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Daily Business Report — July 11, 2012

Voit Report: Industrial and Office Markets
in San Diego Show Strong Signs of Recovery

San Diego’s industrial and office markets demonstrated strong signs of recovery during the second quarter of 2012, according to a Second Quarter Market Report from Voit Real Estate Services. Office vacancy dipped to 14.24 percent, the lowest rate seen since mid-2008, while the industrial market posted its ninth consecutive quarter of positive net absorption, posting 165,816 square feet. “There was substantial improvement in the market from Q1 to Q2, and these numbers are positive indicators that the San Diego market is moving again,” said Chris Wood, managing director of Voit’s San Diego office. “We have seen a pickup in transaction volume across all product types, and we expect that we will see a further increase in investment and leasing activity throughout the remainder of 2012.” Wood said that this increased activity will help to drive up both industrial and office lease rates, which will increase by the fourth quarter of 2012.

Scripps Research Institute Awarded $77 Million
to Develop Vaccine Against HIV and AIDS

The Scripps Research Institute has been awarded a grant expected to total more than $77 million from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to focus on developing a vaccine against HIV and the disease it causes, AIDS. “With 33 million infected individuals worldwide, an HIV vaccine is urgently needed to slow and eventually eliminate new infections,” said Scripps Research President and CEO Michael A. Marletta. Dennis Burton, a Scripps research professor, said that AIDS drugs have extended the lives of many, but an effective HIV vaccine could eliminate the threat of HIV in both developing and developed countries.

Navy Exercises Option for Advantech
in Construction of New Naval Hospital

The Navy has exercised an option authorizing Advantech to continue implementing a contract providing a dozen hospital construction experts to augment Navy staff as part of the new $451 million naval hospital at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. The announcement was made by Jack Fraser, Advantech president and CEO. The stimulus hospital project, the largest the Navy has under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will replace the current hospital, built in 1974. Thousands of engineers, construction workers, architects, military and civilian contractors have contributed to the project which recently passed the halfway mark. The new hospital, expected to open in 2014, will include a 1,500-space, multi-level parking structure and an additional 1,500 outside surface parking spaces.


The Legal Strategy Against the Balboa Park Remodel

By Kelly Bennett | Voice of San Diego

A day after the City Council voted 6-1 to approve a plan to remake the western entrance of Balboa Park, the plan’s chief opponents announced they’ll sue over it. A loose coalition of neighborhood groups and preservationists led by the Save Our Heritage Organisation argued vehemently into the evening Tuesday that the project would cause too large an impact to the park’s historic character.

The lawsuit will be based on the city’s alleged violations of the San Diego Municipal Code, the 1870 Trust Dedication of the Park as “free” in perpetuity, and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in approving the plan. It won’t be completely clear until these issues are outlined in greater detail in a lawsuit, and argued in court, how the legal battle will shape up.

But here are a few questions to watch as the suit gets closer.

• How broadly does an 1870 statute apply to the park?

SOHO last week began circulating a California statute from when the land was entrusted to the city in 1870. It stated that the land would be kept forever as a “free and public park.”

There may be opinions about how narrowly that “free” stipulation can apply — like to the valet parking or museum admissions already charged at the park — but Brandt-Hawley said she interprets it simply.

“Free means free,” SOHO’s attorney, Brandt-Hawley said. “It appears that a paid parking garage would not be consistent with the trust dedication of this park.”

Shannon Thomas, deputy city attorney, said at the hearing that that would be reading the statute very broadly.

• How can the city satisfy its responsibility to analyze economic benefit in this case?

The city’s law requires something specific for historic properties. The City Council had to make a finding that if it denied the project the owner wouldn’t be able to derive financial benefit from the project.

But unlike a historic home someone is trying to convert into an office downtown, this is a city park. So if a judge rules that the city has to follow this stipulation, it’d have a tricky argument to make.

A land use attorney for the Plaza de Panama committee, Scott Williams from Selzer Caplan, stood up and made a three-point argument for how the city could make the finding that:

• By not approving the plan, the city would be on the hook to pay for benefits to the park that have already been part of city planners.

• By rejecting private money from philanthropist Irwin Jacobs and others, the city would be essentially taking money out of its own pocket.

• By allowing the park to continue as-is, without improvements, the plazas would someday become unusable.

Kelly Bennett, reporter for  Voice of San Diego: kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org. (619) 325-0531.


Procopio Law Firm Acquires New
Office Space in Del Mar Heights

Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch has acquired new office space in Del Mar Heights at the One Del Mar building at 12544 High Bluff Drive, Suite 300. Procopio initially expanded its reach into the area in February 2012 when it temporarily took over the former Luce Forward space, but has now settled into the larger location. The new space, consisting of 29,000 square feet, was previously occupied by Baker & McKenzie, which recently closed its San Diego office.

PERSONNEL

San Diego — James Pearce has been promoted to the position of director of molecular biology at Cibus Global and the firm has hired David Songstad as director of research, cell biology. Pearce joined Cibus in 2007 as a senior scientist in the molecular biology group. Prior to joining Cibus, Pearce was part of a small team from Syngenta working on site at Diversa (now BP Biofuels). Songstad previously was the new products leader for Monsanto.

San Diego — Ronald Reitz, president of Quality Claims Management in San Diego, has been named president of NAPIA, the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters. Association members work with homeowners and businesses needing help to resolve their damaged property claims with their insurance companies.


The Daily Business Report is produced by SD METRO. Contact: Manny Cruz (619) 287-1865. manny@sandiegometro.com.


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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: info@probolskyresearch.com