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Daily Business Report-Sept. 18, 2014

Daily Business Report-Sept. 18, 2014

Alcazar Garden in Balboa Park

Gardeners Offered Adopt-a-Plot

For Balboa Park Centennial

You can adopt a garden in Balboa Park.

Organizers of a Balboa Park centennial celebration planned for next year in San Diego said Wednesday they have started an Adopt-a-Plot program, in which organizations can volunteer to work on one of the park’s 29 gardens.

Michael Ruiz, who is leading the planning for the centennial for the city of San Diego, said volunteer groups can maintain and improve the gardens better than the city because of staffing issues.

At a meeting of the City Council’s Environment Committee, Ruiz said that so far, nearly half of the park’s gardens have been adopted by groups like the Friends of Balboa Park, the Mission Hills Garden Club and Sage Landscaping. He said 15 more sponsors are needed.

“It’ll provide an opportunity for community involvement, not just for next year, but beyond,” Ruiz said. He hopes the sponsoring organization will continue working in the gardens after the centennial is over.

More information on adopting a garden is available online at

Ruiz took over planning for the park’s 100th anniversary five months ago, after a group that had been setting up the celebration disbanded.

The city plans to use the annual December Nights holiday festival to bookend the yearlong celebration and put on two other major events in the spring and summer.

Ruiz told the committee members that the spring event would involve gardening and include demonstrations, tours and other gardening information. He said the “Garden Party for the Century” would run from Arbor Day, April 24, through May 9.

The city is also banking on the park’s museums and other cultural institutions to enhance the centennial by hosting special exhibitions. Among other things,  the San Diego Natural History Museum will host a major exhibit on King Tutankhamun, beginning next month and running well into next year.

He said that he has attended nearly 200 meetings about the centennial since he took the job five months ago, and looked over more than 100 proposals from individuals and groups. He said it’s not too late for people with good ideas to submit proposals to him.

The city dates Balboa Park back to the 1915 California-Panama Exhibition, which brought national and international attention to San Diego.

— City News Service

Dentsu Aegis Network Buys Covario’s

Search and Content Marketing Business

Dentsu Aegis Network announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Covario Inc.’s search and content marketing agency business. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Covario’s Rio SEO software unit, which offers local search, enterprise search, and social media automation and analytic tools, will remain an independent company and continue to power the software behind Covario clients’ search solutions.

Rio SEO has raised additional funding from FTV Capital, Dubilier & Co., Voyager Capital, and Stratim Capital to pursue further development and sales of its technology platform in the areas of local search, mobile search, and social media measurement.

Rio SEO also announced that Dema Zlotin, one of the original founders of Covario, will be joining the company as its chief executive officer to lead its next stage of growth.

Small Business Seminar Sept. 26

Business owners looking to grow their businesses and learn more about complying with state and federal tax laws are invited to attend the Small Business Seminar in San Diego on Friday, Sept. 26.  California State Board of Equalization Vice Chair Michelle Steel and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer are sponsoring the free event, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. at the Balboa Park Club, 2144 Pan American Road West, San Diego.

Those looking for assistance will benefit from presentations given by representatives from the Board of Equalization, Franchise Tax Board, Employment Development Department, California Small Business Development Center, California Taxpayers’ Rights Advocates, Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Registration: (888) 847-9652.

Eli Lilly and AstraZeneca Collaborate

On New Alzheimer’s Disease Drug

Eli Lilly is partnering with AstraZeneca to develop and commercialize a new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, a deal that could net AstraZeneca up to $500 million in development and regulatory milestone payments. The drug candidate, AZD3293, is an oral BACE inhibitor designed to prevent the formation of plaque in the brain that causes Alzheimer’s. After successful Phase I studies, AztraZeneca and Lilly hope to quickly advance the drug into Phase II/III clinical trials. This is a risky play for AstraZeneca, as they have acknowledged the drug has just a 9 percent chance of success; however, AstraZeneca estimates that the drug could generate as much as $5 billion in annual sales if successful.

San Luis Rey Downs Golf Resort Items to be Auctioned

San Luis Rey Downs Golf Resort

San Luis Rey Downs Golf Resort

Want to buy a piece of the San Luis Rey Downs Golf Resort? It’s closing its doors after 62 years and much of its equipment is going to be auctioned on Sept. 25.

“Although we’re sad to see it go, we’re also happy to provide the opportunity for locals to take a piece of the golf course and resort home with them,” said Jason Stancill of McCormack Auction Systems.

Items of interest:

• Golf carts, beer taps, wine & champagne glasses

• Restaurant and hotel furniture; diner booths

• Lawnmowers, tractors and equipment

• Kitchen equipment

The course was designed in 1961 by Billy Bell Jr., who also designed the Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, and holds a special place in the hearts of regulars – many having had golfed there hundreds of times.

The auction will be at McCormack Auction Systems, 3612 Kurtz St., San Diego, at noon. Inspection of auction items will be from 9 a.m. to noon.

Financing Obtained for La Jolla Townhomes

Fident Capital has secured $24 million of project financing for the acquisition, entitlement and development of an infill townhome project in La Jolla Village.  The project will replace a postal annex and veterinary clinic with 18 townhomes sized at about 2,200-square feet.

The project is located at the northeast corner of Silver and Draper streets. Groundbreaking is expected to begin mid-2015, pending approval from various governmental agencies. Others in the deal include Coastal Development Company and Encore Capital Group.

Boost Academy Appoints a New CEO

Boost Academy, formerly Mobile Learning Networks, has appointed startup veteran Craig Collins as president and CEO. Collins will be leading the project launch of the company’s new math tutor app for iPads. Students and tutors can converse through the app on their tablet, working on math problems and lesson sets in realtime on a digital whiteboard. 

“It’s as though the student and tutor are in the same room working together even though they might be across the country or across the globe,” said Collins.

The app, poised to revolutionize the private tutoring industry, is available on iTunes for free download.

Barry Sandrew Departs Legend3D Inc.

Barry Sandrew

Barry Sandrew

Barry Sandrew, founder, chief technical officer and chief creative officer of Legend3D Inc., has announced his departure from the company to focus on entrepreneurical endeavors.

Sandrew founded Legend3D in 2000nwith funding from angel investors and a handful of employees. Leveraging his visual effects and digital imaging expertise — which includes 14 VFX patents and 23 years of feature film and TV experience — he and his colleagues built Legend3D into one of industry’s leading 2D-to-3D conversion studios.

“We’ve come a long way, from a single workstation in the corner of an empty room to become a dominant leader in 3D conversion and visual effects, and I see this as the perfect time for me to exit the company,” said Sandrew.

With a number of 2015 releases currently awarded as well as in progress, Legend3D has recently partnered with Marvel Studios, Colombia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, Warner Bros., Paramount, Walt Disney Pictures, MGM and BBC Films on major film features including: “Maleficent,” “Transformers: Age of Extinction” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”

Garden Fresh Appoints Chief Executive Officer

John Morberg

John Morberg

Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp. has appointed John Morberg as its chief executive officer. Morberg has served as the company’s interim chief executive officer since May 6, and as chief financial officer and general counsel since January 2007.

“Over the past couple of months, John has demonstrated outstanding leadership as the interim CEO and has been working on improving the guest experience in the restaurants,” said Bud Terry, member of the Garden Fresh Board of Directors. “After completing a thorough search, we are confident John is the right leader to take Garden Fresh to the next level.”


Duane Roth Innovation Grant Established

Duane Roth

Duane Roth

Thermo Fischer Scientific is establishing the Duane Roth Innovation Grant that will provides scientific investigators at UC San Diego with a $50,000 annual funding opportunity for sponsored research that supports proof of concept and technology applications studies.

“We couldn’t think of a more appropriate namesake for this new research grant program,” said Alan Sachs, chief scientific officer. “Its purpose is to inspire San Diego-based scientists to innovate and collaborate on research projects that ultimately will drive science and technology forward to better understand human disease. These are foundational principles that Duane worked hard to promote in Southern California.”

Roth, CEO of Connect, died in August 2013 from injuries sustained in a bicycling accident.

Click here for more information on the grant.

Anne Kellett Elected ASID President

Anne Kellett

Anne Kellett

Interior designer and educator Anne Kellett has been elected to lead the 500-member San Diego chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) as president for the 2014-2015 term. Kellett is the owner and principal interior designer of A Kinder Space, a San Diego-based interior design firm that opened in 2005 and specializes in Universal Design and design for aging issues. She has been an instructor and the career development and internship adviser at Design Institute of San Diego.

The ASID board of directors also includes Natalia Trepchina-Worden, president-elect; Don Miller, director of financial oversight; Megan Siason, director of communications; Tatiana Machado-Rosas, director of professional development; Nikki Klugh, director of membership; Gerald W. Bouvia III, director-at-large; and Tamar Kestenbaum, student representative,

Mission Avenue

Mission Avenue in Oceanside

Oceanside Completes New ‘Gateway’ to the Beach

OCEANSIDE — Oceanside now has a revitalized “gateway” to the city thanks to the recent completion of the Mission Avenue Improvement Project. The $2.5 million project has transformed the main corridor from Interstate 5 to the coast by creating a more pedestrian-friendly streetscape that encourages visitors to spend time in the downtown community.

The changes along Mission Avenue have attracted several new businesses to the area. Mission Avenue Bar and Grill recently opened and is a popular gathering spot that features a modern, industrial-style décor, New American cuisine, over 39 different California beers and 30 whiskeys and bourbons. A new local sushi bar, Sumo Hut Bar & Grill, will open later this year and Oceanside’s popular Dairy Queen will move to an expanded location in the heart of Mission Avenue just two blocks east of its current location

The Mission Avenue Improvement Project is one of the recent updates to the beachside community. In February, the new 149-room SpringHill Suites Marriott Oceanside and its adjacent Hello Betty Fish House opened just one block from the pier. Along Coast Highway, numerous dining establishments have opened in former retail sites with many dedicated to featuring local craft beer. A few of the newcomers include Local Tap House and Kitchen, Masters Kitchen and Cocktails, the Pour House, Privateer Coal Fire Pizza and Bagby Beer Company.

Golden Hill Residential Properties Sold for $1 Million

Four adjacent residential properties totaling 13,400 square feet on 20th Street and B Street in Golden Hill have been sold for $1 million to CT Dream Realty LLC. The seller was The Gagon Family Trust. The property contains two single-family residences and two duplexes totaling 3,494 square feet. The buyer plans to rehabilitate the existing structures and resell when complete.

Colliers International represented the seller. Real Properties Group represented the buyer.

The parcels are at 1167, 1155, and 1145 20th St. and 2019 B St.

Governor Signs Ride-Sharing Insurance Bill

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation requiring drivers in the burgeoning ride-sharing industry to carry more insurance, his office announced Wednesday.

The bill affects companies such as Uber and Lyft, which initially objected to legislation increasing insurance requirements for their drivers. The companies reversed course last month, announcing support for the bill after negotiations lowered the minimum cost of liability insurance they will have to carry to $200,000.

The regulation comes amid increasing popularity of services that allow people using a Web app to ferry passengers in their own cars for a fee.

“While AB 2293 is a consumer protection bill, it represents much more than that,” Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, the Concord Democrat who carried the bill, said in a prepared statement. “This measure symbolizes business flexibility, consumer affordability, political compromise, and most importantly, what true public policy should be — a collective process for all stakeholders to contribute.”

— Sacramento Bee

USD to Partner with British Museum

In Major Exhibition on ‘Curious Beasts’

Paul McCartney will not be the only famous Brit touring in San Diego this fall.

Frederick Hendrik Van Hove, ‘The famous Porcupine,’ engraving, second half of the 17th century.

Frederick Hendrik Van Hove, ‘The famous Porcupine,’ engraving, second half of the 17th century.

In what marks the beginning of a five-year partnership with the revered British Museum, the University of San Diego will present “Curious Beasts: Animal Prints from Dürer to Goya.” The exhibition runs from Oct. 3 through Dec. 12 and explores humanity’s enduring curiosity about the animal world through the beautiful and bizarre imagery found in prints from the British Museum, which holds one of the most extensive and historic collection of prints and drawings in the world.

Curious Beasts is the first in a planned series of three collaborations that “will result in extraordinary images coming to San Diego, many for the first time,” said Derrick Cartwright, director of University Galleries. “No other San Diego arts institution has ever collaborated with the British Museum at this level.”

The exhibition features 86 rare woodcuts, engravings, etchings, mezzotints and lithographs from the 15th to the early 19th centuries by the best known artists of these eras. Those include singular works such as Albrecht Dürer’s famed Rhinoceros (1515), George Stubbs’ Sleeping Leopard (1791) and Francisco de Goya’s Al toro y al aire darles calle (1816-1824), alongside other less well known and seldom seen treasures.

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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: