Daily Business Report-Dec. 19, 2014
A typical TargetExpress store, similar to one planned for South Park.
Passions Rising in South Park
Over Target’s Neighborhood Plans
Tensions are mounting between South Park neighborhood groups and Councilman Todd Gloria over Target’s plans to install a TargetExpress in the former Gala Foods site, an issue that has ignited passions in the close-knit neighborhood.
Care About South Park, a self-described grass roots neighborhood preservation alliance, and the Neighborhood Market Association issued a press release Thursday demanding that Gloria “serve the interests of his 3rd District constituents by blocking the planned Target store in South Park.”
“Target will forever change the neighborhood of South Park,” said Sabrina DiMinico, Care About South Park spokesperson. “We have very legitimate concerns about its impact on traffic, local business, and the long-term implications of allowing a chain in one of San Diego’s most historic neighborhoods. We met with Todd in hopes that he would validate our concerns and help us. Instead, he told us it was all perfectly legal and there was nothing he could do.”
“We didn’t elect Todd to be helpless against big business,” added DiMinico. “We elected him to fight for our neighborhoods. There are more than 1,800 Target stores across the U.S. but there is only one South Park. And we are going to fight to preserve it.”
Asked to comment on the groups’ demands, Gloria said blocking the Target proposal in the manner suggested would be illegal.
“I am disappointed that the Neighborhood Market Association is working against this local property owner, who was a founding member of NMA and also owns several markets belonging to the NMA. The comments of NMA and Care About South Park ignore many facts: the project involves only tenant improvements and no structural changes, meaning it will be reviewed by city staff and will not be subject to City Council approval… and my support for small businesses over large corporations is well documented, most notably with my Ordinance to Protect Small and Neighborhood Businesses, which would have required big box superstores to disclose their impacts on surrounding businesses as a condition of approval.”
Mark Arabo, president and CEO of the Neighborhood Market Association, said residents cannot let the community be “sold out to corporate interests or big-box influence.”
“Target is a Wal-Mart with lipstick, and we are committed to unmasking it for what it is,” added Arabo. I look forward to working with Care About South Park because our interests are aligned in saying that a red carpet cannot be laid out for Target. Our work with the neighborhoods and small businesses of South Park begins now.”
Gloria also issued this statement:
“Since learning of the proposal for Target Express to move into the former Gala Foods site, I have been actively involved in discussions with community members, the property owner, city staff, and Target representatives, as should be demanded of elected representatives. The constructive input of active neighbors has been impactful and led to many concessions, including that Target Express will stay within the footprint of the current building, the architectural integrity of the store will be enhanced by highlighting the original mid-century aesthetic of the building, 40 percent of the store will be dedicated to groceries, and Target agreed not to include a Starbucks in the store.
In a separate update to the community issued Thursday morning, Gloria said:
“Yesterday I met with representatives of Target who updated me on the Target Express project proposed for South Park and shared preliminary designs. I was happy to see that what they had initially agreed to was reflected in their draft plans.
“The Target Express will stay within the footprint of the current building, and they will maintain and enhance the architectural integrity of the store by highlighting the beams and mid-century aesthetic which makes the building such a special part of South Park.
“The Target logo and Express lettering will mimic the same floating red that previously was used by Gala Foods and Safeway.
“Additionally, the current color palette will remain and the windows will be restored to provide a clean and clear face of the building.
“I am relieved to see that Target has listened to many of the concerns that I have shared with them on behalf of the community, especially related to the footprint of the building and necessary tenant improvements. To that end, they are in the process of looking for a local artist to add some of the character of South Park to the inside of the building.
“I was also pleased to hear that the store is being designed to serve the needs of the community. Specifically, dedicating 40 percent of the store to groceries and including a pharmacy will benefit the neighborhood. In what I feel is an important show of understanding of the neighborhood, Target has agreed not to include a Starbucks in the store. This ensures that the neighborhood establishments we know and love can continue to be the local coffee shops for South Park residents.
“At this time, the store will also include technology, health and beauty, as well as some clothing items.
“While in town, Target representatives also met with the South Park Business Group and the Burlingame Neighborhood Association to share their plans and receive additional input from the community. They expect to submit plans to the city in early January at which time they plan to work with the Greater Golden Hill Planning Committee on a date to present their final plans to the committee and the community. I continue to stress to company representatives the need to work with the community and to be transparent about their intentions. I have asked to be provided with a copy of the final plans once they have been submitted to the city so that I can share them with you. I commit to remaining vigilant in my oversight of this proposed project as it moves forward to ensure that what is being proposed is in fact what the community receives. As always, please contact my office if you have any additional questions or concerns.
“Thank you for the opportunity to serve.”
Bumble Bee Seafoods Sold to Thailand
Tuna Processor Company for $1.51 Billion
San Diego’s Bumble Bee Seafoods, which has annual sales of $1 billion, is being sold to a Thailand tuna processor for $1.51 billion, the companies announced Thursday.
Thai Union Frozen Products Public Company Limited (TUF), based in Bangkok, calls itself the world’s largest processor of shelf-stable tuna products. It said that the acquisition will enhance its portfolio of seafood products in the U.S and Canada.
Bumble Bee Seafoods is privately owned by a Pan-Atlantic private equity firm — Lion Capital.
Bumble Bee Seafoods has a workforce of more than 1,300 people, producing and selling canned, pouched and frozen seafood products across the United States and Canada.
