Stories for May 2017

Wednesday, May 31

World’s Biggest Plane Rolls into Daylight

Stratolaunch Systems said it has moved its massive Roc aircraft out of its hangar for the first time on Wednesday in preparation for fueling tests, and eventually ground and flight testing.

Tuesday, May 30

MannKind Changes CEO, Stock Jumps

The struggling MannKind Corp. on Tuesday said it has named Michael Castagna as its chief executive, replacing Matthew Pfeffer. The company’s stock went up nearly 10 percent. Castagna previously served as Chief Commercial Officer at the Valencia biotechnology company, which manufactures inhalable insulin, Afrezza.

Elvis Jet Sold by Agoura Hills Auction House

GWS Auctions Inc. in Agoura Hills has made the most newsworthy deal of its life – selling Elvis Presley’s third and last private jet for nearly $500,000, a price that included a buyer’s premium.

Office Building Sells with 50% Price Gain in 4 Years

An office building in North Hollywood has sold for $69 million, or about $350 a square foot, according to commercial real estate database CoStar Group Inc.

Monday, May 29

Foodie Groups

RESTAURANTS: Top chefs cluster in Sherman Oaks, Glendale.

Why do Glendale and Sherman Oaks taste so good to foodies?

Military Sees Market for Mini Drones

AeroVironment makes first sale of infantry recon device.

AeroVironment’s tiny 5-ounce Snipe drones fly into active duty.

Mark Demos

Star Accountant Mark Demos

Matthew Sprague

Star Accountant Matthew Sprague

Jackie Adams-Ings

Star Accountant Jackie Adams-Ings

Tina Lazaroff

Star Accountant Tina Lazaroff

Elaina Kogan

Star Accountant Elaina Kogan

Shashi Mirpuri

Star Accountant Shashi Mirpuri

Nicholas Sanchez

Star Accountant Nicholas Sanchez

Josh Diamond

Star Accountant Josh Diamond

Rising Star Accountants

What it takes to rise to the top of the profession.

Labor Reform That Makes Sense

Newly proposed laws show labor is adapting to the new ways of working.

PAGA: Funny Name, Dire Results

The onerous consequences to employers of PAGA lawsuits.


Calendar of events

Around the Valleys

News and notes from the greater San Fernando Valley

Glendale Project Appeals to Artists as Tenants

residential: Affordable housing complex features music rooms and gallery.

Artists seeking lower apartment rents in Glendale’s art district have a new, aesthetically pleasing apartment complex designed with them in mind.

Medtronic Advances Insulin Pump Technology

MEDICAL DEVICE: First gadget with hybrid closed loop offers to automate delivery.

A new device has hit the market for people with Type 1 diabetes, allowing for better management of glucose levels with a lot less work.

From Farm Warehouse to Soundstages in AV

production: Former fruit facility now available for filming in Littlerock.

On the outskirts of the Antelope Valley in Littlerock sits a former fruit packing plant that has become something else – the only soundstages found in the valley.

Big Start to Year at West Valley Boys & Girls Clubs

GOVERNANCE: Youth group names new chief executive and five board members.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the West Valley Boys & Girls Clubs in Canoga Park – and if the next six months are anything like the first six, 2017 will be remembered as an action-packed year.

Small Homes, Big Market

Real Estate: Affordability issue, land scarcity make little housing projects a growing trend.

Small lot law makes single-family homes more affordable.

Low Prices Put ‘TP King’ On a Roll

Toilet paper vendor reports double-digit growth last year.

With new deals underway, the “Toilet Paper King” rolls out more than TP.

NoHo App Aims to Lure Foot Traffic

Digital discount card designed with under-30 market in mind.

North Hollywood’s new app aims to mobilize foot traffic for local merchants.

Bendable Bus Debuts in the High Desert

Antelope Valley Transit taps BYD to build electronic fleet.

BYD Motors is out to prove its biggest electric bus yet with new delivery in Antelope Valley.

Christopher Passmore

Star Accountant Christopher Passmore

CSUN to Build Campus Hotel

HOSPITALITY: Hyatt Place and restaurant will generate revenue.

Cal State Northridge seeks to boost revenue with a campus hotel.

Unconventional CEO Builds BlackLine Success

TECHNOLOGY: Product switches, key hires mark flexible style.

How Therese Tucker created the Valley’s newest public company, BlackLine.

Friday, May 26

Disney Accelerator Firm Creates ‘Car’ Toy

A Colorado company that had been in the Walt Disney Co. accelerator program has brought out a new robotic toy based on a character from the Pixar film, “Cars.”

Home Prices Help American Homes Bonds

American Homes 4 Rent on Friday posted its revised “Home Price Appreciation Factor,” which affects returns for the company’s preferred shares.

Preview: Leno Launch No Joke

Everyone knows Jay Leno loves cars, so it was a perfect fit for an auto dealer to partner with the comedian on a new line of auto care products.

Preview: Unconventional CEO Builds BlackLine Success

Therese Tucker sees no reason why her company BlackLine Inc. should be a success. When she formed it in 2001, she had no financial backers and no customers – in short, the 55-year-old said, she had no clue what she was doing.

Thursday, May 25

Provision Tests 3D Technology in Israel

Technology firm Provision Interactive Technologies Inc., a division of Chatsworth-based Provision Holding Inc., is testing its 3D kiosk platform with clients of an Israeli advertising company ahead of a potential partnership.

Glendale Office Buildings Fetch $144 Million

Two Class A office buildings in Glendale have sold for $144 million, according to their buyer, real estate investment firm Kennedy-Wilson Holdings Inc.

BlackLine Prices Secondary Offering

BlackLine Inc. has priced its follow-on public offering 3.5 million shares at $33 per share, the company announced Thursday.

Wednesday, May 24

Santa Monica Closure Could Benefit Valley Airports

The closure of the Santa Monica Airport will likely benefit airfields in the San Fernando Valley, an economist with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. told the aviation committee of the Valley Industry & Commerce Association on Wednesday.

Tesla Shares Tech With Santa Paula Grower

Santa Paula lemon and orange grower Limoneira Co. has struck up a new partnership with Palo Alto electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc. to test out its new battery system designed for a wider range of uses beyond automobiles.

Aerojet Wins Spaceplane Project

Aerojet Rocketdyne has been chosen to supply the main propulsion system for an experimental spaceplane being developed by Boeing Co. and the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

City Tries to Slow Chatsworth Street Racers

The Los Angeles City Council has greenlighted a pilot program to curb street racing in the region, starting with the installation of rubber strips on an industrial road in Chatsworth.

Tuesday, May 23

Northridge Plaza Sells for $55 Million

A shopping center in Northridge has changed hands for nearly $55 million, according to Investment Real Estate Associates in Encino.

Sports Academy Moves into Esports

Sports Academy announced Tuesday the opening of Sandbox Esports, a training facility for competitive video gaming.

Palmdale Inn Enters Receivership

The Palmdale Inn has been placed under the control of a receiver following a ruling by the Los Angeles Superior Court, officials announced late Monday afternoon.

Report: California Tops for Film Production Spending

California was the primary location of 12 out of the top 100 feature films released domestically last year, making it fourth on a list in a report released Tuesday by FilmL.A.

Home Prices Rise Again

Housing inventory continues to tighten in the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys, causing prices to rise again in April, according to the Southland Regional Association of Realtors Inc.

Monday, May 22

Avery Dennison Buys Medical Products Maker

Avery Dennison Corp. on Monday announced it has acquired health care product manufacturer Finesse Medical Ltd. of Longford, Ireland.

PizzaRev Acquired by VC Firm

Fast-casual franchisor PizzaRev has been acquired by Cleveland Avenue, a venture capital firm founded by a former McDonald’s Corp. executive.

L.A. County Unemployment Rate Falls to 4.5 Percent

L.A. County’s unemployment rate fell to another new low of 4.5 percent in April, but in a sign that the local economy is close to full employment, employers in the county reversed their hiring trends and shed a net 7,000 jobs last month, state figures released Friday show.

Friday, May 19

Monster Digital Looks at Strategic Options

Monster Digital Inc. announced Friday it had hired Benchmark Co., a New York investment bank, to consider strategic alternatives for the company.

AT&T Workers Picket Local Stores

AT&T Inc. workers who are members of the Communications Workers of America walked off the job in 36 states today, with hundreds picketing at the telecom giant’s stores in Burbank and Santa Clarita.

Marcus & Millichap Opens New Ohio Office

Marcus & Millichap Inc. has opened an office of its Institutional Property Advisors division in Ohio.

Thursday, May 18

B. Riley to Acquire Wunderlich Securities

B. Riley Financial Inc. announced Thursday that it will acquire Memphis, Tenn.-based Wunderlich Securities in a deal valued at $67 million.

German Light Grows Valley Presence

German Light Products, a lighting manufacturer based in Germany, has signed a lease for space in San Fernando as its new West Coast headquarters, according to commercial real estate brokerage Cushman & Wakefield.

Provision Acquires Kiosk Patent

A subsidiary of Provision Holding Inc. has received a patent to protect its application of 3D holographic technology for self-service retail kiosks.

Wednesday, May 17

Amgen Tour Pedals into Santa Clarita

The 2017 Amgen Tour of California is rolling through Santa Clarita Wednesday as the city is the finish line for the fourth day of the men’s weeklong bicycle race.

Popular Restaurant Closes Suddenly

Chuy’s Mesquite Broiler in Camarillo apparently has shut down after 20 years in business, according to the Ventura County Star and business review site Yelp Inc.

Tuesday, May 16

Chatsworth Firm to Pay for Fraud Claims

A Chatsworth water damage restoration company will pay almost $500,000 relating to an alleged four-year history of fraudulent business practices, according to city of Los Angeles’ attorney’s office.

GameWorks Acquired by Oomba

The assets of GameWorks Entertainment LLC are being acquired by social media and software development company Oomba Inc.

Neff Sold to Mad Engine

Action sports apparel and accessory brand Neff Headwear Inc. has been acquired by Mad Engine, an apparel licensing firm. Neff will move from Camarillo to Mad Engine’s Orange County headquarters as part of the deal, which also will see Neff co-founder and Chief Executive Shaun Neff join Mad Engine as chief creative officer.

MannKind Gains Nearly 16 Percent on Takeover Rumors

Shares of MannKind Corp. gained 15.6 percent Tuesday as the company prepares for its annual shareholder meeting amid takeover rumors.

Monday, May 15

Anheuser-Busch to Invest in Van Nuys Brewery

Anheuser-Busch is investing $10 million at its Van Nuys brewery to improve water efficiency in the filtering, brewing and packaging operations.

Valley Hospital Properties Sell in $150 Million Portfolio

Three medical office buildings on or near Valley hospital campuses have sold as part of an 11-property portfolio for $150 million, or $253 square feet.

Salem Promotes Operations Executive

Salem Media Group has named Jeff Reisman an operational vice president in Salem’s Radio Division effective July 1.

Boys & Girls Club Adds to Board

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Conejo Valley has named insurance industry veteran Joshua Adam Bulpitt to its board of directors, the nonprofit announced Monday.

Firm Delivers Bed in a Box

MANUFACTURING: Mattresses beat stiff online competition.

The bed-in-a-box concept has made Relief-Mart in Calabasas an Amazon favorite.

One Drop Puts MannKind Above $1 Threshold

PHARMA: Amazon-based marketing deal boosts company’s share price.

MannKind sees stock soar with marketing deal on Amazon Prime.

Dole Ripe for Public Offer?

FOOD: Billionaire David Murdock proposes to sell fruit giant’s shares to investors.

Didn’t buy those Dole Food Co. shares the other times it was public? You may get another chance.

The Number

Credit unions see double-digit growth with more small business lending.

Theme Parks Now Want Moving Parts

Sun Valley firm hires engineer to build mechanical attractions.

Stage and lighting company LA ProPoint brings mechanical engineering in house to build bigger, faster and pricier attractions.

Which Pitch Won at CSUN ‘Shark Tank’?

Student entrepreneurs compete for services and seed money.

CSUN’s pitch contest for startups features seed-money prizes.

Teen Taps Peer Group For Startup

Friends’ feedback guides design of functional swimwear.

Teen fashion designer launches functional bikini line.

ESPN Has Fallen and Can’t Get Up

ONE MORE THING: Disney doesn’t have a game plan for ESPN, but ABC has a new star.

Want to Help? Employ the Autistic

OP-ED: Employers should consider autistic job candidates.

Fix for Bedsores

MEDICAL DEVICE: Lift prevents pain for patients, caregivers.

By making immobile patients easier to move, the makers of Boemba hope to relieve bedsores.

Kiosks Keep Lights On

Lamps Plus understands how to sell on internet, but mobile is chain’s next challenge.

How Lamps Plus keeps its lights on amid ecommerce competition.

Tease photo

Valley’s High Flier

Frank Miller takes the top job at Hollywood Burbank Airport just in time to manage construction of new 14-gate terminal.

Q&A: Frank Miller gets ready to oversee new terminal project as new executive director of Hollywood Burbank Airport.

Tease photo

Video Links Keyes to Car Buyers

AUTOMOTIVE: Program logs 30 percent conversion rate.

To connect personally with online car shoppers, Keyes Auto Group implements interactive video car tours.

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Sharky’s Puts Money in Plate for Hungry Kids

CHARITY: Restaurant chain’s two-month campaign raises $10,000 for food service.

Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill has completed a two-month campaign to raise $10,000 for No Kid Hungry, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit that connects low-income children with programs that provide meals and nutrition resources.


Calendar of Events

Around the Valleys

News and notes from the greater San Fernando Valley

Historic Calabasas Campus Tries to Rise Again

REDEVELOPMENT: Former headquarters set for facelift and market repositioning.

An internet search of 4500 Park Granada in Calabasas turns up all sorts of interesting things.

Hum of Construction Heard at Valley Hospitals

LIST: Projects range from a rehab clinic to building with half-billion dollar budget.

In growth mode, Valley hospitals expand facilities.

Doctors Counter Allergy Surge With Surgery

MEDICINE: High pollen levels push demand for balloon sinuplasty procedure.

Allergists and doctors concur that this year is one of the worst allergy seasons in Valley history.

Would-Be Composers Can Crib From Music App

SOFTWARE: Students, faculty at Cal Arts collaborate to create Auraglyph.

Unsatisfied with the music-related apps on his new iPad, Spencer Salazar decided that he would make his own.

Friday, May 12

Cheesecake Replaces Retiring CFO

Cheesecake Factory Inc. Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer W. Douglas Benn will retire from his post on July 7, the company announced Friday. He will be succeeded by Matthew Clark, who has served as senior vice president of finance and strategy at the Calabasas restaurant group for more than 11 years.

Investment Firm Acquires TestEquity

Test equipment supplier TestEquity has been sold by its private owner First Atlantic Capital Ltd. to LKCM Headwater Investments.

BlackLine Files for Stock Offering

BlackLine Inc. has filed papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a secondary offering of its common stock, the company announced Friday.

Preview: Kiosks Keep Lights On

Brick-and-mortar retailer Lamps Plus learned to work with the internet instead of against it.

Preview: Dole Ripe for Public Offer?

At age 94, billionaire David Murdock wants to sell the food giant's shares to investors.

Thursday, May 11

Cherokee Beats Expectations for Revenue, Income

Cherokee Global Brands on Thursday released fourth-quarter and full-year results for fiscal 2017 that beat Wall Street expectations for both earnings and revenue.

Tutor Perini Prevails in Court Judgment

Tutor Perini Corp. is slated to receive more than $20 million after the Supreme Court of Nevada upheld a lower court’s ruling that the Sylmar construction firm was entitled to payment related to the construction of a hospitality project in Las Vegas.

Avita Medical Files Patent Infringement Petition

Avita Medical Ltd., a Valencia company that makes regenerative treatments for wounds and skin defects, has filed a petition against a patent owned by competitor New York-based Renovacare Sciences Corp.

SEC Investigates ImmunoCellular

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has accused 27 individuals and businesses of stock fraud, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal, including former ImmunoCellular Therapeutics Ltd. chief executive Manish Singh.

Wednesday, May 10

Entertainment Partners Acquires Affiliates

Entertainment Partners has acquired its Canadian affiliates to unite their entertainment payroll and tax incentive services, the company announced.

MannKind Stock Soars, then Earnings Disappoint

Shares in MannKind Inc. zoomed up 43 percent Wednesday, but after the market closed the company reported that it seriously missed Wall Street expectations for earnings and revenue in the first quarter.

First BYD 60-Foot Electric Bus Rolls in Antelope Valley

The Antelope Valley Transit Authority took delivery this month of its first 60-foot articulated battery-powered bus made by BYD Motors Inc. at its Lancaster plant.

Wesco Misses Financial Targets

Wesco Aircraft Holdings Inc. missed Wall Street estimates on earnings and revenue for the fiscal second quarter.

Tuesday, May 9

Disney Ahead on Earnings

Walt Disney Co. beat Wall Street estimates on earnings but fell short on revenue in the fiscal second quarter.

City Files Charges Against Sun Valley Recycler

The owners of a Sun Valley scrap metal recycler have been charged by the Los Angeles City Attorney for allegedly failing to properly store and dispose of hazardous waste.

Community Foundation Reorganizes

The San Fernando Valley Community Foundation has restructured to become the Community Foundation of the Valleys, or CFV, the nonprofit announced Tuesday.

Chatsworth Industrial Building Sold

A more than 121,000-square-foot industrial building has sold in the San Fernando Valley for an undisclosed price, according to Coldwell Banker Commercial Advisors in Glendale.

Monday, May 8

Salem Posts Q1 Earnings, Announces Debt Offering

Salem Media Group Inc. reported net income and revenue below expectations, and also announced a new debt offering.

Glendale Memorial President Retires

Jack Ivie, president of Glendale Memorial Hospital, will retire June 30.

LTC Meets Wall Street Predictions

LTC Properties Inc. reported first-quarter results Monday that met Wall Street expectations.

Friday, May 5

Palmdale Mayor Investigation May Involve Contractor

The mayor of Palmdale is the subject of an investigation by the Los Angeles County District Attorney office in connection with his work for a consulting firm, according to media reports.

PennyMac Disappoints, Shares Fall

PennyMac Financial Services Inc. in Westlake Village reported first-quarter earnings and revenue Thursday that fell short of analysts’ expectations, causing a 7.5 percent drop in its share price.

CRC Shares Gain Nearly 23 Percent

Shares of California Recourses Corp. rose nearly 23 percent Friday after the company reported its quarterly performance.

BlackLine Narrows Losses

BlackLine Inc. beat Wall Street estimates on earnings and revenue in the first quarter, even though the company lost money.

American Homes Increases Income, Revenue

American Homes 4 Rent, the nation’s largest single-family home landlord, surpassed analysts’ estimates for first-quarter revenue.

Thursday, May 4

CRC Narrows Losses

California Resources Corp. narrowed its losses during its first quarter by more than half, enabling the state’s largest oil and natural gas producer to beat analysts who expected greater losses.

Data Storage Supplier Renews Chatsworth Lease

DataDirect Networks Inc. has renewed its lease for 90,000 square feet in Chatsworth for another three years, said Lee & Associates-LA North/Ventura in Sherman Oaks.

Imaging, Aerospace Help Teledyne Beats Estimates

Teledyne Technologies Inc. beat Wall Street estimates on revenue and adjusted earnings in the first quarter.

Wednesday, May 3

Gelt Subsidiary to Buy Mobile Homes

Tarzana real estate investment firm Gelt Inc. has formed a new company to buy and manage mobile home and recreational vehicle parks.

PizzaRev Launches 'Revolutionary' Campaign

PizzaRev Inc. is ramping up its social media presence this summer with a competition that will end in one lucky winner receiving free pizza for life.

Earnings: Cheesecake, Tutor Perini, Second Sight, MRV

Cheesecake Factory Inc. saw net income jump nearly 5 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2017, but the Calabasas restaurant group still fell short of Wall Street expectations for earnings and revenue.

IMT Sells Granada Hills Complex for Nearly $20 Million

Apartment developer and operator IMT Residential in Sherman Oaks has sold its 52-unit apartment complex in Granada Hills for about $19.5 million, according to Marcus & Millichap Inc. in Calabasas.

Tuesday, May 2

DineEquity Falls Short on Revenue

DineEquity Inc. on Tuesday released first-quarter results that topped Wall Street projections for earnings but fell short on revenue, causing a nearly 5 percent drop in its share price.

Tutor Perini Wins Contracts Worth Nearly $780 Million

Sylmar construction company Tutor Perini Corp. said it has won contracts for four projects with a total value of about $774 million.

Simi Warehouse Sells for Nearly $17 Million

A nearly 139,000-square-foot warehouse has sold in Simi Valley for $16.5 million.

Last-Minute Deal Averts Writers Strike

The Writers Guild of America reached a tentative deal with the Hollywood studios and networks to avoid its members going on strike.

Monday, May 1

Talks Continue to Avoid Writers' Strike

Talks were scheduled to resume on Monday between the Writers Guild of America and the Hollywood movie studios and networks to work out a new contract and prevent a strike, according to media reports.

Simulations Plus Buys Liver Software Firm

Drug simulation software developer Simulations Plus Inc. announced Monday that it is acquiring Dilisym Services Inc. of Research Triangle Park, N.C. in a stock purchase agreement worth up to $10 million.

Wesco Names New Executives

Wesco Aircraft Holding Inc. has named Todd Renehan as its new chief executive and Alex Murray as the new president.

Eco-Cleaner Expands With Cash Infusion

Grab Green will spend $2.5 million on sales and marketing.

Investor dollars mean growth for natural cleaning products startup.

Growth or no Growth?

Southern California’s housing crisis signals to developers that it’s time to build apartments. But some Valley residents’ groups want only projects that won’t increase traffic.

Sherman Oaks and other Valley neighborhoods stand up to development pressure.

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PAGA’s Heavy Price

Employers maintain if they’re flexible with workers, it makes them liable under state labor law.

Lawyers, taking advantage of a regulation, are targeting Valley employers.

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Antelope Valley

Industrial vacancy fell to 0.7 percent during the quarter – a steep fall from 1.6 percent the previous quarter.

Real Estate Quarterly: Santa Clarita Valley

Plenty of lease deals occurred during the quarter, but office vacancy grew during the quarter to 13.6 percent as tenants returned 9,900 square feet to the market.

Real Estate Quarterly: Conejo Valley

Vacancy tightened dramatically to 14.9 percent, down from 17.3 percent the previous quarter as tenants leased 169,300 square feet of space.

Real Estate Quarterly: Burbank and Glendale

Average office leases in Burbank gained 1 cent during the quarter; at $3.18 it’s the most expensive corner of the Valley region.

Real Estate Quarterly: San Fernando Valley

At $2.33 a square foot, office space in the Valley is 31 percent less expensive than the L.A. County average of $3.05.

Brokers See Uptick in Office, Industrial Markets

First-quarter activity and market trends impacting Valley submarkets.

Divorce Lawyers Team to Buy Westside Office

REAL ESTATE: Partners see Silicon Beach as hotbed for high-value breakups.

Divorce attorneys spend their days dividing up assets, but two Woodland Hills lawyers are assembling assets as they just purchased their newest property to better position their practice.

Project Promises Hangars for Camarillo Airport

CONSTRUCTION: Officials hope FAA will contribute to $10 million budget.

Construction is expected to begin this year on the $10 million first phase of a new hangar project at Camarillo Airport.

Battery Test Powers BioSolar Share Price Higher

ELECTRONICS: Silicon-based terminals may extend charges, improve safety.

Positive test results spark stock price jump for battery materials maker BioSolar.

Do-It-Yourself Designers

APPAREL: Fashion firm turns to technology to help customers make their own clothes.

Custom clothing startup offers affluent customers a hand in design.

Coffee Jingle Jazzes Up Music Career

Panorama City artist qualifies as finalist in Folgers ad competition.

Musicians receive positive jolt with coffee jingle success.

‘Chikin’ Chain Plans Nests In the Valley

Atlanta restaurateur eyes prime corner location in West Hills.

‘Mor chikin’ may be coming to the Valley from Chick-fil-A.

Macho Men On Screen At HombreTV

Media startup targets hard-to-reach demo of Hispanic males.

Local entrepreneur hopes to target underserved Hispanic males with new channel.