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Daily Business Report-April 29, 2014

Daily Business Report-April 29, 2014

The Lane Field project. (Rendering courtesy of John Portman & Associates)

Financing Secured for Hotels and Retail

Development at Lane Field on the Waterfront

Fifty-seven years after the Padres abandoned Lane Field to move to a new ballpark in Mission Valley, a real estate joint venture is moving forward with plans to turn the old ballpark site into a hotel development with retail shops and a public park.

Lankford Phelps Portman — a real estate venture comprised of Portman Holdings, Lankford & Associates and Hansel Phelps — announced Monday that it had secured financing for the development. It will include a 253-room SpringHill Suites, a 147-room Residence Inn — both in the Marriott portfolio — about 27,000 square feet of retail space and more than 400 parking spaces.

The development principals said AIG Global Real Estate Investment Corp. will serve as limited partner to the development venture, while U.S. Bank  will provide construction debt financing. John Portman & Associates will provide architectural services, supported locally by Joseph Wong Design Associates. The Port of San Diego owns the land.

“The Port of San Diego is looking forward to the transformation of the Lane Field property — one of the most historic landmark sites in San Diego — with a high quality hotel and public park along Harbor Drive,” said Bob Nelson, chair of the Board of Port Commissioners. “This hotel development helps fulfill our vision for a vibrant waterfront.”

The development site is located on N. Harbor Drive across from San Diego’s new cruise ship terminal — part of the city’s North Embarcadero Visionary Plan.

Development plans include an approximately 1.6 acre public park with access to the waterfront.

General contractor Hensel Phelps plans to break ground immediately and the project will open in early 2016.

Janis Milham of Marriott International said both hotel brands are well suited for business and leisure guests. “Residence Inn is an extended stay power house, known for its unique service and amenities, while SpringHill Suites’ design and style are refreshing and popular in the select-service space,” said Milham.

Portman Holdings previously developed the Hilton San Diego Bayfront by the San Diego Convention Center.

Lankford & Associates’ projects include the current redevelopment of a five-block area in Downtown’s East Village, known as Makers Quarter.


NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker

NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker

Newest Fisheries Survey Vessel Reuben Lasker

To Be Christened May 2 at the Navy Pier

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s new fisheries survey vessel, NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker, will be christened at a May 2 ceremony at Navy Pier on Harbor Drive. The ceremony is at 10 a.m.

Homeported in San Diego, the Lasker is the fifth in a series of technologically advanced fisheries vessels. It is equipped with the latest technology for fisheries and oceanographic research, including advanced navigation systems, acoustic sensors, and scientific sampling gear.

The Lasker will primarily support fish, marine mammal and turtle surveys off the West Coast and in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. Data collected by the ship will be used for science-based conservation and management of living marine resources.

The new vessel is named after the late Dr. Reuben Lasker, who served as the director of Southwest Fisheries Science Center’s Coastal Fisheries Division and as adjunct professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at U.C. San Diego. Lasker built a renowned research group that focused on the recruitment of young fish to the adult population — a topic with implications for fisheries management throughout the world.

San Diego Coastkeeper Sues Water Authority

San Diego Coastkeeper is suing the San Diego County Water Authority, alleging its recently approved water supply plan failed to account for existing and future environmental impacts. The suit alleges the water agency violated the California Environmental Quality Act because it did not address the environmental impacts or accout for the energy used to move and treat the water it supplied.

“We care about our water supply’s energy use because it produces greenhouse gas emissions, a primary driver of global climate change,” Matt O’Malley of Coastkeeper said. “Water supply decisions based on this plan could jeopardize the health and economic viability of San Diego County by contributing to climate change impacts like sea level rise.”

Ken Weinberg, director of water resources for the Water Authority, defended the 2013 master plan, saying the update and related environmental documents “involved about two dozen public workshops, meetings and hearings since September 2011.”

“The water authority’s documents not only meet the letter of the law, they are good for the environment and good for the region,” Weinberg said. “The master plan update continues to place an increased emphasis on water conservation and local water supply development in San Diego County that was established in the water authority’s 2010 Urban Water Management Plan.”

— City News Service

West, San Diego Leads Nation in Home Price Increases

Despite falling home sales nationally, real estate prices in San Diego are holding steady, and the metro area remains in the top three for total increase over the past year, according to new data Tuesday from the respected S&P/Case-Shiller index.

“The three California cities (San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco) and Las Vegas have the strongest increases over the last 12 months as the West continues to lead,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. But he noted that other measures show an uncertain housing market

“Despite continued price gains, most other housing statistics are weak,” he said. “Sales of both new and existing homes are flat to down. The recovery in housing starts, now less than one million units at annual rates, is faltering. Moreover, home prices nationally have not made it back to 2005.”

Here are the top five metro areas for home price increases over the past year:

Las Vegas — 23.1 percent

San Francisco — 22.7 percent

San Diego — 19.9 percent

Los Angeles — 18.2 percent

Atlanta — 16.1 percent

The Case-Shiller index is are based on work by economists Karl Case and Robert Shiller, who calculated the home price index back to 1890.

Poll Workers Needed for Gubernatorial Primary

If you are bilingual in any one of eight specific languages, the San Diego County Registrar of Voters wants you. Poll workers, especially those with the language skills, are needed for the June 3 Gubernatorial Primary Election.

The Registrar is required by federal law to provide bilingual speakers and voting materials to voters who speak Spanish, Filipino, Vietnamese and Chinese. A recent survey by the University of California, Berkeley showed a need for speakers of Khmer, Japanese, Korean and Hindi at about 20 precincts, so the Registrar’s office is also recruiting poll workers bilingual in those languages for the June 3 election.

To become a poll worker, applicants must be a U.S citizen and registered to vote in California, or lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States.  Poll workers must have transportation to their assigned polling location and will also need access to the Internet to take an online training and attend a two-hour class.

All poll workers receive a stipend ranging from $75 to $175 depending on the assignment and those who are bilingual receive an additional $15 if they are assigned to provide language assistance to voters.

Prospective poll workers can apply online at For more information, call (858) 565-5800 .

Kaiser Permanente Appoints Key Executives

Jane Finley

Jane Finley

Max Villalobos

Max Villalobos

Kaiser Permanente San Diego has announced the appointment of Jane Finley as senior vice president and executive director of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan in San Diego and Max Villalobos as chief operating officer of North County for Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan. They replace Mary Ann Barnes and Edward Littlejohn, respectively.

Finley fills the role of Barnes, who was named regional president of Kaiser Permanente Hawaii region. Shewill be responsible for the oversight of health care delivery, financial operations and health plan and hospital support functions in San Diego County, where Kaiser Permanente has more than 528,000 members, a new 414-bed acute care hospital and 24 medical offices.

Finley began her career at Kaiser Permanente in 1984. She will assume her new position in June.


 will lead Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plan operations in North County, including oversight of Kaiser Permanente’s North County membership growth strategy, facility expansion, and delivery system build-out. 

He comes to San Diego County from Kaiser Permanente’s Napa/Solano area in Northern California, where he holds the position of senior vice president and area manager.  Villalobos’s appointment is effective May 19.

Chicano Federation Unity Luncheon

Constance M. Carroll, chancellor of the San Diego Community College District, will be the keynote speaker at the Chicano Federation of San Diego County’s annual Unity Luncheon on May 9 at the Wyndham San Diego Bayside, 1355 N. Harbor Drive, in Downtown San Diego.  Registration is at 11:30 a.m.  Lunch and program is at 12:30 p.m.  Individual tickets are $75.

For more, visit

Carlsbad Chamber Forms Hall of Fame

CARLSBAD — The Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce has announced the formation of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame. Members of the first class will be revealed at the Small Business Awards Luncheon that will be held from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, May 2 at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa. The Hall of Fame will honor Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce members who have made a lasting impact on the chamber and its development. New members will be added to the wall of fame annually. A permanent Hall of Fame wall will be created at the chamber office, 5934 Priestly Drive to honor the inductees.

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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: