Daily Business Report — Aug. 29, 2014
In 2004, Burt Rutan — backed by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen — won the $10 million Ansari XPrize by producing a private suborbital spacecraft.
Finalists Chosen for Qualcomm’s Tricorder XPrize
Ten finalists have been chosen for the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize, where participants aim to build a mobile diagnostic device, similar to the fictional Tricorder featured in the Star Trek television series.
The consumer-focused mobile gadget should be capable of diagnosing 15 medical conditions and capture all five vital signs.
The prototype Tricorders will be tested and evaluated over the next few months, sometimes on patients, and completed and delivered by May.
Qualcomm will announce the winner in January 2016 and award them with $10 million.
The company is hoping the competition will jump-start the mobile health industry.
To see a list of the Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize finalists, click here.
Towering Opposition to One Paseo Shop
And Housing Project in Carmel Valley
Developer Kilroy Realty Corp. on Thursday presented a scaled down plan for the controversial One Paseo shopping and housing project in Carmel Valley to a largely skeptical audience.
Hundreds of residents packed into the auditorium at Canyon Crest Academy, with many standing in the aisles and milling outside, for a special meeting of the Carmel Valley Community Planning Board.
County Supervisor Dave Roberts told the crowd at the opening of the meeting that while he has no role in San Diego land-use decisions, he is against the project because he believed it was out of character for the community.
“We cannot allow something that is three times zoning,” Roberts said to extensive applause.
The controversial project, which has been criticized by residents and nearby businesses, would be built on 23 acres of vacant land on the southwest corner of Del Mar Heights Road and El Camino Real.
Speakers for the developer said the new plan includes a 30 percent reduction in density, lower building heights, an increase in open space and improvements to traffic flow. The plan includes a “main street” and a central plaza that would be a “living room” for the community.
The company pledged $6 million in traffic improvements, including high-tech computerized signalling to increase traffic flow on streets in the area.
Speakers for What Price Main Street, an opposition group, said they weren’t against developing the vacant plot, but wanted Kilroy to come back with a smaller mixed-use project that would not “tower over our community.”
Deliberations by the community planning board and decision are expected at a special meeting on Sept. 11.
— Times of San Diego
Judge Rules Against Cities on Wage Law
An attempt by several cities to overturn a state law that forces them to choose between paying generally higher or “prevailing” wages on most public works projects or lose state construction dollars has been turned aside in a tentative court ruling, the U-T reports. San Diego County Superior Court Judge Joel Wohlfeil rejected arguments from the cities of Oceanside, Vista, Carlsbad and El Cajon that the requirement violates the state constitution. The municipalities argued that local tax proceeds used on public construction projects in their jurisdictions aren’t subject to state restriction.
Wohlfeil issued his tentative decision on Wednesday and heard more argument Thursday but did not declare his decision final.
At question is a state law that requires charter cities to pay prevailing wage on all public works projects regardless of the source of funding beginning Jan. 1 of next year. Refusing to do so would mean most but not all state construction dollars for local projects would be forfeited.
The cities also contended that provision may force them to reduce public services in order to pay higher wages or require taxpayers to shell out more.
Taxi Permit Free-For-All Proposed
Councilwoman Marti Emerald and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith made a bold proposal Thursday: in essence, let the free market take the lead on solving the San Diego taxi industry’s labor and Uber problems. The pair announced a plan to remove an existing cap on the number of cabs serving residents and visitors to San Diego. The cap has held the number of taxicab permits, often called medallions, at 993.
Emerald’s proposed policy, which she said she will bring to the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee on Sept. 18, would change that.
“The time for talking is over. The time for action has come,” Emerald said.
The cap has made the permits a bit of a hot commodity. KPBS detailed a shadow market in which permit holders buy and sell the medallions for up to $150,000. They’ve passed the high cost down to drivers who lease cabs from them, giving rise to the long work hours for drivers and minuscule paychecks — problems Emerald has been trying to solve.
Lifting the cap could bring the underground value of those permits to zero, allowing many drivers to get out from underneath their leases and start their own taxi businesses. And yes, that should mean more taxis answering your calls.
Water Authority Board Votes to Support State Water Bond
The San Diego County Water Authority’s board of directors voted unanimously Thursday to support Proposition 1, a $7.5 billion state water bond measure on the Nov. 4 ballot. If passed by California voters, it would invest in new water supply development and large-scale water infrastructure projects important for the future of San Diego County and the rest of the state.
The water bond was the product of negotiations led by Gov. Jerry Brown, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. The Water Authority worked for months to advocate for the San Diego region’s policy priorities in Sacramento, and the Water Authority supported the final version of the bond passed by the Legislature. Every member of the San Diego County delegation voted for the bond measure, which Brown signed on Aug. 13.
The bond would provide money for water-use efficiency and recycling, groundwater cleanup and management, as well as $2.7 billion for additional water storage. It also would invest in safe drinking water, particularly in disadvantaged communities, and provide for watershed restoration and increased flows in some of California’s most important rivers and streams, including the San Diego River.
“California has developed one of the world’s largest and most complex water delivery systems – but as the current drought has shown, we need to continue investing to make our supplies more robust,” said Thomas V. Wornham, chair of the Water Authority board.
Tri-City Corporate Towers Sold for $6.8 Million
Tri-City Corporate Towers, a two-building medical and office complex in Oceanside, has been sold for $6.85 million and renamed Pacific Gateway Towers by the new owner, IPF Tri-City LLC/Fenway Properties.
The new owners plan to hold the project as an investment and have begun renovations, including 15-foot ceilings, common area improvements and new landscaping and signage.
ID-Studios, a San Diego-based interior design and architecture firm, has been contracted by Fenway Properties for the design of renovations and build out of creative spec suites with ready-to-occupy opportunities for tenants.
Nominations Open for Brand Diego Awards
SDX, formerly the San Diego Ad Club, is now accepting nominations for its 2014 Brand Diego awards. The awards program recognizes outstanding San Diego brands and the marketing and advertising professionals who build those brands.
Two new categories this year include Media Talent of the Year and Innovator of the Year. The other 14 categories include: Brand of the Year; Emerging Brand of the Year; Brand Professional of the Year; Agency of the Year; Agency Professional of the Year; Media Company of the Year; Media Professional of the Year; Industry Affiliate of the Year; Multi-Cultural Marketing Visionary Brand of the Year; Multi-Cultural Marketer of the Year; Cause Marketer of the Year; Corporate Responsibility of the Year; Leadership Award; and, Young Achiever Award.
Deadline for nominations is Sunday, Sept. 7. Nominations can be submitted at www.sandiegox.org/branddiegoawards. There is no entry fee. Awards will be presented on Oct. 23 at the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier in Downtown San Diego.
New Exhibit Highlights Genomic Research
The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center will host the West Coast premiere of “Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code,” a new exhibition that highlights developments in the field of genomic research, making the science accessible and helping visitors understand why genomic research is important in our world. The exhibit opens on Sept. 28.
San Diego has long been a hub of genomic research. The city boasts research institutions, such as the Salk Institute, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Scripps Research Institute and University of California San Diego. San Diego is also home to companies such as Thermo Fisher Scientific, Life Technologies and Illumina that are working on technology to advance genomic research. Many important individuals in the field have also called San Diego home, including Francis Crick, Jonas Salk, J. Craig Venter and many more. Some of the most important research of the Human Genome Project took place here in San Diego.
“San Diego is an incredible hub of science and technology,” said Steve Snyder, executive director of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. “We’re excited to connect San Diegans with the groundbreaking science that’s happening right here in our city. ‘Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code’ will help visitors understand more about themselves and about the impact genomic research and development has on their lives.”
The exhibition begins to unravel the mystery behind the complete set of instructions needed for every living thing on Earth to grow and function. The exhibition immerses visitors in a high-tech environment that captures the revolutionary nature of genomic science.