Stories for October 2008

Friday, October 31

SGIS Lands Task Orders Worth $909,000

SGIS said Oct. 29 it received three task orders from the Naval Facilities Engineering Command offices in San Diego and Jacksonville, Fla. for program and engineering services.

North County Times Parent Suspends Dividend

Lee Enterprises, the Davenport, Iowa-based parent company of the North County Times, said Oct. 30 it would suspend its dividend to help pay off its bank debt.

AMN Misses Forecast, Shares Drop

Shares of AMN Healthcare Services, the San Diego nurse staffing firm, declined by $1.44 to $8.99, a new 52-week low, on Oct. 31 after the firm released third-quarter results that fell short of earlier forecasts.

Education Department Deal Could Be Worth $300M to SAIC

SAIC reported this week it won a contract worth up to $300 million from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Federal Student Aid to modernize its Web-based student aid infrastructure.

Kratos Engineers Contract Worth $21.1M

San Diego-based Kratos Defense & Security Solutions won a contract valued at up to $21.1 million from the Defense Logistics Agency and the Defense Contract Management Agency to provide network engineering and software development services.

AeA Recognizes Top-Notch Technology

The San Diego chapter of AeA, formerly known as the American Electronics Association, named the winners of its 15th annual AeA High Tech Awards on Oct. 31.

Thursday, October 30

Credit Card Operations Pull Torrey Pines Bank Into Quarterly Loss

Torrey Pines Bank, with nearly $800 million in assets, reported Oct. 27 net income of $280,000 for the third quarter, and a profit of $3 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30.

Vista Apartment Complex Changes Hands for $69.5M

RREEF sold a 460-unit apartment complex in Vista for $69.5 million to three R & V; Management-sponsored partnerships.

Net Loss Equals $3.6M at Temecula Valley Bancorp

Temecula Valley Bancorp, a regional lender with $1.5 billion in assets and 11 offices, reported Oct. 30 it had a net loss of $3.6 million for the third quarter, compared to a net profit of $2.6 million for the third quarter of 2007.

Economic Indicators Drift Lower

An index measuring the health of San Diego's economy dropped again in September, the 29th time it has done so in the last 30 months, according to a report released Oct. 30.

Dataskill Heads South for Software Talent

Dataskill, a San Diego software as a service company, has opened a new office in Tijuana, Mexico to support it's "no-shore" delivery model, the company said Oct. 30.

California Community Bank Swings to Loss

California Community Bank reported a third quarter net loss of $51,000, compared to net income of $13,000 for the like period of 2007.

Wednesday, October 29

Barnhart to Build at Camp Pendleton, China Lake

The San Diego office of Barnhart said Oct. 29 that it won a $23 million design-build contract to develop a bachelor enlisted quarters.

Tuesday, October 28

Bowl Game Ticket Prices Poised to Rise

Ticket prices for San Diego's two postseason college football bowl games will increase Nov. 1 by $10, organizers announced Oct. 28.

Networkcar Turns Into Networkfleet

San Diego-based Networkcar has changed its name to Networkfleet to reflect its new focus on the commercial and government fleet markets, the company said Oct. 28.

RJC and Straub Team Up for $50M Camp Pendleton Project

San Diego-based RJC Architects and Straub Construction of Bonsall won a $50 million contract to design and build the Force Intelligence Operations Center at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Podcast: This Week's Front Page, at a Glance

Web Editor Brad Graves provides highlights from the Oct. 27, 2008 issue of the San Diego Business Journal. Or listen to archived podcasts from as far back as January 2007.

Monday, October 27

FrameMax Building New Fortunes Overseas

San Diego construction design firm FrameMax secured a $10 million round of funding led by Arcapita Ventures to support expansion in the Middle East, where oil-driven real estate construction is exploding.

Today's Job Search in 2 Words: 'Cold' and 'Cutthroat'

As job markets go, it's tough out there.

Union-Tribune Circulation Slips

The San Diego Union-Tribune's paid weekday circulation slipped 3 percent to 269,819 on Sept. 30, from 278,176 the same year-ago day, the Audit Bureau of Circulation reported on Oct. 27.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: A pharmacy that serves diabetics exclusively opened in Encinitas this month.

Ground Breaking: Grossmont College Health and Physical Sciences Complex

A look at projects, planned or under construction.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Michelle Danks

Week In Review

Top Business News: Oct. 17 - 23, 2008

Upside of Market Turbulence Is Opportunity for Community Banks

The turmoil that's beset the financial services industry is generally having limited impact on most San Diego community banks, which didn't make subprime mortgages.

Executive Profile - Samuel H. Wood

Samuel H. Wood is CEO of Stemagen, a creator of stem cells with therapeutic potential.

Topping Off: UC San Diego Supercomputer Center

A look at projects nearing completion.

Former Grant Hotel Management Firm Receives Favorable Ruling

Michael Gallegos, who heads American Property Management, said he has received an appeal to a court decision that reverses a lower court ruling that favored the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation in lawsuits that both parties filed after the tribe fired A

New Home Sales Hit New Low

San Diego home builders experienced their worst quarter in 30 years , or perhaps longer, according to MarketPointe Realty Advisors, which has been monitoring the home building industry for the last three decades.

Online Hangout for Action Sports Fans Riding High

When Darren Reinke launched an action sports Web site last fall, he resisted taking on investors because he was afraid of losing control of his vision.

Nonprofit Profile - San Diego Hospice and the Institute for Palliative Medicine

A conversation with Jan Cetti, president and CEO, San Diego Hospice and the Institute for Palliative Medicine.

Save, Save, Save and Then Save Some More

I have been giving thought to what all of us should be doing in this period of financial uncertainty. And good grief, are the times uncertain.

Biotechs Face Leery VCs

With two big investor conferences scheduled back-to-back this week, life sciences executives will have plenty of opportunity to showcase their latest advancements to hundreds of potential backers.

Defense Industry Wonders Where Spending Is Headed

Recent federal moves to buoy the U.S. economy, including the $700 billion bailout for the financial industry, have analysts wondering whether the government will rethink its other spending priorities , including military spending.

Locked Out of Homeownership

The causes for the worst economic crisis since the 1930s are many, but at the core of the problem was a sweeping relaxation of underwriting standards by lenders, fostered by a climate of excess capital, escalating housing values, and readily available pro

Rubio's Board Rejects $5 Share Takeover Bid From Kelly Capital

Rubio's Restaurants, the San Diego fast food chain started here in 1983 by Ralph Rubio that went public in 1999, isn't interested in being acquired by Kelly Capital, at least not at $5 per share.

For Pacific Beach's Home Bank, It's Been a Year of Change

Byron Webb III is proudly following in his father's footsteps literally.

Cancer Society Gala Raises $310,000

The American Cancer Society San Diego Discovery Gala was held Sept. 27 at the Valenti International Estate in Rancho Santa Fe.

Sales and Leases

Sales and Leases: An eight-unit multifamily property located at 4853 Jessie Ave. in La Mesa has been sold to a San Francisco-based private investor for $1,025,000.

New Car Registrations Down 19 Percent

Registrations of new cars and pickup trucks declined 19 percent year-over-year in the recent third quarter, according to the California New Car Dealers Association.

Quarry Falls in Mission Valley Gets Council Green Light

The San Diego City Council on Oct. 21 approved Sudberry Properties' proposed 230-acre project that could include up to 4,780 homes and 900,000 square feet of office and retail space.

The Next President Will Be the 'Net' President

Both presidential candidates have plans that include broadband, new technology incentives and an overhaul of our education system.

Stake in Fannie Mae Hurts Security Business Bancorp

Security Business Bancorp reported a net loss of $1.2 million for the third quarter due mainly to a $1.8 million loss sustained from the bank's ill-timed investment into preferred stock of Fannie Mae Corp.

Doug Manchester's Mansion for Sale?

Sources say Doug Manchester has put his ultra luxurious oceanfront home in the tony community of La Jolla up for sale, but the hotel magnate and commercial real estate developer neither denies nor confirms the report.

College District Has Appetite for Growth

A local eatery with deep roots in Barrio Logan recently sold at auction to the San Diego Community College District for $2.6 million.

Banks Still Lending, But Easing Up on Easy Credit Terms

No doubt about it, banks are much tighter these days with their money, but most are still lending.

PacificGMP Abandons Plans for Lab Facility in China

Plans to create an offshoot of San Diego-based Pacific & #173;GMP in China have fallen through, according to the tiny Sorrento Valley contract manufacturer.

Westfield Seeking to Reverse Approval of Competing Mall

Oceanside approved its largest retail project earlier this month but has already been met with opposition.

Halloween 2008: Trick or Treat?

While analysts agree it's going to be a bleak Christmas, a National Retail Federation survey says that Oct. 31 could fare better because the event offers consumers a chance to get some much-needed comic relief.

Slowdown in Health Insurance Rate Increases Only Relative

San Diego employers will likely notice additional upticks in their health care costs for 2009, but forecasts show that the average rate of increase could slow to the lowest level since 2001.

Auto Club Crowns County's Inns, Eateries in Diamonds

Thirty-two of the county's inns and restaurants have earned the 2009 AAA Four Diamond, the Southern California Automobile Club said last week.

Microsoft Files Suit Against Four Local Companies

Microsoft sued four San Diego area companies for alleged copyright infringement as part of crackdown last week by the software giant that filed 20 civil cases in nine states.

Battle for the Bay Front: Downtown's Last Remaining Frontier

The San Diego Association of Governments board recently came out against Proposition B, the Nov. 4 ballot measure that proposes the creation of a 96-acre platform over the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal to facilitate development.

Oceanside's Piazza d'Oro Changes Hands

San Diego real estate management and investment firm ConAm Group purchased on Oct. 24 a foundering 221-unit mixed-use project in Oceanside for $30 million, allowing the deal to go forward, according to the brokerage firm on the deal, Hoffman Co.

Study Finds Tech Giants Spending More on Paid Search

Covario, a local online marketing agency, announced results of its third-quarter 2008 Global Search Spend Analysis on Oct. 15, revealing that large technology companies are moving more ad dollars to the paid search arena.

Special Report Profile - Trevor Callan

Trevor Callan is CEO of Callan Capital, which manages $200 million in assets among fewer than 60 families.

Two-Building, $115M Office Complex Nearly Ready for Occupancy

Progress Report: Construction is nearing completion for Terraces at Copley Point.

Armstrong Rolls Into Town for Tuneup

And the winners are San Diego Business Journal reporters and editors hauled away 29 awards ...

Taking Stock

Venture capital investments in local startups fell much faster than the national average last quarter, dragged down by a steep falloff in biotech deals, according to the latest report by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

For FirstWatch Solutions, It's 20 Million 911 Calls and Counting

FirstWatch, which launched shortly before the 2003 wildfires to equip emergency call centers with software that evaluates 911 calls, logged its 20 millionth call this month.

Friday, October 24

Callaway Golf Lays Off 154

Carlsbad-based Callaway Golf laid off 154 employees Oct. 18. The layoffs were announced in August, said company spokeswoman Michele Szynal.

Thursday, October 23

New Leader Brings Commercial Experience to Althea

Althea Technologies, a privately held San Diego-based contract manufacturer that provides clinical trial services to life sciences firms, appointed a new leader to oversee its expansion efforts, the company said Oct. 21.

Phenomix Calls Off IPO, Gets New Funding

Privately held San Diego biotech Phenomix Corp. withdrew its initial public offering Oct. 23, citing unfavorable market conditions.

Bridgepoint to Take Up Residence in Sunroad Tower

One of San Diego's fastest growing companies signed a lease Oct. 22 for 248,000 square feet of office space at the Sunroad Centrum Building in Kearny Mesa.

Write-Downs Add Up for Wachovia

Wachovia Corp., the holding company for Wachovia Bank, reported a net loss of $23.9 billion for the third quarter Oct. 22.

Wednesday, October 22

Podcast: This Week's Front Page, at a Glance

Web Editor Brad Graves provides highlights from the Oct. 20, 2008 issue of the San Diego Business Journal. Or listen to archived podcasts from as far back as January 2007.

City Council Approves Blueprint for Salk Expansion

In a unanimous vote Oct. 21, the San Diego City Council cleared a long-term plan to grow the nonprofit Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Brinson Patrick Securities Opens San Diego Office

Brinson Patrick Securities Corp., an investment banking firm with offices in California and New York, opened an office in the University Towne Center area, led by veteran life sciences financiers Jack Florio and Gregory Hanson.

Chief Executive Departs Silvergate Bank

Anthony Feraro, chief executive at San Diego-based Silvergate Bank, recently left the bank after about a year at the helm.

Tuesday, October 21

SpaceDev Has a Suitor Offering $38M

SpaceDev, a Poway firm that made a splash in 2004 when it designed and provided parts for the rocket of the record-breaking SpaceShipOne spacecraft, said Oct. 20 it agreed to be acquired by Sierra Nevada Corp. for $38 million in cash

SAIC Links Up With Spawar for $46M Deal

SAIC said Oct. 21 that it received a deal from Spawar Systems Center Pacific to provide systems support for the tactical data link, a deal worth more than $46 million if all options are exercised.

Monday, October 20

$48M Public Safety Center Designed Beside El Cajon Civic Center

Progress Report: KMA Architecture & Engineering has completed designs for the city of El Cajon's new $48 million Public Safety Center.

Small Business Remains Backbone of the Economy

Anyone looking for insights into the economic mess might well take a gander at the typical, successful small businessman or woman.

And We Think We're Facing a Big Giant

Sometimes we in the United States give North Korean officials far more credit than they deserve for allegedly outsmarting us. Just how smart, really, are they?

Health Care in the Hands of Machines

Technology-driven health care is at the forefront of recent presidential debates, offered up as one solution for overall improvements to American health care systems.

Competition for Greatest Gadget Heats Up

CommNexus San Diego, the nonprofit technology group, hosts its eighth annual GadgetFest Oct. 23 at Qualcomm headquarters.

Nonprofit Profile - Jewish Family Service of San Diego

A conversation with Jill Borg Spitzer, CEO of Jewish Family Service of San Diego.

Venture Capitalists Dispense $178M Here During Third Quarter

Venture capital flowed less freely to San Diego companies in the third quarter of this year, with a total of $178 million divvied out to 22 companies, according to the Oct. 20 MoneyTree report done by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capita

Changes Brewing at Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box hasn't fully engaged in the better, bolder coffee war that is currently being led by McDonald's, which is taking full aim at Starbucks with its cheaper, faster McCafe espressos.

Supply and Demand Working Against County's Hotels

PKF Hospitality Research predicts that demand for hotel accommodations will decline nationwide in 2008 and 2009 because the metrics that drive occupancy rates are going in opposite directions , room supply is increasing while demand is decreasing.

Industry Pros at Solar Event Offer Bright Outlook

Solar Power 2008 kicked off Oct. 13 in San Diego with a number of panels on industry trends and 425 companies showing off new products.

Homes Sales Quicken as Median Price Falls to $328,000

The number of home sales in San Diego rose more than 56 percent in September, compared to September 2007, as median home prices fell by more than 30 percent in the same period, La Jolla-based MDA DataQuick reported Oct. 20.

35 Years Later, Bank Failure Reverberates

Headlines of bank failures are becoming routine, but 35 years ago in San Diego, the city was shocked to learn that federal regulators seized U.S. National Bank, at the time the largest bank to be seized since the Great Depression.

What's Next?

The economic meltdown has been felt far and wide as central bankers and government leaders around the globe grapple with the enormity of the crisis. So far, so good. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr., along with Congress,

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: Delivery of the first of 59 factory-built modules started this month at the second High Tech High School in the southeastern part of the city.

Nonprofits Tighten Belts, Closely Watch Expenses

Suffering a drop in donations, local nonprofits are enacting hiring freezes and taking other measures to survive an economy in turmoil. Most nonprofit executives are asking themselves how the economy will affect services.

Revenues Rise as Data Center Becomes Hospitable Host

For a few years, Norman Jester ran a colocation data center in name only.

Navy Secretary Opposes Marine Terminal Proposal

The Navy secretary said the concept of building a raised platform over San Diego's Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, then developing that space for tourism uses, including hotels and a possible football stadium, is a bad one.

Health Care Insurers Warn Brokers Against 'Wrapping' Products

Some of the state's largest health insurance carriers have sent warning letters to brokers who sell their products cautioning them that if they combine certain insurance products they could be denied a commission, or worse, kicked out of their network.

'Java' Poll Under Way at 7-Eleven

Hey, I have got a hot one for you, so let this item percolate for a few minutes. Local 7-Eleven stores are jumping onto the presidential bandwagon for a third time in a decade.

Rubio's Reflects on Offer of $5 Per Share

Rubio's Restaurants Inc. said Oct. 17 it received an unsolicited letter from Kelly Capital, a San Diego-based private equity firm, expressing interest in acquiring all of the outstanding common stock of the company for $5 per share, or about $49.7 million

FEAR Is Foundation of Financial Crisis, Not Greed

Since my last column, a bunch of stuff has happened in the financial markets across the globe.

Week In Review

Top Business News: Oct. 10 - 16, 2008

Distressed Home Sales May Peak in 2009

Home prices have been on the decline for some time now and the state association of realtors' estimates prices will continue to decline next year.

Politics Changing the Face of Health Care

A study published Oct. 1 by the Harvard School of Public Health and market research firm Harris Interactive found that four out of 10 registered voters didn't believe one candidate's plan would be better for them than the other's.

Cal State San Marcos Students to Benefit From $1.5M Grant

Cal State University San Marcos received a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation for iQUEST, a project that focuses on serving poor and minority students to ensure their readiness, interest and participation in science and technology car

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Kelly Strukoff

Hotels in the Making

American Property Management, the county's largest hotel company, is adding to its portfolio with two limited-service Hilton Hotels branded properties in the Central Coast's popular wine country.

Genoptix Grows Revenue 28,000% to Rank No. 1 on Deloitte List

Deloitte named Genoptix the county's fastest-growing technology company Oct. 10.

Post-Wildfire Rebuilding Remains at Snail's Pace

It's been one year since the region was under siege that prompted the largest fire evacuation in U.S. history.

Entrepreneur Profile - David Shields

David Shields is president of Component Surfaces, a provider of gold plating and related services to help manufacturers fabricate circuits on ceramic plates, semiconductor chips, batteries and other products.

Sales and Leases

Sales and Leases: Vista Medical Plaza has been sold to Viper LLC for $16.6 million.

Westfield Ready to Commit Another $50 Million to Area Retail Outlets

Westfield is strengthening its commitment to the San Diego retail market with plans to renovate the Horton Plaza shopping center it owns downtown.

Friday, October 17

Suffering From Fannie Mae Investment, Imperial Still Has Net Income

Imperial Capital Bancorp, a San Diego-based commercial lender with $4.1 billion in assets, reported Oct. 17 its third quarter net income of $533,000, down from $1.7 million in net profit for the like quarter of 2007.

Mervyns Set to Close After Holiday Season

Bankrupt retailer Mervyns plans a going-out-of-business sale through the holiday season and will subsequently close its remaining 149 stores, including 10 in San Diego County.

Predictive Biosciences Ropes In $22M in Venture Capital

Predictive Biosciences, a Massachusetts-based diagnostics company with an office in San Diego, has raised $22 million in Series B financing, it said Oct. 16.

Jack in the Box to Sell Quick Stuff Unit

Jack in the Box plans to sell its 61 Quick Stuff convenience stores to focus more on its core brands, said Linda Lang, chairman and CEO of the publicly traded, San Diego-based chain of fast food eateries.

Chambers Organize 52nd Congressional District Debate

Chambers of commerce representing Santee, Rancho San Diego and San Diego's East County region have organized a congressional debate for candidates of the 52nd Congressional District Oct. 22 at the Cuyamaca College Theater.

WD-40 Closes Out Year With Net Income of $27.6 Million

WD-40 said Oct. 15 that it had net income of $4.7 million, or 28 cents per diluted share, on net sales of $76.9 million during its fourth quarter, which ended Aug. 31.

September Jobless Rate Falls Slightly, to 6.4 Percent

San Diego's unemployment in September was 6.4 percent, down by a tenth of 1 percent from a revised August rate of 6.5 percent, the state Employment Development Department said Oct. 17.

Thursday, October 16

760 Area Code Stays

The California Public Utilities Commission reversed itself and voted Oct. 16 to leave the 760 area code intact in the northern part of San Diego County.

Grand Jury Delivers New Indictment Regarding Pension Fund

A federal grand jury indicted five defendants for allegedly amending a formula for contributions to the pension fund covering city of San Diego employees, an action that helped push the fund's deficit to more than $1 billion.

PacWest Bancorp Reports Net Income, Looks Ahead to Fourth Quarter

PacWest Bancorp, parent of San Diego-based Pacific Western Bank, reported Oct. 16 it had third quarter net income of $9.6 million, down from $22.2 million for the like period in 2007.

Sun Rays to Power Mission Bay Aquatic Center

The Mission Bay Aquatic Center plans on Oct. 17 to unveil its new 40.7 kilowatt solar panel system that will produce all of the facility's annual power needs.

Pacific Trust Bank Parent Expects Record Income

First Pac Trust Inc., parent company of Pacific Trust Bank in Chula Vista, said Oct. 15 it anticipates reporting net income of $1.4 million for the third quarter, a record.

Wednesday, October 15

Forecast Predicts Winter of Discontent for Home Prices

Home prices throughout most of California will post declines well into next year, while sales will continue their rise in 2009, according to the 2009 California Housing Market Forecast released Oct. 15 by the California Association of Realtors.

Audit Yields $1M Bill for Workforce Partnership

The San Diego Workforce Partnership, the regional job training agency that gets nearly all of its funding from the federal government, said Oct. 14 it needs to repay the Department of Labor $1.1 million, stemming from an audit of the agency completed last

National Institutes of Health Gives UCSD Multimillion-Dollar Grant

UC San Diego won a five-year grant valued at up to $5 million from the National Institutes of Health that the university will use to create a biomedical technology research center, according to information released Oct. 15 by a division of the NIH.

Loans Shrink, Deposits and Assets Grow at San Diego Trust

San Diego Trust Bank reported net income of $111,000 for the third quarter, its 16th consecutive quarter of profitability, and $411,000 through the nine months, the bank said in a press statement Oct. 15.

Tuesday, October 14

Area Spawns 123 Technology Startups in First Half

San Diego had 123 technology startups in the first half of 2008, according to a report released Oct. 13 by Connect.

Podcast: This Week's Front Page, at a Glance

Web Editor Brad Graves provides highlights from the Oct. 13, 2008 issue of the San Diego Business Journal. Or listen to archived podcasts from as far back as January 2007.

Sempra, Valero Hatch Plan for Texas Oil Terminal

Sempra Energy and San Antonio-based Valero Energy took an initial step toward developing a marine terminal and oil storage facility in Port Arthur, Texas.

City Collects $1M Related to Canceled 2003 Chargers Game

The city of San Diego said it collected about $1 million in a settlement of litigation stemming from claims of lost revenue after the city moved a 2003 Charger home game from Qualcomm Stadium to Phoenix after the Cedar fires.

Monday, October 13

Current Crisis No Indicator of What's on Horizon for the Region

We have entered that murky period where the stock market seems to have capitulated, valuation declines have pervaded all asset classes and a global economic crisis is unfolding. There is limited liquidity at all levels of humanity.

$12 Million in Stage, Facility Upgrades Under Way at Moonlight Amphitheatre

Progress Report: A reconstruction project for the city of Vista's Moonlight Amphitheatre has broken ground with Sundt Construction as the design-build contractor for the $12 million project located at Brengle Terrace Park.

Bailout Won't Fix Housing Crisis, Real Estate Pros Say

The financial panic that triggered global market sell-offs and brought Iceland to the brink of bankruptcy last week can be traced back to homeowners, who for one reason or another, defaulted on their mortgages.

Metro Parking Crunch Predictable With Time, Day and Place

According to consultant Wilbur Smith Associates, there are 62,000 parking spaces in downtown San Diego, including 18,031 street parking spaces and 39,563 spaces in lots and garages operated by four parking management firms: Cardiff-by-the-Sea-based Sunset

Adidas Group to Buy Ashworth Inc.

Ashworth Inc., the Carlsbad-based maker of golf apparel, has entered into a definitive agreement to sell the company for $72.8 million to Taylor Made-Adidas Golf, a unit of German-based Adidas Group that's also based in Carlsbad.

Banking Fallout Hurting Office Occupancy

Numerous commercial brokers estimate that turbulence in the financial market that resulted in the $700 billion government rescue plan will result in rising vacancy rates in office properties across the county.

Solar Power Conference Attracts Luminaries

More than 15,000 people and 425 companies will be on hand displaying the latest trends in solar technology at the San Diego Convention Center for Solar Power International 2008. The Oct. 14-16 event is organized by the nonprofit Solar Electric Power Assoc

Ground Breaking: The Watermark Campus Addition

Construction of a $60 million, six-story professional building for MedImpact Healthcare Systems.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Dan Clay

Entrepreneur Profile - Mark Miller

Mark Miller is president of Osso Miller Pacific, a general contracting company that provides construction management services, including scheduling, design management, entitlements and concept estimating and specializes in the commercial and medical marke

Commercial Real Estate Downturn Steers Clear of Oceanside

Progress is being made at the AMB Pacific Coast Business Park in Oceanside, despite an economic slump that has hammered all real estate sectors.

Week In Review

Top Business News: Oct. 3 - 9, 2008

Western Sizzlin Goes for Stake in Jack in the Box

A stock-only swap offer by a Virginia-based steakhouse chain for shares of Jack in the Box , traded on the New York Stock Exchange as JBX , is uncommon and would represent only a small percentage of the burger chain's outstanding shares. But at least one

Executive Profile - Brent Altomare

Brent Altomare owns Groovy Like A Movie, a San Diego "green" movie production company.

Parking Study Part of City Strategy to Maximize Spaces

Although city officials say they can't tell private parking companies how much to charge for their spaces, they would like to develop a parking strategy that maximizes parking for more drivers at any given time , which includes working with building manag

Layoffs Likely? How to Avoid Wrongful Termination Claims

By any measure, it's a rough economy out there, and inevitably there will be more layoffs , an emotional and complicated process, no less so during turbulent financial times.

General Contractors in Area Enjoy Surge

A number of local contractors won military contracts just before the close of the government's fiscal year ending Sept. 30 for work at bases and facilities in the region.

UCSD Scientist Shares Nobel Prize for Molecular Research

UC San Diego chemist Roger Tsien will share the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry for the discovery of green fluorescent protein and groundbreaking work to develop fluorescent molecules that enter cells and light up their inner workings, the university said O

Declining Home Prices Boosting Sales

Bargain hunterscontinue to scoop up discounted homes in September as prices continue their slide, according to the San Diego Association of Realtors.

Mitek Gives Camera Phones Another Feature: Check Deposits

Mitek Systems, producer of image recognition software, has released its latest version of ImageNet Mobile Deposit, an application for the iPhone that allows owners of Apple's runaway hit to deposit checks at participating banks.

FDIC Raising Premiums to Buffer Impact of Bank Failures

San Diego bankers agree that more bank failures are coming, but say the nation's bank deposit insurance program should be able to withstand the hits.

Sales and Leases

Sales and Leases: CB Richard Ellis announced that Philotechnics purchased the 4,688-square-foot industrial building at 7384 Trade St. from Bodycote Thermal Processing for $843,840.

Nonprofit Profile - Senior Community Centers

A conversation with Paul Downey, president and CEO of Senior Community Centers

Port's Green Projects Get Green Light

The Port of San Diego approved funding for 10 new environmental projects such as installing solar panels and using other sustainable building materials at the new cruise ship terminal planned for the Broadway Pier.

Governor Signs Authorization Bill

A second border crossing in the Otay Mesa area took a step closer to construction recently when the state Legislature authorized the regional transportation agency to collect tolls to be used to pay for the project.

Airlines Adjusting Fares, Services to Fluctuating Oil Prices, Demand

With oil prices lower and demand for air travel in decline, the burning question is whether airline fares will also drop.

Japanese Hoping Mushrooms Will Grow on U.S. Market

Japan's largest mushroom producer, publicly traded Hokto Kinoko, is betting $50 million that Americans will soon have a yen for a roster of edible fungi that have long been a Japanese staple.

Staffing Industry Seeing Sharp Drop in Orders for Workers

Temporary staffing firms that normally see an uptick in business during slower economies are finding this slowdown is different. It's much more severe.

Nice Guy of the Year Is Grille Owner

Jeffrey Strauss, owner of Solana Beach restaurant Pamplemousse Grille, was honored by the Nice Guys on Oct. 4. at its annual gala held at the Marriott Hotel & Marina.

Topping Off: The New Ronald McDonald House

Topping Off is a new feature in the Business Journal focusing on construction projects that are finishing up.

Interior Design Profile: Norma Byrd, Norma Byrd/Design Innovations

Interior designer Norma Byrd is definitely her own boss. She's at the helm of Norma Byrd/Design Innovations and has been named president of the American Society of Interior Designers' San Diego chapter, which has grown to more than 500 designer members.

Beauty of This Business Is More Than Skin Deep

With a shipbuilder, military aircraft builder and a passel of electronics assemblers, manufacturing hangs on in San Diego. But hiding in the shadows is a surprise , a maker of consumer products that is not only thriving, but growing rapidly.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: The mariachi music and ribbon cutting Oct. 3 made it official: The I.B. Mexican Grill is open for business in the 1300 block of Palm Avenue.

Powerful Link Speeds Access To Federal Info

There was a time when getting official information from the federal government felt a little like old-time prospecting. It took lots of time, sifting and patience just for the possibility of uncovering a few gold nuggets.

Lyric Opera, North Park Theatre Need Your Support

Lyric Opera San Diego just opened its 30th consecutive season with a critically acclaimed production of Leonard Bernstein's American masterpiece, "Candide."

Happy Holiday?

Retailers are more apt to find a lump of coal in their stockings this Christmas than cash in the till.

Following Plan, Entrepreneur Selling Alternative Fuels

A banner above the Pearson Regional Transportation Center showroom on El Cajon Boulevard advertises space for lease and a phone number that rings to General Manager Mike Lewis' cell phone.

Hunt and Chase for Downtown Parking

Finding parking downtown can seem like a game of musical chairs for motorists endlessly prowling the Gaslamp Quarter. Yet there is a surplus of parking spaces that often go unfilled because of their location or sometimes hefty lot fees.

U.S. Marines Return the Favor for '06 Miramar Vote

The military vehemently opposed the November 2006 advisory ballot asking if city officials should pursue takeover of the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar as a replacement for Lindbergh Field.

Friday, October 10

Hunter Douglas Scales Back Amid Layoffs

Hunter Douglas Fabrication, a unit of Dutch-owned Hunter Douglas, said it is halting production of blinds and shades at its Poway plant, and cutting 157 jobs.

Nextwave Brings Home $100M

Nextwave Wireless, makers of embedded multimedia software used in cell phones and other mobile devices, said Oct. 10 it raised $100 million by issuing senior subordinated secured second-lien notes.

Thursday, October 9

Padres: Moores Not Selling 49% of Team

An Oct. 9 media report that San Diego Padres owner John Moores is selling 49 percent of the team is not accurate, according to club spokesman Warren Miller.

CCDC Hires Recruiter to Fill Executive Post

The board of the Centre City Development Corp. has hired national recruitment firm Ralph Andersen & Associates to identify candidates for the position of president and chief operating officer, vacated by Nancy Graham in July.

Union-Tribune Fielding Several Purchase Inquiries

The San Diego Union-Tribune, which went on the block in July, has yet to sell, but not for lack of tire-kicking.

City Receives $5M in Affordable Housing Grants

Public and nonprofit agencies throughout San Diego County received more than $5.4 million in state grant awards in the last two months to finance 151 units of affordable housing.

Citigroup Drops Bid for Cut of Wachovia

Citigroup said it was no longer negotiating with Wells Fargo over dividing up Wachovia, citing "dramatic differences in transaction structures and views of involved risks."

Coronado First Bank Reports Loss

Coronado First Bank reported a net loss of $351,000 for the nine months ended Sept. 30, compared to a net loss of 557,000 for the like period of 2007 in its quarterly report released Oct. 8.

Wednesday, October 8

Halt on Wachovia Litigation Extended

Citigroup, Wachovia, and Wells Fargo, the three banks involved in a disputed acquisition of Wachovia, agreed to extend a cease-fire on litigation until Oct. 10.

UCSD Chemist Gets Nobel Nod

UCSD Chemist Roger Tsien will share the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry for the discovery of Green Fluorescent Protein and groundbreaking molecular work.

Vista Medical Building Sold

The Vista Medical Plaza sold for $16.6 million to Viper LLC by V.M.P. LLC. The 45,700-square-foot property is on West Vista Way in Vista and is 100 percent leased.

Tuesday, October 7

Crownair Gets a Lift From Recent Acquisitions

Crownair Aviation, based at San Diego's Montgomery Field, has acquired RoigWest Maintenance, a turbine aircraft maintenance service and support center at Van Nuys Airport, and West Coast Jet Services at McClellan Palomar Airport.

Airport Program Assists Small Contractors

Small contractors seeking work connected to a planned $800 million improvement project at Lindbergh Field can access help for their bonding needs through a new program launched Oct. 7 by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.

City Reaches Settlement With AIG

The city of San Diego announced a $5.5 million settlement with its liability insurance carrier, AIG, for legal costs in a multifaceted and lengthy litigation involving developer Roque De La Fuente.

NYCA Has Green in Sight With TV Ad

NYCA, an Encinitas-based advertising agency that has made a name for itself with leading golf brands, recently created a TV commercial touting its new client SkyCaddie, a GPS range finder for golf courses.

Monday, October 6

Entrepreneur Profile - Mark Canavarro

Mark Canavarro is president of Cubicles Office Environments, a provider of new, used and refurbished office furniture to small to midsized companies.

City's New Housing Chief Shows Up for Work 2 Weeks Early

The San Diego Housing Commission welcomed new chief executive Rick Gentry last month, a bit ahead of schedule.

Union Bank, KPBS Honor Latino Heroes

Union Bank of California and KPBS honored six San Diego Latinos with Local Hero of the Year Awards on Sept. 17 as part of Hispanic Heritage Month at San Diego State University.

Set a Course of Action to Find Success in These Tough Times

From time to time, it is necessary to focus on positive thinking, especially when times seem to be the worst. This is one of those times.

Irvine Co. Lays Off 100 Staffers

Newport Beach-based Irvine Co. let 100, or 3 percent, of its employees go last month. It is undetermined how many were based in San Diego, although a company spokesman said the Irvine Co. now has 170 employees here.

Western Sizzlin Goes for Stake in Jack in the Box

A stock-only swap offer by a Virginia-based steakhouse chain for shares of Jack in the Box traded on the New York Stock Exchange as JBX is uncommon and would represent only a small percentage of the burger chain's outstanding shares.

Sudberry Pursues South Bay Retail Site That Crosses the Line

A regional developer is seeking to build a 25-acre retail center that straddles the boundary line dividing National City and Chula Vista.

Nonprofit Profile - Lyric Opera San Diego

A conversation with Leon Natker, general director of Lyric Opera San Diego.

Business Profile - Richard Wittenberg

Richard Wittenberg is chief executive officer of California Wind Systems, a Carlsbad-based company that has designed a system for harnessing wind energy to generate electric power.

What's Inside the Head of the U.S. Fed Chief: Blame?

Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve System, may be dead wrong about the urgent need for the proposed $700 billion this former professor and his buddy, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, have been trying to peddle to Congress these past few week

Four San Diegans Involved in Palace Revolt

"Turning and turning in a widening gyre, The falcon cannot hear the falconer." Well, my favorite poem by William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming," describes the current economic mess to a T. And talk about a palace revolt against fellow Republican George

Hang Up Your Coat and Stay Awhile

Midway through construction on a condo project on Hancock Street near Old Town in April, developer Constellation Property Group decided to convert the property into a residence hotel.

IPod Accessory Earns Invention of the Year Award

For Apple iPod nano enthusiasts and music lovers on the go, the iStik looks like a case of instant attraction.


Our readers speak out on the issues.

Go-Getter Works Double Time on Two Businesses

At 34, Chinese American Kim Lim has saved more than $350,000 by working her way up from waiting tables to being a microbiologist consultant.

San Diego People

Key Hires and Promotions. Executive Spotlight: Ranie Hunter

Ground Breaking: Nexus University City Science Center

Nexus University City Science Center

Brigantine Family Gives Birth to Nuevo Latino Eatery

The Brigantine Family of Restaurants is on a roll. Pun intended. It opened its second Zocalo Restaurant in the 4S Ranch community, near Rancho Bernardo, Sept. 29 and plans to transform Azul La Jolla from one that serves mixed fare, including seafood, into

Week In Review

Top Business News: Sept. 26 - Oct. 2, 2008

Battling Ovarian Cancer

Laura Shawver was well-acquainted with the ways cancer manifests itself in the human body. As a cancer researcher, she had studied the progression of the disease, a variety of drugs used to treat it, and even helped commercialize Sutent, a well-known drug

Parties in Wachovia Fight Call a Time-Out

The fight over who gets to acquire Wachovia took another odd turn when the three banks involved, Wachovia and the two suitors, Citibank and Wells Fargo, all agreed on a cease-fire of litigation at least until Oct. 8.

We Must Feel the Pain Before We Get Better

The failure of the House to pass the bailout bill could well turn out to be a blessing in disguise. A positive, not a negative, if we can withstand what's to come in the weeks and months ahead.

Loan Squeeze Gets Tighter

Because of the gradual tightening of the global credit market, more and more companies are getting squeezed and taking the obvious route to survival , trimming payroll.

Sales and Leases

Sales and Leases: The 13,576-square-foot building at 2515 Lemon Grove Ave. in Lemon Grove has been purchased by North Park Apostolic Church for $2.5 million.

Period for Comment on Navy Project Ends in Two Weeks

Residents have just two more weeks to comment on an environmental assessment under way for the Navy Broadway Complex project, which has generated much attention and a handful of lawsuits.

Despite Internet, We Still Need a Downtown Library

OK. OK. I know you have heard it all before. This is the age of the Internet. We don't need libraries anymore.

Depositors Seek Safety at Local Institutions

The stunning takeover and immediate sale of Washington Mutual Bank to JPMorgan Chase and forced sale of Wachovia Bank to Citibank a few days later on Sept. 29 sent shock waves through the banking system, including here in San Diego, where $10 billion in d

Small Farms Not Immune to Drought, Pests, Economic Woes

After recovering from wildfires, local farms, many of them family owned, are now contending with water shortages, pest infestations and to top it off, an economic downturn.

Regional Roundup

Leading off this week's compilation of news from around San Diego County: A retro hotel may turn into a condo hotel.

'Crisis of Confidence': Markets Short on Clarity

No matter what happens in Washington concerning a bailout bill (and all bets are off when it comes to Congress), last week's market plunge was shocking in its depth and speed.

Crews Clear the Way for $40M Pacific Station

Progress Report: Workers disassembled the large, metal warehouse previously located at 687 S. Coast Highway 101 in downtown Encinitas to make way for construction of the $40 million Pacific Station mixed-use development.

Networking Group Helps Moms Strike a Balance

Sherry Nouraini left the biotech industry four years ago after having her second child and discovering a harsh reality: The corporate workplace, at least the one she was in, wasn't too sympathetic to the needs of working moms.

UCSD Holds Strong as Economic Force, But Wary of State Cutbacks

UC San Diego is a dynamo, an industrial-sized generator of jobs and a force that pulls the San Diego economy along, according to a study commissioned by the university.

Heller Attorneys to Open Covington in San Diego

Three Heller Ehrman attorneys will help open a San Diego branch of Covington & Burling LLP, a Washington, D.C.-based firm that employs more than 650 attorneys worldwide.

Novel Ideas: Cashing in on the Campaign

From trading cards to comic books and T-shirts, three San Diego firms are cashing in on the presidential campaign.

Heller Ehrman Shareholders Await Payment

When Heller Ehrman announced it would dissolve the 118-year law firm last week, its employees were given 60-day employment notices and promptly paid.

Executive Profile - James M. Frager

James Frager is president and CEO of Cornerstone CMS, a construction management company in Serra Mesa.

Friday, October 3

Fisher House Opens Doors at Naval Hospital

San Diego's second Fisher House opened Oct. 3 at Naval Medical Center San Diego in Balboa Park. The $4 million facility offers free, short-term housing to families of wounded service members who are in the hospital.

Thursday, October 2

Housing Price Slide to Continue, Insurer Says

Increases in housing foreclosures and unemployment in San Diego have significantly increased the likelihood that home prices will fall over the next two years, according to PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. of Walnut Creek.

Sempra Wraps Up Energy South Acquisition

Sempra Energy said Oct. 1 it completed the acquisition of Energy South, based in Mobile, Ala. for $510 million in cash.

Investors Put $7M Into Avaak

Avaak of San Diego said Oct. 2 it received $7 million in Series A funding from Trinity Ventures, InterWest Partners and Leapfrog Ventures.

TSRI to Build Center, Combat AIDS With $30M Grant

The Scripps Research Institute said Oct. 2 it has won a $30 million grant from the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative to build a research center that will develop a new vaccine to guard against HIV.

Wednesday, October 1

Biomed Realty Trust to Put More Shares on the Market

Biomed Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust that rents 10.4 million square feet to companies in several major U.S. life science markets, said Oct. 1 it plans to offer 7,500,000 additional shares of common stock.