Stories for August 2020

Monday, August 31

Kimball Steps Down as Cal Lutheran President

Monday marks Chris Kimball’s last day as president of California Lutheran University, with his successor, Lori Varlotta, taking the position on Sept. 1.

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97-Unit Chatsworth Apartment Complex Sells for $26 Million

Woodland Hills-based Sussex Capital Group has purchased Mountain View Manor Apartments, a 97-unit apartment complex in Chatsworth, for $26.4 million, or $272,165 per unit.

Woodland Hills Investment Firm Buys Apartments in NoHo Opportunity Zone

Alliant Strategic Investments in Woodland Hills has acquired the Farmdale Apartments, a North Hollywood property located in a state-designated opportunity zone.

Couch Concert for a Valley Cause

Organization raises $20,000 with music and comedy.

Winnetka nonprofit Valley Village has brought in nearly $20,000 with a fundraiser event that places a fun twist on the now-ubiquitous Zoom meeting.

A Next-Door Lease for Minimus

Packager expands by 77,000 square feet in Newbury Park.

Minimus Products has signed a lease next door to its Newbury Park corporate headquarters, committing to 77,100 square feet at Conejo Spectrum Business Park in Thousand Oaks.

Tweaking the Tenant Mix in Thousand Oaks

NewMark Merrill plans new food stops, grocery at Janss Marketplace.

NewMark Merrill plans new food stops, grocery at Janss Marketplace.

AROUND THE VALLEYS

AROUND THE VALLEYS

Collateral Damages

Retailers looted in civil unrest still reeling after three months.

Looted retailers in the Valley struggle to stay in business.

L.A. Proposal Could Reduce Fires

There’s an old saying: bad things come in threes.

Why Are We Waiting Like This?

‘I feel like we are all captive actors in the absurdist play “Waiting for Godot.” We are illogically sitting around, waiting for a vaccine to arrive. But a vaccine may be months away or even longer, and there is no assurance that it will be quickly deployable or even very effective.’

Groups Grapple With E-Meeting

TECHNOLOGY: Lessons learned from B2B events in the Valley.

Six months into a calendar of webinars, virtual happy hours and Zoom board meetings, chambers of commerce and other business groups have scrambled to reinvent traditional business events.

Arcutis Growing Quickly Thanks to Its Topicals

BIOPHARM: But analysts say Westlake Village company still faces market risks.

Nearly eight months after debuting on the Nasdaq for $17 a share, late-stage biopharmaceutical company Arcutis Biotherapeutics has seen explosive growth in many aspects, including its stock price, which has gone up by $7.66, and its staff count, which has doubled to more than 50 since the start of the year.

Hurt by Pandemic? CSUN Students May Help

EDUCATION: Businesses get aid, students get experience in newly funded program.

Students at the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics at California State University – Northridge are forming teams to assist small businesses dealing with the economic fallout of the coronavirus outbreak.

Fund Runner Arrested for Loan Fraud

Department of Justice alleges $300 million scheme.

Brendan Ross, founder of La Cañada Flintridge-based investment advisory Direct Lending Investments, was arrested Aug. 11 by the FBI on fraud charges. The Department of Justice alleges that Ross defrauded investors of millions of dollars by falsely inflating the value of funds he managed.

Uber, Lyft Remain in Business for Present

Judge postpones injunction for rideshare companies.

A California appeals court judge granted Uber and Lyft’s emergency stay earlier this month, postponing an injunction from taking effect that would make the rideshare companies reclassify their drivers as employees rather than contractors.

Lunch Paid Courtesy of Nature Made

Vitamin firm gives $1 million to aid LAUSD program.

West Hills vitamin brand Nature Made has put forth $1 million to help fund the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Grab & Go Food Relief Program.

Rise of the ADUs

New laws and a wave of work-at-home employees have sparked demand to create rentable ‘granny flats’ or home offices.

The year 2020 may go down as the time when Californians began a Gold Rush of creating apartment units or home offices from a spare room or converted garage

SoCalGas Funds Grocery Giveaway

Food Share hosts pop-up events to distribute staples.

A donation from utility SoCalGas funded two drive-through meal distribution events in Oxnard earlier this month in partnership with Food Share of Ventura County.

Santa Clarita Engines Take Checkered Flag

Honda Performance Development wins this year’s Indianapolis 500 auto race.

An engine developed by Honda Performance Development in Valencia powered Takuma Sato to victory at the Indianapolis 500

City’s Loans Support Tech, Production

But restaurants receive bulk of money, tracker shows.

The City of Los Angeles has distributed nearly $6 million in small business microloans during the coronavirus outbreak.

App Settles Geo-Tracking Legal Battle

IBM sued over consumer disclosures about data.

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced on Aug. 19 he had settled a lawsuit with TWC Product and Technology and its parent company IBM Corp.

Camera Coaches For Virtual Talks

Executives can improve retention when speaking to online audience.

With Zoom meetings and conference calls occupying the pandemic workday, communication has become a major issue for executives.

VALLEY INSIDER

CEO to Retire

Maria Hawthorne will retire as chief executive of PS Business Parks in Glendale, effective Sept. 1.

Families Seek Funding

Chief executives at family firms say relationships with banks, vendors are crucial to survival.

When Madelyn Alfano, owner of Maria’s Italian Kitchen, sought financial assistance at the beginning of the pandemic, she knew that the relationship she built with her bank, along with vendors, would help her survive.

Lake Balboa: Nine Homes On One Acre

Glendale’s RC adds inventory near the Northridge border.

A Glendale firm will bring its signature boutique housing to Lake Balboa.

Residential Landlords Protest Moratorium

‘Mom-and-pop’ owners get vocal at county offices.

Several dozen advocates of “mom-and-pop” property owners demonstrated Aug. 15 in downtown Los Angeles calling for an end to the state of California’s eviction moratorium.

Friday, August 28

State Issues New Rules for Business Reopening Based on County Safety

Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled statewide guidelines Friday that will allow businesses to reopen based on the severity of the coronavirus pandemic in their county.

State Issues New Rules for Business Reopening Based on County Safety

Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled statewide guidelines Friday that will allow businesses to reopen based on the severity of the coronavirus pandemic in their county.

Preview: Family Owned Businesses

Chief executives at family companies say relationships with banks, vendors are crucial to survival.

Preview: Collateral Damages

Months after his Van Nuys jewelry repair shop was looted dry, Larry Contreras still hasn’t recovered or reopened. And he may not do either.

Thursday, August 27

Signature Card Services Rebrands as Signature Payments

Signature Card Services has rebranded itself as Signature Payments to better reflect the company’s shift to a more technology-oriented, omni-channel platform serving the merchant payment market.

Amazon Debuts Fresh Grocery in Woodland Hills

Amazon.com Inc. opened its debut Amazon Fresh grocery store Thursday in the Warner Center neighborhood of Woodland Hills.

Delano Village in Van Nuys Sells for $5.1 Million

Delano Village, an 18-unit apartment property at 14161-14163 Delano St., has sold for $5.1 million.

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Wednesday, August 26

Santa Clarita Approves $14.5 Million Purchase of Ice Rink

Santa Clarita City Council on Tuesday approved the $14.5 million purchase of the property hosting Valencia Ice Station, a 20-year-old local rink that had been skating on thin ice ever since the coronavirus outbreak in March.

Semtech Beats Expectations, Cites Milestones in Quarter

Semtech Corp. beat Wall Street expectation on adjusted earnings and revenue for the fiscal second quarter.

Ventura County Study Advocates ‘Collaborative’ Economic Development

Ray Bowman, director of the Ventura County Economic Development Collaborative’s Small Business Development Center, has co-authored a study that found government-funded economic programs can produce more successful business ventures by utilizing a two-step “collaborative learning” model.

Princess, Cunard Delay 2021 Sailings

Carnival Corp. has delayed a return to sea for its Princess and Cunard cruise lines, cancelling several sailings scheduled for 2021 as the coronavirus pandemic rages on.

Tuesday, August 25

Apple Buys DreamWorks’ VR Spinoff

Virtual reality startup Spaces has been acquired by Apple Inc., according to a media report.

Amgen to Join Dow Jones Industrial Index

Amgen Inc. will join the Dow Jones Industrial Index on Aug. 31, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices.

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Print Shop Executive Sentenced for $2.8 Million Embezzlement

The former controller at a Burbank printing shop was sentenced Monday to 87 months in federal prison for embezzling $2.8 million from his employer.

Valley Lobbyist Charged With Bribery in Huizar Corruption Case

Federal prosecutors Tuesday charged an L.A. City Hall lobbyist from the Valley with bribery.

Monday, August 24

Palmdale Evaluated for Space Command HQ

The city of Palmdale is under formal evaluation by the U.S. Air Force to be the permanent headquarters for the U.S. Space Command, according to city officials.

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Pharmavite Donates $1 Million to LAUSD Food Program

West Hills vitamin manufacturer Pharmavite has donated $1 million to help fund the Los Angeles Unified School District's Grab & Go Food Relief Program.

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Meta Housing to Turn Former North Hills Nursery into Apartments

A 4.35-acre North Hills site formally hosting Green Arrow Nursery at 8845 Sepulveda Blvd. has changed hands for $14 million after a long dormancy.

Westlake Village Firm Wins Document Preservation Contract With L.A. County

Avenu Insights and Analytics in Westlake Village has been selected as the provider of Los Angeles County’s historical document preservation and imaging services, the company said in a statement Monday.

Friday, August 21

Exec Pay Restored at Disney

Walt Disney Co. is restoring executive pay levels to where they were prior to the coronavirus pandemic, according to media reports.

Bronson Moves a Second Company Out of Camarillo

Qualstar Corp. has moved its corporate headquarters to Irvine from Camarillo, the second such move by the company’s chief executive in as many months.

Santa Clarita May Purchase Struggling Ice Rink

A glimmer of hope continues to sparkle for the embattled Valencia Ice Station as the Santa Clarita City Council is considering a rescue of the 93,000-square-foot ice skating rink — a 20-year-old local institution that has been put on ice since the coronavirus outbreak in March.

Arabian Awards Postponed; Fernando a ‘Maybe’

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, two well-known San Fernando Valley fall events – the Arabian and Fernando awards – will not be held in person this year. It is possible the Fernando Award will become a virtual ceremony.

Thursday, August 20

Stein Mart Hires Great American Group for Liquidation

Great American Group in Woodland Hills is one of five liquidation companies managing the going-out-of-business sales for discount department store chain Stein Mart.

Rideshare Companies in Business With Temporary Stay From Judge

A California appeals court judge Thursday granted Uber and Lyft’s emergency stay, according to media reports, thus postponing an injunction from going into effect on Friday which sought to make the rideshare companies reclassify their drivers as employees.

HealthCare Partners Transition to Optum Network

HealthCare Partners has begun its transition to the Optum network in the San Fernando Valley, Optum said on Wednesday.

After Acquisition, Defense Contractor Changes Name to AllClear

Aero Precision/Kellstrom Defense announced this week it has changed its name to AllClear Holdings LP to better represent its mission-ready mindset and precision focus for the aviation aftermarket industry.

Wednesday, August 19

Providence Funds Health Care at ‘Project Roomkey’ Hotels

Tarzana Treatment Centers, the Center for Family Health and Education and the Northeast Valley Health Corp. have received grants to provide health care services at Los Angeles County hotels participating in Project Roomkey, the county’s initiative to temporarily house homeless people in vacant hotel rooms during the pandemic.

Product Packaging Plant Expands in Thousand Oaks

Minimus Products has signed a lease next door to its Newbury Park corporate headquarters, committing to 77,100 square feet at Conejo Spectrum Business Park in Thousand Oaks.

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Camarillo Biotech Gets Funding

Immpact Bio USA, a biotech startup focused on treatment for solid tumors, closed its Series A financing round at $18 million on Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 18

Interlink Relocates to Orange County

Interlink Electronics Inc. has moved its corporate headquarters out of Camarillo and relocated to Irvine.

NBC Exec Departs After Affair

NBCUniversal has parted ways with longtime executive Ron Meyer over allegations he was being extorted over an affair.

Developer Plans Nine Units for Lake Balboa

Sophie Court will be the name of a housing development on a single-acre parcel at 17210 Roscoe Blvd. in Lake Balboa on the Northridge border.

Monday, August 17

Lake Fire More Contained; Red Cross Closing Evac Center

The Lake Hughes Fire in northern Los Angeles County is 31 percent contained and has spread to more than 18,000 acres, according to the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Twenty-one structures have been destroyed and three have been damaged, the government entity reported.

Musicians Fret Over Future of Guitar Shop

Norman’s Rare Guitars, a San Fernando Valley shop long favored by some famous musicians, may be on its last legs due to the coronavirus, according to media reports.

Cal Lutheran Starts Sports Management Major

California Lutheran University, which has provided a training facility for the Los Angeles Rams since 2016, will begin offering sports management as a major in the fall.

Farmhouse vs. Developer in Camarillo

Conservancy groups seek to save Springville structure.

A pair of conservation groups have moved to save the 120-year-old Scholle farmhouse in Camarillo that is slated to be razed for the final element of a mixed-use project currently in development, according to a Camarillo Acorn report.

SUDDEN SUPPORT

Some Black-owned businesses are seeing new customers.

Some Black-owned businesses are getting new customers – particularly African-Americans.

Valley’s Rare Technology Pioneer Moving On

Tucker: Founder says the decision left her ‘teary eyed.’

Therese Tucker, chief executive of BlackLine Inc., discusses her decision to step down as head of the accounting software company.

Investor Lays Odds On Gambling Site

New wagering done on blockchain, not just in casinos and websites.

Capital investment firm Draper Goren Holm takes equity stake in online gambling platform that runs on blockchain technology.

Course Correction

SALE: Buyers of Woodland Hills Country Club plan improvements as equity members feel ‘relief.’

Buyers of Woodland Hills Country Club plan improvements at the nearly 100-year old course.

Dine Brands’ Appetite for Growth Still Strong

RESTAURANTS: Analysts upbeat despite $135 million quarterly loss.

Analysts, executives upbeat about future prospects of Dine Brands Global Inc.

Will Downsizing Be Big for Long?

PROPERTIES: Some local companies are starting to shed their square footage.

As coronavirus crisis sends workers home, employers are considering downsizing their offices.

Regulators OK Eyenuk’s AI Software

FDA allows marketing of retinal screening system.

Medical device company Eyenuk Inc. earlier this month announced U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance to market its diabetic retinopathy detection software.

Amgen’s Otezla Chosen For COVID-19 Study

Psoriasis drug to treat respiratory symptoms in test.

Psoriasis drug from Amgen Inc. chosen for COVID-19 study.

Biotech Seeks $100 Million In Offering

Funds may be used toward merger or acquisition.

Simulations Plus on Aug. 4 announced a registered public offering of its shares

Center Takes CEO Name

Casa Pacifica to become Steven E. Elson campus.

Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families in Camarillo has renamed its main campus after Dr. Steven E. Elson

99 Cents Store Sources CBD From Valley Trio

Private-label entrepreneurs go to market in pandemic.

Discount chain 99 Cents Only stores sources CBD lotions from trio of Valley businesswomen.

Hard Kombucha Coming Soon in New Taprooms

Thomas Fire inspires Flying Embers brand name.

Better-for-you alcohol startup Fermented Sciences Inc. in Ventura is making lemonade – rather, spiked seltzer – out of pandemic-related business interruptions.

Music Video Stream From Loop Media

Publicly traded company signs fourth deal this year.

Loop Media Inc. announced late last month a new partnership with Plex, a popular streaming media platform.

Pandemic problems

Valley-area manufacturers cope with decreased business and increased regulations as they work through coronavirus era.

Manufacturers become more vigilant when it comes to employee safety during pandemic.

How L.A. Can Help its Businesses

‘Suspend the gross receipts tax until the pandemic has ended.’

Yes, It’s Difficult to Run a Company

Most of us know the routine as an employee. You wake up, clock in for work, take your required rest and meal breaks, go back to work, clock out for the day, and then go home just to get ready to do it all over again.

AROUND THE VALLEYS

AROUND THE VALLEYS

Solid Quarter For Builder Tutor Perini

Sylmar construction firm beat Wall Street revenue estimates.

Tutor Perini Corp. missed on Wall Street expectations on adjusted earnings but beat on revenue for the second quarter, the company announced Aug. 5.

Industrial Conversion Works in Simi Valley

Former office building on Tapo Canyon finds tenant.

An office building in Simi Valley that was converted to a warehouse has been leased to an e-commerce distribution company – another example of how industrial space has become in-demand during the last two quarters with the coronavirus crisis.

Friday, August 14

Is This Time to Open a Party Store? Yes, Says Owner

While the pandemic may not seem a good time to open any retail outlet – especially a party supply store when large gatherings are essentially banned – just such a shop has opened at the Commons at Calabasas shopping center. The store held its grand opening last weekend.

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Preview: Pandemic Problems

The coronavirus pandemic has been hard on one of the Valley area’s most vital sectors: manufacturing.

Preview: Sudden Support

A Black-owned restaurant in the Antelope Valley has seen business pick up recently — but with a changed customer base.

Residential Landlords Plan Protest Saturday

Small property owners plan to demonstrate Saturday in downtown Los Angeles, according to a Real Deal report.

Lake Fire Spreads, Moving Northeast

The Lake Hughes fire continued to spread in the Antelope Valley Friday, covering upwards of 11,600 acres and encroaching on 5,000-plus homes in Lancaster.

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Thursday, August 13

Cannabis Lab Among Local Firms on Inc. 5000 List

Inc. Magazine has selected Van Nuys cannabis testing laboratory CannaSafe as a top 15 firm on its 2020 Inc. 5000 list, an annual compilation of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

Thousands of Buildings Threatened as Lake Fire Rages Uncontained

Three structures in the Antelope Valley have been destroyed and more than 5,000 more are threatened by a fire that broke out near Lake Hughes on Wednesday afternoon.

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Wednesday, August 12

FBI Arrests La Cañada Flintridge Money Manager

Brendan Ross, founder of La Cañada Flintridge-based investment advisor Direct Lending Investments, has been arrested by the FBI on fraud charges. The Department of Justice alleges that Ross defrauded investors of millions of dollars by falsely inflating the value of funds he managed.

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Arcutis Biotherapeutics Misses Estimates, But Shares Close 6 Percent Higher

Arcutis Biotherapeutics late Tuesday missed analyst expectations for earnings per share by 11 cents in the second financial quarter, but shares moved higher nonetheless.

ViacomCBS’ Sumner Redstone Dies at 97

Hollywood mogul and ViacomCBS Inc. Chairman Emeritus Sumner Redstone died Tuesday after a lengthy illness, according to the Redstone family’s private holding company National Amusements.

24-Unit Encino Apartment Building Sells for $15 Million

The 24-unit White Oak Regency apartments at 5143 White Oak Ave. in Encino has sold for $15.36 million, or roughly $640,000 per unit.

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John J. Kennedy Joins Airport Authority

John J. Kennedy has joined the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, replacing Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek, who stepped down on July 20.

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Tuesday, August 11

WarnerMedia Dismisses 600, Including Execs

WarnerMedia started layoffs this week with a heavy focus at Warner Bros. Entertainment, according to media reports.

Whistle App Inks Deal with Four Sisters Inns

Whistle Messaging Inc., a Westlake Village software startup that helps hotels communicate with guests, has signed up boutique hotel group Four Sisters Inns as a client.

Valley Firm Develops COVID Test for Transplant Patients

One Lambda, a West Hills subsidiary of Thermo Fisher Scientific of Massachusetts, has developed a new COVID-19 test specifically for organ transplant candidates and recipients.

Monday, August 10

Woodland Hills Post Office Moving Again

After several years at the Westfield Promenade shopping center, the Woodland Hills Post Office will be moving to 21200 Oxnard Street.

North Hollywood to See 18 New Contemporary Units

An 18-unit apartment building has been proposed for North Hollywood.

Cinedigm Adds Painter Bob Ross

Cinedigm Corp. announced Monday it would make “The Bob Ross Channel” available on the XUMO streaming television service.

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Friday, August 7

Battle Brewing Over 120-Year-Old Camarillo Farmhouse

A pair of conservation groups have moved to save a 120-year-old Scholle farmhouse in Camarillo that is slated to be razed for the final element of a mixed-use project currently in development, according to a Camarillo Acorn report.

Ventura Antibody Study Finds Few Positives

A COVID-19 antibody study in Ventura County found that less than 1.3 percent of individuals tested in a two-week period had antibodies in their blood, indicating a small percentage of the population has been infected with the virus.

Memory Care Facility to Open in T.O. Soon

Memory care community Silverado Thousand Oaks is nearing completion and has opened its welcome center for prospective residents and their families, the company announced on Friday.

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Thursday, August 6

Earnings: Salem, MannKind Improve Results but Stocks Drop

Both Salem Media Group and MannKind Corp. saw their stocks drop big on Thursday even though they did not disappoint Wall Street.

Federal Grant Funds Ventura Loan Program

The Economic Development Collaborative of Ventura County has received nearly $2.5 million in federal CARES Act funding for a local business loan program.

New CEO for BlackLine

Directors of BlackLine Inc. have named President Marc Huffman as its new chief executive officer effective Jan. 1.

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ServiceTitan Allies With Carrier

ServiceTitan has partnered with Carrier Global Corp. to provide its service contract software for the Carrier and Bryant air conditioner brands in the United States.

Lot by 405 Freeway To Be Self-Storage

A 1.2-acre parcel in Van Nuys adjacent to the 405 Freeway has changed hands for $6.5 million and is envisioned to become a seven-story self-storage building.

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Wednesday, August 5

ICF Industries Signs Stock-Based Consulting Agreement

ICF Industries in Van Nuys has entered into a consulting agreement with Agri-Dynamics Inc., ana sustainable farming company in New York that focuses on hemp production for CBD.

Slow Summer for Location Filming Since Reopening

FilmL.A. has processed about 34 percent of its usual application load since film and television production resumed in mid-June after being shut down due to coronavirus outbreak.

Infill Industrial Property in Santa Clarita Trades for $28 Million

The largest available industrial facility for sale in Los Angeles’ Industrial North Region has traded for $28.4 million.

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FDA Approves Eyenuk System for Retinal Scanning

Medical device company Eyenuk Inc. announced U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance to market its diabetic retinopathy detection software.

Tuesday, August 4

Dismal Disney Earnings Still Better Than Feared

Walt Disney Co. had mixed results on earnings and revenue in the pandemic-whacked fiscal third quarter.

Simi Valley Office Converted to Warehouse Leased by Distributor

An office building in Simi Valley that was converted to a warehouse has been leased to a distribution company – highlighting how such industrial space has become in-demand real estate.

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Simulations Plus to Sell Stock

Simulations Plus on Tuesday announced a registered public offering of its shares in order to pursue a possible merger or acquisition. Existing stock fell in price.

Virgin Galactic to Sell 20 Million Shares

Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. has announced plans to sell more than 20 million fresh stock shares to boost its cash position. Existing shares dropped nearly 14 percent on Tuesday.

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Monday, August 3

CSUN Victim of Data Hack

A cyberattack on software provider Blackbaud has resulted in the theft of customer data from California State University – Northridge.

Amgen Drug Among Those in Trial for COVID

Thousand Oaks-based biopharma giant Amgen Inc., which is part of the COVID R&D Alliance consortium of companies, will participate in the initiative’s first COVID-19 patient clinical trial. An Amgen drug is among those to be tested.

Name Change for SaalexIT

SaalexIT, the information technology division of Saalex Corp. in Camarillo, has changed its name to Valeo Networks after a company it acquired in April.

Woodland Hills Apartment Complex Sells

A 57-unit apartment community in Woodland Hills has sold for $13.9 million, or roughly $242,000 a unit.

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Light Disinfectant

TECHNOLOGY: In the battle for cleanliness, ultraviolet radiation is a cost-effective weapon.

Family-owned Valencia company makes ultraviolet sanitizers.

Castle Cookbook From Agoura Hills

Fairy-tale setting provides inspiration for Italian fare.

Conejo Valley business partners author cookbook.

Acquisition Grows NoHo Paint Factory

Rent hike during pandemic prompts store owner to call it quits.

North Hollywood paint factory adds a 10th location in Los Angeles.

Tix Reports Zero Revenue During Las Vegas Closure

Tix Corp. brought in no revenue during the second quarter as its discount ticket booths in Las Vegas were shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak.