Daily Business Report — July 1, 2014
California’s Minimum Wage Increases Today
California’s minimum wage increases today for the first time in six years.
The change is a result of AB10, a bill Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law last fall. The bill also calls for the minimum wage to increase to $10 an hour at the start of 2016.
The U.S. Department of labor reports about 6 in 10 workers earning a minimum wage are employed in service industries, such as food preparation and hospitality.
Currently, California’s minimum wage is $8 an hour, while the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
This year, 21 states will be paying their workers more than the federal minimum wage.
At the new California minimum wage of $9 an hour, a full-time worker will earn $360 a week and $18,720 a year before taxes.
Economists say the living wage hasn’t kept up with the cost of living for the past 40 years.
A study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition shows a minimum wage worker in California would need to work more than 130 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
A proposal to raise the minimum wage in San Diego is still being considered by the City Council. New York City, Chicago, San Francisco and Oklahoma City are also considering minimum wage increases.
Deal on Raising Development Fees
For Affordable Housing Within Reach
Mayor Kevin Faulconer joined a chorus of civic leaders Monday, saying he believed a compromise on raising development fees to pay for affordable housing was within reach. In an interview on KPBS radio, Faulconer said a resolution could be reached in the next few weeks. “I think we have a real opportunity to get a plan that will work and achieves the right balance,” he said.
The City Council last year doubled the fee, essentially restoring it to its intended level after nearly two decades. The “linkage fee,” which goes into a fund for affordable housing projects, had been halved in 1996 as an economic stimulus and was supposed to be reviewed annually.
However, opponents of the move said the fee hike on some types of development would have jumped more than 700 percent, and they collected enough signatures to force the council to repeal the ordinance.
Faulconer, speaking in his regular radio spot, said city officials have to be careful when raising fees to avoid unintended consequences.
“We want good, quality, affordable housing,” Faulconer said. “We need to make sure we’re providing all the right tools that get us there. I’m actually pretty optimistic that we will have a compromise that I think makes the most sense, not only for the affordable housing we want to continue to create, but also for our economy.”
Rick Gentry, the president and CEO of the housing commission, said the talks were going well. City Council President Todd Gloria said last week that a compromise measure could be placed on a council agenda before council members recess at the end of July.
Since rescinding the increase, the City Council has been urging business groups to work with the San Diego Housing Commission to come up with a compromise.
Craig Benedetto, the head of a group that sponsored the signature-gathering drive that forced the City Council to reverse course, said talks with the housing commission, which handles affordable housing programs for the city, “have been positive and productive.” He said the two sides had come up with a basic agreement for an increase in the linkage fee, combined with regulatory reform and a commitment by the commission to seek alternative funding sources.
— City News Service
Drive-Through Starbucks to Open in National City
H.G. Fenton Company is renovating a portion of the Southport Commercial Center in National City to make way for a new drive-through Starbucks. The center at 404 Mile of Cars Way is home to In-n-Out Burger and Denny’s. The 2,000 square feet of space under renovation will be occupied by Starbucks, which is set to open in September.
The general contractor for the renovation project is Dempsey Construction. Leasing efforts for the available spaces in the center are being handled by Ron Pepper and Chris Hodgman, both of Retail Insite. KMA Architecture designed the center.
“Starbucks is a great fit for this building, with a renowned track record for creating experiences that are locally relevant and honor the integrity of the neighborhoods,” said Brian Gates of H.G. Fenton. “They will complement the existing businesses and also help in attracting additional amenities to the area,” said Gates.
Coldwell Banker Residential Acquires
Middleton & Associates in La Jolla
Coldwell Banker Residential has acquired the assets of Middleton Team Inc. in La Jolla, which does business as Middleton & Associates, a boutique luxury real estate brokerage. The acquisition adds an office at 848 Prospect St., just down the road from its existing office. Peter Middleton and Middleton & Associates’ 30 independent sales associates are being added to Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, which is part of NRT LLC, the nation’s largest residential real estate brokerage company.
Middleton & Associates has become one of the top five La Jolla brokerages since opening in 2010. In the past year, the brokerage completed 188 transactions totaling more than $120 million in sales volume.
Middleton is founder and owner of Middleton & Associates.
Sharp Memorial Hospital Wins Lantern Award
Sharp Memorial Hospital is the first hospital in San Diego, and one of only four hospitals in California, to earn the national Lantern Award by the Emergency Nurses Association.
The Lantern Award recognizes hospital emergency departments that demonstrate exceptional performance in leadership, practice, education, advocacy and research. The ENA is identifying Sharp’s commitment to improving its services. Recently, the hospital shortened wait times for admitted patients to an average of 30 minutes, and less than an hour wait for patients to receive a bed.
Scripps Researchers Find New Use for Cancer Drug
A team of researchers at the Scripps Research Institute have discovered how to bypass a blood stem cell’s natural defense and insert disease-fighting genes into the cell’s genome. The new study, led by Scripps associate professor Bruce Torbett (left, with graduate student Cathy Wang), reports that the drug rapamycin, which is commonly used to slow cancer growth and prevent organ rejection, enables delivery of a therapeutic dose of genes to blood stem cells while preserving stem cell function. The findings, published online in the journal Blood, could lead to more effective and affordable long-term treatments for blood cell disorders.
Cubic Collaboration Targets Job Creation
Cubic Corp. announced a new collaboration with Gulf Coast State College, the Port of Panama City and Gulf Power to create a high fidelity training and evaluation environment for products and services targeting the rapidly expanding Internet of Things market. The effort is intended to set an example of how quality jobs can be created by combining the individual strengths and attributes of local businesses, educational institutes, and government agencies. The collaboration is an expansion of Cubic’s October 2011 partnership between GCSC.
Trigild Names New Director of Asset Services
Locally based real estate firm Trigild has its eye on expanding its commercial third-party management business. In that capacity, the firm has named Patrick Walker as its new director of asset services. In Walker’s new role, he will be in charge of all forms of business development, as well as further accelerating Trigild’s continued regional and national growth. According to Trigild president Judy Hoffman, this is a newly created position specifically aimed at growing the firm’s third-party management business, especially in Southern California.
For the past 10 years, Walker has been with Voit Real Estate Services, most recently as a senior associate for the firm’s operations across the Western U.S. Prior to that, he was an associate for three years for the San Francisco Bay Area firm BT Commercial Real Estate.