Stories for October 2001
Monday, October 29
US Labs Inc., an Irvine medical testing company, has received $15 million in late-stage venture capital funding.
Hobby Products International, an Irvine maker of remote-controlled miniature race cars, is moving from the Irvine Spectrum to bigger digs in Foothill Ranch early next year.
Chicago Pizza & Brewery hasn't commanded a dazzling stock price from Wall Street, with market value of about $38 million last week. But it has seen steady growth in its store locations, employee count and, more to the point, revenue in the past few years.
Costa Mesa-based Rutan & Tucker said last week that State Senator Dick Ackerman has joined the firm. Ackerman has been a member of the California Bar since 1968 and has maintained a private legal practice in Fullerton.
- "Cable Business Journal" guest Matt Massengill, CEO of Western Digital for Oct: Sue Parks, Exec. VP of Gateway for November. Check local listings for dates and times
You read it here first (June 4) that a major department store was on its way to the expanded Irvine Spectrum Center. And now you've got the name: Robinsons-May. The Irvine Company is expected to announce this week that a 140,000-square-foot, two-level R-M
It may still be one of Orange County's fastest growers, but Micro General isn't king of the hill anymore.
Orange County's two largest chipmakers have done their part to help the beleaguered Nasdaq.
OC Weekly,which just a few years ago brought an edgy, often controversial style to the staid Orange County newspaper scene,is raising eyebrows again by bucking the downturn better than many publications.
Vengroff Williams & Associates Inc. has moved to larger space in Irvine to accommodate its staff growth.
Alan Puzarne, a former executive at Blue Shield of California and FHP International Corp. (now PacifiCare Health Systems Inc.), is the new chief executive of Cogent Healthcare Inc. of Laguna Hills.
Perhaps only Broadcom Corp. could see its sales growth rate halved and still make it into the top tier of Orange County's fastest-growing companies.
I have listened ad nauseam to scare stories about noise, property values, congestion and smog if El Toro becomes an international airport. Let's take them one at a time:
A new women's medical center is going up in Orange, with a million dollars in seed money from the Knott family.
Safi Qureshey was one of the first Americans to have the ear of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in the critical days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Catching a wave was the mindset a year ago when Western Digital Corp.'s sales staff worked double time to land an account to make drives for Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox video game console.
Tech companies still dominate the Business Journal list of Orange County's fastest-growing public companies, but their hold has weakened as the sector's downturn stretches into its second year.
Irvine's Allergan Inc., the specialty drug maker, is eyeing the market for prescription acne medications with its Tazorac cream.
Starbase, a maker of a software that allows Web page builders to manage both code and content at the same time, grew sales 1,481% over the past three years, going from $2.95 million in the 12 months ended June 30 1998 to $46.65 million in the 2001 period.
No one likes war. But excuse Ceradyne Inc. Chief Executive Joel Moskowitz for talking shop in the context of current events.
NOTHING ABOUT EL TORO CAN EVER BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED. THAT'S why last week's 3-2 vote by the supervisors to move forward with a commercial airport, while expected, still elicited a collective sigh of relief from airport supporters. It's a significant achie
PWC & Associates in Newport Beach hired Lorraine Quintanar and Peggy Olson as executive recruiters.
Boeing Co. plans to sell 38 acres adjacent to its Huntington Beach plant for development into a 600,000-square-foot addition to the McDonnell Centre Business Park The Board of Supervisors approved an environmental report on the proposed El Toro airport
PacifiCare Health Systems Inc., Santa Ana, could be gearing up to spend as much as $20 million on an advertising and marketing campaign designed to recast its image.
Revenue Shortfalls Forcing State, County and City Governments to Make Trims
Santa Ana-based Financial Statement Services Inc. needed room to grow, so it moved into a newer space three times the size of its former headquarters,and right next door.
Caliber Collision Centers, an Irvine-based operator of collision repair shops, said a group of investors including Zurich Financial Services Group has bought $40 million in the company's stock.
Slow economy or not, new ad agencies and public relations firms continue to stake their claim here. In the past few months, a handful of new firms have opened up in various parts of Orange County.
Construction of one-, two- and three-story properties has been rampant in the past three years. Since the beginning of 1998, more than 9 million square feet of low-rise space, including flex space, has been added to the Orange County office market. Nearl
Laguna Niguel-based Birtcher Real Estate Group has acquired the Arrow Business Park in Rancho Cucamonga for $17.4 million.
Just this summer, Orange County's tourism industry was hanging on to good times, despite a softening economy.
Ritz Camera Centers, a photography specialty retailer and major investor in Irvine-based Ritz Interactive Inc., recently acquired bankrupt competitor Wolf Camera for $84.7 million.
Compact disc maker Cinram International Inc. has sold its 15.5-acre Anaheim plant site to Kaiser Permanente, which intends to raze the existing buildings and erect a new hospital and patient-care complex there.
Foundstone Inc., an Irvine network security company, has received a $2.5 million investment from Germany's Articon-Integralis AG.
Its cross-holdings might be distantly similar to the Kairitsu system in Japan or the Chaebol industrial empire in South Korea, but whatever the case, Westcorp has posted recent growth that few mid-size and large banking institutions have been able to matc
Tho Luu, owner of Century TV and Appliance Corp., paid $2.3 million for a 39,089-square-foot building at 302 N. Townsend St. in Santa Ana from Marlin-Davidson, an investment group that owns Santa Ana-based Marline Manufacturing. Liem Nguyen of Prudential
Orange County auto dealers are sitting pretty,but it took a jaw-dropping bargain to get them there.
Biolase Technology Inc., while relatively small in terms of revenue, has been one of the fastest-growing companies based in Orange County. The San Clemente-based medical device manufacturer ranked No. 4 on the Business Journal's annual list of fastest-gro
Dress up for a very good cause this Wednesday, Halloween night. It's a special fund-raiser. Adults seem to want to have fun on this holiday, but don't usually know where to find that frivolity. At Bistango, you can combine an evening of good food, music a
Monday, October 22
++Secretary of State Colin Powell said he sees a postwar U.N. role in Afghanistan. However, U.N. officials said they don't want to be responsible for running a country that's proven to be impossible to govern. This is a job for Rudy Giuliani.
The Irvine-based action sports media company, which owns Bluetorch TV, an extreme sports show that airs on Fox Sports Net, recently laid off all but a handful of its staff and retained Chicago-based Development Specialists, a reorganization and bankruptcy
Continental Data Graphics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chicago-based Boeing Co., is consolidating two smaller offices in Santa Ana and Culver City and expanding its operations by taking a 63,235-square-foot office for its corporate headquarters in the Wa
The four-story Extended Stay America Efficiency Studios is at 1635 W. Katella Ave. and is the Spartanburg, S.C.-based chain's 46th California property and 412th companywide. The company operates hotels under the StudioPLUS Deluxe Studios, Extended Stay Am
Los Angeles-based The Capital Group Companies Inc. is in talks with The Irvine Company to buy 52.5 acres along Jeffrey Road near the Santa Ana (I-5) Freeway, with plans to develop nearly 1 million square feet of office space.
Bankrupt Internet grocer Webvan Group Inc. transferred its lease on a 125,000-square-foot Fullerton distribution facility to Cardinal Logistics Management, which runs food for convenience store giant 7-Eleven Inc., according to real estate sources.
N.A.D.A. in Costa Mesa appointed Jennifer Lange director of public relations. Lange previously was investor relations manager for Autobytel Inc. in Irvine. Alison Cooper was named director of new-car data. Before joining N.A.D.A., Cooper was director of n
Lake Forest-based CooperVision Inc. has signed an agreement with the National Football League to produce a line of cosmetic contact lenses with NFL team logo imprints.
St. Jude Medical Center is gearing up to build a three-story medical office building near its main campus in Fullerton.
SiteLite Takes Up in University Research Park; Sage Licenses Accounting Code
Irvine-based RiechesBaird isn't waiting for business to knock on its door in these tight times.
The effects of a slow economy and the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have hit the Orange County Register.
Despite the fact that the Orange County office market has entered the maturation phase of the real estate cycle, construction on projects planned during the previous years of high activity continued through the third quarter. Approximately 600,181 square
It's everywhere you look: flags and patriotic signs are being displayed in an unprecedented wave of patriotic fervor in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.
Hyundai Motors of America purchased a 7.4 acre parcel of land on the northeast corner of Bake Parkway and Irvine Center Drive in the Irvine Spectrum from The Irvine Company for $8 million. Hyundai plans to build the 90,000-square-foot Hyundai/Kia Design C
It's been so gratifying to see the flag fly in so many places these days. I think bin Laden and his gang thought they could demoralize Americans, but I think they have brought us closer together and reminded us of what a great country we live in. God bles
The List of OC-Based Banks Lost Last Year's Top Two, but Gained Four Newcomers; First Fidelity No. 1
The University of California, Irvine earlier this month started building a $19.6 million, 68,000-square-foot Earth sciences research center, which also is one of a handful of research centers in the U.S. focusing on the study of ways various physical aspe
Beech Street Corp., one of the nation's larger preferred-provider-style managed-care organizations, has taken about 70% more office space in the Pacific Vista development in Lake Forest.
Irvine transport and supply chain management company BAX Global last month grabbed the first-ever Class A award from Chinese Customs in China's Xiangyu Free Trade Zone. By winning this award, BAX will get faster release of goods, duty and tariff reduction
The parent of one of Orange County's swanky celebrity-backed restaurants, The Clubhouse at South Coast Plaza, has filed for bankruptcy as a prelude to being bought.
Banks and Financial Institutions Had Big Plans for OC Last Year,but That Was Then
When Costa Mesa-based Emulex Corp. spun off QLogic in 1993, the company only sold small chips that controlled disk drives. Now the company has virtually eclipsed its former parent with a strategy that has served some companies well in the tech industry: B
Vacancy rates in South Orange County have risen consistently over the past 12 months according to a third quarter report released by Irvine-based Lee & Associates, climbing from 7.22% during the second quarter 2000 to 15.11% in the third quarter of this y
Local shops aren't immune to the broader slowdown in investment banking and corporate finance activity. In September, there were no initial public offerings of stock anywhere in the country, let alone in Southern California. Bond deals are less common too
Gov. Gray Davis vetoed two bills that would have increased workers' compensation benefits Sicor Inc., Irvine, raised $203 million in a secondary offering Boeing Co. said it may halt production of its 717 jetliner, the last plane being made at the comp
After a year of lukewarm response to its business of building and running high-tech campuses for startup companies, Aliso Viejo-based Enfrastructure has restructured its business, including layoffs and strategy changes, said company founder Scott Blum.
The National Science Foundation has awarded $2.8 million to a UCI group to study how the Internet, personal computers and cell phones are affecting individuals and organizations.
The California Association of Health Plans has a tough job,it is one of the public faces of an industry that takes heavy poundings from politicians, consumer groups and the media.
The "Sharing Chefs" fundraising cooking classes continue. They benefit Share Our Selves, a nonprofit organization in Costa Mesa that provides food, medical, dental and financial aid for those in need. Two more classes are scheduled at area restaurants, an
On a recent visit to South Coast Plaza, Japanese tourist Hiromi Umemoto said her reservations about coming to Southern California in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks had been eased.
The founders of Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth have seen a lot of changes in Orange County since the firm opened its first office in a two-story building behind Edwards Theatres in Newport Beach back in 1975,an office the founders had to refurbish all by
Breast cancer treatment has always been big in Orange County, which has more than its share of affluent, educated women possessing above-average interest in healthcare issues. But it has picked up steam in recent years, with certain events serving as cata
Construction is under way on an 80,000-square-foot medical office complex in Orange.
Monday, October 15
K & M Royal Group LLC bought the 61,706-square-foot Alicia Valencia Plaza in Laguna Hills from Save-Most Alicia Hills Ltd. for $12.1 million. One Properties represented K & M Royal Group LLC. Matt Pipkin and Stephen Grossman of Lee & Associates' Newport B
Lawyer and investment banker Jim Watts said he learned something about promising technology companies a while back.
That's a term for the folks who build companies on other people's ideas. ThinkTank, which Blum started two years ago with $40 million of his own money, dreams up business ideas internally and helps them through the startup process. A razor-thin difference
Anaheim-based clothing retailer Styles for Less plans to move its headquarters and about 50 employees to Santa Fe Springs.
A good part of California's congressional delegation,including several Republicans representing Orange County,are getting behind hospital organizations in their bid to halt a federal proposal they claim threatens Medicaid funding.
Irvine-based T & O; Group is looking to stir some imagination. But the images it's seeking to conjure up aren't so pleasant.
In this issue, I have covered some of the legends of Orange County dining. There are more than those I could fit within this space, but all of the ones I have included have special meaning. They offer a variety of dining styles and almost all are family r
No one is really sure what the long-term consequences of the terrorist actions against the U.S. will be. Much depends on the way in which we respond. So far, Bush has taken a very measured course by isolating the Taliban from other nations and from the Af
Germany's BASF AG has tapped a Fluor Corp. joint venture to build a $53 million polymer plant in Altamira, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
SMC Networks Inc., a networking products maker that's part of Taiwan's Accton Technology Corp., is expanding in the Irvine Spectrum.
Tustin-based Sunwest Bank, the largest Orange County-based bank, has changed its logo and unleashed a new marketing campaign aimed at a younger crowd and decision-makers to help it compete in an increasingly contested local market.
Brian Hirth's work is key to the wardrobes of millions of teenagers and young adults across the U.S. But it's unlikely any of them have heard of his Santa Ana company, Melmarc.
Startup CommerceWest Bank, coming off a $10.2 million public offering, has opened its first banking center in MacArthur Court in the airport area of Newport Beach.
Cynthia Foster joined Poole, Rasmussen Accountants Inc. in Santa Ana as a partner. Foster currently is the chairwoman for the ambassadors of the Irvine Chamber of Commerce.
This is, hands down, the county's definitive contemporary Italian restaurant. It's situated in a Victorian-esque mansion with a rolling meadow of lawn with a winding pathway leading to a columned verandah furnished with beautifully napped tables. Open the
The 25 largest apparel companies in Orange County notched a slight gain in local employment in the past 12 months but are heading into an uncertain holiday season and 2002.
OC doesn't produce California GOP gubernatorial candidates, just their rainmakers. The latest is businessman-philanthropist Mark Johnson (Chapin Medical), who is gearing up to be Dick Riordan's state finance chairman. Johnson knows how to raise money (see
Hawaii-based Crazy Shirts Inc., which has about 100 people in Tustin, has been sniffing around for a life preserver,and found one.
Five years ago, Irvine-based architecture firm LPA Inc. had never designed a school. Today, the firm has done a hundred of them.
Gov. Gray Davis proposed a 15% cut in state spending next year, with law enforcement and fire agencies excepted An FAA report said that an airport at the former El Toro base could be operated safely but flights at El Toro and neighboring airports could
Sionix Corp., an Irvine maker of water filtration systems, said it has seen a surge in calls from municipalities nationwide after a Florida death due to anthrax.
For lease: vintage World War II-era offices, warehouses, other buildings. Great location, rich in local history, potential. Site of former military base. Code-challenged.
SO MUCH FOR EL TORO BEING UNSAFE FOR COMMERCIAL JETS. The Federal Aviation Administration hopefully has dispelled that myth once and for all with the release last week of its report concluding the county's proposed airport "can be conducted in a safe mann
For City of Industry meat processor Frank Pocino, this month's settlement between Southern California Edison and state regulators aimed at keeping the utility out of bankruptcy confirmed his worst fears.
Artificial heart valves can sustain life for cardiovascular patients. They play a similar role for Edwards Lifesciences Corp.
Newport Beach-based Craig Realty Group has paid $31.5 million for Phoenix's Prime Outlets at New River shopping center. Craig Realty bought the center from St. Louis-based developer and construction firm Fru Con Development Corp.
It looks like Irvine's Linksys Group Inc. could show Intel Corp. or 3Com Corp. a thing or two about home networking.
Santa Ana military parachute maker Guardian Parachute is preparing to set up a 20,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Mexico City that will churn out 1,000 parachutes a year for the Mexican military.
Anaheim electric vehicle maker Taylor-Dunn Corp. said it has made the first in a series of planned acquisitions as part of an expansion.
The Mid-Counties office market is a specialized market consisting of 12 cities along the border of Orange and Los Angeles counties. Due to its small size, the Mid-Counties market is prone to greater fluctuations in market indicators than larger markets.
Monday, October 8
Broadcom Develops Third-Generation Bluetooth Chip; REDSonic Teams With MIPS
Orange County companies with global operations report that they have for the most part worked through the disruptions caused by the suspension of air service that followed in the immediate wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Most of the companies say
Ford Motor Co. units in Dearborn, Mich. and Anaheim looked to Hollywood for its latest campaign promoting the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure breast cancer event, recently held at Fashion Island in Newport Beach.
Southern California Edison agreed to settle a lawsuit against the Public Utilities Commission on terms that would see Edison suspend dividends and Edison customers continue to pay current rates until the utility's debt is paid off; the share price of pare
Duane and Martha Robinson bought a 9,113-square-foot industrial building at 16511 Burke Lane in Huntington Beach from Richard Houston for $0.9 million. David Cox and Greg Johnson of Ashwill Associates represented both parties.
The Newport Coast development has been a boon to area architects, with thousands of custom-designed, multimillion-dollar homes going up on the seaside hills between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach.
UCLA has subleased an office on the top floor of Santa Ana's International Business Center to house the North American Integration and Development Center, whose purpose is to help create joint ventures between American and Mexican companies and organizati
Didn't think so. It's a forgotten memory, buried beneath an avalanche of economic setbacks and world turmoil.
In a further effort to streamline its operations and boost its bottom line, Edwards Theatres Circuit Inc. has awarded a two-year contract to Jones Lang LaSalle Americas Inc., to manage the Newport Beach-based theater chain's 3.4 million-square-foot real e
Starting this week, companies will begin announcing their third quarter results. For most of the companies in Orange County, this earnings season could be best classified as miserable. Already, one by one, companies here have announced warnings of their t
Barely a year after opening a stock brokerage office in Orange County, U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray has decided to shut down its operations here completely.
Vantis, the 40-acre, $350 million Class A project under construction at the Aliso Viejo Town Center, has landed its first tenant.
When it comes to the Southland's defense industry, this is not Pearl Harbor. Nor is it even the Reagan-led military buildup in the 1980s. Area defense contractors, in fact, are not likely to see much business in the short term from any U.S. military build
H. Tony Rahimian was appointed senior vice president at CH2M Hill in Santa Ana. Rahimian has been with the company for five years and was alternative project delivery director before the promotion.
The surge in blood donations following last month's attacks in New York and Washington is going to beef up local supplies, as East Coast facilities report they have all they need.
The Costa Mesa-based Digital Home and Personal Systems division of Canon U.S.A. Inc. is getting ready to roll out the first ink-jet printer that can connect directly to a digital camera to print photographic images.
Even as Pacific Bell prepares its latest salvo in a longtime battle with competing Internet service providers, it's also taking the offensive against high-speed cable companies and Orange County is one of the battlegrounds.
Early this summer, after we and the three other couples returned from the Loire Valley in France and we needed to have a post-trip get-together to laugh and look at pictures and reminisce, one of the couples suggested we go to Woody's at the Beach in Lagu
You can't see any of their films at multiplexes in Orange County,at least for now.
Upstart security software maker Access360 Inc. will lay off an undisclosed amount of sales and engineering staff after the company saw two major deals with firms based in the World Trade Center,which was destroyed in last month's terrorist attacks,put off
Chicago-based Boeing Co. and Kraft Foods unit Nabisco both have leased 100,000-plus-square-foot Orange County facilities, and each will consolidate some regional operations here.
Temporary staffing agencies in Orange County reported some revenue growth and modest growth in demand for temporary workers during the 12 months ended June 30, according to this week's Business Journal list. But much of that growth occurred in the last tw
A new Korean barbecue restaurant chain, Mr. Kimchi Inc., has come to Orange County.
More thoughts on what lies ahead for our economy and society in the wake of the terrorist attacks:
During the second quarter of 2001, despite the relaxation of industrial activity, the West Orange County industrial market improved with a 21% increase in gross activity and the highest absorption in both the manufacturing-and-warehouse and research-and-d
Once celebrated as one of Orange County's biggest money managers, Palley-Needelman Asset Management is a shell of its former self. The firm was hit in the past year and a half by key personnel departures and institutional withdrawals. Assets under managem
Monday, October 1
YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED THAT ONE OF OUR MOST POPULAR contributors to this page, Los Angeles comedian Argus Hamilton, hasn't appeared for the past three weeks. The reason should be obvious,we think it's still too early to poke fun at the nation's predicament.
It may have a flair for chip designing, but Irvine-based SolarFlare Communications Inc. is taking it slow when it comes to funding.
Venture capital firm Palomar Ventures likes to keep behind the scenes. The firm, founded in 1999, has bankrolled several startups that offer software, chips, networking gear and other products that help other companies do business or develop better produc
The trend of top executives defecting from large agencies to start their own shops is continuing in Orange County as three former bigwigs at FCB Southern California, Irvine, have started their own gig.
A new $25 million pavilion is coming into the homestretch at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center and is set to open for emergency and critically ill patients next year.
The North Orange County Market continued to relax from the fast-paced activity seen this time last year as local companies responded to the economic downturn by scaling back on expansion and relocation plans. Companies clearly are taking a more conservati
The Conference Board reported its index of consumer confidence fell from 114 in August to 97.6 this month, the biggest one-month decline since 1990 The Orange County Transportation Authority adopted a strategic plan that calls for spending $4.6 billion
Last month's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., changed many perceptions. Among them could be how businesses see an industry that had seemingly stalled in Orange County,data centers.
Santa Ana-based SimpleTech Inc., which had been weighing a bid for fellow Orange County computer memory products maker Viking Components Inc., said it's pulled back from any deals in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
More thoughts from prominent Orange Countians about what they think lies ahead for our economy and our society in the wake of the terrorist attacks:
PacifiCare Pulls Out of Medicare Market in More Areas Survey Finds Nearly Half Have Had Problems With Their Health Plans
Santa Ana-based Triple Net Properties LLC purchased a 106,717-square-foot industrial distribution building in Las Vegas and the 75,257-square-foot Trademark building in Reno from Kilroy Realty LP for $12.3 million. Alan Pekarcik of Voit Commercial Brokera
Sonace of San Clemente appointed Chip Brown chief executive officer. Brown joined Sonace in 1999 and was chief operating officer prior to the promotion.
VSK Photonics Inc., a startup designer of optical networking components, has moved from Irvine to a new facility in Lake Forest where it plans to make the super-secret gear the 10-month-old company has kept under wraps so far.
Joe Davis sees a business opportunity in helping senior citizens around their houses.
Orange County's network security companies,one of the larger technology sectors here after communications chips and computer products,are banking on paranoia at some of the world's largest businesses.
California businesses, already reeling from higher energy costs and a slowing economy, could get hit with up to $6 billion in added annual costs if bills passed by the state Legislature last month get signed into law by Gov. Gray Davis.
What are the chances that Southern California Edison will wind up in bankruptcy court? "Nine out of 10," says OC treasurer John Moorlach. What are the chances he, Moorlach, will succeed in his bid to become chairman of the creditors' committee? "Three out
The Irvine office of Dallas-based Trammell Crow Co. has broken ground on a six-story Class A office building in the Park Place office campus, the first of a new phase of development at the former Fluor Corp. headquarters site.
Mission Hills-based Asset Management Consultants Inc. sold the 12-story, 113,000-square-foot building at 2700 N. Main St., a property known for its time and temperature readings.
Two executives and partners of Corona del Mar money manager Street Asset Management LLC have left the firm in a bitter split.
Address: 1287 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach (in La Casa del Camino Hotel)
New media technology continues to be a hot spot in an otherwise slumping advertising and marketing economy, according to several firms on the Business Journal's directory of Orange County multimedia companies.
Foran Glennon Palandech & Ponzi PC, a newly formed, Chicago-based law firm, has opened its first branch office in Laguna Hills.
Santa Ana doesn't come close to rivaling the concentration of advertising, marketing and graphics firms found in Irvine, but it is developing its own population of artsy types.