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Daily Business Report — July 29, 2010

Construction Starts on New Downtown Library

The city of San Diego broke ground Wednesday on a new state-of-the-art central library Downtown, an $185 million project that proponents said will be built without any money from the city’s operating budget. Mayor Jerry Sanders led the groundbreaking ceremony, remarking, “I couldn’t be prouder of the countless people who have spent so much time and energy on making sure we arrived at this day.” Joining him were Joan and Irwin Jacobs, who have pledged $20 million toward the project, and dozens of other public figures and dignitaries. Said Irwin Jacobs,  “We look forward to the library becoming a prime focus within the region for civic engagement, educational activities and pursuit of knowledge in its  ever-expanding forms. We anticipate extended operating hours using the committed private resources to supplement city general funds.”

Funding: Money for the project comes from several sources: $80 million in redevelopment money; a $20 million state library grant; $20 million from the San Diego Unified  School District, which will use two floors for a charter school; and $63 million in private donations (of which more than $30 million has already been raised).

The nine-story building — scheduled to open in 2013 — will be a new regional center for learning and literacy. It will have 400 computer workstations, free Wi-Fi access, a cafe and multiple community gathering spaces for a variety of events. Its 295,000 square feet will be more than twice the size of the current central library. An additional 76,000-plus square feet will be used for a charter school that will occupy the library’s

sixth and seventh floors. Another 129,000 square feet will be used for underground parking. Construction will create 1,050 construction jobs.

Economic Index Rises in June

The University of San Diego’s Index of Leading Economic Indicators for San Diego County rose 0.2 percent in June — its 15th consecutive monthly gain. For the second time in three months, advancing components and declining ones were even at three apiece, according to professor Alan Gin, author of the report. The gain was led by a sharp rise in building permits and help wanted advertising. There was also a moderate increase in local consumer confidence. These offset a big drop in local stock prices and smaller declines in initial claims for unemployment insurance and the outlook for the national economy.

Outlook: The gain in June continues the recent trend of positive but modest increases for the USD Index. The outlook for the local economy remains for continued growth but at a slow pace, meaning that it will take much longer to recover from the “Great Recession” than it took to get into it. In 2008 and 2009, the local economy lost nearly 80,000 jobs. The projection is that it will take three, four, or even five years to regain all of those jobs. There is some encouraging news for the labor market as help wanted advertising in June reached its highest level since December 2008. reports that the areas showing the biggest gains were management, business and financial operations, protective services, maintenance and repair, production and transportation. June’s increase puts the USD Index at 109.9, up from May’s revised reading of 109.5, and up from the originally reported level of 109.4.

AMN Heathcare to Acquire Nursefinders Inc. Parent

AMN Healthcare Services Inc., a health care staffing company, has agreed to acquire the parent company of Arlington, Texas-based Nursefinders Inc., which provides travel nurse and allied staffing, physician search services, and home health care services. Under the terms of the agreement, AMN will acquire all of the outstanding equity of Medfinders’ parent company for about 6.3 million shares of AMN Healthcare Services  common stock, and 5.7 million shares of AMN preferred stock. The transaction has a value of $220 million, including $132 million of Medfinders’ indebtedness to be refinanced. “Bringing together the experience and diverse capabilities of both companies in health care staffing and managed services will create significant short and long-term benefits for our clients,” said Susan Nowakowski, president and CEO of AMN Healthcare. “The expansion of our service lines resulting from this combination will substantially improve our ability to deliver an innovative, total workforce management and staffing solution to our broad and growing client base.”

Urban Corps to Open Recycling Education Center

The Urban Corps of San Diego County will hold a grand opening and ceremony on Friday to celebrate completion of its Recycling Education & Community Outreach Center, including the soon-to-be LEED-certified Rooftop Garden and SDG&E-owned solar system atop the Community Training Room. A tour will begin at 2 p.m. followed by a formal program at 3 p.m. and a reception. The location is 3127 Jefferson St. in San Diego. Visitors will have an opportunity to explore the site’s green building feature and learn about energy efficiency at SDG&E’s first “Sustainable Experience” kiosk in the lobby. The Recycling Education & Community Outreach (ECO) Center – the first of its kind in California — serves as a sustainability hub and training ground for Corpsmembers and citizens of San Diego County. The center focuses on educating and demonstrating sustainable technologies including: how recycling and conservation preserves resources, reduces pollution, prevents waste from entering landfills and employs youth.

Rooftop Garden: The garden features an “edible wall” grown by Corpsmembers as well as drought-tolerant landscaping, native plants and soon a water capture system, as well as composting and vermiposting stations. It will provide a hands-on learning space for urban gardening and water-efficient landscaping.Corpsmembers, students, community and business members will have the opportunity to learn about water conservation, healthy eating and growing their own food in an urban environment.

Silvergate Bank Names Senior Vice President

Michael A. Spacciapolli, a veteran of 19 years in banking, has joined Silvergate Bank in La Jolla as senior vice president. Spacciapolli most recently was senior vice president of commercial banking for San Diego National Bank for three years after having served in a similar capacity for seven years with Union Bank of California and spending nine years with Wells Fargo Bank.

New Managers: The bank also announced two new branch manager. Lancaster office manager Michael McCullough is an Antelope Valley banking veteran most recently with Union Bank of California, and La Jolla office manager Scott Yates is a former branch manager for San Diego National Bank.

Douglas Wilson Cos. Forms Small Business Division

The Douglas Wilson Cos. has formed a Small Business Division featuring reduced rates to handle targeted receiverships of fewer than 100 units, 100,000 square feet or $10 million in value.  “More lenders and attorneys are requesting to narrow the scope of receiverships for smaller assets in order to facilitate a more cost effective transfer of an asset through the foreclosure and disposition process,” said company President Robert Richley. “Clearly these receiverships are a sign of the times, when cost consciousness is essential.”

Wall Street Plaza Attracts 2 New Leases

Wall Street Plaza in La Jolla has signed two new leases valued at $5.5 million and more than 22,000 square feet. The new Mike’s La Jolla will feature seven bars, three restaurants and a nightclub. Restaurant options will include a coffee shop, casual lunch venue and a fine-dining steakhouse with a piano bar.  It will open at the end of October following a $3 million renovation. Panera Bread, an artisan bakery café, will open its 16th San Diego County location in Wall Street Plaza in November. Panera offers fresh baked breads and contemporary menus that  include a breakfast-driven bakery selection and a lunch and dinner driven café menu that includes soups, salads and sandwiches.  Mike’s La Jolla signed a 10-year lease for 17,090 square feet of space in multiple suites in Wall Street Plaza at 7863-7877 Girard Ave. and Patio Bar. Cushman & Wakefield represented Mike’s La Jolla and the lessor, 7863 Girard Avenue Holdings LLC in the transaction. Panera Bread, signed a 10-year lease for 5,427 square feet in Wall Street Plaza. The lessee was represented by Ron Pepper and Matt Moser of Retail Insite. The lessor was represented by Cushman & Wakefield.

Citi Foundation Awards $10,000 to Foundation for Women

The Foundation for Women has been awarded a $10,000 grant by the Citi Foundation to help in its microcredit work that provides small loans and savings programs to impoverished women in San Diego. The grant will be used to expand the local microcredit program and to meet community demand that has increased with the economic downturn. The microcredit program makes business loans of $250, $500 and eventually $1,000 to very low-income women. The loans enable participants to start or expand their own micro-businesses, according to the business plan each will develop before loans are made. The program is offered in six loan centers located in El Cajon, Spring Valley, Chula Vista, National City, Escondido and City Heights.

Southwestern College Receives $127,985 for Training

Southwestern College announced $127,985 in new federal funding for its Clean Energy Workforce Training Program and its Green Building Pre-Apprenticeship Program. Both are designed to prepare individuals for jobs in San Diego’s energy efficiency and green building industries. The Green Building Partnership will prepare individuals for careers in five occupations: HVAC mechanics, technicians, or installers; building performance or retrofitting specialists; building controls systems technicians; energy auditors or home energy raters; and solar photovoltaic installers. Funded by the economic recovery law, the college’s Green Building Partnership will serve 40 students beginning in the  fall. It will target veterans, out-of-school youth and adults looking for work.

Promotions and Appointments

• The Bailey Gardiner public relations firm has promoted Anne Cornetta as an advertising account executive and hired Katherine Levien as a PR account coordinator. Callan Green was promoted to social media account executive.

• Burkett & Wong Engineers has announced the promotion of Ambrose Wong to principal and Casey Lynch to principal associate. Wong joined the firm in 2001 as a civil designer and became a project manager and then a principal associate. Prior to joining the firm, Wong worked at Edge LLC in Seattle. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. Lynch has been with Burkett & Wong Engineers for nearly three years. Currently he is serving as the local chapter president of the California Land Surveyors Association.

• Annette Peck, a board member and public information chair for the San Diego Military Advisory Council, has been elected to the board of trustees of United Through Reading, a Sorrento Valley-based national nonprofit that helps separated families connect through reading storybooks to their children while being video-recorded. Peck has more than 23 years experience in the area of corporate risk management. She holds a doctorate from the USD School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Davis.

Local Hotels Cited for Pet Friendliness

Hotel Solamar in Downtown San Diego and Loews Coronado Bay Resort are among the 10 best pet-friendly hotels in the country, according to TravelAdvisor from a survey of more than 1,200 travelers. Its report on the hotels:

Hotel Solamar: average nightly rate: $176-$336. “In addition to providing complimentary treats for pets upon check-in, as well as cozy dog beds and food and water bowls in guest rooms, Hotel Solamar’s VIP (Very Important Pet) Program can arrange additional services — from pet bonding sessions, to pet massage — ensuring both pets and their owners unwind during their stay.”

Loews Coronado Bay Resort: average nightly rate: $207-$372. “All pets receive edible treats, a pet tag and bowl upon check-in, but the pet-friendly fun also extends to the sand and surf. Travelers booking the “Su’ruff Camp” package receive accommodations, a doggie surf lesson, board shorts and a bandana for their furry friend, and a Surf and Turf room service pet meal. A $25 pet-surcharge is added per stay.”

“Although 66 percent of pet owners say they don’t generally find hotels to be pet-friendly, there are many fantastic properties that cater to the needs of four-legged travelers,” said Karen Drake, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor.

North Park News

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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.

1 Comments on “Daily Business Report — July 29, 2010

  • More libraries are always good news. Combination of an economic shot-in-the-arm for the local community and increasing the chances the current generation of slack-jawed schoolchildren might actually pick up a book with more than just shiny pictures of vampires on the cover.

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