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Daily Business Report-Feb. 5, 2014

Daily Business Report-Feb. 5, 2014

Playbutton Corp. makes a music player in a wearable button.

 Wearable Market Firms Playbutton

and Taida Company Merge

Playbutton Corp., a company that makes a music player in a wearable button, and the Taida Company LLC, maker of eartips for in-ear headsets called EarPuffs, have merged to form Comhear Inc.

“We see this symbiotic merger to be of great value to our business, clients and shareholders alike,” said Adam Tichauer, president of Playbutton, in a prepared statement. “We are extremely excited for the future of our new company and are working to quickly integrate our teams.” He described the Playbutton as the first product to offer the combination of a digital audio player combined with HD audio music “in one fashionable and wearable button.”

The companies pointed to studies by IMS Research that the wearable market is poised to grow from 14 million devices shipped in 2011 to as many as 171 million units shipped by 2016. “In a more recent estimate, ABI Research pegs the wearables market at 485 million annual device shipments by 2018,” the companies said.

Randy Granovetter, founder and CEO of Taida, becomes CEO of Comhear. He is the former founder and CEO of Jabra.

Barney & Barney Sold to New York Agency

San Diego’s Barney & Barney LLC, the nation’s 34th largest brokerage firm, has been acquired by Marsh & McLennan Agency of White Plains, N.Y., a subsidiary of insurance broker Marsh LLC. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1909, Barney & Barney has annual revenue of $100 million and 500 employees, all of whom will join Marsh & McLennan. Barney & Barney will serve as the agency’s Western regional hub under the leadership of Barney & Barney CEO Paul Hering.

“We are excited to begin a new chapter with the MMA team. This transition is an excellent opportunity to expand our reach, ensuring new opportunities for our associates and more resources for our clients,” said Hering.

Shea Homes Purchases 17 Land Lots in Carlsbad for $6.15 Million

CARLSBAD — Lee & Associates-North San Diego office has negotiated the $6.15 million sale of 17 land lots, located on Pio Pico Drive in Carlsbad, to the country’s largest privately-owned homebuilder, Shea Homes. Matt Weaver, Patrick Miller and Al Apuzzo, all principals with Lee & Associates-North San Diego, represented the seller, Robert Miles Trust, in the transaction, while Shea Homes represented itself.

Shea Homes, which is part of a family-owned company that was established in 1881, is known for developing communities across the country. In California, the homebuilder has several hubs of activity, including the Bay Area, Central Coast, Los Angeles and Ventura, Orange County, Sacramento and San Diego.

“The lots, which were entitled to the Robert Miles Trust prior to the transaction, are situated in an excellent infill coastal location that happens to have a low inventory of prime coastal land sites,” said Weaver. “Shea Homes saw an excellent opportunity for development and plans to build 17 new single family units.”

USD Center Hosts 18th Annual Real Estate Conference

University of San Diego’s Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate will host its 18th annual Real Estate Conference Feb. 13 at the San Diego Marriott Marquis and Marina. Conference hours are from 7 to 11:45 a.m.

Norm Miller, professor of real estate at the Burnham-Moores Center, will be the featured speaker, presenting his research findings on workplace trends nationally and their impact on office markets. Sam Zell, founder and chairman of Equity Group Investments, is the keynote speaker.

Three panels of civic and business leaders will give their insights on a variety of issues and opportunities in real estate.

Registration for the event, which includes breakfast, costs $175. Register at For questions, contact Diane Gustafson at (619) 260-2379.


Bob, left, and Mike Bryan were traded from the Texas Wild to the San Diego Aviators.

Bob, left, and Mike Bryan were traded from the Texas Wild to the San Diego Aviators.

World TeamTennis Aviators Secures Former

San Diego Sports Arena as its Home Venue

The San Diego Aviators of Mylan World TeamTennis have secured the Valley View Casino Center as its home venue for the July 2014 season. The Aviators plan to build an intimate seating venue to accommodate its seven home matches. World TeamTennis has a history at the center, formerly known as the San Diego Sports Arena, during the 1970s with the San Diego Friars.

“The world’s best tennis players will be coming to San Diego and we are proud to be the host venue working with Russell (Geyser)  and the Aviators team,” said Ernie Hahn, senior vice president and general manager of the Valley View Casino Center. Geyser is the owner of the Aviators.

The Aviators recently announced the addition of the world No. 1 doubles team, Mike and Bob Bryan, to its team along with head coach David Macpherson. The identical twins are Olympic gold medalists.

The  Mylan season is July 6 through July 27 concluding with the Mylan WTT Finals. The Aviators will play 14 regular season matches, with seven at Valley View Casino Center and seven on the road.

City Council Clears Way to Build Delayed Horton Plaza Park

The San Diego City Council on Tuesday cleared the way for the resumption of construction of an $11.7 million public park project at Horton Plaza that’s about one year behind schedule, City News Service reports. Groundbreaking on the 37,000-square-foot urban plaza and demolition of the former Robinsons/May building on the site took place in November 2012. It was originally slated to open this spring, but the anticipated opening has been pushed back to the summer of 2015, said Daniel Kay, a senior project manager in the city’s Public Works Department.

The project was subject to numerous uncertainties created by the dissolution of the redevelopment system in California, including being rejected by the state Department of Finance, which decides which projects already in the redevelopment pipeline would be allowed to continue.

Jeff Graham, president of Civic San Diego — which plans city development — said state officials later reversed their decision.

The City Council’s action was to approve plans and specifications for the project, which will include restoration of a fountain and a lawn; construction of an amphitheater; underground storage; installation of granite paving, chairs and tables; and the building of public restrooms, retail and refreshment pavilions, according to city documents.

Chase Bank Gives $50,000 Grant for Microloans

JP Morgan Chase Bank has given a $50,000 grant to nonprofit lender CDC Small Business Finance in San Diego to increase awareness of microloans available for low- and moderate-income borrowers or small businesses. Three San Diego businesses received microloans in the past few months — Sunless Revolution, San Diego United Sports Center and Premier Gourmet restaurant.

“The demand for these smaller microloans has been on the upswing and supporting CDC Small Business Finance in their efforts to reach entrepreneurs is a solid strategy,” said Myeisha Peguero Gamino, regional director of operations for Chase Bank.

Hundreds of Vehicles on Auction Block

Hundreds of surplus vehicles, including automobiles and heavy equipment, and surplus government property from the county and other local agencies are going on the auction block at 8 a.m. on Saturday in Ramona, with many bids starting at $100. Among the vehicles: a 2004 Honda Accord, a 2005 Honda Odyssey Van, a 2005 Civic Hybrid Sedan, a 2009 Ford Explorer 4X4, a 2006 Chevrolet Impala and 2003 through 2009 Ford Crown Victoria patrol cars.

Also in the auction, a shuttle bus, a 1991 Military Reach Lift 10K, a 2003 Elgin Sweeper, a 1997 Freightliner Truck Tractor, a 1997 Trail King Utility Trailer TK60, a 2006 Caterpillar Backhoe 416E, a 1992 Mobile Radar Trailer and two 2009 T3 Motion electric carts.

TNT Auction Company will run the event at the Ramona Rodeo Grounds Fred Grand Arena, 421 Aqua Lane. An auction preview will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday  and Friday at the same location.

Grand Opening of Davidson’s Arterro at La Costa

Arterro at La Costa home

Arterro at La Costa home

CARLSBAD — Three model homes will be unveiled during the grand opening of Arterro at La Costa on Saturday at 10 a.m. Davidson Communities’ enclave of 63 new family homes is located at the junction of Rancho Santa Fe Road and La Costa Avenue. Ranging from 3,288 to 4,434 square feet, homes at Arterro offers three to six bedrooms, 3 ½ to 6 ½ baths and a three-car garage Prices are expected to range from the high $900,000s.

Arterro is a 22-acre residential element of the new, mixed-use La Costa Town Square project, which features a 253,800 square-foot community shopping center and two office buildings totaling 50,000 square feet. La Costa Town Square is scheduled to open later this year. Arterro at La Costa is located at 3442 Sitio Sandia. For more information, call (760) 632-8400.

Scripps Health Makes Top 10 List for Executive Women

Scripps Health has been named one of the “Top 10 Nonprofit Companies for Executive Women” for 2014 by the National Association for Female Executives. The list recognizes organizations whose policies and practices encourage women’s advancement and whose numbers at the highest levels of leadership demonstrate that commitment. Scripps, which was ranked No. 8, was recognized for its innovative policies and practices to help women advance in the workplace. Of Scripps’ 13,500 employees, 77 percent are women, and women make up 68 percent of the management group. Scripps has 60 executives accountable for the success of all aspects of the organization – 23 of these leaders are women (39 percent).

Aloft Hotel to Open in Rancho Bernardo

A new Aloft hotel is scheduled to open in mid-2016 in Rancho Bernardo. The Aloft Rancho Bernardo, owned by HP Investors LLC and managed by Azul Hospitality Group, will feature more than 140 loft-like rooms and meeting space. Aloft is a brand of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

California Southern Small Business Development Corp. Elects Board

California Southern Small Business Development Corp., San Diego County’s largest state and federally funded loan guarantee program, has announced new board members and officers for the 2014 term. Officers elected include Chair Michel Anderson and Vice Chair Dale Wineteer, both small business owners; Secretary Barry Schultz, an attorney with Stutz Artiano Schinoff & Holtz; and Treasurer Paul Rodeno, an executive with Citizens Business Bank. Board members for the 2014 term include John R. Cooper, CPA, Cooper & Associates; Rebecca Humphries, Neighborhood National Bank; Lea Zanjani, California Bank and Trust; Jeff Hester, Rabobank; and Milt Levy, small business owner.

Pacific Southwest Associator of Realtors Installs Officers

PSAR President Bob Olivieri and President-Elect Carey Guthrie.

PSAR President Bob Olivieri and President-Elect Carey Guthrie.

Bob Olivieri of Coldwell Banker West, has been installed as 2014 president of the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors. Carey Guthrie of Windermere Real Estate, was installed as president-elect. Sam Calvano of Sam Calvano Home Loans, will serve as secretary/treasurer. Jeff Campbell, Pacific Growth Sales, is past president. Directors include: Ron Boland, Parkway Real Estate; Linda Collier, SoCal Direct Lending; Nikki Coppa, Guardian Agents; Sarah Heck, Coldwell Banker West, SDH Processing; George Kenner, Keller Williams Realty; Laura Lothian, Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty; Norma Scantlin, Parkway Real Estate; Sharon Schultz, Century 21 Award; Claudia Zaker, Keller Williams Realty; and, Hector Zamaro, Coastal Property Group.

Mark Anderson Promoted by Grandpoint Bank

Mark Anderson, head of operations at Regents Bank in La Jolla, has been promoted to the newly created position of branch operations administrator by Grandpoint Bank, the parent company of Regents. Anderson will be responsible for all branch operations for Grandpoint and its divisions, Regents Bank and Bank of Tucson. He will continue to work out of Regent Bank’s La Jolla office.

Anderson joined Regents Bank when California Community Bank merged with Regents more than a year ago. He worked at California Community Bank for more than nine years, where he served as executive vice president/operations administrator.

Leading BioSciences Names New CEO

San Diego-based Leading BioSciences Inc., a pharmaceutical company focused on treatments of acute shock and multiple organ fairlure, announced that Robin M. Jackman, has been named chief executive officer. Jackman succeeds Stephen Flaim, who was serving as interim CEO and now returns to his post as company chairman. Jackman, a 20-year biopharmaceutical industry veteran, was most recently president and CEO of Zacharon Pharmaceuticals where he successfully led the venture-backed startup from financing through new orphan drug program development, new partnerships, and on to a sale of the company last year to BioMarin Pharmaceuticals. Jackman also formerly served as vice president at Vical where he ran the oncology division.

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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?

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