Amid the aislesof anunconventionalSodo store,shoppers canfind everydaytools. Or theycan just gawk atthe high-end,low-techindustrialproducts.TOMORROW
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Stocksfell for the second straightday after warnings fromseveral homebuilders raisedinvestors’ concerns aboutan economic slowdown.
The HarrisWashington 100:
Amazon.com Inc. sharesfell $1.07 to close at$29.73. The Internetretailer ended months of speculation on Thursdaywhen it launched a digitalmovie downloadingservice.
Possible deal with Lay estate:
The LaborDepartment proposed a $12 million agreement on Thursdaywith the estate of Kenneth Lay, the deceased founder of Enron Corp., to settle claimsinvolving mismanagement of workers’ pension plans. Theproposed settlement on behalf of participants covered by Enron’spension plans is subject to approvalby the U.S. District Court for theSouthern District of Texas, thedepartment said. Even if thesettlement is approved, it is unclearwhether all of the money wouldultimately be collected. The money would flow to theparticipants in Enron’s pension plans, a Labor Departmentlawyer said.
OMEROS CORP. didn’t haveto look far to find its firstacquisition. After all, the Seattlebiotechnology company hasbeen subleasing laboratory space at Nura Inc.’s offices onFirst Hill for the past two years.The close quarters allowedOmeros to get an inside look atsome of the cutting-edgeresearch going on at Nura,including experimentaltreatments for schizophrenia,Parkinson’s disease and sleepdisorders. And it led to Omerosannouncing Thursday that it was buying Nura in a cash andstock deal.“The company is notunknown to us,” said OmerosChief Executive Gregory Demopulos. “We know thescience, we know the scientists, we know the company, and weknow the investors.” As part of the deal, Arch Venture Partners, Aravis Venture and Novartis VentureFund – three of the originalinvestors in Nura’s $9.5 million venture round – are making a“substantial investment” inOmeros. And Jean-PhilippeTripet of Aravis Venture will join the company’s board.Demopulos declined todisclose the amount of financing from the new
My sister-in-law isthinking of signing up for adoor-to-door cosmetic company.She has to buy $1,000 worth of product to get started. I neverheard of this company before.They say she can earn $16,000amonth if she signs up herfriends and family members assales reps, which I don’t want todo. She has two young childrenand can’t afford to lose thismoney. What do you think?
I’m sure you’ve seen theChinese symbol representing yin and yang: It’s a circleenclosing an interlocking,black-and-white S. It’s adistinctive image thatrepresents the ancient Taoistexplanation of why thingshappen. According to Taoistphilosophy, nothing is entirely black (“yin”) or white (“yang”).What does this have to do with your sister-in-law’sdecision to join a multilevelmarketing, or MLM, sales force?Plenty!Taoists believe that both the yin and the yang elements arepresent in every situation. So while we would like to believethat a new venture only hasupside, we’re reminded thatrisk is present, too.
The darkside of pyramidsales
Microsoft Corp. warnedThursday that unresolved anti-trust questions may cause it todelay Windows Vista’s Europe-an debut – a declaration thatprompted a new public squab-ble with regulators there.With time winding down tothe release of the new PC oper-ating system, Microsoft says it isstill waiting for the EuropeanCommission to respond defini-tively to the company’s propos-als for resolving antitrust con-cerns raised by the commission.“Once we receive the com-mission’s response, we willknow whether the commissionis seeking additional productdesign changes that will resultin delay in Europe,” the compa-ny said Thursday.But the commission calledMicrosoft’s assertions mislead-ing and disputed the implicationthat the commission would be toblame if Microsoft opts to delay the operating system’s Europe-an debut. The commission willprovide guidance, but it’s ulti-mately Microsoft’s responsibil-ity to ensure that its productcomplies with European law,said Jonathan Todd, a spokes-man for the commission.The commission “is ready togive guidance to Microsoft” onantitrust issues related to Vista,Todd said in a statement. How-ever, he added, “it is not up tothe commission to give Micro-soft a definitive ‘green light’ be-fore Vista is put on the market.”He said European Competi-tion Commissioner Neelie Kroesgave that message “very clearly”to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer when they spoke last month.The current dispute followsthe commission’s 2004 rulingthat Microsoft illegally lever-aged the dominance of existingWindows versions to give itself an unfair advantage in othersoftware markets.The company says it wantsto avoid those types of problemsthis time around by making surein advance that the new featuresin Windows Vista pass muster with European officials.“We’re trying to do every-thing we can to resolve this situ-
Vista may be delayed in EU
Microsoft warns antitrustquestions may be to blame
BY TODD BISHOP
Target and Lowe’s plan to an-chor a new commercial center inthe International District, if theSeattle City Council approvesneeded comprehensive plan andzoning changes.Under a deal with TRF Pacificand Ravenhurst Development,Goodwill would turn over about8acres around South Lane Streetto the developers, who wouldcombine that land with two oth-er parcels, for a total of 10.25acres. The developers wouldbuild a four-storyGoodwill cen-ter, along with about 600,000
Goodwill site planscall for stores, homes
InternationalDistrict would get Target, Lowe’s
S. Weller St.S. Lane St.S. Dearborn St.
1 2 t h A v e . S .
R a i n i e r A v e . S .
BY AUBREY COHEN
Washington Mutual Inc.said it is dealing with a toughinterest rate environment,softening housing prices, anovercrowded mortgage busi-ness and overall economic un-certainty by placing less em-phasis on residential homelending, pulling back on thenumber of branches it opens,closing others and continuingto cut employment.The Seattle-based consum-er bank and home lender stillhopes to post double-digit per-centage annual earnings-per-share increases through 2009by relying on growth in its re-tail banking and credit cardsegments, and by continuingto pare expenses, WaMu Chief Executive Kerry Killinger saidThursday.“This is a growth company,but we’re a cyclical growthcompany,” Killinger said in aninterview following the com-pany’s two-day investor con-ference. WaMu’s goal is to bepositioned “to really benefit when the interest rate environ-ment improves.”The investor conference was held amid considerablequestions about the directionand health of the economy generally and housing marketsin particular, and what mighthappen to home lenders suchas WaMu and their customersshould the economy sour,home prices tumble and loandelinquencies rise. That un-ease may be reflected in Wa-Mu’s stock price, which closedThursday at $41.47 a share,down 93 cents; it had tradedabove $46 a share earlier this year.
WaMu cuts expenses,eases off home lending
BY BILL VIRGIN
ATom Cruise look-alike sits onamotorcycle, wearing sunglassesat night, ignoring the lightly dressed women turning him into acool sandwich. Another hipster lounges withtwo bikini babes on a rooftop deck.This could be you, guys – or atleast that seems to be the messageof the Web site for Onyx condomin-iums on Capitol Hill.The pitch for the Onyx is per-haps the most flamboyant exampleof the increasingly elaborate ef-forts by condo marketers to standout from a thickening crowd.“There’s a lot of competition,”said Roger Nyhus of Nyhus Com-munications, which markets many condos, though not Onyx. “The ad- vertising is really kind of an oppor-tunity to break through the clutterand connect with your buyers.”Back in the 1980s, marketingcondos was about selling a productseen as the “poor stepchild” of houses, said Leslie Williams of Wil-liams Marketing. These days it’smore about touting a particularlifestyle to a particular demo-graphic, Williams and Nyhus said.Places with views show peoplelooking over Elliott Bay. Olive 8downtown stresses the conve-niences available at the hotel in thebuilding. Enso, in South Lake Un-ion, highlights the organic producethat will be available in the WholeFoods supermarket going in across
ACONDO – AND A LIFESTYLE, TOO
Real estate agents Marco Kronen, right, and Josh Good, second from right, show clients Chad Kim, second from left, and Aaron Lee, left, the scale model ofSouth Lake Union at Vulcan’s Discovery Center. Vulcan uses the center to market the neighborhood and its apartment and condo projects, including Enso.
Polishing up the real estate pitch
The Web siteOnyxcondominiumson Capitol Hillis perhaps themostflamboyantexample of theincreasinglyelaborateefforts bycondomarketers tostand out fromathickeningcrowd.
BY AUBREY COHEN