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Daily Business Report — March 26, 2010

March Economic Index Up

The University of San Diego’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County rose 0.1 percent in February. The month saw moderate gains in building permits, initial claims for unemployment insurance and help wanted advertising, as well as a smaller increase in the outlook for the national economy. These outweighed declines in local stock prices and consumer confidence to push the USD Index to its 11th straight monthly increase. February’s gain however was the smallest in those 11 months.

After unprecedented volatility for the last couple of years, the USD Index has “settled down,” with no major change in any component in either direction for the last two months, according to associate economics professor Alan Gin, author of the report. “The outlook then remains for positive but slow growth for the local economy for the year ahead,” said Gin. “The growth may be uneven, with occasional setbacks. One potential problem is the budgetary difficulties faced by the state and by local governments. Due to requirements to have balanced budgets, state and local governments either have to raise taxes or cut jobs and spending or both, which makes a bad economic situation worse.  Other things to keep a watch for are another wave of foreclosures due to the severe job losses in the local economy and weakness in commercial real estate, where a glut of retail and office space is putting pressure on commercial real estate owners and their lenders.”

February’s increase puts the USD Index of Leading Economic Indicators for the county at 107.8, up from January’s revised reading of 107.7.

Commercial Realty Advisers Principals Join Grubb & Ellis

The six principals of Commercial Realty Advisers and a majority of its brokerage professionals have joined Grubb & Ellis Co. to form a new Grubb & Ellis-owned office in San Diego. Joining Grubb & Ellis as senior vice presidents are industry veterans Gregory Albertini, Brent Bohlken, Jeffrey Chasan, Steve Dok, Brandon Keith and Robert Vallera. They will be joined by the majority of Commercial Realty Advisers’ brokers. Grubb & Ellis currently manages about  5 million square feet of property throughout San Diego. Commercial Realty Advisers was created in 2007.  “We formed Commercial Realty Advisers because we were driven to provide our clients with comprehensive real estate solutions and unparalleled client service. By uniting with Grubb & Ellis, we are able to realize this goal,” said Bohlken.

Albertini has more than 24 years of commercial real estate experience, having begun his career in 1986 as a senior vice president at GVA IPC Commercial Real Estate. Bohlken began his real estate career in 1987 at CB Richard Ellis. Chasan joined GVA IPC as executive vice president in 1998, and was the firm’s top producer from 1998 through 2006. Dok specializes in the sale and leasing of all types of health care properties. He began his commercial real estate career in 1986 at the Douglas Allred Co. Keith specializes in office, land and industrial sales and leasing. He began his commercial real estate career in 1994 and joined GVA IPC Commercial Real Estate a year later as senior vice president. Vallera has nearly 30 years of commercial real estate experience to Grubb & Ellis. Prior to founding Commercial Realty Advisers, he spent seven years as a senior vice president/principal at GVA IPC Commercial Real Estate.

Carlsbad High’s New Athletic Stadium Completed

A new athletic stadium at Carlsbad High School has been completed by McCarthy Building Cos. Inc. The stadium is second phase of a three-phased, $86 million construction renovation of the school that McCarthy began in June 2008. Carlsbad High School is among eight schools within the Carlsbad Unified School District being constructed or modernized with funding from Proposition P, a $198 million bond measure passed by voters in 2006. The stadium phase, valued at $13.6 million, included demolition of the existing stadium, installation of underground utility infrastructure and construction of a new 3,900-seat athletic stadium with aluminum bleachers and a synthetic track and field area. The work included construction of a new 10,000-square-foot building that houses locker rooms, restrooms and concession areas. One of the features is a Pop Warner-sponsored scoreboard with state-of-the-art LED technology for animated messaging.

McCarthy will soon break ground on the final phase of the renovation, which involves construction of 11 new permanent education structures. The one- and two-story education buildings will comprise 99,000 square feet of classroom, performing arts, vocational education lab and food service space. Completion is slated for fall 2011.

Perkins+Will is the project architect for the entire modernization project.  Other design consultants include John A. Martin & Associates, structural engineer; Leighton Engineering, geotechnical engineer; Cornerstone Engineering Inc., civil engineer; Johnson Consulting Engineers Inc., electrical engineer; Donn C. Gilmore & Associates, mechanical engineer; and Lightfoot Planning Group as the landscape architect. The Planning Center provided the Environmental Impact Report. Gafcon is the program manager. Erik Reuter is serving as director of school construction on behalf of the school district.

SCS Engineers Finish Scoping Work at former Pearson Ford Site

SCS Engineers has completed environmental assessment, abatement, demolition and remediation activities at the former Pearson Ford automobile sales and service facility in San Diego. The site was previously developed with 10 buildings, which included an auto body shop building, service bay building, parts warehouse building and various buildings used as offices. The previous owners and new buyers of the property chose to work with SCS and enter the Voluntary Assistance Program with the county Department of Environmental Health. Although specific redevelopment plans for the site are not known at this time, it is likely that the site will be redeveloped into a mixed-use project comprised of commercial, residential, and park uses. Ryan Marcos of SCS served as project manager, Daniel Johnson served as project director and Robert Gutzler served as lead geologist. Other SCS team members included Chris Spengler, Andy Zahurak, Cristobal Ramirez and Ralph Vasquez.

San Diego Receiver Appointed for Barn Lofts in L.A.

Douglas Wilson Cos. has been appointed receiver for the 39-unit Barn Lofts, an adaptive reuse condominium development in downtown Los Angeles encumbered by a $19.6 million loan. The company will oversee the final piece of construction on the conversion of the 57,703-square-foot brick and steel A-frame structure built in 1906 as a warehouse for the Spreckels Brothers Sugar Co. “The project was 90 percent completed when the developer/owner went into default,” said CEO Douglas P. Wilson. “Our job is to protect and maintain this unique asset while completing construction and preparing the units to go to sale.”

San Diego Receivers Forum Panel Talk Set For April 7

The San Diego Receivers Forum will present a panel discussion on “Acquiring Assets During Receivership” at its quarterly luncheon program April 7 at the Marina Village Conference Center’s Captain’s Room, 1930 Quiviera Way, in San Diego. Lunch is at 11:30 a.m. and the program lasts from noon to 2 p.m. The discussion will focus on how to effectively acquire an asset in receivership, how to preserve the value of real estate assets and the funding of such assets. Panelists include Jason Hull, managing director, commercial real estate, Trigild; Maria Kunac, president and chief lending officer, Embarcadero Bank; Jim Taylor, senior vice president, Sperry Van Ness; and Allan Wasserman, senior vice president of Fidelity National Title Insurance. Gordon Dunfee, receiver, will be the moderator. Day-of-event tickets are $45 for members, $50 for nonmembers and $35 for government employees. Discounts of $10 available for advance tickets.  For information, call (949) 497-3673, Ext. 620.

Hilton Garden Inn San Diego/Del Mar Fills 3 Top Slots

The Hilton Garden Inn San Diego/Del Mar has a new general manager, a new assistant general manager and a new director of sales. Matt Seamons is the general manager, who was promoted from assistant G.M. Seamons received a bachelor’s degree from  the Marriott School of Management at Brigham Young University in 2003 and was recruited to San Diego to begin his hospitality career with Marriott. He worked as the restaurant manager at the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina Downtown. Two years later, he was promoted to be the senior assistant controller for the property. Three years later, he was recruited by Managing Partner Robert Rauch to become assistant general manager of the Hilton Garden Inn.

Amy Buitenhek, the assistant G.M., started as an intern at the Homewood Suites by Hilton, San Diego/Del Mar, and was promoted to be a front desk agent. She later was named human resources coordinator. When the Hilton Garden Inn San Diego/Del Mar opened in April 2008, she was promoted to human resources manager for both properties. Buitenhek has a bachelor’s degree from San Diego State.

Viera Kovalejva, director of sales, has more than 10 years of diverse hotel experience at the Hilton Garden Inn, San Diego/ Del Mar. While she started as a guest services representative at the Hilton Garden Inn, Carlsbad, Kovalejva, has experience at the Four Seasons, Encinitas Inn & Suites, The Hilton San Diego Resort and Win Time Hotels.

Business Meetings

April 2

COFFEE WITH CCDC: Staff of the Centre City Development Corp. hosts “Coffee with CCDC,” an informal session to discuss upcoming projects and new developments Downtown. Topics include parks, open space and recreation opportunities, waterfront revitalization, affordable housing, business attraction programs. 8 a.m., Downtown Information Center, 193 Horton Plaza, above CVC Pharmacy.

SEMINAR: National Association of Women Business Owners San Diego continues its monthly seminar series. Angie Swartz of Square Martini Media will present “Using LinkedIn as a Marketing Tool.” Noon to 1 p.m., Brandman University, 7460 Mission Valley Road, San Diego. NAWBO San Diego members free, nonmembers $25. Box lunches provided. Online reservations at nawbo-sd.org.

April 13

PANEL PROGRAM: The cost and legal ramifications of the proposed California High Speed Rail system will be discussed at a program sponsored by the Urban Land Institute San Diego/Tijuana. 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the University Club, 750 B St., in Downtown San Diego. Panelists: John Chalker, member of the California Transit Commission; Steve DeBaum, partner with Best Best & Krieger; and Job Nelson, director of intergovernmental relations for the San Diego Mayor’s Office. Moderator: Jose Martinez, regional program manager for the California High Speed Rail Authority. $40 for ULI members, $50 for nonmembers. To register, call (800) 321-5011 or visit ulisd.org.

April 20

PRESENTATION: Juval Aviv, president and CEO of Interfor Inc., will discuss some of the major financial fraud cases he has investigated during 30 years in the corporate investigations field, including personal anecdotes. Sponsor: Association for Corporate Growth (ACG) San Diego. 7 a.m. registration, 9 a.m. program, Doubletree Hotel Hazard Center, 7450 Hazard Center Drive, SanDiego. Free for ACG members, $50 for nonmembers. Make reservations at acteva.com.

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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