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Daily Business Report — April 13, 2010

40 Under 40 Nominations

Nominations are now open for San Diego Metropolitan Magazine’s 11th annual 40 Under 40 awards. The nomination period ends May 31. The honorees will be feted at our annual luncheon on Sept. 9 at the San Diego Convention Center and profiled in the September issue of the magazine. Visit for a nomination form.

UCSD Poet Wins Pulitzer Prize

UCSD poet Rae Armantrout has won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for poetry for “Versed” (Wesleyan University Press). The Pulitzer Prize for poetry recognizes “a distinguished volume of original verse by an American author” and comes with a prize of $10,000. The author’s 10 collection of poems, “Versed,” was cited as “a book striking for its wit and linguistic inventiveness, offering poems that are often little thought-bombs detonating in the mind long after the first reading.” “I’m stunned,” said Armantrout on receiving news of the award. “This was not on my radar screen at all. Tomorrow is my birthday, and this was a very nice birthday present.” “Versed” also won the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award and was selected as a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award. A professor of writing and literature at UCSD for more than two decades, Armantrout heads up the Department of Literature’s writing section and is the author of 10 books of poetry, including “Versed,” “Next Life,” “Up to Speed” and “Veil: New and Selected Poems.”

San Diego Home Sales on the Rise

Home sales in San Diego continued their upward pace in March with an overall 36 percent increase since February, the San Diego Association of Realtors reported. It said sales increased by 7.5 percent since March 2009. Sales of detached properties increased 3.7 percent and attached property sales increased 15 percent compared to this time last year.

Median sales prices also continue to trend upward, according to the association. The median sales price for detached homes increased 7.3 percent, while attached homes increased 4.6 percent since February. When comparing median sales price to March 2009, the increase is 22 percent for detached and 28 for attached, for an overall 20 percent increase in the county since last year.

The March statistics also show that properties are spending slightly less time on the market compared to February 2010 and March 2009.

“We are not surprised to see these numbers,” said 2010 SDAR President Mark Marquez. “Spring is typically a busier time in the real estate market. The additional benefit of the federal homebuyer tax credit and low interest rates clearly factored in to the increased sales. The federal tax credit will end on April 30, but the recently enacted California homebuyer tax credit should provide encouragement to any potential buyers. The remainder of April leaves a very small window for Californians to take advantage of both credits, so we anticipate that April statistics will show similar increases as we saw in March.”


Total Sold Listings Comparing March 2010 to February 2010

Detached: 36 percent increase

March = 1,733 — February = 1,274

Attached: 35.7 percent increase

March = 961 — February = 708

Total Sold Listings Comparing March 2010 to March 2009

Detached: 3.7 percent increase

March 2010 = 1,733 — March 2009 = 1,671

Attached: 15 percent increase

March 2010 = 961 — March 2009 = 836

Median Sales Price Comparing March 2010 to February 2010

Detached:  7.3 percent increase

March = $397,000 — February = $370,000

Attached: 4.6 percent increase

March = $225,000 — February = $215,000

Median Sales Price Comparing March 2010 to March 2009

Detached:  22 percent increase

March 2010 = $397,000  March 2009 = $325,000

Attached:  28 percent increase

March 2010 = $225,000  March 2009 = $175,750

Law Firm Purchases Space in Downtown’s Sapphire Tower

Sapphire Tower

The San Diego law firm Navigato & Battin has purchased a 2,792-square-foot office condominium in Sapphire Tower in Downtown San Diego for $603,701. The law firm intends to move from its current location at 501 West Broadway Downtown into the new space (Suite CU-2) this summer. The firms specializes in business formation and corporate governance, construction claims, employment relations, insurance law disputes, real estate and trade secrets.

Sapphire Tower, located at 755 West A St. in the Columbia District, is a 32-story mixed-use building. The building offers 8,300 square feet of office space along with 1,800 square feet of retail space and 96 residential condominiums. It was completed in 2008 by Centurion Partners and Avion Development and has  fitness center, steam rooms, sundeck, pool and spa, gated parking, 24-hour lobby attendant and clubroom. Sapphire Tower was designed by Austin Veum Robbins Partners.

David Maxwell, Bill Shrader and Corinna Gattasso of the Cushman & Wakefield Urban Property Group represented the seller, CW San Diego Towers Sapphire LLC, in the transaction. Navigato & Battin was represented by Ryan Jessee of Downtown San Diego Real Estate.

Sudberry Adds 10 New Retail Tenants

The Sudberry Family of Companies, a San Diego-based commercial real estate developer, has added 10 new tenants to its retail space in the San Diego region — six of them restaurants. The new leases increase both of the company’s Mission Valley centers — Fenton Marketplace and Rio Vista shopping — to 100 percent occupancy. All Sudberry centers are now more than 90 percent leased, said George Yermanos, vice president and director of property management. “I think San Diego is starting to see new interest in retail and perhaps a turnaround in the restaurant business, which have been positive indicators for our economy over the years,” said Yermanos.

The 10 new leases:

Surf Brothers Teriyaki, a 1,080-square-foot  teriyaki chicken and beef restaurant that started in Encinitas 20 years ago, added a new restaurant in Sudberry’s Rio Vista Shopping Center in Mission Valley.

Luna Grill, a 1,800-square-foot new concept offering near East and Mediterranean health-conscious cuisine, has opened in the Fenton Marketplace shopping center in Mission Valley.

Nutri-Shop, a 1,463-square-foot retail nutrition chain opened on Feb. 19 at the Eastlake Village Marketplace.

Pho Hiep & Grill, a 4,788-square-foot family owned and operated Vietnamese restaurant, opened in early March at Village Walk in Eastlake.

SD’S Philly Cheese, a 1,429-square-foot deli and Philly cheese sandwich restaurant with a Southern California twist, also is located at Sudberry’s Village Walk in Eastlake.

Smart Scrubs is a 2,700-square-foot medical scrubs and nursing uniform store at the Fletcher Shopping Center in La Mesa.

Souplantation opened a 7,000-square-foot restaurant offering a salad bar, specialty salads, soups, pasta and breads at Encinitas Village.

Huntington Learning Center is a 2,800-square-foot learning center that provides children with tutoring and supplemental instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, study skills and phonics. It is located in Sudberry’s Encinitas Village shopping center.

Zen Spa, a 2,752-square-foot relaxation, authentic reflexology and customized body massage spa, is located at Sudberry Properties’ Carmel Mountain Ranch Town Center.

Di Giorgio Pizzeria, is a 3,358-square-foot pizzeria located in the Fallbrook Town Center.

Appointments and Promotions

• Digital marketing agency JHG has hired Morgan Witt as director of digital strategy and Jan Whitbeck as a senior account executive. Witt has more than a decade of experience in online marketing and Whitbeck has more than 11 years of experience in marketing and client relations. The company formed a partnership last year with Chicago-based Goble and Associates Inc. where they function under shared ownership but continue to operate as individual agencies. Mary Fechtig is president and CEO of JHG. Witt formerly was manager of marketing and strategic partnerships at Red Door Interactive and earlier worked at Juice Media and Bluehornet. Whitbeck was promotions director and account executive at Clear Channel Communications630 KHOW and AM 760 JJZBN stations in Denver for more than eight years.

Blue Moon Advertising has promoted Martin Duggan to assistant account executive and media coordinator. Duggan was with the agency for two years while completing a marketing degree at Cal State San Marcos.

Nexaira Wireless Inc. has appointed RobertBobYoung as executive vice president for business development for Nexaira Inc., the company’s San Diego-based operating subsidy. Young has more than 25 years experience in the telecommunications and aerospace industries. He was executive vice president of business development for CrimeReports and was executive vice president of world wide sales and marketing at HelloSoft Inc.

Somaxon Pharmaceuticals Inc. has appointed Tran B. Nguyen as vice president and chief financial officer and announced other executive management changes. Nguyen has more than 10 years of finance experience primarily in the life science industry. He previously was CFO of Metabasis Therapeutics Inc., which was acquired by Ligand Pharmaceuticals in January, and was a vice president in the health care investment banking groups at Citi Global Markets Inc. and Lehman Brothers Inc. Somaxon also made three promotions — Jeffrey Raser to the newly created role of senior vice president and chief commercial officer; Brian Dorsey to senior vice president of technical operations; and Matthew Onaitis to senior vice president and general counsel.

Ardea Biosciences Inc. has appointed Stephen R. Davis as executive vice president and chief operating officer. Davis previously was chief operating officer and later president and CEO of Neurogen Corp., which was acquired by Ligand Pharmaceuticals in 2009. From 1990 through 1994, Davis practiced as a corporate and securities attorney with Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP in New York City.

San Diego Executives Featured at April 21 Panel Program

Higgs Fletcher & Mack and The Monger Company will sponsor an April 21 panel discussion — “Sharpen Your Competitive Edge in 2010” — featuring four San Diego executives. Panelists are Rob Lankford, president of Lankford & Associates; Larry Clemens, senior vice president of the San Diego Housing Commission; Tim Konold, partner with Higgs Fletcher & Mack; and Guy Asaro, president of McMillin Homes. They will discuss how they adapted their organizations to survive in today’s economy. The program, which includes a lunch, will be held at the Hard Rock Hotel at 207 Fifth Ave. in Downtown San Diego. Check-in is at 11:30 a.m. and the lunch and program is at noon. Cost is $40. To reserve, e-mail to Reservations must be pre-paid by April 19. For information, call (619) 544-7000.

Business Datebook

April 14

CONFERENCE: San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce hosts tri-national conference to discuss competitiveness, innovation and clean energy. Principals include U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Canada Minister of Industry Tony Clement and Mexico Secretary of Economy Gerardo Ruiz Mateos. Invited participants: Gov. Schwarzanegger and Baja California Gov. Jose Guadalupe Osuna Millan. San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and Tijuana Mayor Jorge Ramos will participate. 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., main theater, Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice, 5998 Alcala Park, on the campus of University of san Diego. Conference and luncheon cost, $35 ($20 for students). To reserve, call (619) 296-0605, Ext. 234, or visit

April 17

FREE WORKSHOP: Entrepreneurial Excellence Workshop sponsored by the Universiy of Phoenix Kearny Mesa Learning Center, 3870/3890 Murphy Canyon Road, San Diego. 9 a.m. to noon. Topics include outllook for small business in San Diego, business opportunities, legal issues for small businesses, search engine marketing, among others. Sports psychologist Casey Cooper to talk on “Home Run Leadership Styles.” To sign up, contact Gray Miller at (858) 650-4612.

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

April 21

PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP: San Diego Press Club hosts a panel of photojournalists to discuss new digital tools and share tips on taking compelling photos and videos. Panelists: Nancee Lewis, photojournalist; Sam Hodgson, former reporter-photographer for; and Joe Little, 10News Team reporter for ABC affiliate KGTV. 6 to 8 p.m., Essy’s Studio (adjacent to the Sports Arena). Free for Press Club members, $10 for nonmembers. For reservations, call (858) 274-6160 or e-mail to:

LUNCHEON: Joon Han, founder and strategy specialist with Better San Diego, to speak on “Getting Ahead by Giving Back” at the luncheon meeting of the National Association of Women Business Owners San Diego. 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Sheraton La Jolla, 3299 Holiday Court, La Jolla. Early bird pricing for members and guests available through April 15. For more information and online registration, visit

April 28

WORKSHOP: Grossmont College Career Center will present “Job Interview Fitness,” a free workshop from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the Career Center, Room 627, on campus, 8800 Grossmont College Drive, El Cajon. Topics: job interview tips, ethics and etiquette. Speakers:  Nancy Davis, Grossmont College student development services supervisor, and Carole Martin of The Interview Coach. For more information or to reserve a seat, phone (619) 644-7614 or visit

April 29

PROGRAM: The World Trade Center presents “Standards, Connections, Pathways and Problem Solving — the DNA of Lean,” featuring Samuel Obara of Honsha demonstrating why so many companies fail when trying to implement lean strategies. 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., World Trade Center conference room, Downtown. $35 for members, $45 for nonmembers. Walk-ins, $55. For information, call (619) 615-0868, Ext. 111. To register, visit

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.

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