Stories for May 16, 2014

Lead stories

S.D. Market for Retail Space One of Tightest Among U.S. Metros

When it comes to space vacancy, San Diego has the fifth-tightest retail market among major U.S. metro regions, according to a newly released national report by brokerage company Cassidy Turley.

Employee Arbitration Agreements Worth Using

It is no secret that California courts have been remarkably pro-employee for years. However, the courts have recently started enforcing employee arbitration agreements that waive the right to pursue class action claims.

What’s the Impact of Raising the Minimum Wage?

In September 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that will raise the minimum wage from $8 per hour to $9 per hour by this July and again to $10 per hour by January 2016.

Company Puts Its All Into Community Service on RED Day

The Helen Woodward Animal Center was visited recently by 47 volunteers from local Keller Williams Realty branches who extended their philanthropic paws to a variety of center programs.

Businesses Still Running Under Caution Flag in Slow Recovery

It’s spring, which means time for many banks to release surveys of their small business clients.

Executive Q&A: Steven Sefton, president and CEO of Regents Bank

Steven Sefton, president and CEO of Regents Bank, has spent his entire career in banking — much of it in top leadership positions.

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Wal-Mart’s Money Transfer Unit Seen as Move Toward Banking

Banking: Retailer Offers Services That Many Banks Stopped Due to Regulations

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., with some 4,000 stores nationally, recently launched a money transfer business that undercuts the fees charged by market leaders Western Union and MoneyGram, and is causing some distress among bankers.

Banking on Their Skills

FINANCE: Banks Compete for Customers With Assets Beyond Cash

The San Diego market may be overbanked by some measures but don’t tell that to Umpqua Bank and California Republic Bank, which just joined a group of 54 commercial lenders — not counting credit unions and finance companies — that do business here.

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A Passport Won’t Get You to These French Charms in Oceanside

St. Malo is a cluster of French Normandy Tudor homes on the north side of the Buena Vista Lagoon between Oceanside and Carlsbad. You can see the slanted roofs, decorative half-timbering, turreted towers and animal wind vanes of this distinctive community from Highway 101 and the beach.

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Philanthropist Donating $7.5 Million for New UCSD Cancer Hospital

Area philanthropist Pauline Foster is donating $7.5 million to help build a new cancer care hospital at University of California, San Diego’s Jacobs Medical Center.

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Sorrento Therapeutics Prices Secondary Stock -Offering Shares at $5.25

Sorrento Therapeutics Inc. has priced its secondary stock offering of 4.765 million shares at $5.25 apiece, with plans to raise net proceeds of $23.1 million.

‘Model Home’: CBRE Offices Show Tech Advances in Action

PROPERTY: Brokerage Sees Savings in Paper, Storage and Space Needs

CBRE Group Inc., among the world’s largest commercial real estate brokerages, recently overhauled two of its San Diego County offices in ways that reflect the tech-inspired workspace mantra of many of its corporate clients: Do more with less.

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CleverPet Offers Dog a New Best Friend When Owner Not Home

PET CARE: Device Makes Feeding Time Learning TimePET CARE: Device Makes Feeding Time Learning Time

A San Diego startup may have a solution for Fido’s and Fifi’s errant ways.

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MabVax-Telik Union Shows How Dramatically Fortunes Change

Privately held San Diego cancer vaccine maker MabVax Inc. has merged with Palo Alto-based Telik Inc. — a once high-flying drugmaker whose reputation and stock value tumbled after drug failures and an ethics controversy.

Clothing, Music Sellers Joining Flower Hill Promenade Roster

Two new merchants plan openings at the Flower Hill Promenade shopping center in Del Mar.

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Pratt & Whitney Closing Its AeroPower Unit, Staff Cuts Expected in 2015

Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp., said it’s closing its San Diego-based AeroPower unit over the next two years, eliminating 530 jobs here.

For Spawar, ‘Readiness’ Also Includes Educational Outreach

DEFENSE: Programs Cultivate Needed Skills And Interest in STEM

Gracie Young is bright, driven and looking forward to getting her first patent. She is like a lot of people in San Diego’s technology scene — except that she’s in high school.

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City Ends Pact With Balboa Celebration Group

Civic: Council Members Told By Resident-Lawyer to Be Wary of BPCI’s Record

It’s been more than two months since a nonprofit group established to put on a year-long celebration of Balboa Park’s centennial threw in the towel and disbanded, but the city of San Diego is still cleaning up the mess.

Defense Spending Plan Emerges From Committee

DEFENSE: Marked-Up Budget Would Avoid BRAC, Stalls Carrier Drone Project

The Pentagon would sidestep another base closure round and hold back work on a carrier-based drone for the U.S. Navy, under modifications made this month to the fiscal 2015 defense budget bill.

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Local Firms Form New Commercial Lending Company

Leaders of two locally based financial services firms recently joined to form Trillium Capital Partners Inc., a commercial real estate lending company with headquarters in Encinitas.

San Diego Business Community Feels Impact of Wildfires

More than nine wildfires that began May 13 and 14 were still raging as of press time on May 15, affecting some 9,000 acres, county officials said.

County Unemployment Rate Drops to 6% in April

San Diego’s unemployment rate fell to 6 percent in April from 6.9 percent in March, the lowest it’s been since June 2008 when it was 5.9 percent, according to the state’s Employment Development

‘Crowd Control’ Part Of Mission Valley Plan

PROPERTY: Area Must Find Fit for Traffic, Residents, Retail

The city of San Diego this year is embarking on a comprehensive update of the community plan for Mission Valley. The San Diego River runs through the neighborhood, but the city has been unable over the decades to convert that feature into a draw for sustainable, walkable development in Mission Valley.

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Lumena’s IPO Plans End With Acquisition

BIOTECH: Shire Agrees to Pay $260M for Local Company

Lumena Pharmaceuticals Inc. is being snapped up by Irish drugmaker Shire PLC for $260 million, scrapping the San Diego biotech’s plan to raise $75 million in an initial public offering.

Vista Industrial Campus Sells for $57.6 Million

A Connecticut-based firm pays about $57.6 million for an industrial and warehouse campus in Vista.

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ElliptiGO Gains Traction With Publicity

SPORTS: Biz-Sponsored Athlete Wins Big in Boston

San Diegan Meb Keflezighi’s stunning victory at the Boston Marathon last month was sweet on many levels, including a boost the achievement gave to one of his sponsors, ElliptiGO Inc.

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L.A. County Unemployment Drops in April

L.A. County’s unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent in April as 30,000 more residents found jobs during the month, according to state figures released Friday.

Amgen Tour Spins Into Valleys

The Amgen Tour of California wrapped up its sixth stage Friday as cyclists took off from Santa Clarita for a mountaintop finish in the San Gabriels.

Foreclosures Down, Bank Repo’s Up

Home foreclosures continued to drop in Southern California and the Valley in April, while banks sought to unload properties in the improving market.

Briefs: Amgen, Tix, Research Solutions

"Say on Pay" approved by Amgen shareholders. Ticket sales down at Tix Corp. Research Solutions awaits Nasdaq listing.


TRADE: Economic Aspects Should Balance Security Role

Doug Paul, a longtime San Diego engineering and planning consultant, frequently crosses the U.S.-Mexico border locally to work on behalf of his clients, but he’d rather not — cross the border, that is.

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Business Events Calendar for Week of May 19, 2014

Some of the business events scheduled in the county for the week of May 19, 2014.

Two L.A. Execs Push a Seattle Hockey Team

Two prominent L.A. businessmen are trying to bring a National Hockey League franchise to Seattle.

L.A. Unemployment Rate Falls

L.A. County’s unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent in April as 30,000 more residents found jobs during the month, according to state figures released Friday.

Reading International, Demand Media Among Week’s Biggest Movers

Gainers outpaced decliners 94 to 63 on th Los Angeles Business Journal’s index of largest local public companies for the week ending Friday.

Stocks Up

At the close of the markets Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average rose 45 points to 16,491. The Nasdaq was up 21 points to 4,091. The S&P 500 ticked up 7 points to 1,878. The LABJ Stock Index rose 1 point to 188.

UberXL Launches in Los Angeles

Uber, the San Francisco ridesharing service, launched a new, lower-priced option today for Los Angeles customers seeking a ride in a larger vehicle.

TrueCar Goes Public at $9, Shares Rise

Shares of auto shopping website TrueCar began trading on the Nasdaq stock market this morning. Shares, priced initially at $9 each, moved higher in early trading, rising to $10.47. It had been expected to price its offering at between $12 and $14 a share.

Midday Stock Roundup

The S&P 500 fell 0.02% to 1,870.40 in afternoon trading Friday.

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OC Unemployment Rate Drops to 5%

The jobless rate in Orange County fell to 5% last month, when employers here added 3,900 jobs.

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New Provost for Vanguard

Vanguard University in Costa Mesa has named Doretha O’Quinn its new provost and vice president for academic affairs.

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Laguna Cliffs Inn Sold

The 36-room Laguna Cliffs Inn was acquired by Classic Hotels & Resorts for $11.2 million.

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Sterling Rejects NBA Sanctions

Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s attorney is threatening to sue the NBA, Sports Illustrated reports. The attorney claims that Sterling has not violated the organization’s rules and that he was denied due process over his $2.5 million fine.

Plans for Aerial Walkway in Downtown L.A. Stir Debate

A developer wants to build a private pedestrian bridge in downtown Los Angeles, saying it would protect residents from a nearby homeless encampment, the Los Angeles Times reports. But the plan is running into opposition.

FCC Moves Forward on Preferential Web Traffic

The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to advance rules that would let broadband providers charge companies for preferential handling of Web traffic, The Wall Street Journal reports. l

Worries Increase Over Growth

Five years after the financial crisis ended, soft growth in Europe, a stop-and-start U.S. recovery and waning momentum in China have policy makers groping for what to do next, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Home Builders' Confidence at Lowest Level in 12 Months

U.S. home builders remained downbeat in May, reflecting a housing market struggling to regain traction well into the spring selling season, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Fox and Apollo May Create TV Production Giant

Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox and private equity giant Apollo Global Management are in preliminary talks to create a global television production house, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Snapchat Under Fire

A leading civil liberties organization has singled the company out for being particularly weak on privacy, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Are Filmmakers Using Drones Illegally? Yep.

It is illegal in the U.S. to operate a drone for cash, but at least one industry - Hollywood - has decided that it doesn't care and it's going to put drones to work anyway, NPR reports.

'Godzilla' to Devour Weekend Box-Office Competition

A 55-foot-tall lizard is poised to crush box-office rivals this weekend as "Godzilla" arrives in theaters, the Los Angeles Times reports.

USC Marshall Snags Elon Musk, Steve Ballmer for Commencement

The University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business has lined up two of technology's biggest names, Elon Musk and Steve Ballmer, to speak at Friday's graduation, SoCal Tech reports.

Dow, S&P Up, Nasdaq Down

In Friday morning trading, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 10 points to 16,457. The Nasdaq was down 7 points to 4,063. The S&P 500 was up 1 point to 1,872.