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Daily Business Report — May 24, 2011

Luxury Home Prices Decline in San Diego

After rising in the fourth quarter of 2010, luxury home values in the San Diego area fell in the first quarter of this year to their lowest point since the first quarter of 2004, according to First Republic Bank’s Prestige Home Index. The average price of a luxury home in San Diego is $1.63 million. Agents in San Diego said a lack of demand was pushing prices lower. “We still have a lot of inventory in the upper price points,” said Michael Taylor of Prudential California Realty in Rancho Santa Fe. “Whenever that happens, you have downward pressure. The good news is that we’re a whole lot closer to inventory equilibrium. Under $3 million, we’re close to equilibrium. Above $4 million, we’re still not there yet.” Said Maxine Gellens of Prudential California Realty in La Jolla: “The market over $3 million is very slow. There was only one sale in La Jolla over the past eight months. People seem to be scaling down, no matter who they are.” San Diego area values fell 4.6 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010 and decreased 5.1 percent year-over-year.

First Republic Bank said luxury home values also dropped in Los Angeles and San Francisco in the first quarter of 2011, compared to the  fourth quarter of 2010. Los Angeles area values dipped 0.5 percent from the fourth quarter of last year and dipped 0.5 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010. The average luxury home there is now $1.96 million. San Francisco Bay Area values lost 4.3 percent from the fourth quarter and were 1.9 lower lower compared to a year ago. The average luxury home in San Francisco is now $2.49 million.

Navy Training Facility Completed

Training facility in Coronado

The $9.4 million Naval Special Warfare Combatant Craft Crewman Training Facility on Naval Amphibious Base Coronado has been completed by Barnhart Balfour Beatty, which provided design-build services for the 35,800-square-foot, two-story project.  A 21,100-square-foot main building houses classrooms, offices, locker rooms, laundry facilities, a medical exam room, weapons/parts storage rooms and a conference room, while an adjacent 14,700-square-foot boat storage high bay area provides boat maintenance and storage facilities for Navy vessels. The facility is designed to achieve LEED Silver certification. Design services were provided by KMA Architecture & Engineering of San Diego and the contract was awarded and managed by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southwest Division, San Diego. The Barnhart Balfour Beatty team included Tim Berry, vice president; Gordon Stanley, project manager; Charles Black, project superintendent; and Dean Bisone, quality control manager.

SDG&E Seeks Approval for Additional Generating Power

San Diego Gas & Electric Co. has asked for regulatory approval to purchase 450 megawatts of additional power from three peaker plants proposed for San Diego County to bolster its capacity during periods of high demand. The peaker plants are small units that can be powered to full capacity within 10 to 15 minutes to meet immediate demand on the grid. The three plants are the Pio Pico Energy Center, which would be built on 10 acres near the existing Otay Mesa Energy Center and could be online by summer 2014; the Quail Brush Generation Project that would be built near the Sycamore Canyon landfill in San Diego and could start producing energy in May 204; and a new unit at the Escondido Energy Center that could be online in July 2012.

“SDG&E continues to sign contracts for as much renewable power as we can get to meet the state’s 33-percent mandate, but we also need resources that can be brought online quickly to provide power when other sources, such as wind or solar plants, are not available,” said James Avery, SDG&E’s senior vice president of power supply. “The output from most kinds of renewable generation fluctuates throughout the day, posing a challenge for our system operators who must balance supply and demand every few seconds to maintain reliability in the region.”In addition to helping to integrate renewables with other generation sources, the new peaking units also will be called on when demand for power is highest, such as on a hot, summer day.

Green Business Symposium Set for May 26

A green business symposium will be staged May 26 at Cuyamaca College to identify growth opportunities and ways to create new jobs in the green industry in the San Diego region. It is presented by the San Diego Green Workforce Coalition, a partnership of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College district, the San Diego Workforce Partnership and the California Center for Sustainable energy. It will be held from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Cuyamaca College Performing Arts Theater, 900 Ranch San Diego Parkway, in Rancho San Diego. Cuyamaca College received a $1 million grant from the California Clean Energy Workforce Training Program, a state initiative to stimulate the economy by developing and offering green job training. The funding for the program that ended this spring was used to train 240 students at Cuyamaca and Palomar colleges in solar photovoltaic installation, as well as training in becoming a Building Performance Institute (BPI) building analyst to assess energy efficiency in homes. “What we are doing with this symposium is bringing together the business community, graduates of our Clean Energy Workforce Training Program and anyone interested in where the green economy is going in San Diego County,” said Jennifer Lewis, manager of Cuyamaca College’s Environmental Training Center. Keynote speaker Greg Koch, CEO of Stone Brewing Co., will address opportunities and challenges facing the local green economy. Also speaking are Philip Jordan, president of Green LMI Consulting; Jo Marie Diamond, president and CEO of the East County Economic Development Council; Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the San Diego Workforce Partnership; Daniel Sullivan, founder and president of Sullivan Solar Power and others. For registration and information, visit or call (619) 660-4596.

Sheppard Mullin Partner Inducted into Honorary Society

Pamela Naughton

San Diego attorney Pamela J. Naughton, of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, has been inducted into the Litigation Counsel of America, a trial lawyer honorary society. Naughton is a partner in the white collar and civil fraud defense practice group at Sheppard Mullin. She specializes in internal investigations, business litigation, government investigations and white-collar defense.  She received a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1979 and a bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College. Fellows in the Litigation Counsel of America are selected based upon excellence and accomplishment in litigation, both at the trial and appellate levels, and superior ethical reputation.

Susan Stotler Joins Mutual of Omaha Bank in San Diego

Susan Stotler

Susan L. Stotler has joined Mutual of Omaha Bank as a senior mortgage loan officer and is based in the bank’s San Diego office at 3580 Carmel Mountain Road. Her job is to assist customers with the process of buying or refinancing real estate properties and homes. Stotler has been in the mortgage banking industry for more than 25 years, most recently serving as a senior mortgage banker for Residential Wholesale Mortgage in San Diego. She also has held leadership positions at Bank of America and Countrywide Home Loans in Carlsbad. Stotler attended Mira Costa College in Oceanside and Saddleback College in Mission Viejo. She has held her California

Exhibit Space Available for Summer Healthcare Sunday

The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce is offering exhibit booth space to any health-related, for-profit business or nonprofit organization for Summer Healthcare Saturday, the largest annual free health fair in San Diego’s East County region. The health fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on,June 11, near the movie theaters at the Grossmont Center mall in La Mesa. Organizers expect more than 75 exhibit booths featuring health screenings for strike, blood pressure and blood glucose/diabetes, as well as the latest information on health-related techniques and products. Information also will be available about senior housing and home care services, hospice, home safety, fitness centers, health insurance, herbal supplements, medical supplies and volunteer opportunities. Information will be available about Alzheimer’s disease, chiropractic, dentistry and eye surgery. The San Diego Blood Bank also will accept blood donations at the health fair. Cost for exhibit space begins at $75.For more information and an exhibitor application, contact Jarryd Davis at the East County Chamber at (619) 440-6161, or visit

Small Business Workshops

SCORE San Diego continues its series of low-cost workshops. Fees range from $29 to $109, depending on the program. To register online, visit For more information, call (619) 557-7272.

May 25 – QuickBooks Advanced – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at National University in Kearny Mesa (9388 Lightwave Ave., San Diego 92123; pre-paid registration $69, $79 at the door).

May 25 – How to Start a Nonprofit – 9 to 11:30 a.m. at The San Diego Foundation in Point Loma (2508 Historic Decatur Road, #200, San Diego 92106; pre-paid registration $39, $49 at the door).

May 26 – Internet Marketing 302: Develop a Winning Email Marketing Success Strategy – 9 a.m. to noon at National University in National University in Carlsbad (705 Palomar Airport Road, San Diego 92011; pre-paid registration $49, $59 at the door).

May 31 – Business Basics 101 – 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at National University in Kearny Mesa (9388 Lightwave Ave., San Diego 92123; No charge – please pre-register).

The Daily Business Report is produced by REP Publishing Inc., publisher of SD METRO, the North Park News, Kensington News and the West Coast Craftsman. Contact: Manny Cruz (619) 287-1865.

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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: