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Daily Business Report-Jan. 9, 2014

Daily Business Report-Jan. 9, 2014

Median Home Prices Climbed by 20 Percent in 2013

The year 2013 saw a 20 percent gain in the median price of all existing homes in San Diego County, according to the regional housing statistics from the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors.

Broken down by property types, single-family home prices rose 19 percent during 2013 — a median price of $457,000. Condo and townhome prices increased by nearly 29 percent, reflected by a 2013 median price of $295,000. The total number of home sales last year was 36,240, virtually the same as 2012.

The December median price of single-family homes in San Diego County was $478,500, a rise of 2 percent from the previous month, and nearly 14 percent from December 2012. The median price of condos and townhomes in December ($300,000) was down slightly from November, but is 19 percent higher than the same time last year.

The number of single-family home sales in December was down only slightly from November, but condo and townhomes saw a healthy 6 percent increase in December sales over the previous month. Sales were down, however, from one year ago.

“We can breathe a sigh of relief as we look back at the 2013 housing market,” said SDAR President Leslie Kilpatrick. “Strength and stability are what we can hope for in 2014.”

In December, the ZIP codes with the most sales of single-family homes include: 92028/Fallbrook — 53; 92057/Oceanside — 42; 92128/Rancho Bernardo — 41. Four ZIP codes posted 37 sales: 92021/El Cajon, 92056/Oceanside, 92114/Encanto, and 92127/Rancho Bernardo.

The most expensive San Diego County listing sold last month: A five-bedroom, five-bath, 8,500-square-foot home in La Jolla that sold for $16.25 million.

MEDIAN SALES PRICE (Comparing December 2013 to November 2013)

• Single-Family:  2 percent increase

December 2013 = $478,500

November 2013 = $469,000

• Condos/Townhomes: 3 percent decrease

December 2013 = $300,000

November 2013 = $310,000

MEDIAN SALES PRICE (Comparing December 2013 to December 2012)

• Single-­Family:  14 percent increase

December 2013 = $478,500

December 2012 = $418,000

• Condos/Townhomes: 19 percent increase

December 2013 = $300,000

December 2012 = $253,000


Kearny Real Estate Co. Acquires Union Bank Building

The Union Bank building in Downtown San Diego.

The Union Bank building in Downtown San Diego.

Kearny Real Estate Co. has acquired the Union Bank building,  a 232,098-square-foot office building at 530 B Street in Downtown San Diego, and will undertake a $15 million capital improvement program, the company announced today. The sale price was not disclosed.

Through a new long-term lease, Union Bank will continue to occupy a major portion of the building. While Union Bank will retain building top signage, Kearny will rebrand the building as 530 B.

The overhaul will include the building’s core plumbing, new restrooms, tenant improvements and a new indoor/outdoor patio that has been underutilized. “This patio is one of the reasons we bought this iconic building. It gives us the opportunity to create a wonderful indoor/outdoor experience for our tenants,” said Kearny partner John Bragg, who heads the firm’s San Diego office. “When completed in spring 2014 there will be nothing else like it for tenants in Downtown San Diego.”

Built in 1966 and renovated in 1992, the Union Bank Building had stood as the tallest building in San Diego for more than 20 years. Characterized by its floor-to-ceiling windows, every floor offers 360-degree views of the San Diego Bay, Pacific Ocean and Balboa Park.

“Businesses occupying 10,000 square feet or less make up approximately 85 percent of the office space in Downtown San Diego,” said Bragg.  “With 9,250 square-foot floor plates, the building provides unique full-floor opportunities for the mid-size tenants that dominate the downtown market.”

The building was 57 percent leased at the time of the sale. In addition to Union Bank and the San Diego office of Kearny, other significant tenants include The San Diego Economic Development Corp., Peterson Price, Messner Smith, Peterson & Associates and Standing Chapter 13 Trustee.

Louay Alsadek and Evan August of CBRE represented Union Bank in the transaction and Ryan Grant, Andrew Taylor and Jim Rinehart of CBRE have been retained as leasing agents.

Governor in San Diego Today to Talk Budget

Gov. Jerry Brown will be in San Diego today to talk up his budget proposal. Brown, who will start the day in Sacramento and speak at San Diego City Hall about 12:30 p.m., is expected to discuss a constitutional amendment for establishing a reserve fund to help stabilize the state’s boom-or-bust cycles. Voters would have the final say on the issue in November.

He is expected to direct about $250 million in revenue from the state’s pollution credit program to the high-speed rail project, according to published reports. Legal challenges have crippled long-term financing for the bullet train, although the state has secured some $3.4 billion in federal funding. Both proposals could meet with opposition from some of his political allies, including unions and environmentalists. Brown outraged some environmentalists last year when he approved a $500 million loan from the state’s cap-and-trade pollution credit program to the state’s general fund. — City News Service

‘Orange is the New Black’ Author to Speak

at S.D. North Chamber’s Women’s Week

Piper Kerman

Piper Kerman

Piper Kerman, author of the memoir “Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Woman’s Prison,” will be a keynote speaker at the 2014 San Diego Women’s Week sponsored by the San Diego North Chamber of Commerce. The week of events is scheduled for March 17-24 and Kernan will be the speaker on March 21.

In her memoir, Kerman recounts the 15 months she spent in a correctional facility for a crime she committed 10 years prior as a very brief, careless dalliance in the world of drug trafficking. The memoir was adapted into an original Netflix series of the same name and was recently renewed for another season. Her show has been called “the best TV show about prison ever made” by the Washington Post.

She shares stories of the women she met while in prison. She talks about issues of friendships and family, mental illness, the odd cliques and codes of behavior, the role of religion, the uneasy relationship between prisoner and jailor and the almost complete lack of guidance for life after prison.

Other speakers at the event, to be held at the new Harrah’s Rincon events center, include Elizabeth Smart, Tanya Brown (sister of Nicole Brown Simpson), Patricia McArdle (former U.S. diplomat), Kristen Kavanaugh of the Military Acceptance Project and others.

Sidewalk Assessment Prepares to Hit the Streets

Bad sidewalk

Bad sidewalk

Interim San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and San Diego City Councilman Mark Kersey said Wednesday that an assessment of the condition of sidewalks around San Diego is gearing up — a major opening step in attempts by city officials to reduce a massive backlog of infrastructure projects. Employees and college students are training and testing equipment for the study now, and will hit the streets by the end of the month, according to Kersey’s office.

“This is the first time the city has ever conducted a comprehensive assessment of its 5,000 miles of public sidewalks,” Kersey said. “It will take about a year to complete. But when it’s done, we’ll be able to put a price tag on the needed repairs.”

Projecting the cost is critical because city officials are uncertain of the ultimate bill for repairing San Diego’s sidewalks, roadways, public buildings and other municipal facilities. Educated guesses from Kersey and other city officials range north of $900 million and could top $1 billion.

City officials also want to know where sidewalks are needed but don’t currently exist.

City officials also plan to assess the condition of municipal buildings. Results from both studies are expected to be made available near the end of this year. — City News Service

San Diego Industrial Building Sold for $2.8 Million

A 21,090-square-foot industrial building at 9155 Trade Place in San Diego has been sold for $2.8 million to Express Corporation of San Diego. The building, previously owned and occupied by Technology Integration Group, will be Express Corporation’s new corporate headquarters and main manufacturing location. The seller was TIG Real Estate Holdings. Cassidy Turley was the broker.

Express Corporation has provided barcode and traditional labeling solutions to thousands of business and industrial customers worldwide since its founding in San Diego in 1984. The company is relocating from approximately 14,000 square feet it occupies on the same street, at 9235-A Trade Place, to accommodate projected growth over the next several years.

Nature’s Balm for the Stressed Brain: Nociceptin

Marisa Roberto, principal investigator

Marisa Roberto, principal investigator

Collaborating scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the University of Camerino in Italy have published new findings on a system in the brain that naturally moderates the effects of stress. The findings confirm the importance of this stress-damping system, known as the nociceptin system, as a potential target for therapies against anxiety disorders and other stress-related conditions.

“We were able to demonstrate the ability of this nociceptin anti-stress system to prevent and even reverse some of the cellular effects of acute stress in an animal model,” said biologist Marisa Roberto, associate professor in TSRI’s addiction research department, known as the Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders. Roberto was a principal investigator for the study, which appears in the January 8, 2014 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Scientists have wanted to know more about the anti-stress activity of the nociceptin/NOP system, in part because it might offer a better way to treat stress-related conditions. The latter are common in modern societies, including post-traumatic stress disorder as well as the drug-withdrawal stress that often defeats addicts’ efforts to kick the habit.

USD Ranked in Top 20  in U.S. News’ Online Graduate Business Programs

The University of San Diego’s master’s degree in supply chain management is now one of the country’s top 20 online graduate business programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. USD’s program was ranked 14th in the nation in the list of more than 170 programs released Wednesday. The program jumped nine spots from last year’s ranking of 23rd.

The master’s program to train professionals in advanced techniques to efficiently design, produce and deliver goods and services received high marks in the rankings criteria of faculty credentials and training and student engagement. Other criteria included admissions selectivity, peer reputation and student services and technology.

USD’s program, which can be completed in 24 months, is a hybrid online program allowing professionals to work regular business hours while connecting with students and professors online and in person. Students also visit the campus five times in two years for invaluable face-to-face time.

Law Library Holds Panel Talk on Philanthropic Strategies

The San Diego Law Library is partnering with The Hartford Group to present a panel discussion Jan. 29 on “Philanthropic Strategies for Saving Innovation.” It will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the San Diego Law Library, 1105 Front St., in Downtown San Diego. The event is tailored for financial, legal and tax advisers as well as foundations and high net worth individuals.

The cost is $10. Panelists will be Charles Hartford, financial adviser at The Hartford Group , the moderator; Christian Nielsen Braemer, CEO and co-founder of Pushing Innovation; Sandra A. Brown, vice chancellor for research at UC San Diego; and Carmen Bianchi, family business consultant at Carmen Bianchi Family Business Associates.

SDSU Holds Open House for Business of Wine Program

SDSU’s College of Extended Studies will host an open house for its professional certificate programs in the Business of Wine, along with meeting and event planning from 6-7:30 p.m. on Jan. 14 in the SDSU Extended Studies Center. The college will also host an information session for its Marketing and Digital Media professional certificate program from 6-7:30 p.m. on  Jan. 15 at the same location.  For more details, visit or call (619) 265-7378.

County Supervisors Sign Off on Road Signs

Ramona Welcome Sign

Ramona welcome sign

People living in or visiting San Diego County’s unincorporated communities may soon start seeing a lot more signs — welcoming them to town; telling them about special events; or directing them to local attractions — after county supervisors unanimously approved new sign rules Wednesday. “I think the new sign and banner ordinance is going to help distinguish the unique characteristics of each of the unincorporated communities,” said board chairwoman Dianne Jacob.

The board’s vote will repeal the county’s current policy of banning community signs on county roads and create new rules that allow a number of different kinds of signs and banners — permanent and temporary. Because the rule changes will create a new County ordinance, the action must be approved by the Board again when they meet Jan. 29, and would take effect 30 days after that.

A staff report said that allowing signs to be put up on county roads could establish a greater sense of place and community character without sacrificing road safety.

The new rules would allow six types of community signs and banners to be put up in the public right-of-way in unincorporated communities. Click here for the six types…

SBA’s San Diego Office Seeks Nominations

For Small Business Awards for 2014

Eleven categories for business awards and recognition

The Small Business Administration’s San Diego office is accepting nominations for several SBA award categories, including the 2014 Small Business Person of the Year Award. The awards honor small business owners for their contributions to the economy and society. The San Diego district office serves San Diego and Imperial counties.

Awards for the San Diego District: Women-Owned Small Business; Minority-Owned Small Business; Veteran-Owned Small Business; Young Entrepreneur of the Year;  Financial Services Champion of the Year; Minority Small Business Champion of the Year; Small Business Journalist of the Year; Veteran Small Business Champion of the Year; Women in Business Champion of the Year.

For more information about nomination criteria, contact Cynthia Harris at (619) 727-4884 or e-mail The deadline for submitting nominations to the San Diego office is Jan. 17.


Aerial view shows the location of the desalination plant.

Aerial view shows the location of the desalination plant.

Officials Mark First Anniversary of Desalination Project Start

CARLSBAD — A host of city and county leaders and water executives visited the Carlsbad Desalination Project on Wednesday to mark the first anniversary of construction of the plant, which is more than 25 percent completed. Officials said the $1 billion venture, launched in late 2012, is within budget and on schedule to start producing water in 2016. Besides the plant, the project includes a large-diameter pipeline in North County, along with upgrades to San Diego County Water Authority facilities. It will account for about one-third of all the water generated in San Diego County, helping reduce reliance on imported water.

“We are well on our way to delivering enough high-quality drinking water to serve up to 112,000 households in San Diego County,” said Carlos Riva, CEO of Poseidon Water, the project developer. He cited the support of Kiewit Shea Desalination contractors, IDE Technologies, NGR Energy, the cities of San Marcos, Vista and Carlsbad and the Water Authority.

During the three-year construction process, the desalination project is supporting an estimated 2,500 jobs and infusing $350 million into the local economy, officials said.

Sheppard Mullin Associate Awarded Pro Bono Award

Graham “Gray” Buccigross

Graham “Gray” Buccigross

Graham “Gray” Buccigross, an associate in the Del Mar office of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton has been awarded the firm’s Bob Gerber Pro Bono Attorney of the Year Award. The award recognizes the important community service work done by Sheppard Mullin attorneys. Buccigross, a 2004 cum laude graduate of Harvard University Law School, is a member of Sheppard Mullin’s intellectual property practice group.

In addition to personally handling pro bono matters, Buccigross leads efforts on the Del Mar office’s signature pro bono program: a partnership with Casa Cornelia Law Center, a public interest law firm focusing on victims of human and civil rights violations.  Last year he was awarded Casa Cornelia’s 2013 La Mancha Pro Bono Attorney of the Year for his efforts.  Buccigross has also been responsible for building a pro bono partnership with the San Diego chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel, taking the lead on planning volunteer outings with in-house lawyers for Make a Difference Day.

New President and CEO Named for Ajinomoto Althea Inc.

San Diego contract manufacturing organization Ajinomoto Althea Inc. has appointed J. David Enloe Jr. as its new president and CEO. Enloe has more than 20 years of executive management experience, most of it in biotechnology, drug development and manufactuing. Most recently he served as the head of the Viral Therapeutics Business Unit at Lonza AG. Enloe was the founder and CEO of Vivante GMP Solutions Inc., which he subsequently sold to Lonza AG in 2010. Prior to this, he was president and CEO of Introgen Therapeutics,Inc., which later became the basis for Vivante.

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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: