Daily Business Report-May 30, 2014
William Mason, the former general director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, is coming to San Diego
Opera Veteran Appointed Artistic
Adviser at San Diego Opera
The former general director of the Lyric Opera of Chicago, one of the premiere opera companies in the country, will serve as a temporary artistic adviser at San Diego Opera for the next six months.
William Mason came out of a well-earned retirement — he spent more than 50 years in the opera business — to guide the troubled opera company towards stability.
“I’ve had such a wonderful career in opera, it was a chance to give something back,” Mason said.
Mason says he was interested in the gig because it was not just about helping on the artistic side, despite the title. He says he realized the company needed someone with general director experience as well.
In addition to helping flesh out the 2015 season, the opera’s 50th anniversary, and offer direction on the operas already booked for 2016, Mason will advise the board on how to govern the newly organized company and weigh in on financials and fundraising until a new general director is appointed.
That person, says Mason, needs to have a fresh outlook.
“They need somebody new,” Mason explained. “I’m 72 years old. I have no new ideas, and I’m not trying to formulate any.”
Mason’s salary has not yet been determined. Right now he’s being paid expenses while he and the opera assess the scope of his duties. Mason says transparency is important and as soon as they decide a figure, “I have no qualms about that being out in the open.”
The salary of former general and artistic director Ian Campbell was a flashpoint in the turmoil surrounding San Diego Opera during the last two months. The company was on the brink of closing in March. Campbell is no longer with the company, half the board resigned and the state attorney general is conducting an investigation into the company’s finances.
But Mason says the challenges facing San Diego Opera were part of what made the new post appealing enough to draw him out of retirement. He also liked the idea of helping the company’s newly configured and much smaller board find better ways to govern.
“They’re energized and committed,” said Mason.
— KPBS report
200,000 Voters Expected to Cast Ballots in Primary Election
Turnout for next week’s primary should be around 35-38 percent in San Diego County, matching the historical average for recent elections of similar type, Registrar of Voters Michael Vu said. He said it initially appeared that turnout would be lower, based on a slow rate of return of absentee ballots.
The Memorial Day weekend could have had something to do with it, according to Vu, who told City News Service that 32,000 mail ballots arrived on Wednesday. “That makes me a little bit more hopeful,” Vu said.
About 200,000 San Diegans are expected to hit the polls Tuesday, Vu said.
The election includes primary races for governor and other statewide offices, Congress and the state Legislature, District Attorney and City Council offices. Three propositions are on the ballot for residents in the city of San Diego, and one each in Coronado, parts of the East County, and part of the desert of northeastern San Diego County.
The Registrar of Voters Office is still looking for 150 poll workers, who will receive $75 to $175 for their service on Tuesday, depending on their assignment. An ability to speak another language — like Spanish, Filipino, Vietnamese, Chinese, Khmer, Japanese, Korean and Hindi — is helpful, but not necessary.
Poll workers must be registered voters in the state of California or be legal permanent residents in the United States and have transportation to their assigned polling location, according to the registrar’s office. They will also need access to the Internet to complete an online training session and attend a two-hour class.
Prospective poll workers can apply online at www.sdvote.com. More information is available at (858) 565-5800, or via email at email@example.com.
— City News Service
Grand Opening Set for New Floral Trade Center
CARLSBAD — A grand opening celebration will be held next Tuesday for the new Floral Trade Center in Carlsbad — a state-of-the-art location for more than 20 wholesale flower vendors. Sunroad Enterprises designed the 55,000-square-foot facility to provide the Floral Trade Center a new home following the planned redevelopment of its prior location in Carlsbad into office space. It is located at 5858 Dryden Place.
“The Floral Trade Center is an integral part of the Carlsbad community, with a business base reaching throughout all of San Diego County,” said Dan Feldman, a principal with Sunroad Enterprises. “It was important to us to provide an accessible, modern venue that would allow the center’s tenants to remain together and continue providing a diverse range of flowers into the everyday life of San Diegans for years to come.”
Tuesday’s event will be from 4 to 8 p.m. and will include a ribbon cutting, vendor displays, food and refreshments, tours and a design presentation by René van Rems, a world-renowned floral designer.
Palmilla Apartments Sold for $25.65 Million
ESCONDIDO — The Conrad Prebys Trust has purchased the 190-unit Palmilla apartment development for $25.65 million. Located at 776 East Mission Avenue, the 190,040-square-foot property was built in 1973 and has one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans. The community features three swimming pools, a spa, fitness center and clubhouse. Unit amenities include large patios or balconies, walk-in closets, heating and air conditioning and covered parking. CBRE represented the buyer.
Scripps Research Institute Scientists Win
$13 Million Grant in AIDS Vaccine Effort
A team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute has received a grant of more than $13 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease of the National Institutes of Health to study antibodies to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) — which will play an essential role in the creation of any effective vaccine against HIV.
Richard Wyatt, a professor of immunology and director of viral immunology for the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative’s Neutralizing Antibody Center at the institute, will be the principal investigator for the five-year study.
“The long-term goal is to elicit broadly neutralizing antibodies against HIV,” said Wyatt. “This is a difficult task because of the variability of the virus.”
Researchers have worked toward an effective HIV vaccine since the virus was isolated in 1983, but this has been challenging because HIV’s unusual structure helps it evade the immune system and scientists’ attempts to harness the body’s defenses.
A small minority of infected people, however, do show an effective immune response to the virus. The B cells in their immune systems produce antibodies that can neutralize a wide range of HIV strains. Though this does not stop their infections from establishing in their own body, these broadly neutralizing antibodies (bNABs) do neutralize most circulating viruses and could help researchers design an effective vaccine.
To be successful, Wyatt and his colleagues ultimately hope to find additional rare bNABs that can navigate some of HIV’s defensive obstacle course, determine how they do that and use that information to generate even more effective antibodies.
Connect Sponsors Gathering of S.D. Startup Community
The San Diego startup, incubator and accelerator communities will gather next Tuesday evening for this summer’s Connect with Connect networking event.
Connect, a organization which links entrepreneurs and investors in technology and life sciences, has designed the event as a one-stop introduction to the array of business opportunities available in San Diego.
Organizers expect hundreds of attendees and plan dozens of technology exhibits.
“Connect with CONNECT is one of those rare venues where you have the opportunity to catch up with friends and business colleagues while forging new relationships with San Diego’s best and brightest executives, entrepreneurs and service providers,” said Mark Lovett, chief marketing officer at Trenton Systems.
Representatives from incubators, accelerators and startup communities will gather in the outdoor space at Mintz Levin PC in clusters representing the geographic innovation zones that make San Diego a leader in fostering emerging technologies.
Each zone will feature their incubators, accelerators and startups, plus another business sector that San Diego cultivates — local craft breweries.
The event is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 3, at Mintz Levin PC, 3580 Carmel Mountain Road.
Luxury Home Prices Rise at Double-Digit Pace
Luxury home values increased at double-digit rates in San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles in the first quarter of 2014 compared to a year ago, First Republic Bank reported Thursday.
First Republic, a private bank and wealth management company, said its Prestige Home Index showed the following increases:
San Diego area values gained 13.5 percent year-over-year and 0.8 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013. The average luxury home in San Diego is $1.93 million.
San Francisco Bay Area values climbed 12.5 percent from the first quarter of 2013 and 3.4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013. The average luxury home in San Francisco is valued at $3.17 million.
Los Angeles area values rose 17.8 percent from the first quarter a year ago and 5.6 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013. The average luxury home in Los Angeles is $2.47 million.
Northrop Grumman Global Hawks Set Flight Record
Northrop Grumman Corp. said its unmanned RQ-4 Global Hawks, made by the company’s division in Rancho Bernardo, set a record for mission hours flown in one week, logging 665 hours during a week in late February
The weekly record is 53 percent above last year’s average. It’s the equivalent of almost four Global Hawks in the air around the clock for an entire week.
The company said the system’s increased flight hours combined with stable support costs are driving down flight-hour costs. The Air Force reported that for 2013, Global Hawk cost per hour fell almost 30 percent compared to 2012 and continues to drop.
The Air Force has 32 Global Hawks in service around the globe.
“Global Hawk is in operation today, setting performance records that are benefitting customers around the world,” said Mick Jaggers, program director for the Global Hawk unmanned aircraft systems. “Effective, cost-efficient intelligence is in demand, and our teams deliver this to the Air Force, Navy, NASA and other customers every day.”
Major Milestone Reached in Desalination Project
A 10-mile pipeline that will carry water from a desalination plant in Carlsbad to a distribution network is halfway to completion, according to Poseidon Water and the San Diego County Water Authority. Around five miles of large-diameter pipes have been installed in Carlsbad, San Marcos and Vista. Pipeline installation began last spring in San Marcos, where street restoration is under way, according to Poseidon, the developer, and the Water Authority. More restorations are taking place in Vista.
Construction is ongoing in Carlsbad, particularly along Faraday Avenue. Pipeline installation on South Melrose Drive began this month and is expected to continue through 2015.
“We are thrilled with the smooth progress of construction on this vital project,” said Maureen Stapleton, general manager of the Water Authority, said Thursday. “Current statewide drought conditions underscore the value of diversifying the water supplies that support our region’s 3.1 million residents, and the Carlsbad Desalination Project is an important part of our strategy to enhance water supply reliability.”
The $1 billion desalination plant will purify collected ocean water and deliver 50 million gallons a day, estimated to be enough to serve 112,000 households.
— City News Service
Career Fair to be Held June 5
Diverse Careers Inc. invites job seekers and employers to participate in the San Diego Career Fair on June 5 rom 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza San Diego located at 2270 Hotel Circle North, San Diego.
The recruiting event is open to everyone and is free to all job seekers. Job seekers may also search jobs and post their resume prior to the event.
Diverse Careers is a job board website and career fair management company.
Some of the companies already confirmed to participate include: Aflac, Farmers Insurance, GIA, Mass Mutual, National University, New York Life, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, The Hartford, Time Warner Cable.