Daily Business Report-Nov. 18, 2014
An artist’s conception of the Piazza Famiglia planned for West Date Street, between Columbia and India streets in Downtown’s Little Italy.
Downtown’s Little Italy to get Public Square
Inspired by Grand Piazzas of Italy and Europe
The Little Italy Association, in partnership with H.G Fenton Company, will officially break ground on Dec. 1 on Piazza Famiglia, a 10,000-square-foot gathering place in the heart of Little Italy.
The project was inspired by the grand piazzas of Italy and Europe and will feature classic Italian architectural details and design. The Piazza will include attractive landscaping with a grand water feature and seating and gathering areas. The project areas is West Date Street between Columbia and India streets.
Developers hope it will become the new “heart” of Little Italy and a central community gathering space to host farmers’ markets, concerts and cultural events. It is scheduled to open in 2016.
“This is going to be a special place for San Diego,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “Piazza Famiglia will serve as a thriving community center that brings people from all walks of life together to enjoy our great urban core.”
Piazza Famiglia was approved by the City Council in July 2014 and is the result of years of collaboration among the city, Little Italy Association, Civic San Diego, H.G. Fenton Company and the Little Italy community.
“This full-block piazza will be Little Italy’s cornerstone and a destination in the community that not only residents will spend time in, but one we hope visitors from far and wide will travel specifically to see,” said Marco Li Mandri, Little Italy Association’s Chief Executive Administrator. “Public areas, parks and community areas are what make a neighborhood a home, and Little Italy has been creating these central meeting areas for years. It’s what sets us apart from other urban neighborhoods, and it’s what makes our neighborhood a coveted, desirable and truly iconic location.”
The groundbreaking ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. on West Date Street at the intersection of India Street in Little Italy.
Hillcrest Block for Sale: $18.5 Million
A key Hillcrest block is up for sale with redevelopment anticipated within 10 years, U-T San Diego reports. Marcus & Millichap broker Nick Totah said two listings cover seven parcels of land on the east side of Sixth Avenue between Robinson and Pennsylvania streets. The asking price is $18.5 million. Two partnerships and a family trust are the sellers. A single-family home at Robinson and Seventh Avenue also is part of the portfolio.
“There’s been a lot of activity from different parties all the way up to Los Angeles and San Francisco — developers and investors taking a look at it,” Totah said. The properties were listed about two weeks ago.
He said the buyer likely would leave the properties unchanged for the next seven to 10 years and once the leases expire, the property could be redeveloped into about 150 apartments and 40,000 square feet of retail uses. Two other parcels on the block are not for sale but Totah expects them to be available by the time redevelopment becomes feasible.
Albert Einstein Academy Charter
Middle School Opens in San Diego
Albert Einstein Academies has opened its newest campus — a charter middle school that was once a delapidated former convalescent hospital. The 38,000-square-foot, four-story school is located at 458 26th St. in the Grant Hill neighborhood just east of Downtown San Diego. It was designed by Studio E Architects and built at a cost of $3.6 million.
The school is Albert Einstein Academies’ second campus. The charter elementary school remains at 3035 Ash St., a few miles away.
The school contains 20 classroom spaces along with a variety of support spaces including specialty labs, offices and informal gathering areas.
“We are thrilled with our new building. The design is a direct support for our students’ achievement and for fostering a well-balanced community of learners and leaders,” said David Sciarretta, the school’s executive director.
A highlight of the building is the new open stair that has been inserted between the street-side lobby and the multi-purpose space at the level below. A bright super-graphic on the wall adjacent to the stair displays the principles of International Baccalaureate education. Additional graphics are prominently displayed on walls throughout the building reinforcing the schools educational philosophy.
At the top level of the building, the open plan media center has views to the adjacent park. This multi- functional space combines areas for individual study and collaboration as well as gathering and socializing. A “genius bar” complete with Apple computers is a popular place for students to perch. Near the media center is a Maker’s space — fitted out with the all the latest tools and gadgets including the school’s 3-D printer.
The lowest level of the building with the most direct access to the exterior recreation area hosts a dedicated fitness room – complete with work-out equipment and padded flooring. Also found on this level is a new elevated lunch deck adjoining the multi-purpose room. From here students and faculty can enjoy a snack or meal while overlooking views of the Downtown skyline.
The project was a collaboration with Bycor General Contractors, and the first with Hughes Marino representing Albert Einstein Academies on the team.
Council Gives Blessing to 175-House
Development on Former School Site
The San Diego City Council on Monday cleared the way for construction of a 175-house development in Nestor, on the site of the former Marian Catholic High School. The single-family homes will go on 17 acres at 18th Street and Coronado Avenue.
“This is a vacant piece of land that can be a nuisance,” said Councilman David Alvarez, who represents the neighborhood near the Imperial Beach city limits.
Architect Gordon Carrier said the property was a school for 47 years until Marian Catholic High School officials acquired new land in Chula Vista. The school was reestablished at another site and renamed Mater Dei Catholic High School.
Now the old property is “a community eyesore,” Carrier said. The buildings that remain on the site will be razed.
The approval of the development — which is slated to have homes costing in a range from the high $300,000s to mid-$400,000s — came on an 8-0 vote to change the zoning from school to residential and certify the environmental impact report.
— City News Service
Viejas Arena to Host Men’s NCAA
Tournament Games Again, in 2018
Viejas Arena, home to the San Diego State men’s and women’s basketball teams, will host the first and second rounds of the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee told SDSU on Monday.
It will mark the seventh time that SDSU’s on-campus arena will be the host for the men’s basketball tournament. The last three times that SDSU has hosted the tournament have all come since 2001, including their hosting of the first and second rounds last season.
“It’s a great credit to San Diego State, and in particular Jim Sterk ( SDSU athletic director), John David Wicker (SDSU associate athletic director) and their staff for what they’ve done,” Head Coach Steve Fisher said Monday in a press conference. “The tournament was run to perfection here (last year), so we’re on the docket again.”
Tournament games at Viejas Arena are scheduled for Friday, March 16, and Sunday, March 18, but those dates are not finalized yet.
Ticket information will be announced at a later date.
— Times of San Diego
Researchers Explain How ZMapp
Successfully Treats Ebola Virus
An experimental drug created in San Diego and used to treat seven Ebola victims works by binding antibodies to the top and bottom of the virus, scientists at the Scripps Research Institute reported Monday.
In a study published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers using electron microscopy found that two ZMapp antibodies attach themselves to the base of the virus, appearing to keep it from entering cells.
ZMapp, made by Mapp Biopharmaceutical, was administered to the patients under emergency procedures, even though it has not been cleared for general use by federal regulators. Five of the seven patients survived, according to Scripps.
“The structural images of Ebola virus are like enemy reconnaissance,” said Erica Ollmann Saphire, Scripps structural biologist. “They tell us exactly where to target antibodies or drugs.”
A ZMapp antibody also places itself on the top of the virus, possibly to serve as a beacon to call attention to the body’s immune system that an infection is present, Scripps reported.
The new research is among studies performed by the National Institutes of Health-funded Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Immunotherapeutic Consortium, of which Scripps is a member. The consortium is testing antibodies from 25 laboratories around the world in order to develop the best drug cocktail for neutralizing Ebola and other closely related hemorrhagic fever viruses.
According to Scripps, ZMapp will undergo clinical trials early next year.
— City News Service
Kaiser Opens Retail Clinics at Target
The nation’s largest HMO is teaming up with one of the nation’s largest retailers to provide basic health care in stores. Kaiser Permanente has opened clinics inside the Target stores in Mission Valley and Vista.
Retail medical clinics have proliferated in recent years. Both CVS Caremark and Walgreens operate hundreds of retail clinics across the country.
Target is the biggest retailer to get into the business.
Dr. Paul Minardi, medical director of the Kaiser/Target clinics, said they really fill a need. “Frankly, there are not enough primary care physicians in the community. Therefore, for many people, this may indeed be their first choice to receive care,” Minardi said.
The clinics are staffed by nurse practitioners, and offer a variety of primary care services, including immunizations and physicals.
For now, only Kaiser members can visit the clinics. Kaiser hopes to expand access to nonmembers next year.
Switzerland Company Acquires Allylix Inc.
Evolva Holding SA of Reinach, Switzerland, has agreed to acquire San Diego-based Allylix Inc., a privately held yeast fermentation company with a focus on high-value ingredients, in an all-stock transaction. The acquisition will immediately expand Evolva’s product and IP portfolio and enhance the competitiveness of Evolva’s stevia (sweetener) products. Evolva will acquire Allylix in return for an overall consideration of 46 million newly-issued Evolva shares. Cargill, Evolva’s partner on its stevia program, will invest $4 million in Evolva shares in support of the transaction. The transaction is expected to close by mid-December .
Allylix has developed two product lines that impressed Evolva — Nootkatone and Valencene.
Nootkatone is an aroma molecule that occurs in grapefruits. Commercially valuable as a flavour and fragrance, its greatest promise may well be as a safe and effective skin and home protectant against noxious pests such as ticks, mosquitoes, and bed bugs, according to the company. The Centers for Disease Control research has demonstrated that nootkatone is a highly effective, rapid-acting natural agent against pests such as the ticks that transmit Lyme Disease.
Valencene is an orange flavor and fragrance used in food and drinks, personal care and household products. It takes over 1 million kilos of oranges to extract 1 kilo of valencene.
Pathway Genomics in Partnership With
Online Registry for Cancer Patients
Pathway Genomics Corp., a San Diego-based clinical laboratory that offers genetic testing services, has partnered with the Prospective Registry of Multiplex Testing (PROMPT), an online registry for patients who have undergone testing for cancer-causing genetic mutations. PROMPT is a recently formed consortium of physicians and scientists at academic centers across the nation, including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic, Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
“We are honored to collaborate with the country’s leading cancer experts to help advance the understanding of cancer risk, the genes associated with it, and take steps to end preventable hereditary cancers,” said David Becker, Pathway Genomics’ chief scientific officer.
The goal of the registry is to provide vital data needed to better understand the level of risk associated with and outcomes following testing for “panels” of cancer-associated genes. Key milestones were reached this summer, with the completion of the patient online portal in July and ethical approval in August to begin to patient enrollment on the first phase of the study.
New Outpatient Treatment Program
For Alcoholism and Addiction Opens
RecoveryWorks, a new intensive outpatient treatment program in Scripps Ranch for the treatment of alcoholism and addiction, is open and accepting patients, according to its founder, Clark Smith, M.D.
“RecoveryWorks utilizes state-of-the-art treatment approaches offered by skilled professional therapists,” Smith said. “The program was launched in part as a response to the growing need for high-quality clinical and forensic evaluation of medical, legal and law enforcement professionals.”
An open house is slated for Dec. 2 from 4 to 7 p.m. at 9820 Willow Creek Road Suites 295/370, San Diego, CA 92131.
Smith is a forensic and addiction psychiatry expert and founding director of the Sharp McDonald Center Chemical Dependency Recovery Hospital. “In addition to helping individuals from the general public with alcoholism and addiction dependency issues, RecoveryWorks aims to assist people in positions of trust cope with their own substance abuse problems,” Smith said.