Stories for December 2019

Monday, December 30

Taylor Is in Tune With Its Mexico Operations

RETAIL: Tecate Site Helps Company To Be Globally Competitive

Operating a factory in Baja California, Mexico, for nearly two decades has helped El Cajon-based Taylor Guitars.

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Distroller Welcomes The Competition To the Field of Play

Toy Store Is Confident in Its Brands and Values

In July, Toys “R” Us announced it was making a comeback in the United States with at least two stores.

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Donovan’s Steak & Chop House Closes La Jolla Location

According to reports, Donovan's Steak & Chop House cites the high cost of doing business in California as a reason for the La Jolla closure.

Modular Home Co. Takes on All the Tasks

HOUSING: Full-Service Effort Targets an $11 Billion Market

Think of a home that comes in pieces, is assembled on site and sells for more than $1 million. As incongruous as that might sound, that’s exactly what home builder Dvele did in Ventura.

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Sempra Starts Second LNG Production Line in Louisiana

Sempra LNG announced in late December that the second train, or production line, of its Cameron LNG plant in Louisiana has begun its work of converting natural gas to a liquid state for export.

Sunday, December 29

Kinnate Raises $74.5M for Cancer Programs

The company’s programs fall under the banner of kinase inhibitors, which are designed to thwart cancers from metastasizing.

Foley Development Spends $3.5M to Refit Garage

REDEVELOPMENT: Empty Downtown Structure Needed ADA Fixes

San Diego developer Tim Foley bought and renovated a downtown parking garage that sat vacant for more than a decade.

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Defense Bills Reach Their Final Forms

NASSCO in Line for $607 Million; GA-ASI, Northrop Grumman to See Benefits

Congress spent the weeks before Christmas finalizing the 2020 Defense Department budget.

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Construction Activity Expected To Slow In 2020

North County Activity Likely to Weaken; Otay May Remain Strong

Look for construction activity to gradually moderate or decline in 2020, according to predictions from the commercial real estate brokerage JLL.

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Thursday, December 26

Biogen pays Ionis $45M Upfront to License Experimental Alzheimer’s Drug

Carlsbad-based Ionis Pharmaceuticals recently licensed its experimental Alzheimer’s drug to Biogen, earning $45 million upfront and potentially an additional $155 million in milestone payments.

$277 Million Modernization Plan Brings New Tower, New Touches to Care

All Rooms Will Be Private Rooms; Some Floors To Be Dedicated to Specific Care

Sharp HealthCare is readying the $244 million new tower at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center to open in January.

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Modern Times Beer Opens Oakland Location

The House of Perpetual Refreshment, a new location by San Diego-based Modern Times Beer, has opened in Oakland.

Coronado Apartments Sold For $6.1M

Complex has 18 apartments

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New Chapter for Historic North Chapel

RENOVATION: 828 Venue Management’s Plans Face City Review

The historic North Chapel in Liberty Station would be renovated as a venue for weddings and other events under a tentative plan by the company that leased the property in 2018.

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LPC West Buys Two Industrial Buildings For $17.3M

Buildings were fully leased

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Otay Mesa Industrial Building Sold For $8.5M

Building was leased back by former owner

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Plumbing Company Makes Acquisition, Rebrands To Standout in Crowd

Colepepper Picks Logo That Pops; Updates Web Presence

In November, Carlsbad-based Colepepper Plumbing & Drains acquired local plumbing company, Arthur Brown Plumbing.

Monday, December 23

Carlsbad Firm Buys Phoenix Apartments for $11.7M

More purchases planned

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New Oceanside Industrial Center Sold

Center has two buildings

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La Mesa Retail Center Sold For $3.6M

Center is 10,809 square feet

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Sunday, December 22

Kearny Mesa Office Building Sold For Nearly $9M

Building was fully leased

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Rolando Apartments Sold For $4.9M

Complex has 18 apartments

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Wide Appeal Expected From Renovated Mission Bay Resort

TOURISM: Name Change, $21M Renovation Set to Debut in January

A year after Pebblebrook Hotel Trust became its owner and after completing a $21 million renovation, San Diego Mission Bay Resort will open January 2020.

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Blenders’ Founder Sells 70% Equity Stake In Sunglasses Co.

CEO Says Team to Remain the Same; Co. to Keep P.B. HQs

In early October, Blenders Eyewear founder Chase Fisher told San Diego Business Journal the company had grown its revenue by 300% in the last two years.

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Smokin J’s Opening Brick and Mortar Store in Old Poway

Mobile Business to Go On Back Burner for Now

At its peak and since launching in 2017, Smokin J’s BBQ has averaged 60 events a month.

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Paired With Shops, Winery Flourishes

RETAIL: Environment Is Perfect for Events, Makes It a Destination

Bernardo Winery was founded in 1889. At 130 years old, it is the oldest winery in Southern California.

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SDBJ INSIDER: Creating a Roman Holiday to Remember

If a chariot is how you roll, you will appreciate the work two San Diego companies did for Caesars Palace Las Vegas.

Epirium Raises $85 Million to Treat Muscle Diseases

Its Therapeutics Also Addressing Underlying Mitochondrial Dysfunction

Epirium surfaced Dec. 18 with an $85 million series A round to develop programs aimed at rare muscular disorders.

SDBJ INSIDER: Goodbye, Old School

Investors and global partners were onboard for BlueNalu’s cell fish tasting.

A Ventura modular home made by Dvele based in La Jolla is listed at $1.3 million. In March, Crescent Real Estate pumped $14 million into the venture. Photo courtesy of Dvele

HOUSING: Full-Service Effort Targets an $11 Billion Market

Think of a home that comes in pieces, is assembled on site and sells for more than $1 million.

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New Chapter for Historic North Chapel

RENOVATION: 828 Venue Management’s Plans Face City Review

The historic North Chapel in Liberty Station would be renovated as a venue for weddings and other events under a tentative plan by the company.

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Wind Turbines on Wheels Drive Uprise Energy’s Business

CLEAN TECH: Founders Build on Yacht and Windmill Experience, Raise $1 Million

Wind turbine specialist Uprise Energy was recently selected as a top three finalist in the clean tech category during the annual Most Innovative New Product Awards.

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Thursday, December 19

Oceanside Industrial Center Sold For $20.5M

Center has eight buildings

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Escondido Apartments Sold For $9.2M

Complex has 41 apartments

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The $34M Bluewater and $29M Stella to Provide Affordable Housing

New Grantville Complexes Have Total of 158 Units

A pair of apartment projects that provide housing for veterans and people who were homeless or in danger of becoming homeless has opened in Grantville.

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Survey Finds Rents Down For First Time in 5 Years

Vacancy Rates Up, For Apartments; Home Prices Up 1%

Good news for renters and homebuyers comes this month with word that rents have stabilized or dropped slightly in San Diego County.

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List of San Diego 500 Icons Grows This Year

LEADERSHIP: Business and Civic Leaders Made Lasting Changes

How did we get here? San Diego’s unique economy — a distinct blend of tech, military and Southern California lifestyle — was built by market forces. And some farsighted and charismatic individuals.

Firm Has Hot Hand Designing Stations

DESIGN: Proximity of Workspace, Living Space Presents Challenges

Fire stations really do have poles for firefighters to slide down to get quickly from floor to floor, just like they did in decades past.

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Wednesday, December 18

Epirium Raises $85M in Hopes of Treating Muscle Diseases

Epirium surfaced Dec. 18 with an $85 million series A round to develop programs aimed at rare muscular disorders.

Northrop Grumman Receives Contract To Upgrade Fire Scout Electronics

Navy Is Studying How to Equip Aircraft With Weapons

The following are selected defense contracts awarded to San Diego County companies in November and December.

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You & Yours Distilling Co. New Operators of Point Loma Loma Club

According to a press release, You & Yours Distilling Co. leased the Point Loma Loma Club from Pendulum Property Partners.

Lower Drug Costs Now Act Passes House; Biocom Opposes

Group Says Legislation Would Hurt California Cos.

Biocom, an association representing the life science industry, has voiced its opposition to the House legislation known as the Lower Drug Costs Now Act.

Fast-Casual Mediterranean Chain Plans 10th S.D. Location

DINING: Restaurant’s Healthful Reputation Gives It Room to Experiment

In 2018, Daphne’s Inc., a Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant chain, was acquired by Los Angeles-based Elite Restaurant Group for an undisclosed amount.

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Small Firms Decry Clampdown on Association Insurance

Biotechs and Others Weigh Options on Health Plans

By 2021, California companies with fewer than 100 employees can no longer pool together for insurance through industry trade groups.

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Tuesday, December 17

SD500: Special Edition

The Most Influential People in San Diego

A portrait of the most influential people who are shaping San Diego across all sectors and industries.

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Before the Butcher Expands Distribution

Before the Butcher, a San Diego-based company that makes a plant-based meat product called UNCUT, has expanded its distribution and will be rolling out its burger and sausage products in 320 stores this month.

Monday, December 16

Aspen Neuroscience Lands $6.5M for Parkinson’s Cell Therapy

Aspen Neuroscience recently received a $6.5 million seed round to advance technology that could replace lost brain cells in Parkinson’s patients.

Demand for Medical Office Space Drives Rents Up, Vacancies Down

PROPERTY: Cost Concerns, Demographics Changes Stress System

Demand for medical office space is so high in San Diego County.

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Dinner Lets You Savor Sights, Sounds and, of Course, Food

DINING: Diners and Even Chefs Find a Creative Experience

From February 6, 2020 to March 8, 2020, Dinner With A View will set up its pop-up dining experience — where guests dine in domes — in San Diego’s Liberty Station.

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ERs Pledge to Make Senior Care a Priority

HEALTH: Protocols Made For Treatments, Tracking

Windows letting in natural light. Nonslip floors. Sound-absorbing walls...

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Cubic Acquisitions Face a Common Foe: Traffic Congestion

TECHNOLOGY: Trio of Businesses Pursues Market Worth Tens of Billions

It has been roughly one year since Cubic Corp. brought aboard a couple of large acquisitions in the traffic management space.

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Normal Heights Apartments Sold For $2.7M

Complex has nine apartments

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For Real Estate Marketing, It’s Lights, Camera, Transaction

RESIDENTIAL: Co. Uses Video to Create Community Connection and Sales

Two San Diego County men with an interest in video filmmaking and drones two years ago formed a company to make and market video presentations of real estate projects.

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Colepepper Plumbing & Drains to Rebrand Company

According to a press release, Colepepper Plumbing & Drains' redesign will give it a fresh and contemporary visual presence online and beyond.

Sunday, December 15

Qualcomm Predicts 5G Devices Will Be Available in Q1 2020

Co. Rolls Out Premium and High-Tier Chips for 5G

Qualcomm Inc. introduced a trio of chips for fifth-generation (5G) mobile devices at its 2019 Snapdragon Tech Summit earlier this month.

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Startup San Diego Names Top Executive

Startup San Diego has named Alexa-Rae Navarro as its executive director.

Sorrento Valley Building Leased For $7.5M

Lease is for 10-years

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Mobile Home Park Sold For $8.6M

Property has 22 spaces

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French Pharma Company to Pay $2.5 Billion for Synthorx

Co.’s Protein Engineering Could Treat More Than Just Cancer

French pharmaceutical Sanofi will pay $2.5 billion to buy Synthorx.

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Zentalis Receives $85M in Funding To Target Cancer

BIOTECH: Quiet Biotech Raised $147 Million Since Founding

Cancer drug developer Zentalis Pharmaceuticals recently surfaced with an $85 million round.

Thursday, December 12

Jack in the Box’s Lenny Comma Resigns

Jack in the Box’s CEO, Lenny Comma, will be stepping down.

Northrop Grumman Pursues Jammer Deal

DEFENSE: State Dept. OKs Anti-IED Systems for Australia

Northrop Grumman Corp. is lining up an overseas order for its battlefield signal jammers, which the company designs and builds in San Diego.

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Poway Industrial Building Sold For $2.1M

Submarket has strong demand

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Rents Soften a Bit for Amenity Rich Apartment Towers

Class C Apartments Are In Demand With Less Than 2% Vacancy Rate

All those fancy apartment towers going up downtown combined with a slowing job growth have resulted in a softening of rents for pricey places to live.

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Leasing Activity Appears to Show Strong Office Sector

Irvine Co. and Casey Brown Co. Successfully Fill Spaces

Anecdotal evidence of the steady strong demand for office space in San Diego comes with word that the Irvine Co. has signed leases with five new companies.

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SpringBoard West Taps Into Music And Mentorship

Band Bootcamp Gives Artists a Learning Experience

SpringBoard West music fest was founded in 2012 and which takes place annually in Ocean Beach.

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Carnival Miracle to Make 13 Homeported Journeys From San Diego

ECONOMICS: Cruise Line’s Local Impact To Reach $26 Million

Seven years since it last departed from the Port of San Diego, Carnival Cruise Line launched its winter schedule.

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Wednesday, December 11

Bankers Hill Office Building Sold For $3.5M

Building was fully leased

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Millennials to Say Bye to Boomers, Hello Homeownership

HOUSING: Change Will Be Gradual Leveling Playing Field For Buyers and Sellers

Baby boomers will ease the housing crunch when they die. So says a report from Zillow, an online real estate brokerage.

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MG Properties Buys Nevada Apartment Complex

Project has 240 apartments

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Presidium Health's Concierge Care Takes On Tough Cases

MEDICINE: Focus Put on Population of Frequent ER Users

Just 5% of patients account for roughly half of the nation’s health care spending. These “super users” cycle through emergency rooms.

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City Heights Apartment Building Sold For Nearly $3.4M

Building has 18 apartments

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Executive Q&A: Jon Fredricks, CEO, Welk Resorts

Welk Resorts CEO Jon Fredricks is the grandson of Lawrence Welk, the television bandleader and host of “The Lawrence Welk Show” who founded the company in 1964.

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Raytheon to Tend Shipboard Networks

Contract Has $75M Ceiling; Most of Work to Be Local

The following are selected defense contracts awarded to San Diego County companies in November and December.

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Tuesday, December 10

Zentalis Pharmaceuticals Emerges with $85M Round for Cancer Drugs

Cancer drug developer Zentalis Pharmaceuticals recently surfaced with an $85 million round. The funding was a series C financing, an unusually late point for a drugmaker to make its public debut.

BurgerIM Opens Linda Vista Location

According to a press release, BurgerIM is located on Linda Vista Road in Linda Vista.

Bonita Point Plaza Sold For $30.7M

Center has 27 tenants

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It Was a Year of Great Catches

TOURISM: Sportfishing Fleet Sees Big Crowds, Long Season

The sportfishing industry in San Diego, which has long served as a magnet for tourism and an economic driver for the region, is in the midst of a boom.

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Johanna Schiavoni to Take The Helm at Bar Association

LEGAL: New President Has Served in Various Leadership Roles at Bar

The San Diego County Bar Association announced that Johanna Schiavoni will serve as president of the organization for 2020.

Evofem’s Gel Shows Promise Preventing Some STDs

Evofem Biosciences’ gel in midstage clinical trials reduced the risk of chlamydia and gonorrhea infections compared to a placebo.

There May Be Gold in Those Kids’ Goals

App Creator Sees Room For Expansion to Include Books, Possible TV Shows

Seven years after founding BottomZz Up, a potty-training product via her multimedia production company eCubed Designs LLC.

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Monday, December 9

Cancer Drug Developer Synthorx Acquired for $2.5 Billion

French pharmaceutical Sanofi will pay $2.5 billion to buy Synthorx, a San Diego biotech that expanded the genetic alphabet in a quest to treat cancer.

Builder’s Priority Is Company Culture

BUILDING: From Dealerships To Schools, Co. Takes High Road

Dempsey Construction Co. is the little company that could — and did.

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Blenders Eyewear Gets Acquired

According to a press release, Safilo Group, an international eyewear company, acquired 70% of Blenders Eyewear's equity.

Old Town Apartment Complex Sold For $5.9M

Building has 26 apartments

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SDBJ INSIDER: EDF’s Solar Flair

San Diego-based EDF Renewables North America and Shell Energy North America announced the signing of a 15-year Power Purchase Agreement.

CUSTOM CONTENT: Stay on the Waterfront in the Heart of Downtown San Diego

By Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

Just steps from the Convention Center, historic Gaslamp Quarter and 3 miles from San Diego airport is the Grand Hyatt San Diego.

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Sunday, December 8

San Diego’s Biggest Hotels Range From Bayside to Backcountry Venues

TOURISM: Forty Largest Hotels Are Not Cut From Same Cloth

This week’s list takes a measuring stick to San Diego’s hotel industry.

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San Diego Occupancy Rates Draw East Coast Interest

DEVELOPMENT: Briad Group to Bring First AC Hotels by Marriott Property to Heart of Gaslamp in Downtown

A hotel developer based in New Jersey is building its first West Coast project in downtown San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter.

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General Atomics to Operate Fusion Reactor For 5 Additional Years

U.S. Department of Energy, Academic Researchers Pool Resources and Talents

General Atomics is getting five more years of federal funding to operate its experimental nuclear fusion reactor in Sorrento Valley.

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Local Roots Kombucha Acquires Latitude 33 Brewing Facility

According to a press release, Local Roots' acquistion of Latitude 33's brewing facility includes the 16,000 square foot brewery and 20 fermentation vessels located in Vista.

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Middle Eastern Fast-Casual Eateries Spice It Up

DINING: Inviting Atmosphere Seeks to Draw Younger Crowd

Nawar Miri felt Middle Eastern food, unlike Mediterranean food, was underrepresented in San Diego.

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Neurocrine Pays $50 Million for Epilepsy Drug Candidate

PHARMA: Xenon Could Receive up to $1.7 Billion In Milestone Payments

Neurocrine Biosciences has plunked down $50 million upfront for a potential epilepsy treatment, the San Diego company’s second major licensing deal this year.

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Restaurateur, Investor Thrives in Times of Change, Challenge

LEADERSHIP: Diverse Pursuits All Lead Back To Great Work Ethic

San Diego businessman James Langley wears many hats.

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Potential $31 Million Deal Shows Canale’s Work Paid Off

UDG Aims to Expand Footprint, Especially in West Coast

Carin Canale-Theakston founded Canale Communications. Her twin goals: build the largest life sciences communications firm on the West Coast.

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Thursday, December 5

Carlsbad Flights Connect Skiers to New Mexico Slopes

Region Has Both Outdoor And Cultural Attractions

Taos Air launched out of Taos Regional Airport last year by Taos Ski Valley Inc. in New Mexico, now offering direct flights.

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Oceanside Retail Building Sold For $3.7M

Building was fully leased

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Jamul Casino Revamps Loft 94 Restaurant, Now Asian-Inspired

According to a press release, the upstairs terrace restaurant, now named Loft 94: Yakitori, Noodle, Craft, has new outdoor yakitori grills, new furnishings, craft cocktails and specialty noodle options like ramen and pho.

Smokin J’s BBQ to Open First Restaurant in San Diego

According to a press release, Smokin J’s BBQ will be located at 14053 Midland Rd. in Old Poway Village and will be open Thursday and Friday from 11am to 8pm and Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 8pm.

Tree Planting Initiative Is Hands-On Environmentalism

NONPROFIT: Efforts to Raise Funds Ramping Up; More Initiatives Coming

About four months ago, artist and developer Pete Garcia and his wife, Beth Callender, got this idea to start planting trees around downtown San Diego.

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Sorrento Mesa Office Building Sold For $8.4M

Building was fully leased

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Wednesday, December 4

Centurum IT Poised To Support Satellite Communications

Deal Could Extend 5 Years And Maxes Out at $59.4M

The following are selected defense contracts awarded to San Diego County companies in November.

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Evofem’s Gel Lessens Risk of Chlamydia, Gonorrhea in Clinical Trial

Evofem Biosciences’ gel in mid-stage clinical trials reduced the risk of chlamydia and gonorrhea infections compared to a placebo, the San Diego company reported Dec. 2.

Phoenix Molecular’s Seed Funding Reaches $12 Million

Co. Targets RSK2 Enzyme Often Found in Breast Cancers

Phoenix Molecular Designs is attacking advanced breast cancer in a new way — and with added funding.

College Area Apartment Building Sold For $4.1M

Property comes with off-street parking

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El Cajon Townhome Complex Sold For $2.6M

Complex has eight townhomes

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Cubic Widens Its Capabilities With Delerrok and Pixia Acquisitions

Transit Provider Delerrok Is Based in Vista

Cubic Corp. CEO Brad Feldmann has his acquisition machine running.

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City Heights Apartments Sold For $2.6M

Building has 18 apartments

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Tuesday, December 3

QDOBA Up for Potential Sale, Bloomberg Reports

According to a Bloomberg report, Apollo Global Management Inc. is exploring a sale of QDOBA Restaurant Corp. that could be worth up to $550 million, including debt.

Chicago-Based Company to Acquire Ballast Point

Chicago-based Kings & Convicts Brewing Co. reportedly to retain Ballast Point employees

Avidity Gets $100M For Research Into Muscle Disorders

More Than a Dozen Entities Invest in Preclinical Programs

Avidity Biosciences recently was awarded a $100 million series C round.

Truvian Seeks to Decentralize Blood Testing

BIOTECH: Co. Aims for Transparency in Each Step

Truvian Sciences wants to run a battery of tests on only drops of blood. Its mobile lab is designed to return answers in 20 minutes.

Urban Plates Expanding as Revenue Reaches Nearly $54 Million

DINING: Vegan and Plant-Based Offerings Carefully Planned, Executed

Urban Plates is a chef-driven, fast-casual restaurant chain with 18 eateries and three in San Diego County.

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SDBJ INSIDER: Reigning at the Water Authority

Following a month’s long search the San Diego County Water Authority Board of Directors approved a contract with Sandra L. Kerl to be the new general manager.

Radys Pledge $200M to Children’s Hospital

PHILANTHROPY: Gift For Expansion and Integrating Care and Tech

Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego recently announced the single largest donation in its history.

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South Park Retail/Residential Building Sold For $5.5M

Project was fully leased

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Golden Hill Industrial Building Sold For $3.6M

Tight market spurred sale

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Monday, December 2

Neurocrine Shells Out $50M for Epilepsy Drug Candidate

Neurocrine Biosciences has plunked down $50 million upfront for a potential epilepsy treatment, the San Diego company’s second major licensing deal this year.

Coldwell Banker West, Ascent Merger Creates Nearly 1,000 Agent Firm

REAL ESTATE: Technological Changes Are Driving Market Consolidation

Two San Diego residential real estate agencies have merged, creating a single firm with nearly 1,000 agents.

Cos. Find Giving Back Pays In Many Ways

Pure Project Uses 1% for the Planet To Connect With Causes

Boochcraft. Charlie & Echo. Mamma Chia. Everyday California. Pure Project brewing. These are a handful of the dozens of San Diego-based companies to join 1% for the Planet.

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Tech Coast Angels Invest Again In Mercato and Discover Echo

FINANCE: $2.1M Split; ACE Fund Put Into Play

The deals, announced in late November, bring the number of million-dollar investments by Tech Coast Angels’s San Diego chapter to four.

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Upgraded Theater, New Amenities Keep Retail Center Energized

Plan is to Create Ties To Community As Well As Experiential Offerings

An Oceanside shopping center — Mission Marketplace — is being spruced up with a movie theater and the addition of new amenities.

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Solana Beach Co. Brummitt Energy Merges With Stok

Cos. Worked Together on Two of State’s Biggest Net Zero Energy Buildings

A Solana Beach firm that advises developers and others on energy efficient construction has merged with a San Francisco company that provides related services.

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Special Report: Wealthiest San Diegans

A list of San Diego's wealthiest individuals for 2019.

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San Diego’s Wealthiest Are an Eclectic Group Reflecting Region’s Diversified Economy

Who are San Diego’s richest residents? What do they do to earn such impressive fortunes? And what do they have in common?

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Sunday, December 1

$20M Renovation Is An Art and a Science

PROPERTY: Office Building Becomes Life Science Site

A once-vacant Sorrento Mesa office building that had fallen into disrepair has been resurrected as a showcase building for biotech.

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Food Hall Route Fits the Times

DINING: Concept Is Less Costly, Provides Social Setting

Whisknladle Hospitality, a La Jolla-based restaurant group, continues to expand its local food and beverage portfolio with innovative offerings.

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Vivid Genomics Helps Drug Developers Design Better Trials

MEDICINE: Co. Sees Opportunity in Precision Medicine for Alzheimer's

Biogen’s plans to resurrect its failed Alzheimer’s drug sent shockwaves through the research community, including at local companies.

Canale Communications Acquired in Deal Worth up to $31M

UGD Healthcare bought Canale Communications, a San Diego firm that specializes in strategy consulting for life sciences companies, it was announced Nov. 26.

Banjo Co. Executes at Home and Abroad

RETAIL: Company’s Passion Seen in Craftsmanship, Marketing

When it comes to dueling banjos, Deering is a heavyweight champ.

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