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Daily Business Report-Jan. 29, 2014

Daily Business Report-Jan. 29, 2014

Lindbergh Field’s Terminal 2. (Photo/Manny Cruz, SD METRO)

Lindbergh Field Passenger Traffic Sets Another Record

International passenger traffic at San Diego International Airport set a record in 2013 for the second consecutive year, increasing 21.5 percent over 2012 with 627,596 total international passengers served, according to the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority.

Total passenger traffic at the airport in 2013 reached its highest level since 2008, with 17,710,241 passengers served. That represents a 2.7 percent increase compared to 2012.

In 2013, airlines serving the airport carried passengers to and from 47 domestic and eight international nonstop destinations. The international passenger record was driven by nonstop service between San Diego and Tokyo (Japan Airlines), London (British Airways), Cabo San Lucas (Alaska Airlines, Spirit Airlines), Mexico City (Volaris), Calgary (WestJet), and Toronto (Air Canada).

Last year was the first full year the Global Entry system was in place at the airport, further enhancing international service at the airport, the Airport Authority said.  Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program allowing expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the U.S.

Beyond passenger numbers, air cargo operators carried 162,353 tons of cargo and mail to and from Lindbergh Field in 2013, a 4.3 percent increase over the previous year. The number of flight operations showed a slight increase of 0.9 percent for the year to 187,935; an average of just under 515 operations a day.

Click here for the report…

Keri Katz Appointed to S.D. Superior Court Bench

Keri G. Katz

Keri G. Katz

Keri G. Katz, a commissioner at the San Diego County Superior Court since 2007, has been appointed to the Superior Court bench by Gov. Jerry Brown. Katz was chief operating officer at the city of San Diego water department from 2006 to 2007 and held multiple positions at the San Diego City Attorney’s Office from 1987 to 2006 — including assistant city attorney, head deputy city attorney and deputy city attorney. She earned her law degree from California Western School of Law and a bachelor’s degreee from UCLA. Katz, a Democrat, will be seated on Friday. She will fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Alvin E. Green Jr. The annual salary is $181,292.

Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute

Receives $275 Million Anonymous Donation

The Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute has been given the largest single donation in San Diego County history. The $275 million gift, made by an anonymous donor, will help enable the institute to speed up the development of drugs and therapies to treat diseases such as cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. The individual who made the donation is significantly helping Sanford Burnham more efficiently turn biological discoveries into potential drugs. The institute has been responsible for a FDA-approved drug to treat cancer, and there are several other drugs currently going through clinical trials. The donation will put Sanford Burnham at the forefront of medical research innovation and provide the financial stability to pursue serious medical breakthroughs.

Council Votes for Buffer Zone Around Solar Turbines

The San Diego City Council on Tuesday unanimously established a nine-block buffer area around Solar Turbines to prevent residential developments in Little Italy from encroaching on the factory’s industrial zone, the San Diego Daily Transcript reported. The buffer area — bordered by Kettner Boulevard, Pacific Highway and Laurel and Hawthorn streets, as well as a one-block extension bordered by Pacific Highway and California and Grape streets — would be open for commercial, industrial and mixed-used projects, including hotels, but it would not allow residential or other sensitive uses.

Representatives from the San Diego Unified Port District, Downtown San Diego Partnership, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and the San Diego Port Tenants Association spoke in favor of the buffer zone, saying it would help keep Solar Turbines on the waterfront, where it employs 4,200 workers and generates an estimated $1.5 billion per year in economic impact.

S.D. Housing Federation Chief Gets Statewide Appointment

Susan Riggs, 40, of San Diego, the executive director at the San Diego Housing Federation since 2010, has been appointed deputy secretary of housing policy at the California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency by Gov. Brown. Riggs was an attorney at Best Best and Krieger LLP from

Susan Riggs

Susan Riggs

2008 to 2010, adjunct faculty at San Diego State University from 2006 to 2009 and vice president of government affairs at the San Diego Association of Realtors from 2004 to 2005. Riggs served in multiple positions at the San Diego Housing Commission from 2001 to 2004, including chief policy adviser and senior policy analyst. She was adjunct faculty at Southwestern College from 2000 to 2006, an associate at the Trammell Crow Co. from 1999 to 2000 and an associate at CB Richard Ellis in 1999. Riggs earned her law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law. The position does not require Senate confirmation and the annual salary is $129,996. Riggs is a Democrat.

San Diegan Appointed to Osteopathic Medical Board of California

Cheryl Williams

Cheryl Williams

Cheryl Williams, 58, of San Diego, has been appointed to the Osteopathic Medical Board of California. Williams has been community relations coordinator at the San Ysidro Health Center since 2010. She was a constituent service manager in the California State Assembly from 2006 to 2010, assistant campaign field manager for Mary Salas for State Assembly from 2005 to 2006 and community development consultant at the Jacobs Foundation, San Diego from 2001 to 2004. Williams was president and chief executive officer at the San Diego Circuit Board Service from 1981 to 2000 and hearing and placement assistant for the San Diego Unified School District from 1977 to 1981. This position does not require Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Williams is a Democrat.


Is Office Development Back in San Diego?

Panelists will try to determine whether office development is back in San Diego at the Feb. 11 breakfast meeting of the Urban Land Institute San Diego/Tijuana. It will be held from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the University Club, 701 B St. in Downtown San Diego.

Despite a few recent groundbreakings and planned projects around San Diego, the construction of office towers and suburban office parks has not made a significant resurgence in the current recovery. Is the resurgence just around the corner? Or have we reached “peak office” in San Diego? Those are questions  to be handled by panelists: Nelson Ackerley, The Irvine Co.; Dennis Cruzan, Cruzan | Monroe; and Sean Tobias, Hines. Moderator will be Ian Gill of Highland Partnership.

Cost to attend is $45 for ULI members, $60 for nonmembers, $34 for student members, $50 for nonmember students. To register, call (800) 321-5011.

Company to Build Inaugural Residences in Chula Vista

Pebble Creek Companies, a general contracting company headed by Teri Smith and Gary Arnold, has announced plans to build its first residential neighborhood. Called Vista Grande, the project will consist of 16 single-family homes on a cul-de-sac in Otay Ranch in Chula Vista. Headquartered in El Cajon, Pebble Creek Companies has served as general contractors for a number of developers over the past three years. Vista Grande will represent the company’s first project as the owner/developer. Smith, president and CEO of the firm, said Pebble Creek will continue to serve as general contractors for other builders and investors and has several of these projects under way throughout San Diego County.

Both Smith and Arnold previously worked for McMillin Homes before forming Pebble Creek Companies.

Arnold, executive vice president of Pebble Creek, says Vista Grande’s final map is currently being reviewed by the city of Chula Vista and he hopes to begin street work as early as February.  The Vista Grande homes will be sized from approximately 2,839 to 3,161 square feet and move-ins on the first eight homes are anticipated in late summer.  Prices are anticipated to begin in the low $500,000s.

CPB Grounds Entire Fleet of Drones After Crash

The United States has grounded its border drone fleet after one crashed off the coast of San Diego late Monday night. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection drone was flying a patrol 20 miles off the coast. CBP spokesman Michael Friel said the Predator B drone experienced mechanical issues and operators crashed it into the ocean when it became clear it couldn’t return to Sierra Vista, Ariz. As a result, the agency has grounded its entire fleet of nine drones. –KPBS

Stemedica Announces New Chief Financial Officer

Stemedica Cell Technologies Inc., a specialty biopharmaceutical company headquartered in San Diego and working in the development, manufacturing, and research of adult allogenic stem cells, appointed Craig W. Carlson as its new chief financial officer. Carlson, who will take on the role in March, has more than 34 years of experience in finance, accounting, investor relations, and operations specifically in the biotech and biopharmaceutical industries. He has in the past 21 years of his career helped in raising more than $420 million in private, public and international markets. Previously, Carlson was the senior vice president, chief financial officer and secretary at Talon Therapeutics, a specialty biopharmaceutical company. Stemedica is a government licensed manufacturer of clinical grade stem cells for use in approved research institutions and hospitals for clinical human trials. The company is currently developing regulatory pathways for a number of other medical indications.


The abandoned subway station in New York City that became the centerpiece for the SDSU team's proposal. Photo by: John-Paul Palescandolo & Eric Kazmirek.

The abandoned subway station in New York City that became the centerpiece for the SDSU team’s proposal. Photo by: John-Paul Palescandolo & Eric Kazmirek.

Theater Design Goes Underground

A team of SDSU students are finalists in Imaginations competition

A team of students from San Diego State University entered Walt Disney Imagineering’s 2014 Imaginations competition with the goal of landing jobs or internships. But it became so much more than that. Through collaboration and creativity, they created a fictional world that will resonate with them for the rest of their lives.

The four graduate students — Ryan Grossheim (third year, scenic design), Gabrielle Heerschap (second year, technical direction), Mason Daryl Lev (third year, scenic design) and Jordyn Smiley (third year, costume design) — are all in SDSU’s Master of Fine Arts Theatre Design and Technology program.

Of 230 teams that entered the competition, the SDSU team is among six finalists who will travel to the Glendale, Calif. headquarters of Imagineering this week to present their projects to Imagineering executives and interview for internship opportunities.

The team has been working together since August. Their task: “to select a large and densely populated urban area and design an experience that temporarily or permanently transforms the city for the enjoyment of its citizens and visitors. The experience must take advantage of existing infrastructure, and may be above, below or anywhere in between existing development.”

They said they knew right away that they wanted to do something with the New York City subway and started looking for a unique angle. They were captivated when they found an image of a station that was designed to be the architectural gem of the New York City subway system, but had been closed for more than 65 years.

“It’s this masterpiece of architecture that no one can see,” Grossheim said.

The station, which lies beneath City Hall, was built in 1904 and became the centerpiece of the team’s proposal for the Imaginations competition. Putting their own imaginations to the test, Grossheim, Heerschap, Lev and Smiley created a story line for a fictional experience that would allow people to explore inaccessible historic spaces beneath New York City.

The winners will be announced on Friday.

For the full story, click here…

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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: