Venture Capitalists Boost Their Investing

Entrepreneurs found it a little easier to line up investors last year, even though capital still isn't flowing near the pace of the dot-com boom. Venture capital investing rose to a four-year high in 2005, with $22.1 billion invested nationwide. That was a 2 percent increase from 2004. There were 2,239 transactions in 2005, 10 fewer than the previous year, the Los Angeles Times reported. In L.A. County, investment was up $3 million to $704 million on a variety of deals, including $20 million for Siimpel Corp. of Arcadia. More than half the venture capital in Los Angeles County went into information technology. More and smaller deals were done in L.A. last year than in 2004 and about 40 percent of those were seed money or first-round financing transactions.

Condo Tower to Be Built in San Pedro
San Pedro is set to get its first high-rise condominium building as the city's housing boom sweeps into another historic neighborhood. Construction is set to begin on a 16-story tower called Vue. Plans call for 318 units priced from the mid-$300,000s up to $1 million that should be completed by early 2008. The condos in San Pedro's old city center will replace Pacific Trade Center, an 11-story office building, which is owned by Beverly Hills landlord and developer Galaxy Commercial Holding, the Los Angeles Times reported. Galaxy is set to develop the $175-million tower with Carlyle Group, a private equity firm based in Washington. The partners also plan to convert an office tower on Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills into a high-end residential complex.

L.B.'s 'Red Team' Tries to Rescue C-17
A city-led push to help create financial incentives for Boeing's C-17 production plant, and make the plane more appealing to military buyers, takes its efforts to Sacramento today. The Long Beach "red team" of local, state and private representatives will lobby lawmakers to extend the designation of the Boeing plant as an enterprise zone, which would allow tax advantages, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported. In December, the Pentagon said the Air Force has enough C-17s in its system and should focus on new tanker airplanes that also carry cargo and ferry troops. If the Pentagon goes through with its recommendation and Congress decides against C-17 funding in the 2007 defense budget, the program could see its last contracted plane roll off the assembly line in 2008.

Marina del Rey Makeovers Put It on Course Out of 'Time Warp'
Plans to pump glamour back into the Marina and reestablish it as a major attraction for tourists are gaining momentum as major real estate projects there start to hit the market. The county, which owns Marina del Rey, wants the area to become a magnet for locals and tourists the way that Venice and Santa Monica are. The county is urging Marina leaseholders to upgrade their restaurants, shopping centers, hotels and apartments , creating a sense of style that is now lacking. Developers have completed the first of about $1.5 billion of property upgrades, including two shopping center makeovers and two apartment house redevelopments. More than 2,000 apartments are in the process of being replaced with new and additional units, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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