Daily Business Report — June 18, 2014
A stylized rendering of the Downtown San Diego city block that Zephyr Partners will build two 40-story towers.
Downtown City Block to be Demolished
Zephyr Partners to Build 40-Story Towers
Zephyr Partners has acquired a full city block in Downtown San Diego for $21.1 million and plans to spend more than $250 million to build two 40-floor towers housing residential, boutique hotel and retail space. The San Diego-based real estate development and investment company said groundbreaking on the giant project is slated for fourth quarter 2015.
The original eight-property portfolio was built in the 1950s and had fallen into disrepair over the last 30 years, said Brad Termini, co-CEO of Zephyr.
It holds rundown and underutilized retair, parking and office space — all of which will be demolished.
The site is on Broadway, between Seventh and Eighth avenues. Zoning allows for the development of up to 750,000 square feet.
“This transaction offered a rare opportunity to acquire property in urban San Diego,” said Termini. “The site spans a full city block, and is one of the few remaining underdeveloped areas in Downtown’s core. After studying the layout of other major urban areas such as Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle, we think this project will accelerate the transformation of Downtown San Diego, as it continues to evolve into a more walkable and accessible neighborhood.”
The project will be the city’s first high-rise, mixed-use project since the recession. The goal, said Termini, is to create a unique urban living and retail destination that residents, locals and tourists will enjoy.
It will be Zephyr Partners’ largest development. The company recently acquired property at 2850 Sixth Ave., where it will build 60 high-end, luxury condominiums, which will be completed in 2015, the company said.
De-Stressing at the Airport
Lindbergh Field Opening a Meditation Room
Add San Diego International Airport to the growing list of airports adding meditation rooms, a quiet space for travelers to rest, relax and recharge. A place where you won’t look out of place doing the downward dog.
On Friday, an invocation ceremony will be held to commemorate the opening of “The Spirit of Silence,” or Reflection Room, by artist Norie Sato, in Terminal 2 West at Lindbergh Field. The ceremony is at 10:30 a.m.
“The Spirit of Silence is a serene place for travelers to contemplate, meditate or pray,” says a San Diego County Airport Authority advisory. “Evocative of the San Diego environment, the room encourages visitors to sit with their thoughts shielded from the busy airport experience outside. The non-denominational space is sensitive to the diversity of travelers and offers a calm respite before or after flights.”
The sculptural piece for contemplation, the glass panels that help create private areas, the special benches commissioned from Miki Iwasaki and the external and internal surfaces of the space are combined to create the totality of the space.
The room is San Diego International Airport’s first meditation room.
The invocation will be by the Rev. Canon Wayne F. Sanders. Artist Norie Sato will participate.
More Student Housing/Retail Coming to SDSU
Construction is set to begin on a new mixed-use student housing and retail project on the campus of San Diego State University. South Campus Plaza will include housing for more than 600 students, along with retail outlets designed to serve both the campus and its surrounding neighborhoods, creating a pedestrian-friendly destination for shopping, dining and living.
Located immediately south of the SDSU Transit Center, between Hardy Avenue and Montezuma Road, South Campus Plaza will provide a dynamic gateway to the university, helping to create a sense of place, while also helping SDSU become a more residential campus.
Demand for on-campus housing remains high, and research shows that students who live on campus have higher GPAs and graduate faster than their peers.
Preliminary work on the site, which is currently home to temporary classrooms, will begin this month. Major project work will start in September.
The project, which was previously known as Plaza Linda Verde, will be constructed in two phases. Phase one consists of two residential buildings above ground-floor retail and an adjacent parking structure, which will serve retail customers.
Upon completion, the residence halls will offer double-occupancy student rooms and apartments for residential education staff and visiting scholars. The buildings also will feature student learning spaces, multipurpose rooms, faculty offices, study areas, lounges and a community kitchen. Student amenities in the building will include a mail room, bicycle storage, laundry room and trash chutes.
The retail component of the first phase of South Campus Plaza will include a community market store, restaurants and other retail shops. Negotiations with future tenants are ongoing. Sundt Construction, Inc., is the design-build contractor. The project was designed by architecture firms MVEI and SGPA. Construction is estimated to be complete by fall 2016.
— Greg Block/SDSU NewsCenter
Californians Say Drought is the ‘New Normal’
Californians believe this year’s record drought is the “new normal” and favor investments in long-term solutions over short-term fixes, according to a poll released by the California Water Foundation. To illustrate San Diego’s water supply vulnerability as it relates to this “new normal,” San Diego Coastkeeper published an online map that overlays drought conditions in California and the Southwest with an outline of watersheds from where the region imports water. (Click here to see the map…)
“It’s devastating to see this illustrated visually; the watersheds from where San Diego draws its water are nearly 100 percent impacted by drought,” said Travis Pritchard, San Diego Coastkeeper program manager. “We’re encouraged to hear that Californians recognize that our water supply problems are long term and that they favor long-term solutions — it’s time for decision makers to listen and take action.”
Coastkeeper’s digital map employs color coding to depict the severity of drought throughout California with data from the US Drought Monitor, a joint venture between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Starbucks to Help Baristas Earn College Degrees
Starbuck’s announced Monday that it is making it possible for 135,000 part- and full-time employees to complete a college degree from its education partner, Arizona State University, through an individualized online degree program. Starbucks is going to pick up 100 percentof the tab for the second two years of the degree program, and most of the first two years’ costs.
For their freshman and sophomore years, students would pay a greatly reduced tuition after factoring in a scholarship from Starbucks, ASU and financial aid, such as Pell grants. For their junior and senior years, Starbucks would reimburse any money that workers pay out of pocket.
Access to Capital Business Expo June 28
VEDC and Accion San Diego will join with Wells Fargo to bring the fourth annual Here’s the Money! Access to Capital Business Expo to business owners in San Diego on June 28. It will take place at the Doubletree Hotel San Diego – Mission Valley, 7450 Hazard Center Drive, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The sponsors said the event is ideal for business owners looking for money for expansion, working capital, inventory, commercial real estate or equipment purchase. It will include a networking breakfast and luncheon, business workshops, a finance and resource and a loan pavilion for one-on-one financial assessment.
The luncheon will feature Ruben Garcia, director of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s San Diego district, and Johnny Earle, owner of Johnny Cupcakes.
For registration, call (800) 304-1755.
Sundt Construction Selected for Southwestern College Project
Sundt Construction Inc. has been selected as the construction manager for a new $15.3 million science building at Southwestern College’s Higher Education Center in National City. The project, designed by Johnson Favaro architects, includes construction of a new 25,000-square-foot, two-story facility providing lab space for the community college’s chemistry, biology, micro-biology and anatomy programs.
The multi-phased project also includes renovations to approximately 10,000 square feet within the Higher Education Center to provide space for the school’s Small Business Development Center and Contract Opportunities offices. Sundt is scheduled to begin construction on this project in July 2015, with a completion date set for early 2017.
San Diego Nonprofit Chosen to Manage
Massachusetts Electric-Vehicle Incentive
Massachusetts has picked the nonprofit California Center for Sustainable Energy to administer a new incentive program aimed at increasing the number of zero-emission vehicles driven by the East Coast-state’s residents. The San Diego-based center already administers the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project for California and is the only third-party organization in the nation to manage statewide clean vehicle incentive programs. This is the first rebate program that center will manage outside of California.
The Massachusetts program will provide up to $2,500 for the purchase or lease of plug-in hybrid or electric vehicles. Currently Massachusetts residents drive some 3,600 electric vehicles, compared to over 50,000 in California.
“We are proud to bring our expertise in administering electric vehicle rebate programs to Massachusetts and hope to work with other states to implement these tremendously important initiatives,” said the center Executive Director Len Hering, a retired Navy rear admiral.
“Incentive programs play a significant role in introducing and promoting clean energy technologies on a wider scale, especially when there are real and perceived barriers to their adoption. The added value and rewards of rebates help people to make more sustainable choices while supporting goals for cleaner air and reduced fossil-fuel consumption.”
— Times of San Diego
Two Honored During LGBT Pride Month
Union Bank has partnered with KPBS to honor the 2014 LGBT Pride Month honorees Rev. Canon Albert Ogle, president of St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, and Robert Gleason, CEO and president of Evans Hotels. They will be recognized at a private dinner celebration with their families and executives from KPBS and Union Bank.
Since 1998, KPBS and Union Bank have collaborated on the Local Heroes program and recognized nearly 200 honorees. The program pays tribute to exemplary leaders who are making a difference and enriching the lives of others by improving their community, region and the world at large. The 2014 LGBT Pride Month honorees demonstrate a shared commitment to providing their communities with the tools to thrive in today’s changing world.
Andaz San Diego Names General Manager
Jeffrey Miller has been named the new general manager of Andaz San Diego. Miller most recently served as general manager of Andaz Wall Street. He has 24 years of experience with Hyatt, with previous positions at the former Park Hyatt Los Angeles, Grand Hyatt New York and Hyatt at The Bellevue, where he oversaw the rebranding of the hotel.
During his time at Andaz Wall Street, Miller oversaw a multi-million-dollar renovation of Andaz Studio meeting and event space that suffered significant damage from Hurricane Sandy in early 2013.
CBRE Hires Senior Associate
John Shelton has joined CBRE’s San Diego Occupier Services division as a senior associate. Shelton’s primary focus will be on Downtown San Diego and the surrounding markets. He has more than14 years of experience specializing in real estate consulting and tenant representation for users seeking to lease and purchase space in San Diego.
Prior to joining CBRE, Shelton was at Shelton & Associates, and prior to that Southwest Value Partners.
Shelton graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in management.