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Daily Business Report — Dec. 2, 2011

Weekend Holiday Fun

‘Tis the season for jolly good fun and what better way to usher in the holidays than enjoying a mix of free entertainment events this weekend.

December Nights

For starters, there’s today’s opening of the 34th annual Balboa Park December Nights (5 to 10 p.m.), which continues on Saturday (noon to 10 p.m.) Participating Balboa Park museums open their doors free of charge from 5-9 p.m. both evenings. Those who attend will participate in a multicultural experience, enjoying food, music and entertainment from around the world. Attendees can watch musical and dance performances and enjoy diverse food choices. Some of the more well-known traditions include food from around the globe at the International Christmas Festival at the House of Pacific Relations Cottages; the annual Santa Lucia Procession at the Plaza de California; gift shopping at the museum stores and with the artisans of Spanish Village; and musical and dance presentations from the San Diego Junior Theatre, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Del Cerro Baptist’s Christmas Story Tree, and more.

Toyland Parade

The 48th annual North Park Toyland Parade kicks off at 11 a.m. on Saturday featuring bands, floats, dancers, clowns, antique autos, specialty acts, beauty queens and local officials marching or riding down University Avenue between Utah and Iowa streets.

Holiday Walkabout


Later on Saturday, South Park will celebrate the holiday season with its Holiday Walkabout from 6 to 10 p.m. Merchants and restaurants will add holiday lights on storefronts and along sidewalks to herald the holiday spirit, and serve up welcoming refreshments along with shopping specials for gift-givers. “Because our neighborhood businesses are all locally-owned and independently-operated by San Diegans, we have come to learn what folks in our town want to see in our holiday inventory,” says Maureen Ceccarelli of Studio Maureen. “The things you will see here in South Park are definitely different from what you’ll find in malls and big box stores in every city in America.” Boutiques, galleries and shops will stay open late for the Holiday Walkabout, and a free trolley is provided by the merchants for shoppers to tour the neighborhood from Juniper Street to Beech Street.

Live musical entertainment will be offered at select locations, including the annual concert by the San Diego Mandolin Orchestra at The Grove on Juniper.

Balboa Park WiFi

The Balboa Park Online Collaborative has installed more than 40 wireless access points in the park. Free WiFi access is now available at the following park locations: House of Hospitality, Mingei International Museum, Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego Air & Space Museum, San Diego Hall of Champions, San Diego History Center, San Diego Museum of Art (partial), and the Timken Museum of Art. The network also is expected to be available this weekend at the San Diego Museum of Man and the San Diego Automotive Museum. You can access it by going to your device settings and clicking on the network titled “Balboa Park.”

The Online Collaborative’s network complements the wireless Internet access available at outdoor information kiosks that are maintained by the Friends of Balboa Park.With the pervasive WiFi network that the Online Collaborative is building, Balboa Park’s cultural institutions will be able to engage with park visitors via smartphone apps and mobile Websites; improve the visitor experience by offering instant, free Internet access to find out about attractions, events, and amenities; and host more robust and technologically-advanced parkwide events.

For December Nights, the WiFi will support use of a new QR code tour of historic park locations and a free December Nights mobile guide that will be available on the Meridian platform for iOS and Android devices. Visitors will also find it easier to interact with the park’s social networking pages on Facebook and Twitter (@Balboa Park, @December Nights).

Allen Mowat, network engineer, and Patty Luxton, network consultant, have been leading the WiFi project for the Online Collaborative. Their work will continue through December at locations such as the Casa del Prado, San Diego Model Railroad and The San Diego Museum of Art. Work will continue to other areas of Balboa Park if additional project funds are obtained. Donors to the WiFi project include  Joan and Irwin Jacobs, Legler Benbough Foundation, Office of Councilman Todd Gloria, county of San Diego,  Neighborhood Reinvestment Program, Cox Communications and Ruckus Wireless.


Pacific Hospitality Group Acquires Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa

Pacific Hospitality Group LLC (PHG) has acquired the 210-room Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa from an affiliate of Los Angeles-based Lowe Enterprises. The Estancia is located at 9700 North Torrey Pines Road. John Strauss of Jones Lang LaSalle represented Lowe Enterprises in the transaction. PHG was advised by Bruce Baltin of PKF Consulting and assisted by Eagle Four Equities LLC. As an owner and operator, PHG will assume management of Estancia La Jolla. Among the hotel’s amenities are three restaurants and lounges, the 8,000-square-foot Spa at Estancia and a 26,000-square-foot conference facility.

Kaiser Permanente Selects Site for New Hospital

Kaiser Permanente has selected property at 5201 Ruffin Road in Kearny Mesa as the site for its new San Diego hospital. It plans to immediately begin the entitlement process with a goal of opening the new hospital in 2018. “Kaiser Permanente has experienced significant growth in San Diego over the past few years, a trend we anticipate will continue in the future — particularly as national health care reform is implemented,” said Mary Ann Barnes, senior vice president and executive director for Kaiser Permanente in San Diego. “To ensure continued high quality, affordable health care for our current and future members, we are planning a number of new medical facilities throughout the county, including a new state-of-the art hospital in Kearny Mesa.”

Shea Homes San Diego to Open Two New Developments

Origen skyLoft

Shea Homes San Diego on Dec. 10 will open two new neighborhoods at Origen in the Civita development in Mission Valley. Origen is the first for-sale community to become available at Civita, a 230-acre master planned community now being developed by Sudberry Properties. The two new neighborhoods — Origen socialGarden and  Origen skyLoft — feature three- and four- story townhomes.

Designed by Woodley Architectural Group, Origen socialGarden and skyLoft at Civita feature 10 floor plans showcasing decks, open rail systems, open tread stairs, wrought iron railings, interior sliding glass doors, two-car garages and surfaces of stone and brick. Interiors feature kitchen islands, master and powder baths with vessel sinks, tankless water heaters and stainless steel appliances. Five floor plans at socialGarden are anticipated to start in the low- to mid $400,000s. Five floor plans at skyLoft are anticipated to be priced from the mid- to high $400,000s. From now until Dec. 10, a temporary Origen sales center is located at 7810 Civita Blvd. For information, call (866) 696-7432.

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

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Voice Your Opinion

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: