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Daily Business Report — May 19, 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 http://sandiegometro.com/40under40/ for a nomination form.

Forum Explores Health Care Reform Impact on Small Business

What the new health care reform law means for small businesses in California will be the subject of a May 27 forum hosted by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. The forum will be from 9 to 11:30 a.m. in the chamber’s Golden Boardroom at 402 West Broadway, 10th floor, in Downtown San Diego. Small business owners, health care experts and state officials will speak on the law.

The informal event is being presented in conjunction with the nonpartisan Small Business Majority and sponsored by Bank of America. It will cover small business tax credits, the creation of a health insurance exchange, cost control, insurance reform, wellness and prevention, and more.

The forum is free to chamber members. Reservations are required: visit sdchamber-members.org/Events/PolicyForum052710.htm.

April Home Sales in County Rise Above March

Home sales in San Diego County totaled 3,292 in April, a slight increase over March’s sales of 3,227 but a 2.5 percent drop from home sales in April 2009, according to a report by MDA DataQuick of San Diego.

The median home price for April was $325,250, a 12.2 percent jump from the same month last year and a slight drop from March’s median of $330,000.

For Southern California as a whole, the housing market leveled off last month as sales activity migrated ever-so-slightly from inland bargain areas toward entry- and mid-market neighborhoods closer to the coast. The overall median price was unchanged from the month before, but it jumped compared with April 2009’s low point.

Sales of new and resale homes totaled 20,299 in San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was down 0.9 percent from 20,476 in March, and down 1.0 percent from 20,514 for April 2009.

It’s possible that a significant number of sales that would otherwise have closed escrow in April were delayed until May as buyers tried to take advantage of new state tax credits effective May 1. In addition, those who rushed to sign a sales contract last month before the April 30 deadline for a federal home buyer tax credit would likely close escrow in May or June.

April’s year-over-year changes in sales volume ranged from a decline of 12.3 percent in San Bernardino County to an 11.6 percent increase in Orange County. Condo resales rose 16.9 percent. The Southland’s 1.0 percent decline in overall sales was the first year-over-year drop in almost two years.

“The market’s still taking baby steps on a long road to recovery, trying to find its footing,” said John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president. “It’s unclear which of today’s sales characteristics are part of a new reality, and which are still temporary turbulence. The mortgage market, especially for larger home loans, is definitely dysfunctional. Obviously things would be different if the job picture were brighter.

The median price paid for a Southland home was $285,000 last month, the same as in March, and up 15.4 percent from $247,000 for April 2009, which was the low point of the current cycle. The median peaked at $505,000 in mid 2007. The median’s peak-to-trough drop was due to a decline in home values as well as a shift in sales toward low-cost homes, especially foreclosures. Last month 19.3 percent of all sales were for $500,000 or more, compared with 14.8 percent a year ago.

Foreclosure resales accounted for 36.4 percent of the resale market last month, down from a revised 38.3 percent in March, and down from 53.5 percent a year ago. The all-time high was February 2009 at 56.7 percent.

Storefront Improvement Program Bolstered

The San Diego Redevelopment Agency has approved guidelines and funding for the Storefront Improvement Program for the city’s Redevelopment Project Areas. The program offers financial assistnace to property owners and business tenants who want to enhance their storefronts to increase foot traffic and eliminate blight. “The Storefront Improvement Program is another tool we will use to achieve the goals and objectives of both redevelopment and economic development,” said Janice Weinrick, deputy executive director of the Redevelopment Agency. “It makes our communities more appealing, and gets residents excited about their local businesses, which results in increased patronage, business retention and ultimately, jobs.”

The program is managed by the city’s Office of Small Business on behalf of the Redevelopment Agency. The Office of Small Business also runs the citywide Storefront Improvement Program.

A participating property owner or business tenant can work with the program’s on-call architect for up to 10 hours — at no charge — to prepare a single-color conceptual design of the proposed storefront improvement. The conceptual design can then be used to solicit contractor bids and obtain permits and approvals from the city.

Financial assistance is provided in the form of a forgivable loan. The amount of the loan may be up to two-thirds of the total project cost, up to $20,000 for properties with a standard storefront (one to two units) and up to $40,000 for properties with multiple storefronts (three or more units). Properties designated as historical can apply for an additional incentive of $10,000. The participant can opt to receive the loan at the completion of the project or a portion during the construction of the project.

Eligible improvements under the Storefront Improvement Program include painting, lighting, windows, doors, stucco, tile, signage, canopies, awnings, and restoration of historic properties.

Who Is Eligible and How to Apply

This program is open to property owners and business tenants in redevelopment project areas managed by the City Redevelopment Division. The property must have a ground-floor storefront in need of improvements. Participants must implement façade enhancements that have the potential to further community revitalization and are consistent with all applicable policies and regulations. For additional details, call (619) 236-6460 or visit sandiego.gov/storefront.

Medical Office Building Sold for $1.35 Million

A three-story, 11,000-square-foot medical office building in El Cajon has been sold for $1.35 million to a limited liability company — 330 South Magnolia LLC. The building is at 330 South Magnolia Avenue in El Cajon 92020. The seller was the Jeffrey and Joan Panero Trust.

The seller was represented by Kyle Clark and Kipp Gstettenbauer of Cushman & Wakefield. The buyer was represented by Freddy Garmo with Signature Real Estate.

Priority Moving to Relocate to Larger Quarters

Priority Moving Inc. has signed a 60-month, $710,000 lease for 23,940 square feet of industrial space in Westcore Distribution Center at 9755 Distribution Ave., San Diego 92121. The addition brings the 47,666-square-foot industrial building to 100 percent leased. Priority Moving plans to move into its new location from its current location at 9586 Distribution Ave. in July. The move is an expansion for the company, which is currently occupying 13,000 square feet. Westcore Properties was represented by Brad Tecca of Cassidy Turley | BRE Commercial. The lessee was represented by Bryce Aberg, Brant Aberg and Glenn Arnold of Cassidy Turley | BRE Commercial. Additional tenants of Westcore Distribution Center include Rapid Response. Westcore Distribution Center was acquired by Westcore Properties in 2005.

Avioserv San Diego Renews Warehouse Building Lease

Avioserv San Diego Inc. renewed its lease for a 40,490-square-foot warehouse building at Hazard Corporate Complex, 6495 Marindustry Place, Building C, San Diego 92121. The 64-month lease renewal is valued at $2,042,428. Dean Asaro of CB Richard Ellis represented the lessor, R.E. Hazard Contracting Co. Andy Ladow and Andrew Ewald of Cassidy Turley BRE Commercial represented Avioserv San Diego. Hazard Corporate Center is a three-building, 96,149-square-foot warehouse and distribution project located in Miramar that is 95 percent leased with one 4,829 square foot suite available for lease. Asaro is the leasing agent for the project.

Datebook

May 19

WORKSHOP: San Diego Press Club sponsors “Life After Journalism,” a program presented by Joe Ames, former editor of the Orange County Register. Ames spent 30 years as a reporter and editor in radio, TV and newspapers and will discuss career options after journalism. 6 to 8 p.m., KGTV Studio, 4600 Air Way, San Diego. Free to Press Club members, $10 for nonmembers. To reserve, call Terry Williams, executive director, at (619) 231-4340 or visit sdpressclub.org.

May 20

CLEANTECH PANEL: CONNECT presents a panel talk on “Cleantech & Renewable Energy Financing: From the Public to the Private and Beyond,” 9 to 11 a.m., AMN Healthcare, 12400 High Bluff Drive, No. 100, San Diego 92130. Panelists will discuss federal and state programs and incentives for the renewable and cleantech industry as well as the private marketplace. Panelists: Nick Leibham, of counsel, Dirk Michels, partner, Sue Hodges, administrative partner and Greg Brucia, senior associate, all of K&L Gates LLP; and Andrew McAllister, program director, California Center for Sustainable Energy. Cost is $45 for CONNECT members, $65 for nonmembers. For more information, call Bethany Kraynack at (858) 964-1312. Register at connect.org.

May 27

WORKSHOP: San Diego Metropolitan Credit Union will present an identity protection workshop, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., credit union offices at 9212 Balboa Ave., San Diego 92123. Free admission. For more information or reserve a seat, call (619) 278-5724 or send e-mail to: workshops@sdmcu.org

June 15

PRESENTATION: Michael Bergthold of Odyssey Strategic Advisory Services and J. Barrett Marum of San Diego Sheppard Mullin will cover legal issues faced by buyers and sellers of distressed businesses or assets; cover Section 363 bankruptcy purchases and sales; and buying and selling out-of-state and federal receiverships in a program sponsored by the Association for Corporate Growth San Diego. Doubletree Hotel Hazard Center, 7450 Hazard Center Drive, San Diego 92108. 7 a.m. registration. 7:40 to 9 a.m., breakfast and program. Free for ACG members, $50 for nonmembers. Make reservations at acteva.com/go/acgsd or acgsd@acgsd.org.

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?

You can email Probolsky Research directly with your ideas: info@probolskyresearch.com