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Daily Business Report-March 24, 2014

Daily Business Report-March 24, 2014

Ben and Nikki Clay, left, are given the SDSU President’s Service Award earlier this year by university president Elliot Hirshman. The couple were given a pewter plate from the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

Balboa Park Centennial Committee

Members Apologize for Failure

By Angela Carone |KPBS

After three years in operation, the nonprofit charged with planning a yearlong extravaganza to mark the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park is out of business. It spent $2.6 million in taxpayer funds with little to show but a stack of bills from consultants.

While questions about just what went wrong continue to swirl, the people who ran Balboa Park Centennial Inc. apologized to the public in an exclusive interview with KPBS.

Nikki Clay, co-chair with her husband, Ben, of the centennial committee, said the couple “especially want to apologize.”

“We could not feel worse about having this not work,” she said. “We kept thinking one more phone call, one more meeting, would turn that tide.”

Water Fountain

The Balboa Park water fountain with the San Diego Natural History Museum in the background

Clay and two other board members agreed to talk about their experiences and to respond to a firestorm of criticism from members of the public, museum directors and other stakeholders who say they were left out of the planning process.

The committee and staff were downtown insiders, critics say, an insular group that lacked the leadership and fundraising skills to pull off an event of this scale.

The committee spent too much time outsourcing a “vision,” they said, and not enough time building a coalition among those who could actually make the event happen.

For the committee’s part, its members blame inadequate funding, turmoil at San Diego City Hall and an overbearing former Mayor Bob Filner for the failure.

KPBS interviewed or reached out to more than 30 people on the inside and the outside of the Balboa Park celebration to find out what happened and to ask: Can a celebration — with 2015 right around the corner — be salvaged?

The story starts with one man’s dream of turning back the clock to 1915 and filling the park with the charm of the Electriquette.

Read the story…


Wateridge Plaza

Wateridge Plaza

High-Profile Office Campus Sold for $72.5 Million

Expanding its San Diego footprint and adding nearly 300,000 square feet to its portfolio, Parallel Capital Partners Inc. has acquired a three-building Class A office complex in Sorrento Mesa — a San Diegotechnology hub — for $72.5 million.

Parallel purchased the project, known as Wateridge Plaza, in a joint venture with Equity Group Investments, a Chicago-based private investment firm founded by famed entrepreneur Sam Zell, from a partnership of Beacon Capital Partners and C-III Realty. The broker for the seller was Adam Edwards, Eastdil Secured.

Originally constructed in 1984, the office campus — located at 10201, 10221 and 10241 Wateridge Circle — consists of three five- and six-story buildings totaling 278,787 square feet, as well as a parking complex. The eight-acre project includes future development potential of approximately 168,000 additional square feet of Class A office space. The complex, which was renovated in 2012, includes a cascading courtyard waterfall, full-service bistro, fitness center with lockers and steam room, structured parking and access to volleyball and tennis courts, barbecues and hiking trails. American Specialty Health and Eddy M’s Bistro are among the tenants of the complex, which currently has an occupancy rate of seventy-two percent.

The prior owners, Beacon and C-III, invested over $14 million in upgrades to the project from 2009 to 2013.

The principals of Parallel Capital Partners — Matt Root, Jim Ingebritsen and Jim Reynolds — have a history in the Sorrento Mesa market, and in 2002 acquired Seaview Corporate Center for $65 million which they sold to Principal Financial Group in 2004 for $92.1 million. They re-acquired that property at the height of the credit crisis in 2009 from Principal Financial Group for $75 million and sold it to John Hancock Real Estate in 2011 for $109 million.

Construction Workers on San Diego Hotel

Project Reimbursed for Wages Not Paid

More than 2,000 construction workers who worked on the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel project have been reimbursed $8.07 million in wages they earned but were not paid, by order of California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su. The reimbursements were included in a total of $17.7 million paid to more than 10,000 workers statewide in 2013. The payments were collected from public works investigations that uncovered prevailing wage and other violations of state public works laws in over 400 publicly-funded projects.

In 2012, the Labor Commissioner’s office collected the highest amount in the last decade when it reinstated $8.2 million to approximately 7,400 public works employees.  The $17.7 million figure for 2013 doubles the record set in the previous year.

Scripps Research Institute Consortium

Receives $28M to Fight Ebola Virus

The Scripps Research Institute Consortium has received a $28 million award from the National Institutes of Health to develop a treatment for the deadly ebola virus. The goal is to develop a combination of antibodies that can fight the virus, which spreads via blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person. The disease has most recently been found in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in recent years, according to TSRI. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people catch the virus through contact with an infected animal.


A MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system makes its approach for landing March 13 at Palmdale, CA. (Photo/ Alan Radecki/Northrup Grumman)

A MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system makes its approach for landing March 13 at Palmdale, CA. (Photo/ Alan Radecki/Northrup Grumman)

Northrop Grumman Completes Initial

Testing of Triton Unmanned Aircraft

Northrop Grumman Corp. and the  Navy have successfully completed the first major milestone of the Triton unmanned aircraft system’s test program, clearing the aircraft to fly at various altitudes, speeds and weights. The test team conducted 13 flights during this effort, including several long-endurance flights totaling 81 hours at altitudes up to 59,950 feet. The flights took place at the company’s manufacturing facility in Palmdale.

The Navy plans to build 68 Tritons and they will be used with the manned P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to conduct persistent intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions across vast ocean and coastal regions.

Triton carries a variety of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance sensor payloads that allow military commanders to gather high-resolution imagery, use radar to detect targets, and provide airborne communications and information-sharing capabilities to military units across long distances.

Northrup Grumman employs some 2,000 at its unmanned systems center in Rancho Bernardo.

New Butterfly Pavilion  to Open

at Water Conservation Garden

The 150 species of butterflies in San Diego County certainly are lovely to look at, but they also perform a vital function by providing a major food source for humans and wildlife.

Pam Meisner

Pam Meisner

At the Water Conservation Garden in El Cajon, a woman as colorful as the butterflies and water tolerant plants she’s so passionate about, is on a mission to teach children and adults how to be good stewards of our natural resources. Pam Meisner — best known as Ms. Smarty Plants — says without bees and butterflies we wouldn’t have food.

“Because they pollinate many, many of our crops and butterflies are a huge pollinator of corn,” she said.

Nine of the 150 butterfly species found in San Diego County are on the decline, primarily due to the loss of nectar sources such as weeds and plants. Meisner says butterflies also teach us about the health of our environment when we notice fewer of them.

“Their food supply is not available. Are the weather patterns changing, pesticides, deforestation, all of those things go into account,” she said.

On April 5, the Water Conversation Garden will unveil its new Butterfly Pavilion, giving the public a chance to learn more about the life of butterflies and their importance to some of our most vital resources.

“And that means that you can have a beautiful garden and attract all these wonderful butterflies and save water our most precious resource,” Meisner said.

The Water Conservation Garden opened 15 years ago in response to our drought in the early 1990s. It’s open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and it free to the public.

— Reported by KPBS

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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: