Stories for March 2008

Monday, March 31

California Coast, First Future Announce Nuptials

Two of San Diego's largest and oldest credit unions are merging, creating the second-largest credit union in the county with more than $1.8 billion in assets.

BIO Blast: Meeting to Attract Thousands, Fuel Regional Economy

Almost seven years have passed since the last time the Biotechnology Industry Organization held its annual gathering in San Diego.

$480M Light Rail Line Sprinting to Solid Start

The Sprinter, a light rail line that runs 22 miles along the state Route 78 corridor between Oceanside and Escondido, is gaining steam.

If Everyone Is Selling, Then We All Should Be Buying

Steve Russell, one of the top execs at the American Chemistry Council, will fly into town next week for a big confab downtown. The story has a back story, as they say in Hollywood.

Walls Tilted at Abrams Westview Plaza Project in Scripps Ranch

Progress Report: Walls have been tilted at Abrams Westview Plaza, a 96,500-square-foot office building in Scripps Ranch.

Vietnam Memorial Center Important to San Diegans

Vietnam Memorial Center Important to San Diegans

Budget Challenges Ahead for Local Community Colleges

Budget Challenges Ahead for Local Community Colleges

Sales and Leases

Veritek Real Estate Holdings LLC has sold the Bixby Land Co. 80,000 square feet of industrial space for $14.8 million. Plus other sales and lease activity.

Disunion on the Bay

A proposal by Gaylord Entertainment to build a 1,500-room hotel and convention center on the Chula Vista Bay Front treads carefully onward after being revived by local business and political leaders who vowed to insulate the project from local unions pres

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: A pair of companies hired by the San Marcos Unified School District will determine the breadth of the district's needs to modernize the oldest of its 17 schools.

Proposed Labor Agreement Lies at the Heart of Gaylord Dispute

Nashville, Tenn.-based hotel operator Gaylord Entertainment said the company is more than willing to hire union workers to build its 1,500-room hotel and convention center at the Chula Vista Bay Front, but would never sign a project labor agreement, which

One Tall Order for Starbucks in Superior Court Ruling

A San Diego Superior Court judge ordered Starbucks Corp. to pay more than $100 million to California baristas March 21 in a class-action lawsuit that ruled shift supervisors aren't entitled to share in the tip jar.

Labor Dept. Enforcing Civil Rights at Torrid Pace

Labor Dept. Enforcing Civil Rights at Torrid Pace

UC Regents OK New Biomedical Research Facility

Significant growth in research activities at the UC San Diego has prompted the UC Board of Regents to begin planning a new health sciences biomedical research facility in La Jolla.

Entrepreneur Profile , Matthew Spencer

Matthew Spencer, owner of Aubergine, a nightclub downtown, and Firehouse, a prominent Pacific Beach restaurant, as well as SDCreative Media, DJhere and Dtown Productions, has rolled his entrepreneurial knowledge into his portfolio of businesses spanning f

California Theatre Sold After Owners File for Bankruptcy

The historic California Theatre, a landmark-turned-eyesore on Fourth Avenue north of Broadway, has been sold.

College Storage, Delivery Startup Expects to Double Revenues in 2009

In 2002, Jonathan Hotchandani drove 2,000 miles home to Wisconsin after finishing his freshman year at the University of San Diego. Five years later, he is the founder and chief executive officer of Dorm2Dorm Inc.

Franchise Ownership Offers Comfort in Tough Economy

A period of economic uncertainty is not the time to sink one's life savings into a restaurant or shop, but it may be the perfect time to consider owning a service franchise, according to local franchise consultant Cheri Carroll.

New Nonprofit Seeks to Spark Green Residential Rebuilding Efforts

Rebuilding efforts after the wildfires of 2007 can include the use of fire-resistant materials and building methods as well as environmentally friendly features, according to a local nonprofit launched after the October wildfires that destroyed 1,500 home

BidShift's Staffing System Helps Hospitals Enjoy Healthy Savings

BidShift Inc. says three hospitals in Florida are expected to save a combined $1.32 million each year by using the company's online shift manager instead of a contract agency.

Week In Review

Top Business News: March 21 - 27, 2008

Cushman & Wakefield Predicts Relatively Flat Year for Commercial Market

Despite reports that net absorption is at a 12-year low and vacancy rates at a 12-year high in the San Diego County commercial market, Cushman & Wakefield predicted a relatively flat year with continuing slower net absorption and higher vacancy rates in i

Tribal Casinos Find Obeying Alcohol Rules Easy as ABC

Like every other business that sells alcohol in California, casino owners have to answer to the ABC.

Geary Interactive Acquires San Francisco Agency

Geary Interactive, a San Diego-based digital marketing agency, has acquired and absorbed Fathom Online, a San Francisco-based Internet search-engine marketing and technology services firm.

Big Difference Between Banks, Wall Street Invesment Banks

Despite the plethora of news churned out about the Fed-assisted bailout of Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc., confusion still reigns about how an investment bank differs from commercial and mortgage banks.

JCK Hospitality Acquires Two Local Properties From Mira Mesa Hotels

San Diego-based JCK Hospitality LLC, which includes Charles Jung of Coronado, who owns three other limited service hotels in the county, acquired the Quality Suites and Holiday Inn Express, both in San Diego, from San Diego-based Mira Mesa Hotels LLC for

Podcast: Preview the San Diego Business Journal

Web Editor Brad Graves provides highlights from the March 31, 2008 issue of the San Diego Business Journal.

Ad Campaign for the Sunrise Powerlink Unveiled

The Community Alliance for the Sunrise Powerlink is launching a $45,000 advertising campaign April 1 in support of the proposed transmission line, San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce officials said March 31.

Chargers Fire Relief Fund Hands Out $650K to Speed Recovery Efforts

The San Diego Chargers Fire Relief Fund distributed $650,000 in its initial round of grants to benefit San Diego County recovery and rebuilding efforts following the 2007 wildfires.

San Diego People

Key hires and promotions. Executive Spotlight: Al Fitzpatrick.

Executive Profile , Ken Stern

Ken Stern is president and chief executive officer of Ken Stern & Associates Inc. Stern says he strives to help his clients make more money, pay less tax and preserve their life savings.

UCSD, San Diego Team to Fuel Innovations in Clean Technology

A new partnership between the city of San Diego and UC San Diego will provide money and mentoring to companies and individuals breaking into the clean technology market.

Two Boards Mull Transit Hub on the North Side of Lindbergh

For most of its life, the commute to and from San Diego's Lindbergh Field hasn't been too bad, but as passenger counts rise and traffic increases on an already congested Harbor Drive, those days may be numbered.

Fox Network to Change Channels in San Diego Market

KSWB-TV 5/69 in San Diego plans to shift its network affiliation from the Columbia-Warner Television Network, known as The CW, to Fox at the end of August.

Smallish Convention Center Mulls a Second Expansion

A brief, yet unmistakable endorsement of expanding the San Diego Convention Center by Mayor Jerry Sanders earlier this year alerted the facility's manager to begin updating her list of potential expansion sites and develop her case to stakeholders.

Northwest Tanning Business Hits the Beach, 20 More on the Way

San Diego's sun-drenched beaches do not preclude the city from being an ideal target for the tanning salon business.

Gaslamp Bids Adios to Ole Madrid, Side Bar

The 18-year-old Ole Madrid, one of the most popular nightclubs in the Gaslamp Quarter, was scheduled to close its doors March 29.

Supermarket Margins Squeezed By Rising Wholesale Costs

If San Diegans are wondering who is getting rich off the $4 now being paid for a gallon of milk at the grocery store, the answer is: most likely nobody.

Drug Firms Granted Two More Years to Comply With Tracking

Drug companies will have another two years to put in place electronic drug-tracking technologies aimed at combating counterfeit medicines under a state Board of Pharmacy decision made March 25 in San Diego.

Friday, March 28

What's in a Name? Plenty, Westin Says

The Westin Horton Plaza San Diego hotel is changing its name to the Westin Gaslamp Quarter in a move to capitalize on the distinction of the downtown entertainment district.

Carlsbad Home Builder Lays Off 23 Workers

On March 26 Carlsbad-based Barratt American Inc. laid off 23 employees, said Mick Pattinson, president and chief executive officer. The company now has an employee count of 62.

BofA Names San Diego President

Bank of America has named Rick Bregman president of its San Diego market, the company said March 28.

SYS to Help Navy Program Become Shipshape

SYS Technologies Inc. received a $1.5 million order to provide engineering support to the U.S. Navy for one year, the San Diego-based technology company said March 27.

Thursday, March 27

Rubio's Wraps Up Year With Income of $1.2M

Carlsbad-based Rubio's Restaurants Inc., traded on Nasdaq as RUBO, reported a fourth-quarter loss of 2 cents per share compared with a loss of 48 cents a share in the like year-ago quarter.

Cal Coast, First Future Announce Nuptials

Two of San Diego's largest and oldest credit unions are merging, creating the second-largest credit union in the county with more than $1.8 billion in assets.

Scripps Research Details Plans for Stem Cell Center

Embryonic stem cell researcher Jeanne Loring will head a newly formed Center for Regenerative Medicine at The Scripps Research Institute, the nonprofit institute said March 26.

Fitch Gives City Debt Rating a Lift

Fitch Ratings of New York said March 27 that it changed its rating for city of San Diego debt from negative to positive.

Sempra Looks Ahead to 2012, Stock Price Rises

Executives with Sempra Energy, the San Diego-based energy and utility holding company, gave analysts forecasts for 2009 and 2012 during a March 27 presentation in New York.

Tuesday, March 25

San Diegans Delay Income Tax Chore, Chicagoans Delay More

Chicago has the greatest number of taxpaying procrastinators in the nation, but San Diegans aren't too far behind at No. 6, according to a survey released March 25 by the San Diego-based TurboTax division of Intuit Inc.

SAIC Earns $99M in Fourth Quarter

SAIC, a San Diego defense and engineering company, said March 25 that it had fourth-quarter net income of $99 million, or 25 cents per diluted share. Revenue was $2.33 billion during the quarter, which ended Jan. 31.

Deadline Extended for Drug-Tracking Technology

For the second time, the state Board of Pharmacy granted drugmakers and suppliers a two-year extension to comply with a state law requiring electronic drug tracking systems, known as e-pedigrees.

Monday, March 24

Californians Are Served by Broadband Connections

Californians Are Served by Broadband Connections

With Baja Now Too Risky, College Students Gambol In Las Vegas

There are no hard numbers to show that the news of assaults on American tourists in Baja California, Mexico, within the past year will deter college kids from going there for spring break. But anecdotal information appears to indicate that Las Vegas may b

Week in Review

Top Business News: March 14 - 20, 2008

Fox Network to Change Channels in San Diego Market

KSWB-TV 5/69 in San Diego plans to shift its network affiliation from the Columbia-Warner Television Network, known as The CW, to Fox at the end of August.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Grading has been completed and construction is under way for a 42-unit apartment project on Broadway called Los Vecinos, in the southwest part of Chula Vista.

Entrepreneur Profile , Jim Plotkin

Jim Plotkin, president and chief executive officer of Carlsbad-based The Plotkin Group, set his golf clubs aside 17 years ago to take control of his father's business, which provides employee-assessment tools.

Central La Mesa Beehive of Activity

La Jolla parking meter discussions bring political fallout. Meanwhile, 200 pounds of bees park themselves in La Mesa.

Post Office to Increase Price of First-Class Stamps

Stock up on the first-class stamps now and save yourself the hassle of buying extra postage in May. For the second time in less than a year, the price of a first-class stamp will increase.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight , Kimberly Bell.

County's Home Prices Declining at a Slower Pace Than Last Year

Median sales prices for existing detached homes in San Diego County declined 22 percent in February from the same month last year, according to a recent report by the San Diego Association of Realtors.

UCSD Health Sciences Campus Likely to Grow

Plans to build a 150,000-square-foot biomedical research building on the grounds of UC San Diego's health sciences campus are moving ahead.

Former Port Commissioner Wins Attorney Fees in Petco Dispute

A lawsuit that challenged a key source of funding for the construction of the $454 million Petco Park has been settled in favor of the plaintiff.

We Can All Help Keep the Economic Ship From Sinking

The political races are heating up and the economy is cooling off. What we need is a reversal of fortunes. Personally, I could do without the political wrangling so I could spend all of my time trying my best to reheat the economy.

Just Cavalli Brings High Fashion, Sans High Prices, to Area Mall

The clothing line Just Cavalli, a more affordable counterpart to the premier couture Roberto Cavalli collection, is staged for its grand opening event March 26 at Fashion Valley Mall.

Patent Reform Floated in Congress Polarizes Biotech, Tech Interests

Proposed changes to the U.S. patent system outlined in the Patent Reform Act of 2007 could drastically alter how companies protect their discoveries, but the bill that was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in September is buried under lobbying f

Three Agencies in Search of an Agreement on Lindbergh Field

Plans to expand gates and add improvements at Lindbergh Field Airport are still up in the air while three government agencies hammer out an agreement.

Executive Profile , Shandon Harbour

Shandon Harbour is president of SDA Security, a San Diego residential, corporate and commercial security company.

Biotech CEOs Stick With Best Game Plans to Win Over Investors

Getting startup biotechnology companies to the next level requires any number of the following attributes: clarity of vision, an excellent team and an open mind when looking for investment sources, according to three local chief executive officers.

Life Insurance Settlement Industry Thriving Amid Controversy

For a market that was nonexistent 10 years ago, the idea of life settlements has turned into a booming billion-dollar industry as well as a controversial issue that has seen pending state legislation and warnings from the insurance commissioner's office.

Green Superhero Saves the Day for Trash Filled Village

In time for Earth Day, April 22, an environmental superhero, "Michael Recycle," hit bookstores in March.

SCS Engineers Finishes Demolition Work at Barrio Logan Project

Progress Report: Long Beach-based SCS Engineers has completed demolition and preliminary excavation for the redevelopment of La Entrada, an 84-unit affordable housing project in Barrio Logan.

March Madness May Mean Lagging Workplace Productivity

NCAA basketball fans tend to manage their brackets while on the clock, keeping up with the latest tournament news and engaging in sports gambling.

Pharmacy Board to Weigh Delays on Drug Tracking

The California State Board of Pharmacy will meet in San Diego for a second time this year to weigh arguments for delaying implementation of a statewide drug tracking system scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.

Buyout or Merger? That Is the Question for Iomega Corp.'s Board

Iomega Corp.'s decision to consider a second bid by EMC Corp. underscores the classic hard cash offer versus a potentially more lucrative one resulting from a pending merger.

City on Road Back to Bond Market

The city of San Diego has received an auditor's opinion for its 2006 fiscal year, clearing the way for the city to re-enter the municipal bond market, it said March 23.

Kyoto Symposium: Uniting Communities, Cultures, Nations

Kyoto Symposium: Uniting Communities, Cultures, Nations

Underwriter Launches Policy to Protect Against Eminent Domain

A local insurance underwriter has created what it says is a new kind of policy to minimize the risk of property value loss resulting from rezoning or condemnations through eminent domain proceedings.

$1.5M da Vinci Might Help Palomar Surgeons Create Masterpieces

Palomar Medical Center has introduced its latest surgery technology , a robot that deciphers the movements of a surgeon's hand to make minimally invasive incisions under a patient's skin.

A Fish Tale

Marking 25 years in business, Ralph Rubio, the founder of Carlsbad-based Rubio's Restaurants Inc. is planning for its future, a process that is not without challenges. But Rubio is no stranger to challenge.

Podcast: Preview the San Diego Business Journal

Web Editor Brad Graves provides highlights from the March 31, 2008 issue of the San Diego Business Journal.

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Employers in Retaliation Case

The state Supreme Court, in a case that disputed whether individual employees such as managers and supervisors could be sued under state law for retaliating against fellow employees, handed employers a victory March 3.

Scripps Scientists Spin Out Nanotech Imaging Business

Researchers Clint Potter and Bridget Carragher knew that scientists needed a closer, three-dimensional look at the biomolecular structures they were working with. But it didn't become clear there was commercial opportunity in the area until recently.

Sales and Leases

Citibank Office Plaza, located at 11818-11858 Bernardo Plaza Court in Rancho Bernardo, has been sold for $12 million. And other sales and leases.

VCs Warming Up to Area Biotechs

San Diego continues to stake a claim as a leading biotech center, finishing as No. 3 in venture capital investments in the nation in the fourth quarter of 2007 and No. 2 for the year, according to a recent report.

Borrego Solar Sales Triple, Opens Offices in California, Boston

After 25 years of installing solar power systems on the West Coast, Borrego Solar has expanded by opening an office in Chelmsford, Mass.

Trius Therapeutics Raises $30M

Anti-bacterial drug maker Trius Therapeutics Inc. raised $30 million in a Series B financing round, the San Diego-based company said March 24.

Nonprofit Profile , Home Start Inc.

A talk with Laura A. Mustari, CEO of Home Start Inc.

Watering Holes Hoping for a Few 3-Pointers

It's out with green beer and in with HDTVs for local sports bars as March Madness grips the region.

Lab Work a Labor of Love for Self-Starting Virapur Scientist

After two decades of chasing a meandering career track, Marylou Gibson feels like she's leading the way for other female scientists who are struggling to balance career and family life.

DJO Looks Back on Loss

DJO Inc., a Vista-based maker of prosthetics and other medical devices that was acquired by ReAble Therapeutics Inc. last year, blamed its fourth-quarter net loss of $57.3 million on significant accounting adjustments and expenses involving the company's

Fast, Decisive Action Needed at Jammed U.S. Land Ports

Fast, Decisive Action Needed at Jammed U.S. Land Ports

AviaraDx Joins Molecular Medicine Center in Supporting Cancer Tests

The Michigan-based Center for Molecular Medicine announced an agreement March 3 with San Diego-based AviaraDx Inc. to support three new tests that help physicians personalize cancer treatments.

Barnhart to Begin Construction on $35M McDonald House

Construction on an extraordinary structure for families with sick kids undergoing treatment at local hospitals will soon be under way in Kearny Mesa.

Westgate Appoints New Manager to Replace Retiring Veteran

Richard Cox, a veteran employee at the Westgate Hotel, was named general manager in February following the retirement of Georg Hochfilzer, another long-tenured employee.

Padres Tickets Not a Big Hit Anymore

Despite an 11 percent decline in 2008 season ticket sales as of last week, executives for the San Diego Padres aren't panicking about meeting their sales goals.

Friday, March 21

Mistrial Declared for Two Figures in Peregrine Scandal

Federal Judge Thomas Whelan declared a mistrial March 20 in the government's case against two accountants formerly involved with Peregrine Systems Inc.

Leap Year: Employment Climbs in February

San Diego's unemployment rate for February dropped to 5 percent, down from a revised 5.2 percent in January, according to a report released March 21 by the state's Employment Development Department.

Pechanga Closes Nightclubs Indefinitely

Pechanga Resort & Casino has shut down its Silk and Eagle's Nest nightclubs for an unspecified period of time, resort management said March 20.

Portfolio Yields Modest Return for County Pension Fund

The San Diego County Employee Retirement Association, the pension fund for retired and current county employees, said March 20 that returns on its marketable securities portfolio were 0.77 percent from July 1 to the end of February.

Thursday, March 20

Westfield Plaza Bonita Unveils $90 Million Expansion

National City's Westfield Plaza Bonita shopping mall opened a newly expanded wing to the public March 20.

CardioNet IPO Goes Out at $18 Per Share

CardioNet Inc., a San Diego-based maker of heart monitoring devices, issued 4.5 million shares of its stock March 19 on the Nasdaq exchange at $18 per share, raising about $50 million for its portion of equity offering.

Wednesday, March 19

Grand Jury Finds Historic Buildings Gut Tax Base

San Diego has its share of historically significant buildings, maybe more than its fair share. Those old buildings are costing the city a ton of cash in lost taxes, according to a report released March 19.

UTC Area Building Sells for $42M

A foreign investor purchased a Class A, four-story office building in University Towne Center for $42 million, according to the San Diego office of Falcon Real Estate Investment Co. LP on March 19.

Ex-Congresswoman Lynn Schenk Takes Sempra Seat

Sempra Energy said March 19 that it named Lynn Schenk, a former congresswoman, to its board of directors.

Arkeia Software Achieves Milestone

Arkeia Software said March 18 that it has secured its 100th government customer.

San Marcos Chamber CEO Steps Down

Alexandra "Sandy" Rees, who was president and chief executive officer of the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce for the last two years, left the organization abruptly March 14.

Tuesday, March 18

SAIC Buying Maryland Consulting Firm

SAIC said March 18 that it signed a definitive agreement to acquire SM Consulting Inc., a Linthicum, Md., firm, for an undisclosed price.

RNs Reach Tentative Contract

Registered nurses at University of California medical centers have settled a long-standing contract dispute with a tentative agreement.

Contractors Honor Barnhart in Las Vegas

San Diego-based Barnhart Inc. has earned recognition from the Associated General Contractors for its safety record.

Monday, March 17

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: The closure of a local car dealership contributed to a tax revenue shortfall that pushed the city into a deficit for the first time in four years, Finance Director Betty Hofman says

Sales and Leases

San Diego-based Westcore Properties LLC has acquired an 11-building, mixed-use portfolio, including office, restaurant and artist space, in Sausalito for $26.1 million.

Complaint Filed Against La Jolla Firm Specializing in Day Trading

They usually trade in thousands of shares, buying and selling several times a day, at fractions of a penny per share to make significant profit.

Rudolph and Sletten Tops Off First of 11 Towers in $40M R.B. Project

General contractor Rudolph and Sletten Inc. has completed the topping off of structural steel for the initial office building in the Summit Rancho Bernardo corporate campus development in Rancho Bernardo.

Tijuana Auto Assembly Plant Project Still in Question

Chamco Auto, the New Jersey importer working with a Chinese car manufacturer to build an auto assembly plant in Tijuana, said in a statement issued March 3 that it is seeking a 90-day moratorium on the project after its board replaced the management team.

'Icy Fire' Drug Developed at UC San Diego Might Be First of Its Kind

The FDA has approved a drug developed at UC San Diego to treat a rare chronic disease characterized by rash, fever, chills and joint pain in patients exposed to cold temperatures, the university said March 6.

Generation Y-Not? Today's Teen Work Ethics Are Hazy

Generation Y-Not? Today's Teen Work Ethics Are Hazy

Executive Profile - Michael Essrig

Mike Essrig is president and chief executive officer of Essrig Taylor Construction Inc., a Sorrento Valley-based business that specializes in health care construction and seismic mitigation.

SDSU Designs New Certification Program for 'Green' Professionals

San Diego State University is now offering a new professional certificate program to address the growing interest in green building practices.

Carlsbad Manufacturer Preparing to Launch the Two-Seater Aptera

A Carlsbad-based startup called Aptera Motors Inc. said it has received 1,000 orders for its "ultragreen car" before even building a prototype.

Thomas Jefferson to Lay Down the Law at New East Village Site

On March 6, the city of San Diego Planning Commission approved a site development permit for the Thomas Jefferson School of Law's new campus in East Village.


Recycling Is as Important as Desalination for the Future

MedImpact Earns Healthy Dose of Approval From D.C. Nonprofit

MedImpact Healthcare Systems Inc. said it has received a URAC accreditation, the first in the pharmacy benefit management industry.

Rising Gas Prices Pumping Up the Cost of Doing Business

Average gas prices will likely reach well into the $3.60s this week, analysts say, forcing local businesses that depend on the roadways for revenue to deal with higher costs.

Canadian Firm Acquires South Bay's RSI ID in Deal Valued at $2.5M

The Utah mountains are very different from the Chula Vista business park Wolf Bielas calls home.

Tourism Officials May Adjust Their Outlook Based on Market Conditions

For the past four years, San Diego has seen more tourists cross the county line and spend more money while they were here than they did the year before.

Derailed $300M Tijuana Auto Plant May Be Back on Track , Elsewhere

Amid reports that plans are on the skids for an auto assembly plant in Tijuana built by a Chinese manufacturer and New Jersey import firm, some observers say the project may still happen.

Ship Reinforcements

There's a debate raging in Washington, D.C., over how to expand and modernize the U.S. Navy fleet without fleecing taxpayers.

San Diego People

Key hires and promotions. Executive Spotlight: Susan Compton

Iomega Receives New Purchase Proposal

Shares of Iomega Inc., a San Diego maker of data storage devices, rose 9 percent to $3.54 in midday trading March 17 on the New York Stock Exchange.


For March 10, 2008

Week In Review

Top Business News: March 7-13, 2008

Enano Stars in Season Finale of 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition'

A revealing opportunity. San Diego's own enano , the smallest PC boxes in the world, not to mention one of the world's most energy-efficient , put in a guest appearance for the final segment of ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" on March 13.

Gym Owner Thinks Urban Dwellers Eager to Get Slim Fast

Scott Lutwak, who developed and owns Fit, a posh, new health club in the East Village, says he's confident that downtown's growing population of young urban professionals will gladly fork over $120 a month to belong , shaky economy notwithstanding.

Phase 2 of La Jolla Resort's $2M Beach Cottage Remodel Nearly Done

The La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club expects to complete the final phase of a two-year makeover of its guest suites by summertime.

Worldwide Appeal to Help SeaWorld, Legoland Grow

Despite increasing gasoline prices and declining consumer confidence, the county's two largest for-profit tourist attractions, SeaWorld San Diego and Legoland California, say they expect to see more people pass through their gates this year in search of f

Drugs in the Water Supply? Not to Fear, Scientists Say

Minute traces of pharmaceutical waste in drinking water supplies aren't cause for alarm, say local scientists and researchers, because San Diegans are routinely exposed to small amounts of chemicals.

General Atomics Poised to Launch Its Aircraft Carrier Technology

The San Diego company that builds the un & #173;manned Predator armed re & #173;con & #173;naissance aircraft continues to push the technology envelope for the national defense industry.

Ex-Navy Chief's Best Practices Know-How Transfers to Civilian Career

As a former 3-star vice admiral, Tim LaFleur managed an $8 billion budget and 100,000 sailors. He held a central role in a broad initiative to reassess the Navy's readiness in the post-Cold War era.

Entrepreneurs Worried About Rising Cost of Workers' Compensation

The folks at Union Bank of California recently surveyed their small-business customers and potential customers to find out what they were thinking about, and it wasn't pretty.

Thursday, March 13

Space Mirco Wins Six-Month Long Air Force Contract

Space Micro Inc., a San Diego-based defense business, said March 13 it was awarded a $100,000, six-month contract from the Air Force to help develop a miniature space weather instrument.

Southwest Flights Back to Normal at Lindbergh

Southwest Airlines, the largest carrier serving San Diego's Lindbergh Field, said airline operations returned to normal March 13 a day after the discount airline cancelled 4 percent of its flights.

Viejas Takes Step Toward Expansion; Chooses Architect

Viejas Enterprises said March 12 that it hired Las Vegas-based Marnell Corrao Associates to design its $800 million hotel-casino addition on the Viejas Indian reservation near Alpine.

Wednesday, March 12

Benefits Company Announces Name Change

Coty & Bruce Benefits Inc. changed its name to Atessa Benefits Inc., the San Diego-based benefits services company said earlier this year.

SEC Files Charges Against Workshop Promoters

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil fraud charges March 12 against two Utah promoters who held investor workshops in many cities, including San Diego.

Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Chief Resigns

The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center said it is seeking an interim chief executive following the resignation of Dr. Albert Deisseroth, who left his position effective March 11 to pursue full-time research on an investigational cancer vaccine.

Tuesday, March 11

Qualcomm Increases Dividend, Buys Software Company

Qualcomm Inc. said March 11 that it plans to increase its quarterly dividend from 14 cents per share to 16 cents per share.

Monday, March 10

Regional Water Agencies to Share Best Practices on Climate Change

The San Diego County Water Authority and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California will collaborate with six other water agencies across the country to share best practices related to climate change.


For March 3, 2008

Economic Woes, Increased Competition Eating Into Eateries

The economy is likely to improve within the next six to 14 months, and the current economic downturn shouldn't have a seriously adverse effect on the nation's restaurants, says one industry expert.

Skylight, Sharp Grossmont Partner for Patients

Skylight Healthcare Systems Inc. was just a year-old startup when Sharp Grossmont Hospital offered to serve as a beta site for the San Diego company's technology service. Seven years down the road, the partnership is still intact.

Iomega Turns Down EMC Offer

Iomega Corp., a San Diego maker of data storage devices, said March 10 that its board rejected an unsolicited offer from EMC Corp. to buy the company for $3.25 per share, or about $178 million.

Annual Travel Goods Show to Land at Convention Center

The Travel Goods Association, which represents a $20 billion industry, is bringing its annual Travel Goods Show to the San Diego Convention Center this year.

Cuyamaca College's $44M Arts Center Completed

Rudolph and Sletten Inc. finished the $44 million Communication Arts Center at Cuyamaca College in Rancho San Diego.

U.S. Housing Slump Has Property Investors Looking South for Options

Are "fractionals" becoming the plastics of the 21st century?

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Kyriba Corp., a local company that provides cash management options online, said it signed 56 new clients in 2007.

Contractors Complete $152M in Upgrades at Two Area High Schools

Contractors PinnacleOne/Barnhart Inc. has completed renovations on both Poway and Mt. Carmel high schools.

Gas Prices on the Rise

The average gas price in San Diego is more than $3.50 per gallon and will likely reach well into the $3.60s by next week, analysts say.


Caf & #233; Pacifica Bids Farewell to Old Town

Conference Held to Focus on Role of Women in U.S. Politics

The Thomas Jefferson School of Law's eighth annual Women and the Law Conference brought together a powerhouse roster of female politicians and political scientists Feb. 29 to examine the role gender plays in American politics.

Steigerwalt to Merge With Pacific Law Center

San Diego firms Steigerwalt & Associates and the Pacific Law Center said today they would merge to form Kerry Steigerwalt's Pacific Law Center.

Cafe Pacifica to Shutter Doors

From restaurants to elephants. Plus, these students know how to spin an argument and manage a portfolio.

Executive Profile , Barbara Markoff

For 26 years, Barbara Markoff and her art framing company, Artrageous!, have guided clients through budget planning, art consultation, framing design, delivery, and installation.

Los Coyotes Band of Indians Still Gamely Trying to Build Casino

The federal government is forcing a local American Indian band to rethink its unique business plan.

Seen After Hours , San Diego's Best Places to Work

More than 600 businesspeople turned out for the ninth annual Best Places to Work awards gala Feb. 26.

Tolls Proposed to Pay for Otay Mesa Border Crossing

The proposed border crossing east of the existing Otay Mesa port of entry would charge tolls based on the day and hour of use, similar to the system used by commuters using FasTrak lanes on Interstate 15.

Real Estate Industry Moves Step Closer to Statewide Listings

Residential real estate leaders took a step closer to establishing a statewide Multiple Listing Service late last month.

Union Hospital Workers Picket UC Sites for Better Wages

Health care workers held an informational picket at three University of California campus sites in San Diego on Feb. 28.

Nonprofit Profile , Conner's Cause for Children

A talk with Carol Del Signore, executive director of Conner's Cause for Children.

The Soap Opera That Is Our Economy Just Keeps Turning

The soap opera "As the World Turns" is a reflective script on how our economy is running on a daily basis.

Hoteliers Proclaim Food, Beverage Person of Year at Awards Fete

Jeff Leidy, executive chef at the San Diego Convention Center, was named 2007 Food and Beverage Person of the Year at the 29th Annual Gold Key Awards.

Windsor Pacific Building Green in Pristine Costa Rica

A slumping dollar value and domestic housing crisis has given San Diego entrepreneur Rick Valentine all the motivation he needs to embrace his inner traveler in search of real estate deals abroad.

First Community Bancorp to Incorporate in Delaware, Change Name

First Community Bancorp, the parent firm to San Diego-based Pacific Western Bank, which has about $5 billion in assets, asked its shareholders March 10 for approval to reincorporate in Delaware from its current incorporation in California.

SAIC to Buy Homegrown Defense Firm

SAIC said March 10 that it has agreed to buy Icon Systems Inc., a San Diego company specializing in laser-based systems for military training. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Company Names Don't Always Reflect the Business Lines of the Business

Buckeye Ventures Inc. is now Energy King Inc. Maybe a name change could work for some other local companies whose businesses are impossible to detect by their appellation.

Homeowners in Danger of Defaulting Access Free Counseling Services

California homeowners having trouble paying their mortgages will now be eligible for counseling services to avoid foreclosure as part of a new $8 million grant announced by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Feb. 28.

SafeMed Partnering With Google Health

A local medical software company that has flown under the radar will partner with highly visible Google Health.

Chula Vista Convention Project to Create Even More Jobs

The Gaylord Entertainment convention center/hotel project proposed for Chula Vista's waterfront would create more jobs than what was originally estimated, said a top corporate official last week.

Sales and Leases

Zinola LP has purchased the 22,156-square-foot research and development building located at 5816 Dryden Place in Carlsbad from California Pegasus LLC for $3,425,000. And other sales and leases.

IDW Publishing Has Ghostly Hit on Its Hands

Pacific Beach comic book publisher IDW Publishing has a sell-out on its hands with "Locke & Key."

Week in Review

Top Business News: Feb. 29 - March 6, 2008

You Walk Away Shows How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Foreclosure

You Walk Away, a Carlsbad-based foreclosure counselor, helps homeowners through the entire foreclosure process when there are no other options.

Nuts and Bolts of Eco-Building Gets Down to Sorting Debris in Bins

Construction waste management is an key component to building green.

Sporting Eye of El Tigre, Northgate Gonzalez Buys 5 Local Markets

By adding El Tigre's five San Diego County stores, Northgate Gonzalez Markets brings its store count to 30 in Southern California and six locally.

BrainCells Inc. Raises $30M in Series B Round

Drug company BrainCells Inc., focused on treating mood and anxiety disorders, said March 10 that it raised $30 million in a second round of funding.

Entriq to Buy DayPort

Entriq, a Carlsbad-based firm that helps companies deliver and profit from content over the Internet, agreed March 10 to purchase DayPort, a Minnesota firm that provides video publishing and content solutions, for an undisclosed price.

Designers Bring Nature Indoors With Sunflower Seeds, Cotton Elements

The use of eco-friendly building materials is becoming more popular these days for businesses and homeowners alike.

California Communities Need Broadband Action

California Communities Need Broadband Action

L & L; Hawaiian Barbeque Opens New Store in the South Bay

L & L; Hawaiian Barbeque has opened a new location at 3410 Palm Ave., making it Loll's 17th restaurant in San Diego.

San Diego People

Key hires and promotions. Executive Spotlight: Eileen Jolly.

Separate Immigrants From Guest Workers

Separate Immigrants From Guest Workers

Higgs, Fletcher & Mack Attorney Handles Hospitals With Care

When a physician's actions are called into question and a hospital must act, Rick Barton advises the medical staff about the steps the hospital must take.

Strong Market Predicted for Central Warehouse Properties

CB Richard Ellis released its 2007 Warehouse/Distribution Overview of the Central San Diego market March 3, predicting a strong market for 2008 and beyond.

Friday, March 7

Holiday Bowl Participants Score Record Payout

The two teams that faced off in the 2007 Pacific Life Holiday Bowl received a record $2.5 million apiece, the game's organizers said March 7.

There's 10 More Local Gyms in Them Thar Gold's Plans

Gold's Gym International Inc. said March 6 that it is planning to open 10 more San Diego locations starting next year.

Sempra Generates More Admiration

Sempra Energy claimed the No. 2 spot among electric and gas utilities on Fortune magazine's list of most admired companies.

Tuco Trading Violated Federal Laws, SEC Alleges

A La Jolla stock day trading business, Tuco Trading LLC, and its principal, Douglas Frederick, were charged March 6 by the Securities and Exchange Commission with violating broker-dealer registration and anti-fraud provisions of federal securities laws.

$467M Interstate 15 Project Under Way

The San Diego Association of Governments and California Department of Transportation broke ground Feb. 29 on a $467 million project that could help relieve congestion along the Interstate 15 corridor.

EMC Pays $86M for Document Sciences

EMC Corp., a Hopkinton, Mass.-based data storage company, said March 6 that it completed the acquisition of Document Sciences Corp., a Carlsbad-based provider of data management software, for $85.8 million in cash or $14.75 for each share.

SYS Snaps Up Navy Technology Contract

SYS Technologies said March 6 it was awarded a five-year prime contract valued at $29.7 million from the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, Charleston.

Wednesday, March 5

Steigerwalt to Merge with Pacific Law Center

San Diego firms Steigerwalt & Associates and the Pacific Law Center said today they would merge to form Kerry Steigerwalt's Pacific Law Center.

SAIC Lands Two New Contracts

SAIC Inc. said March 5 it was awarded two new pieces of business, a $98-million contract with the Army, and a $47.6-million contract with the Air Force.

Tuesday, March 4

Google Health Partners With San Diego's SafeMed

SafeMed Inc. will partner with Google Health, the San Diego-based company said March 4. SafeMed will integrate its analysis engine with the yet-to-be launched Google Health initiative that will provide users with online medical records.

Monday, March 3

Kratos Acquires SYS Technologies in $53 Million Deal

San Diego-based Kratos Defense & Security Systems Inc. continues to grow through acquisitions, striking a deal to buy SYS Technologies, another local defense contractor that provides computer network and engineering services to federal clients.

Cypress to Strengthen Product Lineup With Proprius Acquisition

Cypress Bioscience Inc., a publicly held company developing drugs to treat fibromyalgia, will add diagnostics to its product lineup following the acquisition of privately held specialty pharmaceutical company Proprius Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Not Awestruck By Starbucks' Dominant Status in Coffee Circles

McDonald's appears ready to give struggling Starbucks a run for its money. After introducing premium coffee in 2005, the fast-food giant began offering iced coffee for $1.89 in San Diego in February.

Week in Review

Top Business News: Feb. 22 - 28, 2008

HMSHost Corp. Riding Coattails of Lindbergh Field's Soaring Success

With a captive audience of hungry passengers boarding no-feast, just famine flights, San Diego International Airport has a booming restaurant industry.

Entrepreneur Profile , Brent Gleeson

Brent Gleeson, president and owner of New Condos Online Inc., started his Internet-based real estate advertising company in 2004. A real estate career followed his days as a Navy SEAL.

Energy Firm Launches Do-it-Yourself Solar Structure

Envision Solar International Inc. launched a do-it-yourself photovoltaic solar structure, the San Diego-based company announced Feb. 20.

Therapy Specialists to Expand Services to Skilled Nursing Facilities

Therapy Specialists announced Jan. 30 that it was awarded a two-year contract to provide services in five skilled nursing facilities in San Diego, Riverside, Sylmar and Bakersfield.

Hotel Occupancy Rates to Blossom in the Spring

Hotel occupancy rates were soft in downtown San Diego during the first two weeks of February, and the outlook for March doesn't look too good either. But the visitor count should improve dramatically this spring.

Raising Loan Limit to Boost Sagging Home Sales?

More than 230,000 homes in San Diego County could benefit by temporarily raising the conforming loan limit up to $729,750, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Angels Offer More Than Money to Promising Tech Ventures

They're called angels for a reason.

We Need Architecture That Educates the Kids

We Need Architecture That Educates the Kids

Upper Deck Strips Hillary From the Presidential Deck

The Upper Deck Co. released a parody baseball card of Hillary Clinton in mid-February that takes a page out of her husband's playbook.

Sempra Looks Ahead After Announcing Its Annual Earnings

Study the net income figures from San Diego's top Fortune 500 company and you'll find a study in contrasts.

Sales and Leases

Penn LLC has purchased the William Penn Hotel in downtown San Diego from William Penn Hotel LLC for $7.5 million. And other sales and leases.

Walk-in Medical Clinics Are Expanding Into San Diego

Health clinics built into neighborhood drugstores are quickly becoming the go-to solution for both uninsured patients and overworked health care organizations in crisis.

Invitrogen Unveils Philanthropic Arm to Increase Awareness of Life Sciences

Invitrogen Corp., the Carlsbad-based provider of tools and technologies for the life sciences industry, launched its first nonprofit philanthropic organization last week aimed at increasing awareness of the life sciences among academics, professionals and

Sales of Apartment Complexes Slow for Third Year in a Row

Apartment sales slowed for the third consecutive year in 2007 in San Diego County as the market continued to correct, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

Venture Funds Flow to Firms Developing Up-to-Date Technologies

Analytics is an evolving science that consists of analyzing digital footprints of consumers around the world. San Diego-based ID Analytics Inc. , which assigns a "probability" factor to one's identity , was among the top venture capital winners last year

PeopleFirst Founders First Again With Paperless Lending

After selling their online loan business and cashing out with $17 million in stock, partners Gary Miller and Dave Zeller could have taken up a life of leisure. Instead, they started work on their next online venture,

Region's Tech, Life Science Firms on State's A-List for VC Funding

Measured against other technology hubs in the state, San Diego has a strategic advantage , in its ability to attract talent and strong technology and life sciences clusters , but has to compensate for lack of capital by pitching to investors elsewhere.

Agency Proposes Land Bank to Buy, Resell Foreclosed Properties

Concerned about a rising tide of foreclosed properties that would drag down home values, a city-county agency has recommended forming a land bank to buy the properties and resell them to buyers.

Natural History Museum to Host Dos Aguilas Binational Fiesta

The San Diego Natural History Museum will host the 7th Annual Dos Aguilas Binational Fiesta on April 5. The event provides support to the museum's binational education and scientific research efforts.

Podcast: Preview the San Diego Business Journal

Web Editor Brad Graves provides highlights from the March 3, 2008 issue of the San Diego Business Journal.

HP Enterprises Starts Work on Rancho Bernardo Retail Center

Progress Report: HP Enterprises has begun construction on a 7,200-square-foot retail center located at the southeast corner of Rancho Bernardo Road and West Bernardo Drive.

DivX to Sharpen Focus, Shut Down

DivX said Feb. 25 that it plans to shut down its Stage6 video sharing service on Feb. 28.

Fix for Small Business Will Be Fix for All Americans

Fix for Small Business Will Be Fix for All Americans

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Steven Bollert.

SAIC Founder Heading to Hall of Fame

J. Robert Beyster, who founded SAIC, an engineering and research firm, will be inducted into the Connect Entrepreneur Hall of Fame on March 20, the nonprofit announced Feb. 25.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Starting March 4, emergency and fire calls made from Chula Vista will be handled by the city of San Diego's fire rescue dispatch center.

Cardiff Fashion Firm Increases Sales With Footwear

The sandal and shoe surf brand Sanuk attracted recent attention for creating what some call the "not-a-shoe."

Northrop Staff Takes Turns at Flying F-22s, in Simulator

If this was a normal day, these people would be at their desks. But today, for a few minutes at least, they get to fly a fighter jet.

Area Colleges Developing More Foreign Study Programs

The link between the United States and Mexico has been a factor in local education for years, yet several colleges and universities recently announced new programs to further meet student demand.

Online HR Benefits Business Remains on a Good Track

Talk of the economy slowing or contracting hasn't affected San Diego-based Benetrac, which has been adding clients since it was acquired in August by Rochester, N.Y., based Paychex Inc.

Developer Hopes New Restaurant Project Will Have Universal Appeal

EnDev Enterprises LLC's newest addition to the local entertainment scene, Universal, a la the uber-hip spots of New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles, is nearing completion.

EcoBroker Offers Real Estate Agents Another Way to Go Green

As more professionals strive to become certified as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design pros by learning green building practices, an increasing number of residential real estate agents are seeking the EcoBroker designation.

Election Reform Put to the Test With Online Voting System

To Paul DeGregorio, it's only a matter of time before online or phone voting is the standard way for people to cast their ballots in the United States. In fact, he notes, it's already arrived, just not in the political world.

Executive Profile , Dawn Kearney Davidson

Since founding Design Line Interiors in 1985, Dawn Kearney Davidson has designed comfortable and nurturing interior environments ranging from model homes to restaurants.


Our Region Needs New Border Crossings, Infrastructure Improvements

Nonprofit Profile , San Diego Museum of Man

A talk with Mari Lyn Salvador, CEO of the San Diego Museum of Man.

Grand Del Mar Event No 'Laffer'

Jay Leno keeps the jokes coming. A veritable kebab of column items.

Foundations Pumping Cash Into Research on Diseases

Biotechnology firms have typically shied away from developing treatments for rare diseases because the drugs haven't commanded high enough profits. But a handful of San Diego firms have succeeded in raising money for less lucrative drug development effort