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Daily Business Report — Feb. 24, 2010

Housing Commission to Purchase Downtown’s Sanford Hotel

The San Diego Housing Commission received approval Tuesday from the San Diego Housing Authority to acquire the 130-room Sanford Hotel at 1301 Fifth Ave. in Downtown to preserve it as affordable housing for low-income seniors. The Centre City Development Corp. will loan about $6 million to the Housing Commission for the four-story building, which was built in 1914. It is the first time that the Housing Commission and CCDC have worked together on a property acquisition. The commission will buy the hotel for $6.8 million and invest another $5.3 million in renovations. The nine-month rehab work, expected to begin before the end of the year, includes seismic retrofit improvements, repairs to exterior walls and windows, and interior upgrades such as new carpet, new paint, and new bathroom fixtures.

The Housing Commission generated the capital funds to complete the acquisition by borrowing against a portion of the equity from its $140 million real estate portfolio. That portfolio is made up of former public housing units, of which the agency gained full ownership as a result of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The building, which was designated as a historic structure in 1989, is a single-room occupancy (SRO) hotel, where rooms typically are rented long-term at low cost to one individual. In addition to the three floors of hotel rooms, the site has 7,663 square feet of first-floor commercial retail space and an 18,275-square-foot basement. The land is owned by a nonprofit group, the Downtown Senior Center Corp. The building is owned by a limited partnership, Senior Fifth Avenue Associates-Sandford.

By buying the hotel, the commission will ensure it remains accessible to low-income tenants, who are primarily seniors. Tenants currently pay an average rent of $433 a month for rooms that range from 86 to 150 square feet that have private bathrooms, but no kitchens. While renovations are underway, tenants will be temporarily relocated to vacant rooms within the building. To minimize the disruption to tenants, the rehab work will be done in phases of 10 to 15 rooms.The rent will remain the same for existing residents. As tenant turnover occurs, new residents will pay slightly higher but still affordable rents.

Typical Household Spending in San Diego Matches National Average

Households in the San Diego metropolitan area spent an average of $51,159 each per year in 2007-2008, according to results from the Consumer Expenditure Survey released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Regional Commissioner Richard J. Holden noted that this figure was similar to the $50,063 average expenditure level for a typical household in the United States. Households in the San Diego area, however, tended to allocate their dollars differently from the U.S. average in seven of the eight major categories. Only the expenditure for apparel and services, which accounted for 3.8 percent of a typical household’s budget in the San Diego area, was similar to the nationwide average of 3.7 percent.

Housing:

Spending on housing in the San Diego averaged $22,562 per household annually and was the largest expenditure category, accounting for 44.1 percent of a typical San Diego area household’s total budget. This share was significantly higher than the 34.0 percent national average. Overall, 11 of the 18 published metropolitan areas had expenditure shares for housing measurably above the U.S. average; only Houston had a lower-than-average share. Among the 18 areas, housing shares ranged from 44.1 percent in San Diego to 32.4 percent in Houston.

The majority of housing expenditures in San Diego went towards shelter, 69.9 percent, which includes mortgage interest, property taxes, repairs and rent, among other items; nationwide, 59.4 percent of the housing budget was allocated for shelter. Utilities, fuels, and public services expenses accounted for 12.7 percent of the housing budget locally, well below the national average of 20.9 percent. The rate of homeownership in San Diego, at 53 percent, was less than the U.S. average of 67 percent.

Transportation:

At 12.8 percent of the total budget, transportation was the second-largest expenditure category in the San Diego area; this was significantly below the national average of 17.3 percent. Among the 18 metropolitan areas nationwide, only Phoenix, Houston and Detroit had transportation shares that were significantly above the national average. Among the remaining areas, 10 had significantly lower shares than the U.S. average, the lowest being San Diego, followed by New York at 13.9 percent.

Of the $6,556 in annual expenditures for transportation per household in San Diego, 92.2 percent was spent buying and maintaining private vehicles; this compared to the national average of 94.0 percent. The remaining 7.8 percent of a typical San Diego household’s transportation budget was spent on public transit, which includes fares for taxis, buses, trains, and planes; this was close to the U.S. average of 6.0 percent. The average number of vehicles per household in San Diego (1.5) was lower than the national average (1.9).

The portion of a typical San Diego household’s budget spent on food, 10.9 percent, was significantly less than the 12.6-percent U.S. average. However, among the 18 metropolitan areas, 11 had food expenditure shares that were not measurably different from the nationwide average. Detroit (14.3 percent) was the only area with an expenditure share for food significantly above that for the nation.

Food:

A typical household in San Diego spent $3,087, or 55.6 percent, of its food dollars on food prepared at home and the remaining 44.4 percent on food prepared away from home, such as restaurant meals, carry-out, board at school and catered affairs. In comparison, the typical U.S. household spent 57.3 percent of its food budget on food prepared at home and 42.7 percent on food prepared away from home.

Data for the four geographic regions and the United States are available online at www.bls.gov/cex/tables.htm.

SOHO Seeks Preservation Awards Nominations

Save Our Heritage Organisation is seeking nominations for its 2010 People In Preservation Awards, a program that recognizes notable achievements in historic preservation throughout the San Diego region. The postmark deadline for nominations is March 18. Winners will be presented during the People in Preservation Awards on May 21, location to be announced. The People in Preservation Awards began in 1983 to acknowledge excellence in the protection and revitalization of San Diego County historic, architectural and cultural resources. “By honoring those who have invested in San Diego’s future by preserving its historic sites, SOHO hopes to further encourage and raise awareness of the important role San Diegans play in the preservation of our heritage,” said Bruce Coons, SOHO executive director. Nomination forms can be downloaded at SOHOsandiego.org/PIP/index.htm.

Ad Club to Hear Report on Online Video

The San Diego Advertising Club will present “Leveraging Online Video,” a morning seminar on this trend in consumer media consumption. It will be held from 8 to 10 a.m. on Friday (Feb. 26) at theCourtyard by Marriott Hotel, 595 Hotel Circle South, in Mission Valley. The speakers will includeBekah Christie of Christie Media, Joe Russo of 23D, Chris Karcher of Emota, Santino Sladavic of Shilo and producer Sunny Gault. Additional discussion topics will include innovative ways to produce cost-effective video, new technologies, conversion and SEO and the value of online video in the marketplace. Cost to attend is $35 for Ad Club members and $45 for nonmembers with reservations. For reservations, visit sandiegoadclub.com or phone (619) 255-2281.

How to Grow Your Business With Social Media

Web content strategist Shelly Bowen will talk on “Virtual Storytelling: How to Grow Your Business with Social Media,” at a March 18 program sponsored by SD/PEN, the San Diego Professional Editors Network. The free program will be at 6:30 p.m. at the Joyce Beers Community Centerin the Uptown Shopping Center in Hillcrest. Drawing on real-life examples, Bowen will demonstrate how free Websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can be used to promote one’s business and to attract potential customers, clients and partners. Bowen is principal of Pybop LLC, a content strategy consultancy that develops customized Web content strategies for companies. Prior to that she worked as the vice president of content at a consumer health information Website and was principal Web editor at a company providing business and financial management solutions.

Mahoney Relocates to La Jolla for Colliers International

Michael Mahoney has relocated from the North County office of Colliers International to the La Jolla office as an associate vice president, where he will focus on the leasing and sales of industrial and office properties in the various central county markets. Mahoney started with Colliers International in 2003 and worked with Jim Spain and Josh McFadyen in the Oceanside and surrounding North County markets. He graduated from the University of Arizona with a double major in financing and marketing.

Jesse Lowe Named Associate Director

Jesse Lowe has been appointed associate director of Cushman & Wakefield’s Retail Advisors. Lowe, who has been with the Cushman & Wakefield Capital Markets/Finance Group since 1997, will oversee debt solutions, track distressed loan opportunities in California, Nevada and Arizona and facilitate note sales transactions and debt origination. During his career with Cushman & Wakefield and Burnham Real Estate, the latter of which was acquired by Cushman & Wakefield in 2008, he received numerous awards for his performance, including “Rookie of the Year” in 2002.

Business Datebook

Feb. 25

PANEL: A panel discussion of the Barrio Logan community plan update — the first in a series — will be held from 7:30 to 9:15 a.m. in the Harborside Room of the Holiday Inn Embarcadero, 1355 North Harbor Drive in Downtown San Diego. Discussion will focus on the planning process and the roles of the city and citizens. Cost for the continental breakfast and program is $20 for members and $30 for nonmembers. Cost at the door is $35 for all. Student admission is $10. For reservations, call (619) 232-7196.

Feb. 27

WORKSHOP: The San Diego chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers sponsors a “Day with Designers,” a public workshop to provide information on practical interior design basics and how to select an interior designer, among other tips. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Art Institute, 7650 Mission Valley Road, San Diego. Advanced tickets available for $35 by visiting ASIDSanDiego.org. Tickets at the door are $45. For more information, call (858) 646-9896.

March 4

WORKSHOP: The Asian Business Association will present its latest Pacific Rim Entrepreneur Series, “Doing Business With Sempra Energy Utilities-SDG&E and Southern Cal Gas,” 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Courtyard Marriott, 8651 Spectrum Center Blvd., San Diego. Keynote speakers: Caroline Winn, director of Supply Management, and Carolina Herrera, director of Diverse Business Enterprises. Cost for ABA and partner members, $10; nonmembers pay $15. To reserve, call (858) 277-2822, Ext. 102, or visit abasd.org.

March 6

FORUM: “Doing Business in a Difficult Time,” a forum presented by the Southeastern Economic Development Corp. for small businesses. 9 a.m. to noon, SEDC offices, 4393 Imperial Ave., San Diego. Will include information on enterprise zone tax advantages, storefront improvement program, loan programs and marketing. $10 cost includes breakfast. For reservations, call (619) 527-7345.

March 17

BREAKFAST MEETING: Influenza experts will discuss lessons learned from the swine flu pandemic at BIOCOM’s monthly breakfast meeting, 7 to 9 a.m., Hyatt Regency La Jolla, 3777 La Jolla Village Drive, San Diego. Speakers: Brian Plew, head of public health, Life Technologies; Larry R. Smith, v.p., vaccine research, Vical Inc.; John D. Tamerius, senior v.p., clinical and regulatory affairs, Quidel Corp. For information, call Valerie Sanderson (858) 455-0300, Ext. 112.

March 18

MEETING: Web content strategist Shelly Bowen, principal of Pybop LLC, will speak on “Virtual Story Telling: How to Grow Your Business with Social Media,” at the meeting of the San Diego Professional Editors Network (SD/PEN), 6:30 p.m., Joyce Beers Community Center, Uptown Shopping Center, Hillcrest. Free and open to nonmembers. For more information, call (619) 281-6951 or visit sdpen.com. $45 for BIOCOM members, $90 for nonmembers.

The Daily Business Report is produced by REP Publishing Inc., publisher of San Diego Metropolitan Magazine, the North Park News, Kensington News and the West Coast Craftsman. (619) 906-4104.

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We Want Your Opinions on San Diego’s Big Issues In the coming months, Probosky Research (one of California’s leading opinion research firms) will continue its partnership with SD METRO to survey San Diego residents about topics of interest to our readers. We’d like to throw open the door for suggestions for topics. What do you want to know? What do you think you know, but aren’t sure? What are you certain you know, but want to prove it beyond doubt? Ideally, we’d like to see questions that have to do with public policy.

Some areas may include Mayor Filner’s first 100 days job performance, should the city be responsible for economic growth and the creation of new jobs, how important are infrastructure improvements to our daily lives (streets and bridges, etc.), how important is water independence, how satisfied are residents with public transit or how do city residents value Balboa Park and other open spaces? Do you believe the City Council should revive the Plaza de Panama plan for Balboa Park?

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