Daily Business Report-Nov. 5, 2013
ViaSat Inflight Internet to Launch on JetBlue Planes
Carlsbad-based ViaSat is partnering with JetBlue Airways to offer the first inflight Wi-Fi service powered by ViaSat’s 140-gigabit satellite launched two years ago. The new system will be, according to ViaSat and JetBlue, less expensive (with the potential to be free to all passengers) and will offer faster connections than existing services.
“This system will be designed for the 21st century, not just for today’s personal connectivity needs, but with the bandwidth to expand to meet tomorrow’s needs as well,” said Dave Barger, chief executive officer at JetBlue. “In just the three years since we launched BetaBlue, the first commercial aircraft with simple messaging capability, technology has advanced by generations. Rather than invest in current technology, designed to transmit broadcast video and audio, we elected to partner with ViaSat to create broadband functionality worthy of today’s interactive personal technology needs.”
Under the arrangement, ViaSat will provide Ka-band antenna components and SurfBeam2 modems for installation on the airline’s A320 and Embraer E190 aircraft, along with two-way transmission bandwidth services using the WildBlue-1 and ViaSat-1 satellites. JetBlue subsidiary, LiveTV, will manage the integration of the ViaSat broadband and related components onboard the aircraft as well as providing the WiFi-enabled services into the overall cabin experience.
JetBlue plans to give in-flight Wi-Fi to passengers for free on the first 30 aircraft, though it won’t allow Netflix or other video streaming at no charge. The Carlsbad company wants JetBlue to extend free Wi-Fi beyond those first 30 planes.
San Diego Council Approves Increased Fees on Developers
The San Diego City Council voted 5-4 Monday to approve a controversial measure to increase fees on developers to help fund affordable housing. The measure, submitted by the San Diego Housing Commission, is known as a “linkage fee” — it links the gap between low-incomes and the cost of housing in San Diego.
The measure would raise the fee to 1.5 percent of current construction costs — an approximate 500 percent increase. It’s the same level set when the fee was first initiated in 1990, but six years later, it was halved and has remained at that level since.
The business community argues that increasing the fee would amount to another tax that would kill jobs and encourage builders to take their projects to other regions in the county. The San Diego County Taxpayers Association lobbied against the measure.
Councilman Scott Sherman, who voted against the measure, said it puts San Diego at a serious disadvantage “as we are the only jurisdiction in the county that charges this ‘jobs tax.’” It is estimated the action taken will raise this fee on commercial developments by 377 percent -744 percent, said Sherman.
Interim Mayor Todd Gloria hailed passage of the measure, officially called the Workforce Housing Offset. . “By updating the Workforce Housing Offset for the first time in 17 years, the City Council has provided an appropriate funding stream for San Diegans who have jobs but struggle to afford to live here,” said Gloria.
The Workforce Housing Offset requires that commercial developers who build in San Diego help cover the cost of providing affordable housing for low-wage workers through a one-time payment, assessed as a percentage of development costs, which is deposited into the city’s Housing Trust Fund.
Phalanthropist Commits $100 Million
Toward Stem Cell Clinical Center
Philanthropist T. Denny Sanford has committed $100 million to the creation of the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at UC San Diego. The center’s mission would be to accelerate the development of drugs and cell therapiesderived from stem cell research.
The Sanford Center will integrate operations at four locations: the UC San Diego Jacobs Medical Center and a nearby proposed clinical space, both scheduled to open in 2016; the UC San Diego Center for Advanced Laboratory Medicine; and the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. It will provide essential physical and human resources needed to leverage stem cell research currently being conducted at the Sanford Consortium – an innovative “collaboratory” of San Diego scientists from UC San Diego, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, The Scripps Research Institute and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology – and other institutions on and around the Torrey Pines mesa, such as the J. Craig Venter Institute.
In 2008, Sanford donated $30 million for the development and construction of the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine facility, which opened in 2011. His gift to create the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center is the second largest donation received by UC San Diego in its 53-year history.
McCormack Auction Co. Acquired by Auction Systems
Auction Systems Auctioneers & Appraisers has acquired Spring Valley-based McCormack Auction Co., an auction house at 2776 Sweetwater Springs Blvd. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Originally founded in 1976, McCormack has specialized in a variety of industries, including commercial, residential and luxury real estate; bankruptcy, fiduciary and trust; private collections and estates; art, antiques and fine furniture; jewelry and timepieces; automobiles and fleet services; and heavy equipment and trucks.
Toxic Waste Agency Tries to Clean Itself Up
The California agency responsible for dealing with toxic waste in the state is trying to clean up its own act. The Department of Toxic Substances Control recently commissioned a report on its permitting process for facilities that deal with toxic waste in potentially risky ways. The report found lengthy permitting delays, confusion over the process and an inadequate staff. DTSC Deputy Director Brian Johnson said consistency has been a problem for the permitting division. “It really is not an unexpectable outcome of how the group had been managed in the past, where they did not have a traditional management structure in place,” Johnson said. “They were more a set of teams.”
Johnson said a more traditional management structure is being put together. Critics of the agency said divisions within the department do not communicate effectively. Californians produce two million tons of hazardous waste each year.
The Prescott Companies Names New President and CEO
CARLSBAD — Gloria Todisco has been promoted to president and CEO of The Prescott Companies, a property management company in Carlsbad. Gloria has more than 20 years of experience in the community association management industry. She has served as senior community manager, division manager, division vice president and senior vice president. The company manages properties in San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Francisco, East Bay, Central Coast and Las Vegas
Downtown’s Declan Suites to Undergo Major Renovation
The Declan Suites, formerly the Sheraton Suites in Downtown San Diego, will undergo a multi-million-dollar renovation in the spring of 2014 that will integrate technology, music and aesthetics, according to general manager Alex Dallocchio. “We are thrilled to integrate The Declan Suites into San Diego’s cultural landscape,” said Dallocchio. “Next door to the Symphony Orchestra, blocks away from Balboa Park’s cultural venues and in the artistic heart of Downtown, the hotel will become a place where art, technology and music intertwine to create a distinctive hotel experience.” The hotel is partnering with the design firm Design360unlimited in the renovation.
Ashford University in Alliance With Forbes Media
Bridgepoint Education has announced an alliance between its Ashford University’s School of Business and a subsidiary of the global media company, Forbes Media. Ashford’s College of Business and Professional Studies will now be known as the Forbes School of Business. “This collaboration is a natural extension of what Forbes has been doing for nearly 100 years: providing people with information and insights to enable them to develop their own talent and become true entrepreneurs,” said Steve Forbes, chairman and editor in chief of Forbes Media. “Our alliance is designed to help Ashford University’s students be effective in today’s rapidly evolving business environment and prepare them for opportunities.”
Students of the Forbes School of Business will gain online access to Forbes’ resources. Invitation-only speaker series and webinars will feature business experts from Forbes’ roster of contributors.
NewSchool of Architecture and Design students have developed a 12-foot-high modular bench design that will be on display at the Art San Diego Contemporary Art Fair Nov. 7–10 in San Diego’s Balboa Park Activity Center. The 40 benches, produced by the students through a collaboration with Art San Diego, incorporate sustainable design practices and materials and can be reconfigured to suit the changing needs and ambience of the fair’s center lounge area.
For the center lounge space, Noble Environmental Technologies/ECOR Lead Developer Matt Arrigo, an NSAD alumni, and company founder Robert Noble have designed and created a central seating area and other sectional pieces entirely with ECOR products. The NSAD student team created complementary modular benches. The benches feature back-lighting and elongated backs that integrate fabric, creating a swooshing sail visual effect. The seating portion of the benches was designed with ECOR material molded at NSAD’s Materials Lab to provide a comfortable contour.