Stories for March 2015

Tuesday, March 31

Chinese Company Buys Chatsworth's Align Aerospace

Aircraft parts supplier Align Aerospace Holding Inc. has been sold to a subsidiary of a Chinese importer and exporter of commercial aerospace products, the companies announced Tuesday.

Pasadena Hotel Sells for $143 Million

In one of the county’s biggest hotel deals this year, New York real estate investment trust Carey Watermark Investors Inc. has bought the Westin Pasadena for $143 million.

Viking Takes Delivery of Ocean Vessel

Viking Cruises, best known for its river cruises, has taken delivery of its first ocean cruise ship, the Viking Star.

Monday, March 30

Chatsworth Microelectronics Assembler Merges

Natel Engineering Co. announced on Monday it would merge with OnCore Manufacturing LLC to create one of the largest microelectronic assembly firms in the United States.

Area Shopping Centers Sell for $27 Million

Demonstrating investors’ continued appetite for well-located retail properties, two local shopping centers – one in Oxnard and one in Palmdale – have changed hands in separate transactions totaling nearly $27 million.

Former Woodbury President Heads to Philippines

Luis Ma. R. Calingo, who abruptly resigned as president of Woodbury University, will become president of a Catholic university in the Philippines this fall, the Burbank school announced on Monday.

DreamWorks Finally Scores at Box Office

DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. scored big over the weekend with its latest release “Home” bringing in $54 million in domestic box office revenue.

Friday, March 27

Valley's First Dunkin' Donuts to Open in Encino

An Encino shopping center will host the San Fernando Valley's first Dunkin’ Donuts outlet, the brokerage on the deal announced Thursday.

VEDC Buys $5 Million Loan Portfolio

The Valley Economic Development Center has purchased a $5 million loan portfolio from a defunct for-profit community development corporation.

Thursday, March 26

Chatsworth Woman Wins $28 Million From Kaiser

A jury awarded a Chatsworth woman $28 million on Thursday after agreeing that Kaiser Permanente’s Woodland Hills facility bungled the treatment for what turned out to be a cancerous tumor, according to the woman’s law firm.

Sportsmen's Lodge Project Wins Approval

After a contentious, five-hour Wednesday evening hearing, developer Richard Weintraub won the right to demolish the historic Sportsmen’s Lodge event center in Studio City and replace it with a 97,800-square-foot, mixed-use development.

Technicolor Closes Burbank Office

Technicolor USA Inc. is closing a digital media services facility in Burbank that it opened just last year with expectations that it would employ some 250 workers.

Ventura County Signs Year's Biggest Lease

The Human Services Agency of Ventura County has leased 57,200 square feet at Younan Executive Center in Simi Valley, in what is said to be the largest single lease so far this year in Ventura County.

Wednesday, March 25

Garcetti Plugs Seismic Retrofit Bill in Valley

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti appeared in Van Nuys on Wednesday to urge passage of an Assembly bill providing tax credits for landlords who retrofit apartments and condo complexes deemed especially vulnerable to collapse in earthquakes.

Valley College Opens $23 Million Building

Los Angeles Valley College opened a $23 million Community Services Center for students and area residents this week as part of its campus expansion and modernization program.

Briefs: Amgen, Marcus & Millichap, PennyMac Mortgage

Amgen seeks to halt sale of Neupogen copycat. Marcus & Millichap insiders sell $19 million more stock. PennyMac Mortgage Trust declares dividend.

Tuesday, March 24

Ikea to Begin Demolition for New Burbank Store

Home furnishing retailer Ikea will begin demolition Thursday at the 22-acre Burbank site where the chain will construct its largest U.S. store.

Trust Announces Low-Income Housing Investment

A private New York real estate investment trust that invests exclusively in affordable housing announced on Tuesday that it is putting $20 million into California low-income housing, including issuing a mortgage for a Van Nuys senior housing complex.

Chatsworth Warehouse Sells for $14.1 Million

A 154,000-square-foot industrial building in Chatsworth recently vacated by an adult-toy manufacturer has been acquired by Rexford Industrial Realty Inc.

Monday, March 23

Valley Homes Sales, Prices Jump in February

San Fernando Valley home sales and prices increased sharply after a slow start in January, according to a Southland Regional Association of Realtors report released on Monday.

Five Local Fresh & Easy Outlets to Close

Grocery chain Fresh & Easy is closing and selling 30 stores in Southern California, including five in the San Fernando Valley and Ventura County

Haggen Opening First Market in Palmdale

Haggen Food & Pharmacy Grocery store will open its first area location in Palmdale on Tuesday in a converted Albertsons.

Premium Payoff

Jim Scanlon still in charge after selling brokerage

Despite a $33 million buyout, Jim Scanlon is still at his desk selling policies.

Tease photo

Almost Legendary

Thomas Tull has built Legendary Entertainment into a major Hollywood player from his base in the Valley.

Thomas Tull’s mix of private equity savvy and Hollywood deal-making has made Legendary Entertainment.

Heraclitus in the Valley

Ever heard the old saying “you can’t step in the same river twice?” Probably, and for good reason.


Calendar of events

Around the Valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley

Former Pentagon official Jay Gibson has been named chief executive of XCOR Aerospace, developer of a space vehicle at the Mojave Air & Space Port. Gibson replaces Jeff Greason, a founder of XCOR, who will remain as chief technology officer and chairman.

No Stamp of Approval for Post Office Project

DEVELOPMENT: Woodland Hills citizens’ committee asks for more revisions.

Plans for a luxury apartment complex at the site of the Woodland Hills post office have been sent back to the drawing board again – but not before the developer won over a few critics.

Hertzberg: Let’s Make Pro Bono Law Work Pay

EDUCATION: Proposed bill would help pay loans of public service lawyers.

State Sen. Bob Hertzberg, the Valley’s newest representative in Sacramento, has a plan to solve dual problems in the legal profession.

Westlake Plaza Hopes Facelift Allures Shoppers

REDEVELOPMENT: Regency completes $27 million first phase of center rehab.

The first phase of the Westlake Plaza facelift was completed this month as its owner seeks to keep pace with competing shopping centers in the affluent Westlake Village retail market.

Fashioning A New Life

ECOMMERCE: Dalia Hadari’s successful beauty supply firm has roots in her tough childhood.

Atypical Brands’ online marketing strategy delivers atypical growth.

The Number

“Boomerang buyers” could lift the residential housing market.

I’ll Take the Steak, Hold the Aspirin

Simi Valley Hospital offering ‘restaurant– quality’ bedside fare.

Simi Valley Hospital skips the cafeteria tray with its upscale meal plan.

Score One For the Valley

Public spinoff picks Chatsworth for its headquarters.

Oil producer California Resources establishes its headquarters in Chatsworth.

Making His Mark In NoHo

Celebrity tattoo artist opens shop in district already doodle heavy.

Tattoo artist Romeo Lacoste opens his first parlor in trendy NoHo.

Plastic Surgeon With a Laser Focus

BEAUTY: Dr. Peter Grossman opens spa offering cosmetic procedures.

Dr. Peter Grossman opens a medical spa for non-surgical treatments.

Rocket Maker Separates Jobs

AEROSPACE: GenCorp. eyeing Rocketdyne for restructuring.

Aerojet Rocketdyne’s restructuring will have little impact in the Valley.

Kythera Has Hairy Strategy

BIOTECH: Maker of chin-fat drug taking on male-pattern baldness.

From chin fat reduction to hair loss prevention, Kythera likes vanity drugs.

Friday, March 20

County Unemployment Hits Lowest Level in Seven Years

Los Angeles County’s unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in February as the county added 25,000 jobs across almost every industry, according to state figures released Friday.

Marcus & Millichap Insiders Sell $102 Million in Stock

Insiders at Calabasas commercial real estate brokerage Marcus & Millichap Inc. have sold 3.2 million shares of stock in a transaction that totaled more than $102 million, according to a regulatory filing.

NTSB Metrolink Crash Report: Driver Made Wrong Turn

The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary report about last month’s collision between a Metrolink train and truck in Oxnard with details that are consistent with earlier reports by authorities and the statements of the truck driver.

Issue Preview: Almost Legendary

Thomas Tull may not be well known outside Hollywood circles but his movies certainly are - “The Dark Knight,” “300,” and “The Hangover” among them. Yet the chief executive of Legendary Entertainment in Burbank is not the typical industry big shot – despite a net worth pegged at $870 million.

Issue Preview: Premium Payoff

When his Woodland Hills company, SGB-NIA Insurance Brokers, was acquired for $33 million last year, chief executive Jim Scanlon decided to splurge: He and his wife finally replaced the bedroom set they got as a wedding gift in 1981. This summer, they’re planning their first European vacation.

Thursday, March 19

Update: City Minimum Wage Study Released

Hiking L.A.’s minimum wage would bring more benefits than costs to both Los Angeles and the region, according to a long-awaited and controversial study released Thursday afternoon.

Amgen Loses Court Bid to Halt Biosimilar

A federal judge on Thursday denied Amgen Inc.’s bid to stop the sale of a biosimilar form of Neupogen, the company’s infection-fighting blockbuster drug for cancer patients

Granada Hills Construction Firm Owner Arrested

The owner of Pacific Construction was arrested Thursday on charges of felony workers’ compensation insurance fraud for allegedly not reporting an on-the-job injury that caused an employee's leg to be amputated.

Home Foreclosures Down in February

Foreclosures in L.A. County fell 5 percent in February and are down nearly 15 percent from one year ago, according to a report released Thursday.

Briefs: Interlink, Mission Valley

Interlink Electronics Inc. reports fourth-quarter earnings growth. Assets down at Mission Valley Bancorp.

Wednesday, March 18

Vitesse in Acquisition Deal for $389 Million

Semiconductor manufacturer Microsemi Corp. has made an offer to acquire Vitesse Semiconductor a deal valued at $389 million.

Unlicensed Valley Lawyer Convicted

Jesus Lozano, who worked as an immigration attorney at a Van Nuys office, entered a no contest plea on Wednesday to charges that he didn’t have a license to practice law.

Briefs: Health Net, Apollo Medical

Health Net selects new board member, Apollo expands to Bay Area.

Tuesday, March 17

NAI Names New CEO Following Dissension

NAI Capital has named veteran broker Timothy P. Foutz as its chief executive officer, replacing predecessor Bob Scullin following a "philosophic difference" among the Encino brokerage's partners.

Daily News Close to Being Sold

Private investment firm Apollo Global Management LCC is close to a deal to buy Digital First Media, owner of the Los Angeles Daily News and other newspapers in the region, according to media reports.

Monday, March 16

Former Defense Official Named CEO at XCOR

Jay Gibson has been named as the chief executive of XCOR Aerospace, developer of a small, sub-orbital space vehicle at the Mojave Air & Space Port.

Mission Valley Bank Closes Santa Clarita Branch

Sun Valley bank cites historic change in banking habits for closure and plans to open smaller branch in future.

Briefs: Superior Industries, Disney Box Office

Mario Gabelli ups stake in wheel maker Superior. "Cinderella" glitters box office gold for the Burbank studio.

Friday, March 13

Ramsay, Ryu Top District 4 Primary

The Los Angeles City Clerk’s office confirmed that Carolyn Ramsay and David Ryu – two business-backed candidates – received the most votes in the March 3 primary to fill the seat representing L.A. City Council District 4.

Briefs: BNK, Mission Valley, Industrial Sale

BNK posts wider loss. Mission Valley declares first-ever dividend. Sun Valley industrial building changes hands.

Thursday, March 12

DreamWorks Campus on Market Again

The Glendale campus of DreamWorks Animation has been put on the market just two weeks after being sold for $185 million to an Atlanta bank, but the studio has a 20-year lease on the property and will remain.

Disney Announces 'Frozen, 'Star Wars' Sequels

At its annual shareholder meeting, Walt Disney Co. announced a sequel to “Frozen,” the film which reinvigorated its animation business.

Anderson Forecast Sees Solid Job Growth

California should expect continued job growth and reduced unemployment figures over the next three years, according to the UCLA Anderson Forecast released Thursday.

Wednesday, March 11

Amgen Laying Off 300, Closing Onyx

Amgen Inc. plans to lay off 300 workers at its recently acquired Onyx subsidiary in South San Francisco, and transfer others to its Thousand Oaks headquarters.

DreamWorks to Produce Verizon Mobile Content

The YouTube networks of DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. will produce 200 hours of original programming for mobile streaming to customers of Verizon Communications, the companies announced Wednesday.

Update: Kythera Prices Stock Offering

Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc. announced on Wednesday the pricing for its $125 million secondary offering as it anticipates FDA approval of its lead drug candidate, a treatment that dissolves fat in double chins.

Briefs: American Homes, Marcus & Millichap, ColorNet Press

Marcus & Millichap selling 4 million shares. Hughes ups stake in American Homes 4 Rent. Printing company moves to Valley.

Tuesday, March 10

More Job Cuts at Rocketdyne

GenCorp Inc. is making a 10 percent reduction in the staff of its Aerojet Rocketdyne division, which includes its Chatsworth rocket-engine development and manufacturing facility.

Earnings: Superior Industries, Salem Media, MRV Communications

Profit down at Superior and Salem. Losses pile up at MRV.

Monday, March 9

Valley Gets New Public Company

California Resources Corp., the recent spinoff from Occidental Petroleum Corp., is moving its headquarters to Chatsworth from Westwood, the company announced on Monday.

Topanga Sears to Become Upscale Movie Theater

Westfield Corp. announced on Monday that it has acquired the Sears store slated for closure at its Westfield Topanga mall and will redevelop the space into an entertainment complex to complement its Village at Topanga, which will open in September.

FDA Panel Likes Kythera Chin Fat Drug

A Food and Drug Administration panel on Monday recommended approval of Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc.’s novel treatment for chin fat.

Burbank Airport Traffic Falls Again

Passenger traffic at Burbank Bob Hope Airport dipped nearly 2 percent in January - the second month in a row it has been off.

Rigged to Perform in Crash Tests

Duo wins Academy recognition for filming driving, crash scenes.

Stunt drivers build a better vehicle for filming fast action.

The True Meaning of Business Friendly

What “pro-business” really means

When the Lines Do Not Connect

The bus system’s poor morning and weekend service, and iffy transfers, hurt employers and employees.

Valley needs better bus travel

A Crash Course in Safety

Building more trust in the Metrolink system.


Calendar of events

Around the Valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley

The Moorpark City Council approved an extension through 2019 for permits connected with a $200 million sound-stage project.

Slower Building Means Fast Year for Ventura

TRANSACTIONS: Experts say lease, sales prices to rise after record set in 2014.

Signs are pointing to a positive year for the Ventura County commercial real estate markets, with rental rates and sales prices projected to increase due to a dearth of new construction.

CEO Puts On Clinic for How to Raise Money

VENTURE CAPITAL: Sanguine chief’s fundraising strategy uses high-low approach.

When Brian Neman needed growth financing for his clinical-studies patient-recruitment firm, he found it with a combination of old-fashioned door knocking and newfangled technology.

Westfield Buys Macy’s Site at Promenade Mall

REAL ESTATE: Mall owner spends $7.1 million on gallery store set for closure.

Westfield Corp. has purchased the land beneath Macy’s Furniture Gallery at the Westfield Promenade mall – a move that will give the company more options as it seeks to reposition the struggling Woodland Hills mall.

Glitzy Oscar Ball Shines Light on Poverty Group

FUNDRAISER: Annual event raises $264,000 for MEND and its Pacoima programs.

Workers at Meet Each Need with Dignity have a rewarding, yet equally tough job in the Valley providing food, medical and educational services – among other things – to the needy.

The Number

Movie shoots are multiplying in the Santa Clarita Valley.

Getting Hyper – Local

MARKETING: Vimby has drawn national ad clients with its granular approach to video.

When brands need video made in multiple cities, they call Vimby.

When Students Know Best

Couple wins contest on attracting youth to manufacturing jobs.

Two students explain how to train next-gen factory workers.

Playing in The Sand At CSUN

University fundraising helps volleyball team move from Malibu.

CSUN’s Matadors have a new logo, licensing deals and a sand volleyball team.

Boutique Hotel Breaking Ground

HOSPITALITY: Hip lodging set for far reaches of NoHo district.

A NoHo hotel tries to carve out space a block away from the arts district.

Will Leaseback Rewrite Script?

FINANCE: DreamWorks said to get soft price, great lease on campus.

The sale and leaseback of DreamWorks’ campus gives the studio $185 million.

Studios Seek to Erase Lawsuit

ANIMATION: Disney, others deny collusion to hold down salaries.

Employee suit alleges Disney, DreamWorks and others conspired to keep down animator salaries.

Papa’s New Bag

Adam Levine’s father expanding M. Fredric chain

Having weathered the recession, apparel chain M. Fredric is ready to grow again.

Friday, March 6

County Unemployment Falls to 7.9 Percent

Los Angeles County’s jobless rate dipped below 8 percent in January for the first time in nearly six years, according to state figures released Friday.

FDA Approves Amgen Rival's Biosimilar

Amgen Inc. will face new competition after Novartis AG secured the first-ever FDA approval to sell a “biosimilar” drug – provided it can overcome a legal challenge by the Thousand Oaks company.

Issue Preview: M. Fredric's Family Business

Adam Levine is lead vocalist for pop-rock band Maroon 5, coach on NBC’s “The Voice” and recent Academy Awards performer. But the popular singer’s father, Fred Levine, is the owner of M. Fredric – an Agoura Hills-based apparel chain that is on a major growth spurt.

Issue Preview: Studios Deny Salary Conspiracy

Walt Disney Co. and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. will head to federal court later this month to seek dismissal of a lawsuit alleging that they and seven other companies conspired to keep down the salaries of animation artists who created some of Hollywood’s best-selling films and TV shows.

Briefs: Affordable Housing Project, Marcus & Millichap Earnings

Valley Glen apartments breaks ground. Marcus & Millichap earnings deliver.

Thursday, March 5

Semtech Tanks on Earnings

Shares in Semtech Corp. dropped more than 10 percent Thursday the day after reporting poor earnings and a $45 million acquisition of a Texas manufacturer.

Briefs: National Technical, American Homes, Studio City Property Sale

National Technical makes acquisition. American Homes declares dividend. Studio City apartments change hands.

Wednesday, March 4

Primary Narrows Field for Council Run-Off

The Tuesday primary winnowed the field down to two candidates who will face each other in a run-off election to fill the seat representing Los Angeles City Council District 4.

Year Starts Slow for Home Sales

San Fernando Valley home sales started the year slower than expected and foreclosure rates rose year-over-year for the first time in more than three years, but median home prices climbed 8 percent, according to a report released Tuesday.

Agoura Apartment Sells for $53 Million

The Lexington apartment complex in Agoura Hills has sold for $53 million, a price representing $299,000 per unit.

Briefs: AeroVironment, Ixia, Electro Rent, JMPR

AeroVironment beats income expectations, Ixia secures new credit line, Electro Rent loses a supplier and JMPR signs a new client.

Tuesday, March 3

Metrolink Engineer Dies

The engineer of the Metrolink commuter train that collided last week with a vehicle on the tracks died early Tuesday.

DTS Shares Jump on Tax News

Shares of DTS Inc. soared 12 percent Tuesday just a day after the company announced it will have to restate earnings for three quarters from last year.

Monday, March 2

Burbank Media Buildings Put on Market

Three high-profile Burbank buildings with tenants that include Cartoon Network, Turner Broadcasting and MTV Networks have been put on the market for $90 million by their Beverly Hills owner.

Cemex Moving Ahead With Santa Clarita Mine

With a legislative effort having failed to stop a proposed sand and gravel mine in Soledad Canyon, Cemex Corp. is moving ahead with efforts to start work at the Santa Clarita Valley site.

Appeals Court Siding With Wal-Mart in Burbank

A state appeals court panel has issued a tentative opinion in favor of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s effort to build a superstore in Burbank.

Study: Amgen Cancer Drug Improves Survival

Amgen Inc. announced on Sunday results from a clinical trial showing that its newly acquired drug Kyprolis is more effective in combating multiple myeloma blood cancer than a conventional treatment.

College of Canyons Names Business Development Officials

College of the Canyons has named two new directors to its economic development division to work with startups, small businesses and manufacturers.