaten Plant, Manufacturer Claims

A battle over a small downtown San Diego parcel pits a residential developer against one of the city’s biggest employers.

Former Olympian Sees Gold In the Protein Drink Market

BEVERAGES: Uses Patent Strategy to Protect Firm’s Carbonated Concepts

Health and fitness have played major roles in David Jenkins’ life, for as long as he can remember.

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Developers Bring Drawing Board Dreams to Life

Construction: Large Projects Persevere Through Perils of a Rocky Economy

Several large local projects that began as a twinkle in the eyes of their developers are now coming to fruition after many years of planning, during which the endeavors encountered financing questions and other perils of rocky economies that often put builders’ dreams into holding patterns.

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Executive Profile: Craig Irving

Craig Irving, a third generation San Diegan, has made a significant contribution to the business and charitable community of San Diego for over 25 years.

Convention Center Fee Plan Clears Hurdle

San Diego City Council has formally approved the creation of a convention center financing district

Job Growth, Low Lease Rates Bolster Brokerages

REAL ESTATE: Firms on SDBJ List Report $8.9B in 2011 Local Transactions

Confidence is back. Top-ranked Cushman & Wakefield and several of the 22 companies on the San Diego Business Journal’s Commercial Real Estate Brokerages list

Baker & McKenzie Is Rumored to Be Closing Its San Diego Office

Baker & McKenzie is closing its San Diego office in February, or at least that’s the rumor. Colin H. Murray, the firm’s managing partner, said he had no comment on the rumor.

Friday, January 27

REIT Buys San Francisco Office Building for $36.5M

American Assets Trust Inc., a real estate investment trust with headquarters in San Diego, has completed a $36.5 million acquisition of a San Francisco office building.

SunTrust Banks Buying Local Firm’s Assets

FirstAgain LLC, a San Diego provider of unsecured personal loans to the best credit risk borrowers, agreed to sell substantially all of its assets to SunTrust Banks Inc. for an undisclosed price, the parties said Jan. 23.

Indus to Gain Work as Part of $249M Navy Deal

Indus Technology Inc. says it’s looking forward to new work as a subcontractor to BAE Systems.

UnitedHealth Provides $15M for Homeless Center

Health services provider UnitedHealth Group announced Jan. 26 that it is investing $15 million to help finance a homeless services and residential community being built in downtown San Diego.

Thursday, January 26

Council Approves Convention Center Financing District

San Diego City Council has formally approved the creation of a convention center financing district, through which local hotels would pay the bulk of costs for a proposed $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center.

Seacoast Commerce Bank Reports Unaudited Net Earnings for 2011

Seacoast Commerce Bank, with a single office in Chula Vista, reported unaudited 2011 net income of $2.3 million, compared with net income of $326,000 for 2010, in a report released Jan. 25.

Home Demonstrates Savings Potential of Energy Upgrades

A single-family home in Chula Vista underwent an extreme makeover, receiving a variety of energy-efficient upgrades compliments of a consortium of government and private sector interests to demonstrate how it achieved more than 50 percent in energy savings.

Fresh & Easy Opens 16th Location in the County

Small-format grocer Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market on Jan. 18 opened its newest local store at Mission Gorge Road and Cuyamaca Street in Santee.

Wednesday, January 25

Chase Bank Branching Out Locally, Nationally

Chase Bank said Jan. 23 that it plans to open 175 more branches nationwide this year, including about 80 in California and four to five in San Diego County.

Everyone Counts’ Software to Facilitate Overseas Voting

The Chicago Election Board has chosen software from San Diego-based Everyone Counts Inc. to allow members of the military and other overseas voters to cast ballots in the March 20 presidential primary election.

Pirate Reef Attraction Arriving at Legoland

Legoland California will open a new Pirate Reef attraction on May 24, among several new features planned for 2012 at the Carlsbad theme park.

Local Firm Buys Office Complex for $34M

Cruzan Monroe has purchased Plaza Del Mar, a 117,000-square-foot office campus in the Del Mar Heights area, for $34 million.

Tuesday, January 24

UC San Diego Health System to Buy Nevada Cancer Institute

UC San Diego Health System said it will purchase the Nevada Cancer Institute, a 142,000-square-foot facility in the Summerlin area of Las Vegas that’s treated more than 7,000 patients since opening in 2005.

Irvine Firm Buys Carlsbad Office Park for $15.8 Million

Bixby Land Co. of Irvine has purchased Palomar Oaks Technology Park in Carlsbad for $15.8 million, the real estate investment firm announced Jan. 23.

Proximetry Juggles Smart Grid Data

San Jose-based Cisco Systems Inc. is getting a boost from its partner of a few years, San Diego-based Proximetry Inc. The San Diego tech company said Jan. 23 that its AirSync software will be part of a Cisco router for smart electrical grids.

New Port Customer Delivers Wind Energy Equipment

USA Corp., a new customer for the Port of San Diego, has unloaded its first shipment of wind energy equipment at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal and is expecting to deliver another shipment shortly, the port announced Jan. 20.

Monday, January 23

Holding Company to Buy 2 Locally Based Banks

Grandpoint Capital, a Los Angeles bank holding company, announced Jan. 20 a definitive agreement to buy Escondido-based California Community Bank, to go along with its purchase of San Diego-based Regents Bank.

Local Unemployment Rate Lowest Since April 2009

San Diego’s unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent in December, the first time it’s dropped below 9 percent since April 2009, and a drop from November’s revised rate of 9.2 percent, according to a Jan. 20 report from the state’s Employment Development Department.

Fortune Finds Enviable Environments at Qualcomm, Scripps Health

Two of San Diego’s largest employers— Qualcomm Inc. and Scripps Health — have landed a spot on Fortune magazine’s annual list of America’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.”

Building Housing VA Clinic Gets New Owner

Gatehouse Bank Plc, a London-based investment bank led by Kuwaiti investors, has sold the building housing the VA Oceanside Clinic for $54.5 million.

SkinMedica Adds Mineral Makeup To List of Patient Care Specialties

ACQUISITION: $10M Cosmetics Brand to Be Marketed to Physicians

Carlsbad’s SkinMedica Inc. is getting into the mineral makeup action.

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Genetic Sequencing Is Major Force in Local Life Sciences Scene

BIOTECH: Successful Companies Draw More Talent, Startups to Area

What keeps San Diego County’s biotech cluster churning? Some industry observers say that success is simply in its DNA.

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Company’s Oil-Field Services Arsenal Employs New Weapon

BIOTECH: Enzyme Removes Filter Cake And Is Biodegradable

Filter cake is in the crosshairs at industrial biotech company Verenium Corp.

Cross Border Air Terminal Clears Another Hurdle

TRANSPORTATION: $78M Project Could Break Ground This Year

A cross border airport terminal in Otay Mesa took another step this month when the San Diego City Council amended a land use plan, but the project still needs additional agreements before construction can begin.

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Company Cashes in on Rewards, Restaurant Loyalty Programs

HOSPITALITY: VC Firms Expected to Invest $10M in MOGL’s Concept

Solana Beach-based MOGL had already drawn attention from the local technology and hospitality communities with its software platform that combines a credit card cash-back program with a restaurant loyalty campaign.

VC Funds Still Flowing — Especially to Firms With Bright Ideas

FINANCE: JMI Equity Ranks 1st on SDBJ List For 4th Consecutive Year

Venture capital financing in San Diego is alive and well, though nothing like the heady days of the dot-com boom.

FDA, Firms Work on New Approval Paths

HEALTH CARE: Predictable Process for Device Makers Goa

The head of the Food and Drug Administration’s medical device unit stopped in San Diego last week for a series of one-on-one meetings with some of the area’s largest device makers

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Deal Will Eliminate Luce Forward Name

LAW: McKenna Long Sets Acquisition Date of March 1

Luce Forward LLP, San Diego’s oldest law firm and one of its largest, is joining McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP based in Washington, D.C. in an arrangement driven more by higher service levels than financial constraints, said managing partner Kurt Kicklighter.

Local U.S. Bancorp Boss: Adding Customers Should Be Slam-Dunk

BANKING: Steve Stuckey Replaces Robert Horsman; USB Invests in Technology

U.S. Bancorp, the Minneapolis-based bank that has been growing in San Diego for much of the past decade, recently hired Steve Stuckey as its market president.

Navy Fed Credit Union Finds Strength in Area’s Military Personnel

FINANCE: Membership Ranks Growing; Small Local Branches to Expand

The presence of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps in San Diego hasn’t been lost on Navy Federal Credit Union.

Westfield Springs for $56M Mall Makeover

RETAIL: Plans Call for 3-Story Target and Possibly Restaurants

Westfield Group, which owns seven large malls throughout San Diego County, will soon embark on a $56 million makeover of Westfield North County, now that it has gotten approval from the Escondido City Council.

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Padres Purchase Is Put Under Monetary Microscope By MLB

Foul Ball? Forbes magazine’s Sportsmoney columnist Mike Ozanian reports that Major League Baseball is holding up the sale of the San Diego Padres to Jeff Moorad

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

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Redevelopment’s Return Already in the Cards

The state of California has cancelled redevelopment agencies.

Nonprofit Profile: Tracy Johnson

As director for The San Diego Women’s Foundation, or SDWF, Tracy Johnson oversees the organization’s operations, including building and supporting its membership and philanthropic programs, ensuring that both members and community partners (grantees) experience and take advantage of all that SDWF offers.

Clear the Way for Solar Energy’s Success

The December jobs report shows that the economy is recovering at a slow pace.

Suneva Medical to Embark On an Acne Scar Study

Acne is the most common skin disorder in the United States, affecting up to 50 million people, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

San Diego Opera to Unveil Its 47th Season With ‘Salome’ Performance

San Diego Opera’s 47th season is scheduled to open Jan. 28 with the Richard Strauss tour de force “Salome.” U.S. Bank is the corporate producing sponsor with a $30,000 contribution.

Legendary Entrepreneurs Share Their Recipes for Success

PROFILES: Bright Ideas Take Off With Backing From Brilliant Leaders

A key part of founding a company is knowing when to quit.

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LEGENDARY

STARTUPS: Locally Started Firms Making Global Impact

WD-40 is the stuff of legends, in at least two respects.

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Executive Profile: Craig Collins

Craig Collins is president and CEO of La Jolla-based health care technology firm Perminova, which recently closed a $7 million Series A round of funding.

Real Estate Roundup

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

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Multifamily Market Crowded as Investors Make Some Big Buys

REAL ESTATE: Low Interest Rates, Numerous Lenders Fuel Purchases

San Diego-based MG Properties Group recently joined a growing crowd of local apartment buyers, when it purchased the 168-unit Barham Villas in San Marcos for $28 million.

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Tournament Suits Its Vendors to a T

SPORTS: Farmers Insurance Open Great Place to Be Seen

Local businesses such as Neovision Rental and CJ Norby Signs say they’ll benefit in a big way from providing vendor services at the 2012 Farmers Insurance Open set for Jan. 23-29 at the Torrey Pines Golf Course.

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Friday, January 20

Advertorial Company Profile: White Nelson Diehl Evans LLP

Accounting Roundtable Supplement

White Nelson Diehl Evans LLP was formed by the merger of two of Southern California’s oldest and most well respected accounting firms. With more than 80 years of tradition, our dedicated team of professionals combines unparalleled passion and knowledge with strategic services that no business should be without. We provide a full range of accounting, tax and management advisory services that support some of Southern California’s most successful and entrepreneurial companies.

Advertorial Company Profile: AKT LLP

Accounting Roundtable Supplement

AKT helps organizations and individuals achieve their goals by offering an integrated suite of financial and business consulting services. The professionals at AKT work as trusted advisors and consultants, helping clients solve problems, recognize opportunities, streamline processes and better utilize their resources.

Advertorial Company Profile: Grant Thornton LLP

Accounting Roundtable Supplement

The people in the independent firms of Grant Thornton International Ltd. provide personalized attention and the highest quality service to public and private clients in more than 100 countries. Grant Thornton LLP is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd., one of the six global audit, tax and advisory organizations.

Advertorial Company Profile: Deloitte & Touche LLP

Accounting Roundtable Supplement

Deloitte has a dynamic practice of 225 professionals, including 25 partners, principals and directors, in San Diego – all committed to providing a high level of service and world-class business solutions. Deloitte always strives to be one step ahead and help position our clients for the future.

Private Equity Firm to Buy 2 Locally Based Banks

Grandpoint Capital, a Los Angeles private equity firm, announced Jan. 20 a definitive agreement to buy Escondido-based California Community Bank, to go along with its purchase of San Diego-based Regents Bank.

Q&A Accounting Roundtable

Accounting Roundtable Supplement: Advertorial

As our slowly recuperating economy is showing many positive signs, the San Diego Business Journal has assembled a group of leading accountants to share their perspectives and how their organizations are contributing solutions to their clients’ businesses.

Feast Foods to Buy 51 Jack in the Box Eateries

Feast Foods LLC, a newly formed entity that owns more than 100 Jack in the Box restaurants in California, Texas and Oklahoma, said Jan. 17 it received $18 million in financing from a GE Capital Financial unit to purchase 51 additional Jack’s restaurants in the Western U.S.

Pacific Coast Steel Rebranding as Gerdau

Pacific Coast Steel in San Diego, also known as PCS, is in the process of changing its name to Gerdau, as Florida-based Gerdau Corp. transitions from a partnership to full ownership of the steel products maker this spring.

Alaska Airlines Adds Flights From Lindbergh Field

Alaska Airlines has added three new routes from San Diego International Airport, with daily nonstop service to Monterey and Santa Rosa and twice-daily service to Fresno.

Firms Have Designs on Wireless Advancements

Entropic Communications and Qualcomm Atheros want to make home coaxial cable networks into something that can send data to wireless tablets, notebooks and smartphones.

Thursday, January 19

VC Firm Raises $165M in Initial Fund

Correlation Ventures, a San Diego-based venture capital firm, announced Jan. 17 the closing of an initial $165 million VC fund.

Johnson & Johnson Launches ‘No-Strings’ Biotech Incubator in La Jolla

Janssen Research & Development LLC, a pharmaceutical subsidiary of New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson, on Jan. 17 opened the doors of its 30,000-square-foot life science innovation center in Torrey Pines Mesa.

OliverMcMillan Plans Downtown Mixed-Use Project

San Diego-based developer OliverMcMillan has announced plans for a new downtown mixed-use project, to include 207 apartments and 6,000 square feet of retail space.

SeaWorld Sets May Date for Manta Coaster Debut

SeaWorld San Diego plans a May 26 opening for its previously announced Manta roller coaster ride, currently under construction at the Mission Bay theme park.

Wednesday, January 18

Johnson & Johnson Launches ‘No-Strings’ Biotech Incubator in La Jolla

Janssen Research & Development LLC, a pharmaceutical subsidiary of New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson, on Jan. 17 opened the doors of its 30,000-square-foot life science innovation center in Torrey Pines Mesa.

Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps No More

Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP, the area’s fourth largest law firm measured by local attorneys, has been acquired. The firm was established in 1873, but its name will no longer be used after its acquisition by Washington, D.C.-based McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP is complete.

Rancho Santa Fe Inn Sold

The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe has been sold. Bob Kaplan, a broker with CB Richard Ellis Hotels, which was hired by the current owner to market the property in late 2011, would not disclose the buyer nor price, but said by phone that a purchase contract has been signed.

ViaSat Launches Competitive High-Speed Internet Service

Carlsbad-based ViaSat Inc. has launched a new high-speed Internet service, called Exede, which the company says offers satellite-enabled speeds similar to the fastest terrestrial broadband technologies.

Final Segment of I-15 Express Lanes Opens

The final four-mile expressway segment for Interstate 15 was opened Jan. 16, giving drivers an additional two lanes in each direction from Escondido south to San Diego at the intersection of I-15 and state Route 163.

Tuesday, January 17

Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps No More

Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps LLP, the area’s fourth largest law firm measured by local attorneys, has been acquired. The firm was established in 1873, but its name will no longer be used after its acquisition by Washington, D.C.-based McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP is complete.

Verenium Expands Oilfield Services Unit With New Enzyme Product for Cleanup

Industrial biotech company Verenium Corp. has developed an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional chemicals that oil-drilling companies use to break down the “filter cake” that builds up along the sides of wells.

Hoteliers Group Backs Convention Center Funding Plan

The Hotel Motel Association of San Diego County, a trade group of local hoteliers, has given conditional approval to a measure that would raise the bulk of funding for a proposed $520 million San Diego Convention Center expansion through a surcharge on hotel rooms.

Mayor Sanders Issues Challenge to Software Developers

Calling all apps writers. Mayor Jerry Sanders launched an AT&T San Diego Apps Challenge on Jan. 12, seeking innovative ways that software developers can partner with the City of San Diego to create new applications for smartphones that enhance city services.

Monday, January 16

City Council OKs Cross Border Airport Terminal Project

A cross border airport terminal in San Diego took another step toward reality when the San Diego City Council approved an amendment to the Otay Mesa community plan permitting the construction Jan. 10.

Westcore Buys Irvine Properties for $15.1 million

San Diego-based Westcore Properties has purchased a two-building industrial and office complex in Irvine for $15.1 million.

A Termination Decision Can Indeed Hinge on Appearances

Delivering bad news to clients is never easy, but David Monks from Fisher & Phillips LLP has put together a way to tell potential wrongful termination clients — and more importantly human resource professionals who might be asked about a particular hire or promotion — that it is acceptable to discriminate against potential and current employees based on how they appear.

UCSD System Seeking Northern Exposure

HEALTH CARE: Increasing Market Share a Goal of Branding Campaign

The UC San Diego Health System, which operates hospitals in Hillcrest and La Jolla, has launched a major branding campaign in a move to grab more market share in North County

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Padres Sale on Hold; More Info Sought

SPORTS BIZ: Jeff Moorad Expresses Confidence Deal Will Be Completed

Jeff Moorad and his 12 partners will have to wait to officially take over as full owners of the San Diego Padres following an unexpected glitch at the baseball owners meeting in Paradise Valley, Ariz.

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‘More Is Less’ With Minimum Wage Increase

The minimum wage in San Francisco just became $10.24 per hour — nearly $3.00 above the federal minimum wage. To be sure, this is a well-intended move.

The Chargers Fumble the Business Decisions

Chip Conley, founder and former CEO of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, has recently written a book titled, “Emotional Equations.”

Fund Makes Key Pledge to the Door of Hope Fundraising Efforts

The Joan T. Waitt Family Fund has made a $1 million pledge to match dollar for dollar contributions to The Salvation Army Door of Hope Transitional Living Center, a residential program for homeless mothers and their children.

Regional Report

News and notes from communities around San Diego County

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McMillin Cos. Poised To Launch $4B Project

REAL ESTATE: Diversified Company Spreads Risk

The Corky McMillin Cos. has marked 2012 as the year construction will begin on the long-planned $4 billion mixed-use project in eastern Chula Vista the company is developing under the name Millenia.

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Real Estate Roundup

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

Snapdragon blitz

ADVERTISING: After Stadium Name Change, Push Continues to Market Smartphone Chips

Follow me, say the big letters on the back of a city bus, to Snapdragon Stadium.

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TV Show Follows A Moving Journey To a Local Stage

One of the Cygnet Theatre Co.’s more successful productions in 2011 was “Little Shop of Horrors,” which featured 7-foot long, 6-foot wide puppet Audrey II

Professional Profile: Chris Allen

Deloitte is a professional services organization that provides audit, consulting, financial advisory and tax services to clients in a wide variety of industries.

Accounting Firms Measure Up in Survey

RESEARCH: Business Journal Breaks Down Market Share

In San Diego, the Big Four doesn’t define the share of market for accounting services.

Service Counts with Clients

ACCOUNTING: Quality Staffs Contribute to Firms’ Ability to Beat Competition

Local accounting firms say providing the highest level of service to their clients is the best way to retain them and to secure new ones.

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Isis a Partner in $299M Drug Development Deal

BIOTECH: Biogen Idec Aims to Bring Treatment For Disorder to Market

Carlsbad-based Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. said it has entered into agreement with biotechnology giant Biogen Idec of Weston, Mass., to develop and commercialize an investigational drug for a rare genetic disorder

Retail Space Market Can Take the Sears’ Departures in Stride

RETAIL: A Low Local Vacancy Rate Spurs Demand for Good Spots

A broker handling two San Diego stores on Sears Holdings Corp.’s closure list says it likely won’t take long for the properties to get their next tenants, thanks to a tight local retail market for big-box vacancies in good locations.

BMW a First-Rate Seller Among County’s Luxury Autos

RETAIL: High-End Sales Increase as Slow Recovery Continues

BMW Group is poised to be the top-selling luxury automaker in San Diego County during 2011.

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Big Deep-Discount Retailer Brings Its Bargains to Golden State

RETAIL: Expansion Is Expected to Reach San Diego Eventually

Tennessee-based Dollar General Corp. isn’t yet revealing its plans for San Diego County, but Southern California and the state’s Central Valley will be prime targets as the deep-discount retailer opens 50 new stores and a distribution center during 2012 in the Golden State.

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Mercardante to Lead San Diego Private Bank

Veteran local banker Frank Mercardante said that he’s taking over as CEO at San Diego Private Bank and forming a holding company

Embarcadero Project Expected to Boost Private Development

CONSTRUCTION: Public Improvements Aim to Draw Tourists, Locals

Civic leaders broke ground on the $28.6 million first phase of improvements to downtown San Diego’s North Embarcadero, a project 15 years in the making that officials say will have long-term economic impact well beyond the waterfront district itself.

San Diego Supercomputer Center Takes on Big Jobs for Businesses

TECHNOLOGY: Resources Include One of 50 Fastest Computers in the World

Engineering firm Moffatt & Nichol is counted among businesses that are tapping into the San Diego Supercomputer Center, an organized research unit of UC San Diego that is proving to be an invaluable resource to industry as well as academia.

Elevation Raises $32 Million for Aerosol Version of COPD Drug

MEDICINE: Therapy Aimed at Sickest 20% Of Those Afflicted

San Diego-based startup Elevation Pharmaceuticals Inc. has raised $32 million in a second round of financing that will help the company advance its lead product candidate, an aerosol therapy for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Credit Union Sees Future in Mortgage Lending, Plans Two Offices

FINANCE: Firm’s Roots Are in Southern California Aerospace Industry

Kinecta Federal Credit Union is bullish on the San Diego housing market.

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Local Executives, Investors Drawn To Bay Area Health Care Event

CONFERENCE: Companies’ Performances And Products in Spotlight

Executive offices were empty last week at many of San Diego’s biotechnology and health care companies as CEOs flocked to San Francisco for the 30th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference.

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Nature’s Designs Are Translated Into Better Boards for Surfers

SPORTS: Company Shapes Its Future With New Technologies

Rouven “Bufo” Brauers turned to nature for inspiration to come up with a new surfboard.

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Big Four, Smaller Firms Grow Staffs

ACCOUNTING: Some Adding Professionals on the Tax Side

The Big Four, and many of the smaller firms on the San Diego Business Journal’s Accounting Firms list, are getting bigger locally.

Friday, January 13

RF Industries Reports Unaudited Results

RF Industries Ltd., a maker and distributor of radio frequency connectors and cable assemblies, reported Jan. 9 a fourth-quarter unaudited net loss of $50,000 on revenue of about $5.95 million for the quarter ended Oct. 31.

County Hotels Saw Foreclosures Rise, Loan Defaults Drop in 2011

San Diego County had California’s highest number of hotels foreclosed on by their lenders during 2011, but also saw the state’s sharpest drop in new default filings, according to a new report from Irvine-based Atlas Hospitality Group.

Acquisition Expands Software Firm’s Marketing Capabilities

Summit Software Solutions Inc., previously part owner of e-Marketing Sherpas, has acquired 100 percent of the company and will operate it as a division, Summit CEO Frank Terlep said.

Thursday, January 12

FDA Sets Decision Date for Arena’s Obesity Drug

San Diego-based Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. said on Jan. 10 that the Food and Drug Administration has accepted its resubmitted New Drug Application for its investigational obesity pill lorcaserin, with approval decision set for June 27.

Vista Apartments Sold for $80M

Dallas-based Invesco Advisors Inc. has purchased the 314-unit Monarch at Shadowridge apartment complex in Vista for $80.4 million.

Frank Mercardante to Lead San Diego Private Bank

Veteran local banker Frank Mercardante said Jan. 10 that he’s taking over as CEO at San Diego Private Bank and forming a holding company that will begin raising additional capital shortly.

Deadline to Weigh in on Region’s Future Is Jan. 31

San Diegans are facing a Jan. 31 deadline to make choices on what kind of region they’d like to see in the future.

Wednesday, January 11

EDC Trumpets Progress Being Made in South Bay

The South County Economic Development Council, a nonprofit business advocacy group, highlighted a number of achievements for 2011 that advanced the South Bay region.

WD-40 Reports 25 Percent Decline in Quarterly Profit

WD-40 Co. reported net income of $6.8 million for its first quarter ended Nov. 30, down 25 percent from the $9 million in net income for the like quarter of 2010.

Hotel del Coronado Getting $8 Million Renovation

Hotel del Coronado is undergoing a phased-in, $8 million renovation of 368 guest rooms and suites in its original Victorian building, including new contemporary furnishings, linens and technology. It is set to be completed in March.

Hot Tubs Maker Brings Spa Company Into Fold

Watkins Manufacturing Corp., a maker of hot tubs, said last month that it acquired the assets of American Hydrotherapy Systems, based in Ontario and a maker of molded spas.

Tuesday, January 10

Chargers to Play at Qualcomm in 2012

San Diego Chargers owner Dean Spanos and Mayor Jerry Sanders have released a joint statement announcing the football club will continue playing in Qualcomm Stadium in 2012 and won’t trigger the lease’s termination clause this year.

Gen-Probe Expects Double-Digit Sales Growth in 2012

Gen-Probe Inc.’s new product launches are off to a good start and will drive double-digit revenue growth in 2012, Chairman and CEO Carl Hull said in a statement Jan. 9. The company has previously said it expects 2011 revenue of $575 million to $580 million.

AT&T Upgrades Wireless Service, Enabling Faster Data Downloads

AT&T Inc. has introduced an upgraded version of its wireless service, giving San Diegans the ability to download data faster.

San Diego Firm Buys San Marcos Apartments for $28M

San Diego-based investment firm MG Properties Group has purchased the 168-unit Barham Villas Apartments in San Marcos for $28 million.

Monday, January 9

Isis Could Get $299M for Drug in Deal With Biogen Idec

Carlsbad-based Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. has entered into an agreement with biotechnology giant Biogen Idec of Weston, Mass., to develop and commercialize an investigational drug for a rare genetic disorder known as spinal muscular atrophy, the companies said.

$280M in Upgrades Planned at San Onofre Nuclear Plant

Operators of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, located north of Oceanside near Interstate 5, are investing $280 million in improvements taking place later this year.

Local Private Equity Fund Announces Merger of 5 Air Filtration Companies

Huntington Capital Fund II LP, a San Diego private equity fund, said it arranged a syndicated mezzanine loan for an undisclosed amount to Protect Plus Air Holdings LLC, a new holding company for five entities in the residential air filter space.

Mission Valley Office Tower Sold for $34M

Newport Beach-based Peregrine Realty Partners has purchased the Valley Corporate Center office building in Mission Valley for $34 million.

CEO Gets Sandwich Chain in Shipshape for Major Expansion

HOSPITALITY: Assisting Franchisees, Maintaining Quality Food Are Goals

The president and CEO of Submarina Inc. has taken on the complex task of reorganizing and growing the nearly 35-year-old restaurant company

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Big Pharma Buys La Jolla Startup For Up to $310M

BIOTECH: Drug-Development Company’s Exit a Good Sign For Venture Funding Climate

One of the world’s largest pharmaceutical players, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., is gobbling up La Jolla-based drug-development company Intellikine Inc

Meritage Pharma Buyout Deal Could Top $90 Million

Pennsylvania biopharmaceutical company said that it would pay millions — possibly more than $90 million — to acquire Carmel Valley-based Meritage Pharma Inc

What to Expect on the Insurance Front in 2012

The insurance industry marches to its own economic drum.

Region’s General Contractors See Room for Growth This Year

CONSTRUCTION: Local Activity for 1st 11 Months Of 2011 Rose 50 Percent

Balfour Beatty Construction and its local rivals will be watching in 2012 for new project opportunities in the public and private sector

Social ‘Solutioning’ Site Is About Beating Addiction

TECHNOLOGY: Apps Provide Support, Tools For Addicts, Caregivers

A Solana Beach company founded by a former venture capitalist who almost died from drugs and alcohol has raised $7 million in funding

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Santarus Files FDA Application, Buys Drug Rights

MEDICINE: Company To Post Profit for 2011; Outlook for 2012 Is Good

While many San Diego companies were taking it slow in the weeks leading up to 2012, Carmel Valley-based biopharmaceutical firm Santarus Inc. was taking action on plans to expand its product portfolio.

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CEOs Confident That Economy Will Improve

CEOs see better economic times ahead, according to a national survey conducted by the San Diego-based business group Vistage International Inc.

Contest Calls for Entrepreneurs to Be Fast on Their Feat

The UC San Diego Entrepreneur Challenge kicks off 2012 with an elevator pitch competition scheduled for Jan. 11. Aydogan Ozcan, inventor of the cellphone microscope

Change in the Works for Seaport Village

DEVELOPMENT: Police Building Included in Major Renovation Plans

Officials of Carlsbad-based Terramar Retail Centers and the Port of San Diego are moving ahead with plans for a major renovation of Seaport Village and a nearby former police building on San Diego’s downtown waterfront.

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Looking Razer Sharp, Carlsbad Company Raises $50M in Funding

GAMING: Firm Adds To R&D War Chest, Gets Set for Global Growth

Carlsbad-based video gaming hardware company Razer USA Ltd. recently secured $50 million in a first round of venture capital funding

As Economy Struggles, National University Thrives

EDUCATION: MBA School Ranks 1st on SDBJ List Again

Tough economic times have helped National University seize the top spot on the San Diego Business Journal’s list of MBA Schools for three consecutive years.

Treatment Centers Aim to Cut the Surgery Out of the Picture

HEALTH CARE: Firm Finds Nonsurgical Way To Ease Back Problems

It’s not every day that you hear a surgeon extol the benefits of not having surgery. But that’s what you’ll get if you to talk to Kamshad Raiszadeh

General Atomics Finds Customer for Unmanned Aircraft

AEROSPACE: Fast Flying Jet UAV Developed At Company’s Expense

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. has a customer for its Predator C Avenger unmanned jet aircraft. It is the U.S. Air Force, which already operates a fleet of propeller-driven aircraft from GA-ASI.

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REGIONAL REPORT

Dallas-based AT&T Inc. will not tie the knot with rival cellphone carrier T-Mobile USA Inc., a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG, the two companies

Momentum

ECONOMY: Job Growth, More Consumer Spending Providing a Boost

Economic momentum appears to be evident — finally. That was the consensus view from a panel of seven professionals assembled at the San Diego Business Journal’s 2012 Economic Trends event Jan. 5 at Paradise Point Resort & Spa.

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Executive profile: Michael R. Cunningham

Dr. Michael R. Cunningham became dean of the College of Business Administration at San Diego State University on June 20, 2011. An award-winning teacher,

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European Debt Crisis Paves Way for Sandag Road Purchase

INFRASTRUCTURE: Foreign Banks Get Much Needed Cash in the Deal

Europe’s debt crisis played a part in the purchase of the South Bay Expressway by the San Diego Association of Governments, said a key negotiator of the $351 million deal.

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Good Leadership Leads to Great Results for Candlelight Ball

The 82nd annual Candlelight Ball was held Dec. 3 at The Grand Del Mar.

Redevelopment Projects and Agencies in Jeopardy

GOVERNMENT: Future Is Uncertain for CCDC; Chargers Stadium at Risk

Observers say the Dec. 29 California Supreme Court ruling, upholding state lawmakers’ dismantling of more than 400 redevelopment agencies, clouds the financing picture

Technology Sector Fuels Real Estate Recovery

The San Diego region is in the middle of a major boom in technology that is beginning to lead the area’s battered economy back to better times.

Continuing Education Can Be Big Boost on Career Track

EDUCATION: Online, Classroom Learning Gives Students Workplace Edge

Your neighborhood coffeehouse is not what it seems. At some point during the week, it probably doubles as a college classroom. You might not notice.

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REAL ESTATE ROUNDUP

A “topping out” ceremony is being held for the Cafeteria, Bookstore and Student Services Center project at San Diego Miramar College.

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Quidel Corp. Gains FDA Clearance for 2 Diagnostic Tests

HEALTH CARE: Both Are Part of Firm’s New Molecular Product Line

San Diego-based Quidel Corp. said the Food and Drug Administration has cleared the company’s first two molecular diagnostic tests for infectious diseases.

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Friday, January 6

San Diego CEOs Voice Cautious Optimism for 2012

2012 will likely be a replay of 2011, according to a majority of the region’s CEOs. Nevertheless, they are optimistic enough to think seriously about hiring.

Silvergate Bank Parent Completes $13.8M Common Stock Private Placement

Silvergate Capital Corp., parent firm of Silvergate Bank in La Jolla, says it has completed a common stock private placement that raised $13.8 million in gross proceeds.

Officials Kick Off North Embarcadero Construction

Officials broke ground Jan. 5 on the $28.6 million first phase of improvements to the North Embarcadero waterfront district in downtown San Diego.

Thursday, January 5

CEOs Confident That Economy Will Improve, Survey Says

CEOs see better economic times ahead, according to a national survey conducted by the San Diego-based business group Vistage International Inc.

Terramar Buys Washington Retail Center for $35M

Carlsbad-based Terramar Retail Centers LLC said Jan. 4 that it has acquired a retail center in Bothell, Wash., for $35 million.

Sempra Energy Subsidiary to Buy Mississippi Utility

Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, said Jan. 3 that it will purchase Willmut Gas & Oil Co., a privately owned natural gas utility based in Hattiesburg, Miss., for an undisclosed price.

Wednesday, January 4

Accelrys Acquires Massachusetts Company for $35M

Accelrys Inc., a San Diego maker of software that helps scientific and research and development companies manage data, said Jan. 3 that it acquired privately held VelQuest Corp. for $35 million in cash.

Conservancy Buys High-Profile Cardiff Property

The nonprofit San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy has purchased the site known as Gateway Park, across from Cardiff State Beach, for $3.75 million.

Tuesday, January 3

Takeda Pharmaceutical to Buy La Jolla Startup Intellikine

Japan’s Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. said it will purchase La Jolla-based Intellikine Inc., a 2007 biotechnology startup, for as much as $310 million. The companies expect the deal to close in January.

Two Local Stores on Sears Closure List

Two San Diego stores are on an initial list of 79 planned Sears and Kmart closings announced Dec. 29 by Chicago-based Sears Holdings Co., following a disappointing holiday sales season.

Local Construction Employment Declines

San Diego County joined 145 other U.S. metro areas in seeing a decline in construction employment between November 2010 and November 2011, according to data released Dec. 28 by Virginia-based Associated General Contractors of America.

Monday, January 2

Quotes of The Year

‘The life sciences sector is still going strong.

Count on Reductions, Consolidations, Innovations at Law Firms

The year 2012 will be one of change in the legal community. As another challenging year closed last week, larger firms were reconciling billings that didn’t match overhead. So 2012 promises more reductions, consolidations and new, innovative divisions that can gain market share at more affordable billing rates.

Multifamily Market Likely to Continue Its Momentum in 2012

REAL ESTATE: Investors Active in Low-Supply, High-Demand Market

Rising demand from renters kept San Diego County apartments full in 2011, while scarce new construction and historically low financing rates kept them popular among investors, and experts say both trends will be in full force during 2012 and beyond.

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Dark Economic Clouds Begin to Part in 2012

We have survived a year of stagnation, but 2012 will be characterized by gradual growth. I had expected better numbers over the past year, but I should have known better. This was the big recession — for most of us still active in the workforce — and the big ones necessitate a longer recovery process.

New Business Rules and Regs Ring in 2012

Well, Happy New Year! And may 2012 exceed all of our expectations in terms of sales and profits!

Cash Is Drying Up for Young Biotechs Going to the ‘Well’

BIOTECH: The Lack Of Funds for Innovation May Damage Field

Money doesn’t come easy for life science startups in San Diego, said David L. Gollaher

Worst May Be Over, But Banks Still in Recovery Mode

FINANCE: Larger Lenders Fare Better as Profitability, Capital Ratios Improve

In the third year since the 2008 financial crisis that rocked the global banking industry not a single bank failed in San Diego. But that doesn’t mean the industry here or anywhere else has returned to normalcy.

Green Energy to Make Some Big Local Connections in 2012

ENERGY: Soitec Factory, Powerlink, Smart Meters Part of Clean-Tech Efforts

Renewable energy has a starring role in the story of San Diego Gas & Electric Co. in 2012.

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Housing Market Shows No Signs of Escaping Doldrums

REAL ESTATE: Lending Climate and Foreclosures Stall Residential Progress

San Diego’s housing market remained in the doldrums last year and shows little sign of staging a robust comeback this year

Rising Demand Fuels Optimism In Auto Industry

RETAIL: Electric Cars to Play Into Drivers’ Desire For Green Transport

Auto dealers see good things ahead in 2012.

Slow-Motion Recovery Sets Economic Pace

FINANCE: Housing Woes Offset Gains In the Workplace

Job creation is on the rise, unemployment is declining, and the area’s diverse economy should once again generate higher gross revenue for the county’s businesses, local economists say.

Tiny Devices Propel the Rising Popularity of Self-Tracking

How well did you sleep last night? Did you get enough exercise today? Consumers are increasingly turning to tiny, noninvasive personal health gadgets that track the body’s biometric information and then provide an objective, quantitative answer.

ACCOUNTABLE!

HEALTH CARE: ACOs Aim to Lower Costs, Improve Quality of Care for Medicare Patients

One of the most-discussed provisions of the federal health care reform law is going into effect, turning the concept of an accountable care organization into a business reality for at least one major health system in San Diego.

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Region Rings Up Plenty of Hotel Sales in 2011

REAL ESTATE: Office Sector Will Likely Still Favor Tenants

The year 2011 could rightly be called the Year of the Hotel in local commercial real estate circles.

Lauree Sahba

Executive Profile

The San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. went through some significant changes in 2011, said COO Lauree Sahba. Sahba, who has been with the organization since 1999, has been a part of setting a new course for the organization’s economic development program. EDC refocused its resources to promote the region for investment and provide economic development services to expanding companies. “We owe a great deal to our former Chairman Bill Geppert, who stepped in as interim CEO — after Julie Meier Wright retired in June — to maintain a strong finish for 2011,” Sahba said.

Charity Ball Continues Grand Tradition of Stepping Up to Help

The 103 Annual Charity Ball, the longest running gala in San Diego, is set for Jan. 21 at the Hotel del Coronado. Renowned entertainer Rick Faugno is the featured performer. Faugno is the headliner in “Body & Soul” at the Las Vegas Hilton. Sponsors for this year’s gala include Union Bank and Wells Fargo.

Tourism Industry Looks to Build on Recession Recovery Gains

Hospitality: Parks’ New Attractions Add Color To Brightening Picture

Local tourism leaders anticipate a ramping-up of the industry’s recovery in 2012

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Locally Based Manufacturers Find the Right Niches for Success

PRODUCTION: Some Work Returns to U.S.; States Compete for Firms

San Diego retains vestiges of an aerospace industry that counted major plants operated by the likes of General Dynamics

Click Once, Lean Back and Enjoy Our Digital Edition

Readers of the San Diego Business Journal and visitors to our website may have noticed that we have launched a digital edition of our print publication.

Real Estate Roundup

T.B. Penick & Sons Inc. has announced construction is now under way on the $15.4 million Bachelor Enlisted Quarters at San Clemente Island. The permanent modular construction project, awarded by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Southwest is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and includes the design/build of two buildings, each three stories high, featuring 53 two-person apartment units with rooms and lounges for 106 sailors. The living quarters will be on San Clemente Island located approximately 70 miles west of San Diego.

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Retailers, Investors Still on the Hunt in Property Market

REAL ESTATE: Area’s Diverse Economy Spurs Continuing Recovery

Local retail property investors and tenants will be cautiously watching in 2012 for signals of a repeat performance of 2011

Improvements Could Be Game-Changers for Companies

TECHNOLOGY: Video Games Get New Visuals, Pricing and Platforms

New releases of high-quality video games are helping 2012 shape up to be a good year for game enthusiasts as well as local gaming companies such as Sony Online Entertainment, according to Russell Shanks, chief operating officer and executive vice president.

Budgetary Forces May Align Against Defense Spending

Military: 2013 Could Bring Automatic Cuts

Businesspeople who keep track of the defense budget will see quite a show during 2012

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