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Daily Business Report-Nov. 8, 2013

Daily Business Report-Nov. 8, 2013

ViaSat’s Carlsbad campus is home to the newly built Mega Bit Café which offers indoor and outdoor dining options. Pacific Building Group served as the general contractor.

ViaSat Beautifies Campus

and Bolsters  Morale, Productivity

CARLSBAD — In a move aimed at bolstering the morale and productivity of its employees, ViaSat, a Carlsbad satellite firm, has added a free-standing café pavilion — the Mega Bite Café — and courtyard to its campus. “Beyond positioning us as a desirable place to work, we believe these amenities also have the potential to positively affect productivity, health and morale,” said Dan Cancelleri, facilities director at ViaSat. “We aim to be cutting edge with our network products and services, and we’d like our physical space to reflect a forward-thinking philosophy as well.”

The new ViaSat Mega Bit Café, build by Pacific Building Group, is an example of the growing trend of employers focusing on amenities to boost employee recruitment, retention and productivity.

The new ViaSat Mega Bit Café, build by Pacific Building Group, is an example of the growing trend of employers focusing on amenities to boost employee recruitment, retention and productivity.

The project included shell and core construction and related tenant improvements for the 7,000-square-foot café, as well as other courtyard improvements, including relocation of sand volleyball courts, outdoor seating, gathering areas and other hardscape andlandscaping, all located in the center of an existing occupied corporate campus.

Pacific Building Group provided pre-construction services including cost analysis and scheduling, as part of the team to assist ViaSat and Gensler, the architectural firm on the project.

“The entire design focused on providing as much outdoor space as possible and activating the in-between space,” said Stacy Cannon, an architect at Gensler.  “The goal was to create a space for employees to enjoy the outdoors and create a variety of small areas to collaborate with teams as well as be functional for large company events. ”

The ViaSat campus is located at 6155 El Camino Real.

Santarus Purchased by Salix Pharmaceuticals for $2.6 Billion

Santarus, a San Diego company that became a local biotech leader by smartly acquiring drugs from larger companies, has been purchased for $2.6 billion by Salix Pharmaceuticals of Raleigh, N.C., the U-T San Diego reports. The deal means a hefty payoff for Santarus shareholders.

various pills

Pill array

Salix said it will pay $32 per share cash; Santarus shares closed at $23.22 before Thursday’s announcement.

Santarus sells specialty drugs to treat ailments such as ulcerative colitis, diabetes and excess stomach acid. Salix sells drugs for a complication of cirrhosis called hepatic encephalopathy, and for various gastrointestinal illnesses.

No decision has been made on what will happen with the San Diego operations when the deal is completed, said Martha Hough, a Santarus spokeswoman. Santarus employs about 330 people, including about 130 in San Diego.

Read more…

Carlsbad-Based Jenny Craig Sold to Private Equity Firm

Jenny Craig headquarters in Carlsbad

Jenny Craig headquarters in Carlsbad

Nestle agreed to sell most of its Jenny Craig diet business to private equity firm North Castle Partners, as the world’s largest food group looks to slim down by shedding underperforming units. Terms of the deal announced on Thursday were not disclosed, although Nestle is likely receiving much less than the $600 million it paid to acquire Jenny Craig — which is based in Carlsbad — in 2006. According to The Wall Street Journal, North Castle’s buyout fund totals roughly $100 million.

Connecticut-based North Castle will pick up Jenny Craig businesses in North America and Oceania, while Nestle will hold onto the unit’s business in France. North Castle said it plans to combine Jenny Craig with Curves International, a fitness club chain it acquired last year.

Jenny Craig has about 600 locations, primarily in the U.S. and Australia. It offers weight-loss counseling as well as diet meals, competing with Weight Watchers International and NutriSystem.

LA | Fitness Building in 4S Ranch Sold for $14.3 Million

The LA | Fitness building in 4S Ranch

The LA | Fitness building in 4S Ranch

The LA | Fitness building at 16913 Dove Canyon Road in 4S Ranch in Rancho Bernardo has been sold for $14.3 million to Excel Trust Inc., a retail-focused real estate investment trust. The 38,000-square-foot, free-standing building is reportedly one of the top performing LA | Fitness locations in San Diego County since it opened in 2006. The company recently remodeled the facility and has eight years remaining on its current lease with options to extend for up to 15 additional years. The seller was a private investor whose name was not disclosed. Cassidy Turley represented the seller in the transaction.


City Heights Apartments Sold for $2.27 Million

Las Dos Palmas

Las Dos Palmas

Las Dos Palmas, an aparttment complex at 2707 Highland Ave. in City Heights, has been sold for $2.27 million to SDF Highland Partners LLC. The acquisition was financed through CJ Donovan of Opus Bank with a loan of $1,595,000 at 4.25 percent interest for five years. The seller was Highland 24 LLC. Built in 1985, the property was renovated in 2011 to condominium-quality standards, including new exterior stucco and stonework, cabinetry, granite countertops, appliances and lighting fixtures, flooring and landscaping. The secured-access property consists of 24 one-bedroom, one-bath units and is situated on a half-acre with two, three-story wood framed buildings and 28 covered parking spaces. The sale price represented $188 per-square-foot, according to Merrick Matricardi of CBRE San Diego, which represented the seller. BNF Real Estate Group represented the buyer.

New Springboard Company Receives Seed Financing

San Diego-based Mobile Learning Networks Inc. ( has announced that the company received initial seed funding which will enable its launch. After completing this initial seed round of private funding, the company will expand its community of parents, teachers and tutors, with a national rollout planned for 2014. The company said it has created a mobile app that provides an option for busy parents, delivering high quality tutoring sessions that are just as effective as (if not more effective than) face-to-face lessons, while providing increased flexibility and convenience.


 Biotoasters president Zackary Prag runs a booth for his day job as a BioSurplus sales rep.

Biotoasters president Zackary Prag runs a booth for his day job as a BioSurplus sales rep.

San Diego’s Charm School for Scientists

About 20 scientists are clustered in a cramped conference room, but they aren’t there to pore over their latest research. Instead, they start the meeting with a joke. “I think the freezer deserves a light as well,” Greg Mrachko said. “You know, the refrigerator has a light, but the freezer doesn’t.”

He paused and got a few trickles of polite laughter.

This is a meeting of  Biotoasters, a Toastmasters public speaking group geared toward scientists.

Science is not known as a career that attracts showboats, but scientists still need to be able to speak to a crowd. Academics must give seminars, pharmaceutical researchers must present results and graduate students have to defend their work in front of their professors and peers.

In San Diego’s science hub, several groups including Biotoasters, Scripps Outstanding Speakers and SmoothTalkers help scientists practice their public speaking.

“For a typical scientist, they will spend a lot of time at the bench, so they’re doing a lot of calculations or lab work where they’re not interacting directly from person to person,” said lab equipment sales rep Zackary Prag, the president of Biotoasters.

Prag said the group helps members practice both public speaking and small talk. “Maybe one of your coworkers comes up to you and they ask you about the game, a game that was on television and they want to hear your opinion on it,” he said. “Well, it’s important to be concise and learn how to structure your feedback to that question.” (KPBS report)

Read the full story…

Inaugural American Indian Film Festival Nov. 21-2

Actress Kimberly Norris Guerrero will be featured during the Indian film festival.

Actress Kimberly Norris Guerrero will be featured during the Indian film festival.

The California Indian Culture and Sovereignty Center at Cal State San Marcos will present the inaugural San Diego American Indian Film Festive Nov. 21-23 in San Marcos and Temecula. The festival will highlight the best of current films from American Indian filmmakers, producers, directors and actors working throughout Indian country. Notable guests and screenings include Actress Kimberly Norris Guerrero (“The Cherokee Word for Water”), Actor Danny Glover (“Chasing Shakespeare”) and a special presentation of “Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope” in the Navajo language. Opportunities for youth will include a Saturday shorts program facilitated by artist, filmmaker and humanitarian Steven Paul Judd (Kiowa/Choctaw), as well as student films selected from surrounding tribal communities.

Festival screenings and activities will take place Nov. 21-22 at Cal State San Marcos, 333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road. Premiere and VIP reception will take place Nov. 23 at Pechanga Resort & Casino, 45000 Pechanga Parkway, Temecula.


Neighborhoods United in Chili

South Park and North Park Put on the SoNo Fest and Chili Cook-Off 

Couple sample chili at last year's festival.

Couple sample chili at last year’s festival.

For the fourth consecutive year, the neighborhoods of South Park and North Park will pull off a family-friendly festival combining the flavors of a variety of homemade and commercially prepared chili with live band entertainment, carnival games and gift shopping.

The all-day festival will be staged on Sunday, Dec. 1,from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 32nd and Thorn streets, the juncture of South Park and North Park. It is presented by the San Diego Ceramic Connection and the McKinley Elementary School Foundation.

At the heart of the celebration is a competition for the best chili recipe featuring a number of local restaurants. A panel, including Interim Mayor Todd Gloria, will crown the winners. Everyone is invited to sample the entries and vote for their favorites. Chili bowls can be purchased for $20 apiece for the sampling.

“This event has evolved from a small group of friends and patrons gathering to eat chili and have a good time into a major street festival and fundraising event to benefit McKinley,” said Kouta Shimazaki, owner of San Diego Ceramic Connection. “The people in our community have really pulled together to make this a success and that’s something I’m proud to be part of.”

The festival will feature beer and wine from local breweries and vineyards, an assortment of food trucks, unique holiday gift shopping from local artists and craft vendors, live music on two stages and a large kid zone area with carnival games and bounce houses.

This year promises to be even bigger and better with more restaurants competing and more variety. Casa De Luz promises a vegan entry. Wang’s of North Park has thrown its chili hat into the ring as well perhaps bringing some Asian flavor to the fest. And newcomer Mosaic is talking up an alligator chili.

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