Real estate Alliance to build 75-unit project

In another development for Seattle's fast-changing Cascade neighborhood, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance has announced plans to build a 75-unit project to house families of cancer patients undergoing treatment through the alliance.

The alliance — a partnership of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, UW Medical Center and Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center — paid $2.2 million for about a third of an acre at the northwest corner of Pontius Avenue and John Street, in a deal that closed Tuesday. The price works out to about $156 a square foot.

The seller was Vulcan Real Estate, which owns about 60 acres in the Cascade and South Lake Union neighborhoods.

The alliance runs the 70-unit Pete Gross House for patients and families, but spokesman Dean Forbes said more housing is needed near the alliance's treatment centers.

Construction on the project could begin in 2007.


Sales in June

increase 7 percent

Starbucks, the largest U.S. coffee-shop chain, said June sales at stores open more than a year rose 7 percent. Analysts, however, had been expecting an increase of 7.8 percent.

Total sales increased 20 percent to $620 million in the five-week period ended July 3, Seattle-based Starbucks said yesterday.

The company said April 27 that same-store sales would rise during the remainder of the fiscal year at the top end of its forecast of 3 percent to 7 percent, or "slightly above the high end of that range." Comparable sales rose 10 percent last year.

Starbucks' shares fell $1.40, or 2.7 percent, to $50.58 yesterday. The June sales news, released after the close of regular stock trading, pushed the stock down an additional 13 cents to $50.45 in after-hours trading.

Seattle Genetics

Firm stops work

on cancer drug

Seattle Genetics said yesterday it has stopped developing SGN-15, an antibody drug candidate for lung cancer, and will shift its resources into other drugs and second-generation technologies.

The company also said results from a clinical trial suggested that giving SGN-15 three days before Taxotere, a chemotherapy drug, worked better than giving the drugs at the same time.

Still, Chief Executive Clay Siegall said the anti-tumor effects were not compelling enough to commit an estimated $50 million of the company's $100 million cash reserves toward a pivotal clinical trial.

Siegall said the company will concentrate its resources on two other drugs in clinical testing, SGN-30 and SGN-40, and others in animal testing. Seattle Genetics may sell rights to SGN-15 to another company.

The company has invested less than $10 million in SGN-15 to date, Siegall said.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff and Bloomberg News


Pacific Northwest


Vibren assets open

some new avenues

Bellevue-based Bsquare, which helps develop handheld devices, said it acquired some of the assets of Vibren Technologies, a subsidiary of NEC System Technologies of Japan and NEC Solutions America for $500,000 plus certain liabilities.

With the acquisition, which closed June 30, Bsquare acquired software; customer relationships at Intel, Texas Instruments and Microsoft; product royalty streams; and marketing channels. Bsquare also hired eight sales and engineering personnel from Vibren's Akron, Ohio, facility. Vibren is no longer serving the embedded-systems market.

Bsquare's stock traded up 8 cents yesterday to close at 67 cents.

Nextel Communications

Company says terms

of deal are being met

Nextel Communications, which is being acquired by Sprint, said it is meeting obligations to affiliate Nextel Partners, responding to a complaint filed in New York state court.

Kirkland-based Nextel Partners asked the court to prevent Nextel Communications from making any change in its brand identity until the companies can resolve a dispute over their joint venture.

Nextel and Sprint are devising a marketing strategy to follow the $35 billion acquisition, which should be completed by Sept. 30. Nextel Partners said it has been excluded from integration talks and that sales will fall unless it can re-brand at the time of the acquisition.

"We feel like we've fully complied with our obligations to date," Nextel Communications spokesman Russell Wilkerson said. "We continue to refine our post-merger branding strategy and we believe it will be fully compliant."


Ballmer, CEO discuss

French partnership

Microsoft and France Telecom, Europe's second-biggest phone company, will jointly develop a range of handsets and work together on a system to combine voice, video and data services over fixed and mobile networks.

The companies will combine technology and software. The chief executive officers of the two companies said at a news conference in Paris that the companies also will work on a range of cordless and cellular phones that can carry calls over the Internet.

"Either we are partners or we have the potential to be rivals," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said. "For us, France Telecom is unique. It is a research and development company. Most telcos are not."

France Telecom Chief Executive Didier Lombard is merging telephone, Internet and mobile offerings under the Orange brand as part of a three-year program called NExT, an acronym for New Experience in Telecom services. He aims to increase the number of fixed-line broadband customers to 12 million by the end of 2008.

Nation / World


Actor's company

wins Intel investment

Intel said yesterday that it has invested in a movie company formed by Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman that will encourage Internet-based distribution of films.

Newly formed ClickStar will push for movies to be released on the Web while they're being shown in theaters, Intel vice president Kevin Corbett said. He wouldn't say how much Intel will invest.

The company, formed by Freeman and producer Lori McCreary, would urge producers to release films via the Internet to "digital entertainment devices" before they are sold on digital video disc, or DVD. By ensuring that movies are delivered securely to fee-paying customers before they can be disseminated illegally, the method would inhibit piracy, McCreary said.


Spyware worries

prompt caution

Internet users worried about spyware and adware are shunning specific Web sites, avoiding file-sharing networks, even switching browsers. Many have also stopped opening e-mail attachments without first making sure they are safe, the Pew Internet and American Life Project said in a study issued yesterday.

According to Pew, 48 percent of adult Internet users in the United States have stopped visiting specific Web sites that they fear might be harboring unwanted programs.

Twenty-five percent stopped using file-sharing software, which often comes bundled with programs to display ads that subsidize its development. In addition, 81 percent have become more cautious about e-mail attachments, a common way for spreading viruses, though rare for spyware or adware.

Portland General Electric

Bond sale OK'd

in bid for utility

The Portland City Council unanimously authorized a $3 billion bond sale yesterday to raise funds for its sought-after purchase of Enron's Portland General Electric utility.

The ordinance authorizes the bond sale should the acquisition occur, but a separate vote would be required before the bonds could actually be issued.

The city is seeking to buy the utility from Houston-based Enron, expecting to stimulate the local economy by cutting power rates. Enron, a natural-gas trader that went bankrupt in 2001, is considering issuing shares in the utility to its creditors, which would convert Portland General into an independent company.

Portland opened acquisition talks with Enron on April 21 after state regulators blocked a $1.4 billion sale of Portland General to Texas Pacific Group on concern that electricity rates would rise.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff, Bloomberg News and

The Associated Press.