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Daily Business Report — Nov. 13, 2012

Hotel entrance

$36 Million Viejas Hotel Nears Completion

Pool and spa

The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians held a topping off ceremony and tours today for its $36 million Viejas Hotel, now nearing completion adjacent to Viejas Casino in Alpine. When completed in the spring of 2013, the five-story hotel will feature 128 rooms (99 deluxe rooms and 29 suites), plus patio and cabanas, fitness facilities and a business center. The hotel was designed by JCJ, which specializes in entertainment venues. Cumming is the project manager and the general contractor is Swinerton. Viejas officials said the project provides 400 construction jobs and 60 ongoing local hotel jobs. The Viejas tribe also owns the Viejas Outlet Center and is a partner in the Residence Inn by Marriott in Sacramento.

Democrat Peters Pads Lead Over Rep. Bilbray

Port of San Diego Commissioner Scott Peters padded his lead over Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Solana Beach), in vote counting Monday in their close congressional race, City News Service reports. Peters led by 1,899 votes out of about 235,000 cast for the general election, a net gain of more than 500 votes since Friday. Bilbray has been a top target of Democrats for years, but survived previous attempts to oust him. However, redistricting moved him into some unfamiliar inland territory for this re-election bid. An estimated 260,000 provisional and mail-in ballots still need to be counted at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters office.In the region’s other close race, Solana Beach Councilman Dave Roberts maintained a lead of 2,641 votes over Bilbray’s chief of staff, Steve Danon, in their election for county supervisor. That’s an increase of about 400 for Roberts since Friday. The winner will replace the retiring Pam Slater-Price to become the first new supervisor in 17 years.

Successful Tax Measure May Not Be New Trend

California voters are historically resistant to statewide tax measures. But last week, they approved two of them – Propositions 30 and 39, California Capitol Network reports. Democratic strategist Jason Kinney said that’s probably not a new trend. “I think this was a one-time situation,” said Kinney. “The voters were tired of hearing about the annual budget crisis.” Voters also approved more than 70 percent of local tax and bond measures on last week’s ballot. But Jon Coupal with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association said that’s consistent with previous years.

Home Sales Rise in San Diego County

San Diego County home sales rose sharply in October compared to a year ago, climbing 31.3 percent, while the median home price showed an 11.1 percent increase, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. The number of homes sold last month totaled 3,622 compared to sales of 2,795 in October of last year. The median home price in October was $350,000, a jump from $315,000 a year ago. In Southern California, a total of 21,075 new and resale houses and condos sold in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura, San Bernardino and Orange counties last month. That was up 18.0 percent from 17,859 sales in September, and up 25.2 percent from 16,829 sales in October 2011. The median price paid for a home in the six-county Southland was $315,000 last month, the same as in September and up 16.7 percent from $270,000 in October 2011. The typical monthly mortgage payment Southland buyers committed themselves to paying last month was $1,115, down from $1,127 the month before and up from $1,040 a year earlier. Adjusted for inflation, last month’s typical payment was 53.1 percent below the typical payment in the spring of 1989, the peak of the prior real estate cycle. It was 61.6 percent below the current cycle’s peak in July 2007.

Simon Wong Engineering Expands Staff

Simon Wong Engineering announced the hiring of Hassan Mustafa, John Tarintino and Casey Meredith to its construction management division and Andrew Bersofsky to its structural division. The company now has 119 employees. Mustafa has more than 21 years of experience in his field, including 16 years with Caltrans. Tarintino will work on the San Diego County Water Authority’s San Vicente Dam raise project. Meredith will work on the Interstate 805 south project for Caltrans. Bersofsky will work on the San Diego International Airport’s CONRAC project.

Sapphire Energy Selects Chief Operating Officer

Sapphire Energy Inc., producer of algae-based crude oil, has appointed Jeff Webster as chief operating officer. Webster has more than 28 years of industry experience across biotec, renewable energy, agriculture and oil and gas, the company said. Prior to Sapphire Energy, Webster served as COO at Solazyme, an algal-based renewable oil and bioproduct company, where he was responsible for leading in-market business units and multiple administrative functions.

San Diego ABC Craft Championship Competition

Twenty seasoned apprentices and craft trainees will demonstrate their skills to win top honors in their craft fields during the 12th annual San Diego ABC Craft Championship Competition Dec. 1 sponsored by the Associated Builders and Contractors. It will be staged from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the ABC San Diego Apprenticeship Training Trust Academy, 13825 Kirkham Way in Poway. The public is invited. San Diego champions will move on to the national competition to be held this year in Birmingham, Ala. Contestants must first successfully complete hundreds of hours of classroom training and thousands of hours of practical field experience to be eligible for competition at the local level. There will be a special “Block Kids” competition for kids in grades one through six. Block Kids will challenge students to test their creative building skills with snap-together block kits. It is sponsored by the San Diego chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction. Kids interested in participating must pre-register no later than Nov. 26. Contact Teran Breceda for registration forms at (858) 349-6557.

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

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