Stories for December 2013

Monday, December 30

Silvergate Bank Agrees to Sell Lancaster Branch

Silvergate Bank entered an agreement to sell its Lancaster branch to Glendale-based Americas United Bank, Silvergate said.

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FAA Leaves Southern California Out of ‘Drone Zone’ Designations

proposed “Drone Zone” will not be coming to Southern California.

MaxLinear Moving to Larger Headquarters in Carlsbad

MaxLinear Inc., a Carlsbad business that makes integrated circuits for broadband communications, plans to move its headquarters in 2014 while staying in Carlsbad.

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Fabrus Planning to Merge With New Jersey Biotech Company

Fabrus Inc. will merge with Senesco Technologies Inc., the companies announced.

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Former Housing Commission CEO Appointed to California Housing Partnership Corp.

Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Morris was appointed to the California Housing Partnership Corp. by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Sunday, December 29

AT&T Sells Miramar Data Center Building for $134.5 Million

A Florida-based real estate investment trust has purchased a Miramar office building housing an AT&T data center for $134.5 million, in a sale-leaseback transaction.

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General Atomics ASI Receives $362.2M Air Force Contract

The U.S. Air Force awarded General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. a $362.2 million service contract for Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial systems.

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BuyAutoParts.com Inks New Distribution Agreements

BuyAutoParts.com said it’s now distributing Rigid Industries LED Lighting products.

The Business Calendar for Week of December 30, 2013

Some of the business events happening around the county for the week of December 30, 2013.

Work Proceeding on $38 Million Cabrillo Bridge Project at Balboa Park

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the city of San Diego have begun work on a second phase of the $38 million retrofit and rehabilitation of the historic Cabrillo Bridge on the west side of Balboa Park.

Phil’s BBQ Location to Close During $1M Renovation

Phil’s BBQ is closing its Midway area restaurant Dec. 30 through Feb. 10, 2014 for a renovation costing about $1 million.

Kratos Subsidiary Receives Foreign Military Contract Potentially Worth $17M

A subsidiary of Kratos Defense and Security Solutions Inc. received a follow-on contract worth up to $17 million.

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Raytheon Gets $8.5M Missile Work

Raytheon Co. recently took on $8.5 million worth of missile work.

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Thursday, December 26

Medistem Being Acquired for $26 Million

Germantown, Md.-based Intrexon Corp. has agreed to acquire San Diego-based stem cell company Medistem Inc. for $26 million.

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Davidson Communities Buys 94 Lots in Bonsall

Del Mar-based homebuilder Davidson Communities has bought 94 lots in the North County community of Bonsall for about $10 million.

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NuVasive to Increase Workforce at Newly Acquired Plant

NuVasive Inc. will expand the workforce at its Dayton, Ohio, manufacturing plant in 2014 by more than 25 percent, the company announced in a press release.

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Accelrys Subsidiaries to Pay $16 Million to Settle Arbitration

Two subsidiaries of San Diego-based Accelrys Inc., have agreed to pay $16 million to Borealis AG as part of a settlement agreement to resolve pending arbitration, according to an Accelrys filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Bridgepoint Education OKs Raises for CEO and Other Top Execs

Bridgepoint Education Inc.’s compensation committee has approved a 20.83 percent raise for CEO Andrew Clark for the new year, increasing his base salary from $600,000 in 2013 to $725,000 for 2014, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Newly Opened Imperial Beach Restaurant is Cohn’s 19th in County

Cohn Restaurant Group of San Diego has opened Sea 180 Coastal Tavern in Imperial Beach.

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Wednesday, December 25

Wal-mart Plans New Neighborhood Market in El Cajon

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to open a new location of its small-format Walmart Neighborhood Market in El Cajon during the first half of 2014.

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South Bay Health & Insurance Buys Chula Vista Site for New Headquarters

Locally based South Bay Health & Insurance Services Inc. has bought an office building and two adjacent properties in Chula Vista for about $4.9 million, according to CoStar Group and public data.

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Sempra Energy Declares Dividend

Sempra Energy’s board of directors last week declared a quarterly dividend of 63 cents per share of common stock.

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Santarus Enrolling for Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Study

Santarus Inc., a San Diego-based maker of diabetes and gastrointestinal drugs, has begun enrolling patients in a study involving its investigational drug SAN-300, the company announced Monday.

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Monday, December 23

Mission Valley Office Buildings Part of $22.7 Million Deal

Two Mission Valley office buildings are part of a three-state, 17-property portfolio bought by Portland, Ore.-based ScanlanKemberBard Cos. for about $22.7 million.

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Nassco Awarded Contract Modification for Afloat Forward Staging Base

The General Dynamics Nassco shipyard received a U.S. Navy contract worth up to $21.4 million, the Pentagon announced on Dec. 20. The money will go toward the design and construction of an afloat forward staging base.

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Life Technologies' Methods for Testing Meat Approved by Australian Agriculture Department

Life Technologies Corp.’s MicroSEQ(R) Real-Time PCR workflow was approved by the Australia’s Department of Agriculture as a test method to detect pathogens in export meat and meat products, the company announced last week.

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S&P Upgraded City of San Diego's Credit Rating

Standard & Poor’s raised the city of San Diego’s credit rating from AA- to AA, the city announced.

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PacketVideo sells $60 million in securities

PacketVideo Corp. sold $60 million of securities beginning Dec. 6.

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San Diego Unemployment Falls to 6.8 percent in November

San Diego’s unemployment rate fell to 6.8 percent in November.

Sunday, December 22

Sorrento Therapeutics Closes Concortis Acquisition

Sorrento Therapeutics Inc. has completed its acquisition of biotech company Concortis Biosystems Corp., Sorrento announced.

Cardium Therapeutics Provides Update on Exchange Listing Compliance

Cardium Therapeutics Inc., which could face possible suspension or removal from the New York Stock Exchange, has until Jan. 6, 2014 to submit an updated plan of compliance to the exchange.

ViaSat Gets Contract with Australian Military

ViaSat Inc. received a contract to provide the Australian military with small tactical radio terminals for military communications, the company said.

SDG&E Donates More Land to the Forest Service

San Diego Gas & Electric donated 448 acres between El Cajon Mountain and the El Capitan Reservoir, known as the Oak Ridge Ranch, to the U.S. Forest Service.

Interpreters Unlimited Buys Florida Translation Company

Sorrento Valley-based Interpreters Unlimited Inc. bought Albors & Alnet, a language translation and medical transportation company based in Winter Park, Fla.

Development Agencies Get Federal Grant To Study Aerotropolis

The East County and South County Economic Development Councils have received a $40,000 federal grant to research ways to create economic growth through a regional airport-focused “aerotropolis” concept.

Business Calendar for Week of December 23, 2013

Some of the upcoming business event around the county.

Saturday, December 21

Northrop at Center of Spy Plane Speculation

DEFENSE: Magazine Says Co. Beat Big Competitors for the Job

Northrop Grumman Corp.’s new unmanned spy plane has shown up on the radar.

Taking Coverage

Health Care: Small Businesses Face Challenges, Surprises Preparing for ACA

Lynette Lampton expected health insurance premiums to rise in 2014. She didn’t think they’d go up 57 percent.

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Analysts Applaud Mollenkopf Move at Qualcomm

TECH: Consensus Is That Company Saved a Star With Early CEO Appointment

Qualcomm Inc. ended speculation that Steve Mollenkopf, its president and chief operating officer, might leave to become CEO of Microsoft Corp. by naming him to be Qualcomm’s next CEO in 2014.

OnMyBlock Wins Top Prize At Pitchfest

SDBJ Insider

The holidays came early for one of San Diego’s newest businesses, OnMyBlock.

Region May Be Losing Some Major Businesses

TECH: Reports Have Websense, Two Others Taking Off for Texas

San Diego may lose up to three large employers in 2014.

Emotient Putting Its Efforts Into Understanding Your Feelings

TECH: Company’s Software Deciphers Emotions for a Variety of Marketing Uses

Be it a grimace, a furrowed brow or the flicker of a smile, San Diego-based Emotient Inc. is building software to map it.

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2 Bowl Games Create 3 Winners

SPORTS: Area Scores as Fans Spend Time and Money Locally

San Diego gets invaded this week, but it’s a kind of invasion that most cities would envy.

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Linkage Fee Hike Puts Another Burden on Business

Commentary: Tom van Betten

The recent passage of the linkage fee increases by the San Diego City Council will prove to be an ineffective solution to funding affordable housing units, creating few new properties while adversely affecting business owners due to an increase in rent.

Brewers Get a Bigger Welcome Mat in City

PROPERTY: Regulatory OK Opens Areas to Mixed Facilities

The California Coastal Commission has granted authority to the city of San Diego to allow restaurants and tasting rooms at microbreweries in coastal industrial zones, as the city aims to compete for its share of new businesses in the burgeoning craft beer industry.

Viejas Team Members Give Santa Some Serious Competition

Kudos/Giving Column

Viejas Casino & Resort team members and guests gathered more than 12,000 toys for The Salvation Army serving eastern San Diego County.

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Nonprofit Profile: Kris Michell

Kris Michell took the roles of president and CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership in the beginning of 2011. Her experience includes working for both former Mayor Jerry Sanders and former Mayor Susan Golding as chief of staff.

Jon Williams Is New San Diego County Bar Association President

The Business of Law

Jon Williams was sworn in as president of the San Diego County Bar Association during the organization’s annual holiday event on Dec. 6. Williams, a partner at Boudreau Williams LLP, specializes in civil appeals and writs in state and federal court.

Menon Biosensors Perfects DNA Analysis to Detect Pathogens

Biotechnology/Health Care

Before delving into all things biotechnical, I’d like to wish you the happiest of holidays. I hope 2013 was a good one — and I’ll see you in the New Year!

JetBlue Contracts With ViaSat for Faster Wireless Service ‘Fly-Fi’

Technology Column

A speedy, in-flight Wi-Fi service that made its debut on JetBlue Airways this month uses electronics from Carlsbad-based ViaSat Inc. It also leverages a ViaSat (Nasdaq: VSAT) satellite.

Encinitas Investors Agree to Buy Bank as It Posts Reduced Losses

Finance Column

Apparently not everyone thinks the banking industry has little or no upside.

Affordable Housing Backers, Developers Battle Over Linkage Fees

HOUSING: Coalition Cites Protecting Jobs in Seeking To Take Matter to Voters

Political signature gatherers could be a familiar post-Christmas sight at San Diego grocery stores and shopping centers, as opponents of a newly approved increase in commercial development fees take their case to city voters.

Conditions Expected to Cool Housing Price Increases in New Year

PROPERTY: Significant Percentage of Homeowners Still Have Negative Equity

The rate of appreciation for property in San Diego County is expected to slow to about 6 percent in 2014, a leading industry economist said during a recent conference on residential real estate held at the University of San Diego.

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United Way Chooses Former Fire Chief As New President, CEO

The United Way of San Diego County has named Kevin Crawford as its president and CEO.

Rempex Bought by Public Company in Deal Worth Up To $474M

PHARMA: Local Ops Will Continue; 2 Drugs in Trials

San Diego-based Rempex Pharmaceuticals Inc. has been acquired for up to $474 million — including $140 million upfront — by The Medicines Co., a publicly traded pharmaceutical company based in Parsippany, N.J.

Energy-Usage Data Reporting Requirements Soon to Take Effect

PROPERTY: New Rules Propmpt Increased Energy Awareness Among Owners

After several years of delays, a state law mandating registration and disclosure of energy-usage data for commercial buildings 10,000 square feet and larger will take effect Jan. 1.

Friday, December 20

Development Agencies Get Federal Grant To Study Aerotropolis

The East County and South County Economic Development Councils have received a $40,000 federal grant to research ways to create economic growth through a regional airport-focused “aerotropolis” concept.

ViaSat Gets Contract with Australian Military

ViaSat Inc. received a contract to provide the Australian military with small tactical radio terminals for military communications, the company said.

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Sorrento Therapeutics Closes Concortis Acquisition

Sorrento Therapeutics Inc. has completed its acquisition of biotech company Concortis Biosystems Corp., Sorrento announced.

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Cardium Therapeutics Provides Update on Exchange Listing Compliance

Cardium Therapeutics Inc., which could face possible suspension or removal from the New York Stock Exchange, has until Jan. 6, 2014 to submit an updated plan of compliance to the exchange.

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Interpreters Unlimited Buys Florida Translation Company

Sorrento Valley-based Interpreters Unlimited Inc. bought Albors & Alnet, a language translation and medical transportation company based in Winter Park, Fla.

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SDG&E Donates More Land to the Forest Service

San Diego Gas & Electric said it donated 448 acres between El Cajon Mountain and the El Capitan Reservoir, known as the Oak Ridge Ranch, to the U.S. Forest Service.

Thursday, December 19

Three Downtown Properties Sold for $12.2 Million

Three properties in the same block of downtown San Diego, including two office buildings, have been purchased for a total of $12.2 million, according to CoStar Group and public data.

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Survey Sees Boost in Business Optimism

A monthly forecast of local business sentiment rose to a new high in November after declining for the prior two months.

EDF Renewable Adds to Its Texas Wind Farm Portfolio

EDF Renewable Energy has bought the Longhorn North Wind Project from Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc.

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Bexil American Partners with Big Moat for Mortgage Efforts

Bexil American Mortgage Inc., with offices here and in Alabama, said it struck a partnership with Big Moat REIT, a private Maryland-based mortgage real estate trust focused on investment in residential mortgage assets.

Raytheon Get $41.6M Navy Contract

Raytheon Co. and its San Diego workforce received a four-year U.S. Navy electronics contract worth $41.6 million.

CH Projects Debuting Restaurant at Former Little Italy Warehouse

San Diego-based operator CH Projects plans a February 2014 opening for Ironside Fish & Oyster, a new concept with a raw-bar, bakery and restaurant to debut in Little Italy.

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Kratos Reports $4.5M in National Security Work

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc. said that its Electronic Products Division recently received approximately $4.5 million worth of awards related to unnamed national security programs.

Wednesday, December 18

Rempex Pharmaceuticals Sold in Deal Potentially Worth $474M

Rempex Pharmaceuticals Inc. has been acquired for up to $474 million — including $140 million upfront — by The Medicines Co.

Barrio Logan Zoning Issue to Be Decided By Voters

San Diego voters will make a final decision on the Barrio Logan Community Plan update — which San Diego’s ship repair industry opposes — on the June 3 ballot.

Infosonics Enters Distribution Agreement With Ingram Micro Mobility

Infosonics Corp. entered into a non-exclusive distribution agreement with Ingram Micro Mobility.

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Miramar Industrial Campus Sells for $32.4 Million

Pennsylvania-based KTR Capital Partners LP has purchased a four-building distribution center campus in Miramar for approximately $32.4 million, according to CoStar Group and public data.

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Scripps Partners With Sotera for Study of Wireless Health Care

Scripps Health is partnering with San Diego-based Sotera Wireless Inc. to launch a pilot study that examines how the company’s wireless technology can be used to improve the care of patients and lower the cost of health care.

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Kevin Crawford Named President and CEO of United Way of San Diego County

The United Way of San Diego County has named Kevin Crawford president and CEO of the nonprofit organization.

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Brightscope Rankings Put NFL’s Retirement Plan as a Top Scorer

Brightscope released its fifth annual ratings list for 401k plans. The No. 1 plan is providing services to some of the highest paid employees in the nation professional football players.

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Santee Retail Center Sells for $11 Million

CNA Enterprises Inc. of Los Angeles has purchased the Mission Creek retail center in Santee for $11 million.

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BioMed Names Salk Institute President to Board of Directors

BioMed Realty Trust Inc. of San Diego has named William R. Brody, president of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, to its board of directors, increasing its board to nine members.

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Tuesday, December 17

Realty Income Buying Commercial Properties for $503 Million

Escondido-based Realty Income Corp. has signed agreements to purchase 84 commercial properties from Inland Diversified Real Estate Trust Inc., for approximately $503 million.

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County Housing Sales Down 10.5% in November

San Diego’s housing market took a breather in November, registering fewer sales but the median price increased nearly 16 percent year over year to $415,000, according to Dataquick, the La Jolla real estate research firm.

Developer Breaks Ground on $5 Million Point Loma Mixed-Use Project

Developer Veritas Urban Properties of San Diego has broken ground on a $5 million, mixed-use townhome and retail project in Point Loma, called The Famosa Townhomes.

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Local Groups Tap Lobbying Firm to Enhance Political Influence

The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and Connect have partnered to hire a Sacramento lobbying firm Rose & Kindel / Grayling to “provide greater influence in statewide policies that impact the San Diego regional business community.”

Local REIT Buys Shopping Center for $35.9 Million

San Diego-based Retail Opportunity Investments Corp. has purchased a grocery-anchored shopping center in Los Angeles County for $35.9 million.

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Halozyme Names New CEO

Halozyme Therapeutics Inc. is appointing Onyx Pharmaceuticals Inc. veteran Helen Torley as its new chief executive.

Sony Electronics Names New President

Sony Electronics Inc. will have a new president as of Jan. 1; Michael Fasulo will take the job.

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Kratos Receives $4.5 Million Contract for UAV Work

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc. said Dec. 17 that it received a $4.5 million contract related to an unmanned aerial drone program.

San Diego Symphony CEO Plans to Step Down

Edward B. ‘Ward’ Gill will resign his position as chief executive officer of the San Diego Symphony on September 30, 2014.

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Monday, December 16

City Council to Revisit Barrio Logan Zoning Issues

The San Diego City Council is scheduled to decide on Dec. 17 whether to send its plan to rezone Barrio Logan to the city voters.

Southwest Airlines Adds Nonstop Routes Between Lindbergh and 4 Cities

Southwest Airlines will begin offering daily nonstop service between San Diego and four other cities, to New Orleans, Seattle Portland, Ore., and Orlando, Fla., starting next year.

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Z Microsystems Gets $480,000 Deal for Ruggedized Computer Displays

Z Microsystems Inc. is supplying ruggedized computer displays to Northrop Grumman for use in the U.S. Army’s new Ground Combat Vehicle, an infantry fighting vehicle that may one day replace the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

Congressman Introduces Bill to Make Tax Credit for R&D Permanent

U.S. Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) has introduced H.R. 3757, legislation that would make the tax credit for research and development permanent. A current R&D tax credit is set to expire on Dec. 31 if Congress doesn’t extend the bill.

BioMed Realty Announces Q4 Dividend of $0.25

BioMed Realty Trust Inc.’s board of directors declared a dividend of 25 cents per share of common stock for fourth quarter 2013, a 6.4 percent increase over its dividend for third quarter 2013, the company announced.

RainTree Oncology, Express Scripts Announce Drug Distribution Agreement

San Diego-based RainTree Oncology Services Corp., a community oncology alliance, and Express Scripts, a pharmacy benefit manager, have entered into an exclusive, three-year pharmaceutical drug distribution agreement, the companies announced.

Overland Storage Is Compliant with Nasdaq Listing Requirements

Overland Storage, the San Diego provider of data storage services, is now compliant with the minimum stock listing requirements for the Nasdaq Capital Markets, the company said.

RF Industries Announces Quarterly Dividend

San Diego-based RF Industries Ltd.’s board of directors has declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of 7 cents per common share, the company announced.

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Sunday, December 15

Qualcomm Inc. Names Steve Mollenkopf as Next CEO

Qualcomm Inc. named Steve Mollenkopf its new chief executive officer, effective March 4 when its current CEO Paul Jacobs will assume the title of executive chairman.

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Navy Announces Plans for Bulk Biofuel Purchase

Federal officials have announced a new plan to buy biofuel in bulk for the U.S. Navy.

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General Atomics ASI Receives $110.5M Army Contract for UAV Logistics

The U.S. Army awarded Poway-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. a $110.5 million contract for continuing logistics services related to the Army’s version of the Predator unmanned aircraft.

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Naviscan Corp.'s Assets Bought By Mexican Company

A Mexican medical diagnostics company has acquired the assets of Carlsbad-based Naviscan Corp., but said it plans to continue to develop and manufacture Naviscan’s molecular imaging products locally.

Adamis Pharmaceuticals Begins Trading on NASDAQ

Adamis Pharmaceuticals Corp. began trading on the Nasdaq on Dec. 13, pricing its $22 million secondary public offering at $5.95 per share.

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The Business Calendar for the Week of December 16, 2013

Some of the business events happening for the week of December 16, 2013.

San Diego-Based Travel Technology Company Closes $2M Funding Round

Onde Ficar, a San Diego based travel technology company, closed a $2 million series A funding round led by a group of hospitality and technology investors, the company said.

SAIC Awarded Navy Contract for Marine Mammal Work

The Pentagon said it awarded Virginia-based Science Applications International Corp. a $10 million Navy contract covering a year’s worth of care and training for Navy marine mammals. Most of the work will be in San Diego.

Landscape Supplier Opens First County Location

Orange County-based Village Nurseries Wholesale LLC, a specialty grower serving landscape professionals, recently opened a new 185-acre Super Landscape Center in San Diego’s Miramar neighborhood.

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OncoSec Appoints New Chief Medical Officer

San Diego-based OncoSec Medical Inc. has appointed former Merck & Co. Inc. exec Robert H. Pierce as its chief medical officer.

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Denny's to Open at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

The newest franchised location of the Denny’s restaurant chain is scheduled to open Dec. 19 at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.

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Saturday, December 14

Banking Industry Profit Down in Q3; JPM Legal Costs a Factor

Finance Column

The nation’s banking industry racked up $36 billion in net profit for the third quarter. That’s off by 3.9 percent from the profit in the like quarter of 2012 and down from a revised $38 billion in the second quarter, according to a recent report by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the industry’s primary regulator.

Customer Services

RETAIL: Outlets Draw Shoppers With Perks, Performances and Products

At a time when savvy shoppers can snag online, year-round bargains 24 hours a day, and find the best brick-and-mortar store prices on their mobile devices, outlet retail centers have had to up their game as discount meccas for local and international shoppers.

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RedIT Sees Greenlight For Major Expansion

TECH: Co. Has the Cash for National, International Growth

With $72 million of expansion funds in hand, redIT is looking east and south to better tap into cross-border data traffic.

Flower Power at Center Of Carlsbad Project

PROPERTY: Agriculture, Entertainment Land Together

Developer Carltas Co. of Carlsbad is aiming to turn what is now a seasonal flower-viewing attraction into a year-round hub of agricultural business activity, with plans in the works for a floral distribution center, microbrewery, winery, culinary school and community marketplace.

Technology Prescribed To Cut Costs of Care

MEDICINE: Region a Leader In Mobile Health Solutions

Advances in medical information technology will help ease mounting health care costs in 2014 – and much of the groundwork is being laid in San Diego.

IT Innovations Arrive; IT Challenges Follow

TECH: Using Personal Devices For Work Creates Complexities

In today’s business-computing, it’s about both the journey and the destination. The proliferation of personal devices and their increasing use at work have changed the journey, while cloud computing has changed the destination of data.

Technology Gives Palomar Lifesaving Link

SDBJ Insider

This announcement shows the changing doctor-patient relationship: North County’s Palomar Health — including its $1 billion Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, which it touts as the “hospital of the future” — has deployed a 21st century wireless network from Silicon Valley-based AirStrip that enables doctors and other providers to access patients’ near real-time clinical data from mobile phones, iPads and other digital devices.

Sales Tax Paves the Way for Smoother Commutes

INFRASTRUCTURE: County Funds Draw State, Federal Backing to Projects

The next time you’re cursing the “parking lot” you find yourself stuck in while driving around some San Diego roads, realize this: If not for a half-cent sales tax going to transportation, it would probably be much worse.

Tutoring App Can Help Students Negotiate Learning Curve Online

TECH: Company to Provide Vetted Tutors at Hourly Rate

It used to be that students brought the teacher an apple; now, an Apple can bring the students a teacher, or tutor in this case, opening educational relationships across town or around the globe.

Rancho Santa Fe Home Prices Top Million-Dollar-Plus Market

Luxury Real Estate Column

Editor’s note: This week the San Diego Business Journal introduces a new column on the luxury residential real estate market by Senior Editor Stephanie R. Glidden.

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New Regulations Change Responsibilities, Role for Small Banks

FINANCE: Consolidation Among Local Institutions May Have Run Its Course

The ongoing consolidation of the banking industry that reduced three banks from the San Diego landscape this year may have reached the tipping point here, local bankers said.

Apartment Demand Outstripping Supply Is Expected to Continue

PROPERTY: Office Renovations Expected to Be Standout Trend in 2014

Apartments continued to reign as San Diego County’s hottest commercial property sector in 2013, and their attraction among investors and developers is likely to last well into 2014 and beyond, experts say.

Otonomy Progressing With Treatments for Ear-Related Ailments

Biotechnology/Health Care Column

A company that’s been on my radar, Otonomy Inc., just received fast track designation from the Food and Drug Administration for its treatment of Ménière’s disease — a condition of the inner ear that causes vertigo, hearing loss and tinnitus.

Sumitomo Corp. Buys the Downtown BofA Tower for $73 Million

Real Estate Column

It wasn’t widely known at the time the deal closed that one of the world’s largest conglomerates is the new owner of the downtown San Diego office building at 450 B St., known locally as the Bank of America Tower.

The ‘Smart’ Money Goes to the Police Foundation at Gala

Kudos/Giving Column

The San Diego Police Foundation hosted its second annual Gold Shield Gala at the Fairbanks Ranch Country Club with a “Get Smart” theme hearkening back to the early 1960s when Maxwell Smart’s shoe-phone was the height of high-tech.

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Friday, December 13

Qualcomm Names Steve Mollenkopf as Next CEO

Qualcomm Inc. named Steve Mollenkopf its new chief executive officer, effective March 4 when current CEO Paul Jacobs will assume the title of executive chairman.

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Thursday, December 12

Maxwell Technologies, SK Innovation Form Strategic Alliance

Maxwell Technologies Inc., the San Diego maker of power storage products called ultracapacitors, said it entered a strategic alliance with SK Innovation, a unit of South Korea-based SK Holdings, to develop next generation energy storage solutions that leverage the technologies of each company.

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Glacier Water Revenue Increases 13.2% for Q3

Glacier Water Services, the Vista operator of drinking water vending machines, reported third quarter revenue of $35.4 million, up 13.2 percent compared with the like quarter of last year.

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ViaSat-powered Wi-Fi Service Takes Flight on JetBlue

A speedy, in-flight Wi-Fi service that debuted Dec. 12 on JetBlue Airways uses electronics from Carlsbad-based ViaSat Inc. and leverages a ViaSat satellite.

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Senhwa Biosciences Raises $17M in Financing Round

Senhwa Biosciences Inc., a cancer drug company based in Taiwan and San Diego, has raised $17 million in a Series B financing round.

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Chick-fil-A, Black Angus Plan Escondido Restaurants

The Escondido Planning Commission has approved plans for new Chick-fil-A and Black Angus Steakhouse restaurants planned for the city.

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Buffalo Wild Wings Opening at Former Seau’s Site

Minneapolis-based Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. plans to open a new restaurant Dec. 16 at Westfield Mission Valley, in the space that formerly housed the popular Seau’s The Restaurant.

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Wednesday, December 11

Coalition Launching Campaign to Overturn Linkage Fee Hike

San Diego opponents of a newly approved increase in commercial developer “linkage” fees plan to launch a signature drive aimed at overturning the decision or placing it before voters.

Qualcomm to Introduce 64-Bit Snapdragon Microchip

Qualcomm Inc. announced that it was venturing into the world of 64-bit processing with the introduction of its Snapdragon 410 cellphone microchip.

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Orexigen Resubmits Weight-Loss Drug Contrave for FDA Review

La Jolla-based Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. has resubmitted an application with the Food and Drug Administration for its anti-obesity drug, Contrave.

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Joint Venture Buys Kearny Mesa Industrial Park for $7 Million

Irvine-based CIP Real Estate, in a joint venture with Alex Brown Realty of Baltimore, has purchased a six-building industrial park in Kearny Mesa for $7 million from Union Bank.

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Survey Finds Local Employers Hesitant About Hiring

San Diego employers expect to hire at a cautious pace for the first quarter of 2014, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

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Kratos Announces 2 Deals Worth $2.9 Million

San Diego-based Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc. announced two new pieces of business.

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EDF and UBS International Announce Wind Farm Partnership

San Diego- based EDF Renewable Energy and UBS International Infrastructure Fund announced that they have signed a definitive agreement for a wind farm partnership.

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SDG&E Donates Land to Forest Service

San Diego Gas & Electric, a unit of San Diego based Sempra Energy, said it donated a 66-acre parcel of land, in the Cleveland National Forest bordering a one mile stretch of Highway 79 known as the Descanso Junction, to the U.S. Forest Service.

Tuesday, December 10

Sapphire Energy, Phillips 66 Enter Joint Development Agreement

San Diego-based Sapphire Energy Inc. and Phillips 66 announced a strategic joint development agreement aimed at advancing the commercialization of algae crude oil.

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Ceremony Held for State Route 11 Groundbreaking

A group of elected officials and business leaders from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico international border gathered near the Otay Mesa port of entry to break ground on state Route 11, a four-lane road expected to provide a big boost to the region’s economy.

La Mesa Apartment Community Sells for $12.2 Million

Martin Woods Apartment Homes LP, a unit of San Diego-based Property West Residential, has purchased the 86-unit The Villas at La Mesa apartment community for approximately $12.2 million, according to brokerage services provider CBRE, which represented the buyer and seller.

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Bicycle Master Plan Update Steers Course for Even More Bike Friendly City

San Diego’s image as one of the more bicycle friendly cities in the country was burnished with the adoption of $312 million San Diego Bicycle Master Plan update by the City Council, funding investment in new bike lanes, support facilities and other programs over the next 20 years.

Calbiotech Buys a Sacramento Biotech Company

San Diego-based Calbiotech Inc. announced it bought Sacramento-area Moduline Systems Inc. for an undisclosed sum.

Pathfinder Partners Buys Seattle Condo Development for $13.2 Million

San Diego-based investment firm Pathfinder Partners LLC has purchased a Seattle condominium development for $13.2 million, marking its fifth acquisition in that market.

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Salk Institute Names Alan Gold and David Hale to Its Board

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla has appointed two veteran businessmen to its board – Alan Gold, Chairman and CEO of BioMed Realty Trust, and venture capitalist David Hale, CEO of Hale BioPharma Ventures LLC.

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Harsh Weather Puts Navy’s Biofuels Announcement on Hold

The U.S. Navy plans to continue its experiment with biofuels, but details will have to wait.

WD-40 Co. Announces Dividend Increase

WD-40 Co. announced a 10 percent increase of its regular quarterly dividend to $0.34 per share, payable Jan. 31, 2014, to stockholders of record on Jan. 6, 2014.

Monday, December 9

CareFusion Acquiring 40% of Israeli Company for $100 Million

San Diego-based CareFusion Inc. is investing $100 million in Israeli pump maker Caesarea Medical Electronics, acquiring a 40 percent stake of the company.

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Qualcomm Launches 'Proximity Beacons'; Could Boost Retail Staffs

Qualcomm Inc. is touting a series of new devices that could give retailers a boost in identifying interested shoppers in their stores.

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Accelrys Acquires Irish Software Company for $50 Million

San Diego-based life sciences software company Accelrys Inc. has acquired Ireland-based Qumas for $50 million in cash.

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Steve Forbes, Bridgepoint Education to Sign Naming Rights Deal in Kearny Mesa

Steve Forbes, chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes Media, is coming to Kearny Mesa Dec. 12 to sign a naming rights agreement between his company and San Diego-based Bridgepoint Education.

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Web Development Firm Expanding to San Diego's Little Italy

The Control Group, a locally based Web development and online marketing firm, plans to invest more than $3 million as it expands into the MetroWork office condominium building in Little Italy.

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ConAm Group Names New President and CEO

The ConAm Group of Companies recently named Chaz Mueller as president and CEO.

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Holiday and Poinsettia Bowl Matchups Set; SDSU Bowl-bound

The four teams are set for San Diego’s two college football bowl games at Qualcomm Stadium this month.

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Active Network Upgrades Software to Support 'Mob' Events

San Diego-based Active Network’s race registration software now supports “mob” events, the company said recently.

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Sunday, December 8

Padres to Play Mexico City’s Diablos Rojos in Petco Exhibition Game

The San Diego Padres will play the Mexico City Red Devils in an exhibition game set for March 27 at Petco Park, the team announced.

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Imagine Communications to Be Sold to Colorado-Based Harris Broadcast

Imagine Communications has agreed to be acquired by Colorado-based Harris Broadcast.

Alaska Airlines to Offer Nonstop Service Between San Diego and Salt Lake City

Alaska Airlines is set to begin daily nonstop service between Salt Lake City and San Diego International Airport on June 10.

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PriceSmart Reports Net Sales Increase

PriceSmart Inc., a San Diego-based chain operator of warehouse club stores in the Caribbean and Central America, reported that net sales rose 12.6 percent to $589.7 million for the three month period ended Nov. 30, from $523.6 million in the like period of the previous year.

Pacific Beach Hotel Gets New Name, $5 Million Renovation

Best Western Plus Blue Sea Lodge in Pacific Beach has been reflagged as Blue Sea Beach Hotel, an independently branded and operated property, as it undergoes an extensive $5 million renovation.

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Business Calendar for Week of December 9, 2013

Some of the business events happening around the county for the week of December 9, 2013.

General Atomics ASI Gets $40.3M Army Contract

The U.S. Army awarded General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. $40.3 million for full-rate production of the Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft system, the Pentagon announced on Dec. 6.

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San Diego Workforce Partnership Adds 7 to Its Investment Board

The San Diego Workforce Partnership, the regional job training agency, added seven new members to its investment board.

Pacific Beach Apartments Sold for $6.8 Million

Woodrose LP has purchased a 34-unit apartment complex in Pacific Beach for $6.8 million, according to brokerage services provider Sperry Van Ness, which represented the buyer and seller.

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Saturday, December 7

Lines of Conflict Are Drawn Over Barrio Logan Zoning Issues

PROPERTY: Activist Groups Clash With Area’s Shipyards Over Changes

Homes and heavy industry have coexisted — often uneasily — in Barrio Logan for nearly a century; 2013 turned into the year that the simmering issue boiled into a citywide matter.

Volunteers Raise $300K Walking Off Thanksgiving Day Turkey

Kudos/Giving Column

Father Joe’s Villages 12th annual Thanksgiving Day 5Krun/walk fundraiser drew more than 8,000 people. Presented by Wells Fargo, the event organizers reported a net of about $300,000 toward the outreach programs Father Joe’s makes to those in need in the San Diego community.

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Qualcomm Continues to Innovate, Turns in 30 Percent Growth

TECH: Company Is San Diego’s Largest, Employs 31,000 Worldwide

Qualcomm Inc. — big and iconic and long past its splashy 25th anniversary in 2010 — continued to grow like a spry young company in 2013.

New Medical Facilities Add Jobs and Needed Services to Region

HEALTH: Scripps, Kaiser, UC San Diego Have Plans For New Facilities

The completion of the $456 million Camp Pendleton Naval Hospital and the $225 million Scripps Proton Therapy Center highlighted a year in which several medical facilities, large and small, made strides toward opening.

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City’s Political Changes Shift Some Priorities and Power Bases

GOVERNMENT: Labor Gains Power; Downtown Focus Fades for Both Parties

No matter who wins San Diego’s mayoral runoff election in early 2014 between City Council Members David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer, it won’t change the noticeable shift in the balance of power on the council that has taken place the past five years or how it impacted the business community during 2013.

TMD to Play Catch Up in 2014 After Tourism Ad Money Released

TRAVEL: Tourism Authority to Restart Some Marketing Efforts

2014 will be a time of recuperation for local tourism promotion programs, which saw funding lopped off by more than 60 percent in 2013 as a result of political and legal disputes over the San Diego Tourism Marketing District.

Vibe, Vision and Commerce Make East Village the Hot Spot

PROPERTY: Developers See Housing, Retail and Sporting Opportunities

If one had to declare a single neighborhood as the current development capital of San Diego County, the clear front-runner would be East Village.

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Road to Convention Center Expansion Is an Obstacle Course

PROPERTY: Lawsuit Challenges the Coastal Commission’s Approval

The long journey toward an expansion of San Diego Convention Center reached an important milestone this year, when the $520 million project received the blessings of the California Coastal Commission.

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Major Transportation, Water Projects Completed, Started in 2013

INFRASTRUCTURE: Carlsbad Desalination Project Gets Green Light

The San Diego region saw a $1 billion dollar project get finished this year, and another one for about the same cost get underway.

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Buyers Give Companies Billions of Reasons to Sell in 2013

ACQUISITIONS: Big Deals Dominate the Scene in 2013 As San Diego Is Sellers Market

A soaring stock market spurred a spate of San Diego company acquisitions this year, with six exceeding billion-dollar valuations.

New Business Model Among Goals for Interim CEO of WTC

TRADE: Recent Departure Of Ex-CEO puts Nonprofit In State of Transition

Samuel Kephart heads an organization that helps companies strike highly profitable international business connections while receiving little benefit from those deals itself.

Ezoic Brings the ‘Feng Shui’ of Website Formatting to Small Sites

TECH: Company Looks To Boost Advertising And User Engagement

Engineers at Carlsbad-based Ezoic are wrestling with how to build more attractive websites that can fetch more advertising dollars. They think the solution may be in more computers and software.

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Volcano to Buy Back $200M of Company’s Stock

BIOTECH: Strategic Reprioritization Reduces Amount for M&A Activity

Volcano Corp. has authorized a $200 million share repurchase program — an initiative in line with advice from an activist investor who is reportedly grooming the company as an acquisition target.

Default Rate on Student Loans Prompts Survey

SDBJ Insider

With the two-year federal student loan default rate touching 10 percent, San Diego financial literacy website iGrad decided to survey college and university administrators nationwide to see if their students have the skills to survive the expense of higher education.

Palomar Now Part of Mayo Clinic Network

MEDICINE: Is First California Organization to Join the System

Palomar Health will be the first in California to join the Mayo Clinic Care Network, a group of about two dozen hospitals that are affiliated with the prestigious Mayo Clinic and can tap its resources.

Liberty Station Has Room for a Bit More

PROPERTY: Hotel Complex, Eatery May Be Finishing Touches

Corky McMillin Cos. has plans for a $100 million, three-hotel project at the mixed-use Liberty Station in Point Loma, which represents the final phase of a decade-long transformation of the former naval training center site.

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Northrop in Position For Navy IT Contract

DEFENSE: Company Is Doing Current Work; Decision in 2014

Northrop Grumman Corp. will learn in 2014 whether its early work on a U.S. Navy information technology program pays off.

Doing Their Share

FINANCE: Local Biotech IPOs Were Market Forces in 2013

This has been a banner year for the life sciences initial public offering. Despite a recent downtick in IPO activity, San Diego has been a national leader in biotechnology and medical device companies going public this year.

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Thursday, December 5

Cubic Corp. Announces $70M Defense Contract, Reports Earnings

San Diego-based Cubic Corp. said that its defense systems subsidiary received a contract worth more than $70 million from an overseas customer.

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Newport Beach Firm Buys Escondido Office Building for $22.3 Million

Peregrine Realty Partners of Newport Beach has purchased La Terraza Corporate Plaza, an office building in Escondido, for $22.3 million, according to brokerage services company CBRE, which represented the buyer and seller.

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Lowe Completes Third Phase of $500 Million County Campus

Developer Lowe Enterprises has completed the third phase of the $500 million County Operations Center in Kearny Mesa, among the largest ongoing construction projects in San Diego County.

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San Diego Economic Index Drops Slightly in October

An index measuring San Diego’s economy fell 0.4 percent in October, the first time it’s dropped since August of 2012.

Ex-Padre Great Dave Winfield to Help Lead MLB Players Association

Hall of Famer and longtime Padres great Dave Winfield was named as a special assistant at the Major League Players Association, joining recently appointed executive director Tony Clark.

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Raises Q4 and 2013 Forecast

Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. has grown its revenue and net income guidance, due to better-than-expected sales of its Captisol product.

Lennar Corp. Awarded $1 Billion in Lawsuit Against Developer

A Miami jury awarded Lennar Corp. $1 billion in civil damages against California developer Nicolas Marsch and his company, Briarwood Capital LLC, on court findings of defamation and conspiracy to extort money from the company.

Wednesday, December 4

Palomar Health Is First to Join Mayo Clinic Care Network in California

Palomar Health will join the Mayo Clinic Care Network, the Escondido-based health system announced Wednesday.

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Shamrock Group Gets $40 Million Construction Loan for Border Outlet Center

Development firm The Shamrock Group LLC, based in Solana Beach, has obtained a $40 million construction loan for a new outlet shopping center it is building in San Ysidro.

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Local Software Company Reaction Design to Merge With Pittsburgh Company

Reaction Design, a San Diego developer of chemistry simulation software, said it entered into a definitive merger agreement with Ansys Inc., a Pittsburgh maker of engineering software.

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Helix Electric Gets $24.8M Navy Contract

The U.S. Navy recently awarded San Diego-based Helix Electric Inc. a $24.8 million contract to replace the electrical system for a dry dock at Virginia’s Norfolk Naval Shipyard.

Airport Holding Seminar for Small Businesses on Contract Opportunities

San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, which operates San Diego International Airport, will hold a gathering aimed at helping small businesses win contract work on current airport construction projects.

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Apartment Rents Decline 1 Percent

San Diego County apartment rents during the fall declined 1 percent, while the vacancy rates continued to decrease, according to a recent report from the San Diego County Apartment Association.

Sense4Baby Receives Key Regulatory Clearances for Monitoring System

Sense4Baby Inc. — a developer of a remote, wireless maternal-fetal heart rate monitoring system to perform nonstress testing for high-risk pregnancies on a smartphone or tablet — received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and a CE mark from the European Commission to commercialize its medical device.

Northrop Considers Bigger Designs for ‘Bat’ Unmanned Aircraft

Engineers at Northrop Grumman’s unmanned systems unit in Rancho Bernardo are asking themselves whether their unmanned aircraft called the Bat could be a little bigger.

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Tuesday, December 3

Alliance Residential Buys Coronado Apartments for $161.5 Million

Alliance Residential Co. of Phoenix has purchased the 549-unit Coronado Bay Club apartment community in Coronado for approximately $161.5 million, according to brokerage services provider Jones Lang LaSalle Inc., which represented the seller.

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Welk Resort Group Completes Securitization

Welk Resort Group, the San Diego developer and operator of resort properties, said it closed a $158.7 million securitization backed by notes receivable from vacation ownership interests.

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Cubic Receives Navy Training Contract Worth Up to $112M

San Diego-based Cubic Corp. said recently that it won a contract to develop training materials for the U.S. Navy’s littoral combat ship.

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Ignyta Raises $54M in 2 Private Placements

San Diego-based cancer drug developer Ignyta Inc. has raised $54 million in two separate stock offerings, exceeding the company’s original target of $35 million.

Zogenix and Battele Extend Collaboration on Needle-Free Drug Delivery

San Diego-based pharmaceutical company Zogenix Inc. announced a long-term collaborative agreement with global research-and-development organization Battelle to co-market Zogenix’s DosePro needle-free drug delivery technology.

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Mission Valley Office Buildings Sold for $9.9 Million

Viewpoint Equities of San Diego has purchased two Mission Valley office buildings for a total of $9.9 million, according to Colliers International, which brokered the transaction.

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Kratos Receives $4.25M for Security Work at World Trade Center Facility

Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc.’s Public Safety & Security Solutions division recently received some $4.25 million in security system integration awards at New York’s World Trade Center facility.

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Jack in the Box Announces Promotions Including New Chief Marketing Officer

Jack in the Box Inc. named a chief marketing officer and announced two other promotions.

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Monday, December 2

Volcano to Repurchase $200M in Stock as Part of 'Strategic Reprioritization Initiative'

Volcano Corp. has authorized a $200 million share repurchase program — which is in line with the advice from an activist investor who is reportedly grooming the company as an acquisition target.

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Bank of America Tower Sold for $73 Million

The downtown San Diego office tower at 450 B. St., known locally as the Bank of America Tower, has been sold for $73 million, according to CoStar Group and public data.

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Orexigen Plans $100M Senior Notes Offering

San Diego-based Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. is planning a $100 million offering of convertible senior notes, the company announced.

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ResMed Buys Unimedis to Target Czech and Slovak Markets

ResMed Inc., a San Diego-based medical device maker, has bought Unimedis, a distributor of equipment for treating sleep-disordered breathing operating in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

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Raytheon Gets $32.4 Million Navy Contract

The U.S. Navy recently awarded Raytheon Co. a $32.4 million contract for electronics services.

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MaxLinear Hybrid Tuner to Be Used in New Line of Chinese TVs

Hisense Group, one of China’s top TV and electronics manufacturers, is using a MaxLinear tuner, the MxL661 in a new line of televisions.

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Northrop Gets $13.9M Contract for Fire Scout Logistics

Northrop Grumman recently received a $13.9 million award from the U.S. Navy, for logistics services related to its Fire Scout unmanned helicopters.

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Pacifica Unit Buys Escondido Assisted Living Facility for $3 Million

A unit of San Diego-based Pacifica Cos. has purchased Emeritus at Escondido, an assisted-living health-care facility, for approximately $3 million, according to CoStar Group and public data.

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Sunday, December 1

McMillin Plans 3-Hotel Complex at Liberty Station

The California Coastal Commission will review plans for a new 650-room hotel complex at Liberty Station in Point Loma, proposed by a unit of San Diego-based The Corky McMillin Cos.

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Peregrine to Open New Facilities

Peregrine Semiconductor Corp. (Nasdaq: PSMI) has opened new lab facilities and expanded technical resources at its sales offices in the United Kingdom, Korea and China, the company announced.

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Several Local Companies to Present at Major Health Care Conference

San Diego companies will be well represented at the 25th Annual Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference set for Dec. 3-4 in New York City.

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City Looks to Clear Path for More Microbrew Restaurants, Tasting Rooms

The city of San Diego is seeking California Coastal Commission authority to allow restaurants and tasting rooms at microbreweries located in industrial areas adjacent to coastal zones.

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The Business Calendar for the Week of Dec. 2, 2013

Some of the business events happening around the county for the week of Dec. 2, 2013.

Pico Holdings Reports Q3 Net Income of $8.2M

La Jolla-based Pico Holdings Inc. recently reported net income of $8.2 million for its third quarter of fiscal 2013, up from a $5.3 million loss posted in the same quarter of 2012.

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New Scenic Walkway Planned at Scripps Institution of Oceanography

The California Coastal Commission is reviewing plans by University of California, San Diego for a new scenic walkway and vista point on the Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus in La Jolla.

Kratos Decides Against Refinancing $625M Bond

Market conditions are no longer right for Kratos Defense & Security Solutions Inc. to refinance a $625 million bond, company CEO Eric DeMarco said recently.

General Atomics Scientist Participates in Nuclear Fusion Experiment

A scientist from a private San Diego company was part of a multinational effort to make nuclear fusion better suited for commercial power production.