“Thai Union’s acquisition of Bumble Bee Seafoods represents an exciting next step for the development of the business,” said Lyndon Lea, partner of Lion Capital. “Thai Union is uniquely qualified to build even greater growth and prosperity of Bumble Bee Seafoods business in the future.”
The deal is the largest acquisition in the history of TUF and will result in a revenue increase of about 25 percent, according to Thiraphong Chansiri, president and CEO of TUF.
“Bumble Bee Seafoods is a leading player in North American shelf-stable seafood; combining the business with Thai Union Group will lower costs, improve efficiency, and create the global leader in the shelf-stable seafood space, “said Chansiri. “Our deep commitment is to define the future of innovative seafood products for many generations to come.”
Bumble Bee plans to move its 140 San Diego employees into the 28,000-square-foot Showley Brothers Candy Factory building at Petco Park March 1. In the meantime, it must do about $2.5 million in upgrades.
San Diego Police Sued for
Withholding Technology Records
An open government group has sued the San Diego Police Department for information about high-tech surveillance devices called Stingrays that indiscriminately gather large amounts of cellphone data in order to locate a target.
The First Amendment Coalition, a nonprofit legal advocacy organization, filed a lawsuit Monday in San Diego Superior Court compelling the release of training materials, policy guidelines and judicial authorizations for the surveillance tool.
So far, the police department has refused to release any information, with the exception of a heavily redacted $33,000 purchase order made out to the company that manufactures the Stingray.
Peter Scheer, a First Amendment lawyer and executive director of the First Amendment Coaltion, wants more. “We think it’s important that the people of San Diego know as much as they reasonably can about how this technology is used in their city by their police department,” he said.
San Diego Landlord Penalized $250,000
For Leasing to Illegal Marijuana Dispensaries
A landlord who repeatedly allowed illegal marijuana dispensaries to operate from his San Diego properties will pay the city of San Diego a penalty of $250,000 as part of a stipulated court judgment, the City Attorney’s Office reported Thursday. An additional civil penalty of $300,000 was suspended by the court so long as the landlord, John I. Nobel, complies with the terms of the judgment.
Nobel has been a repeat offender named in numerous actions by the City Attorney’s Office against unpermitted dispensaries.
As part of a global stipulated court judgment of those cases, Nobel was assessed $550,000 in civil penalties — with $300,000 of that amount suspended — and to pay the city for investigative costs of $8,000. The penalties include $80,000 of a $120,000 judgment that previously was awarded the city and that Nobel had appealed.
Nobel risks paying the $300,000 suspended penalty if any of his properties is used for any unlawful marijuana operations, or for any use not permitted by the city. In addition, he must ensure any remaining dispensaries vacate his properties, and he must remove their fixtures, effects and signage. Failure to abide by the stipulated court judgment may also result in contempt of court.
The penalty is the largest attained by the City Attorney’s Office since it began using civil enforcement action against dispensaries that operate in violation of city zoning regulations. The City Attorney’s Office has closed down more than 200 dispensaries in the past four years.
Salk and Harvard Scientists Chart Spinal
Circuitry Responsible for Chronic Pain
In a major breakthrough, a team led by researchers at the Salk Institute and Harvard Medical School have identified an important neural mechanism in the spinal cord that appears to be capable of sending erroneous pain signals to the brain.
By charting the spinal circuits that process and transmit pain signals in mice, the study, published online Nov. 20 in Cell, lays the groundwork for identifying ways to treat pain disorders that have no clear physical cause.
“Until now, the spinal cord circuitry involved in processing pain has remained a black box,” says Martyn Goulding, Salk professor in the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory and a co-senior author of the paper. “Identifying the neurons that make up these circuits is the first step in understanding how chronic pain stems from dysfunctional neural processing.”
In many instances, people who suffer from chronic pain are sensitive to stimuli that don’t normally cause pain, such as a light touch to the hand or a subtle change in skin temperature. These conditions, referred to generally as forms of allodynia, include fibromyalgia and nerve damage that is caused by diseases such as diabetes, cancer and autoimmune disorders.
In other instances, the mysterious pain arises after amputation of a limb, which often leads to discomfort that seems to be centered on the missing appendage. These sensations often subside in the months following the amputation, but may linger indefinitely, causing long-term chronic pain for the sufferer.
“These disorders are extremely frustrating for patients, because there is still no effective treatment for such chronic pain disorders,” says Qiufu Ma, a professor of neurobiology at Harvard Medical School and co-senior author on the paper.
Jamul Indians Complete Excavation
Phase of Controversial Casino Project
Jamul Indian Village of California (JIV) and its development partner announced the completion of the excavation phase of the proposed $360 million Hollywood Casino Jamul-San Diego on its reservation in Jamul.
JIV and Penn National Gaming began the removal of more than 452,000 tons of rock and soil from the construction site in February and it was recycled for use throughout the region. The process required approximately 85,000 shift hours by construction workers to complete the excavation. Construction of the foundation has begun for the casino and the enclosed below grade parking structure, which will offer more than 1,800 spaces.
“Today is another important milestone on our path to economic self sufficiency,” said Raymond Hunter, chairman of the Jamul Indian Village of California, in a statement. “I am proud to be standing on the foundation of an economic engine that will ultimately generate high quality education, health care, and sufficient housing for our tribal members.”
The controversial casino, which is projected to open in 2016, is expected to include a three-story gaming and entertainment facility of approximately 200,000 square feet, featuring over 1,700 slot machines, 50 live table games, multiple restaurants, bars and lounges.
JIV said the project is expected to create approximately 2,500 construction and permanent jobs, with up to 90 percent of the permanent jobs going to citizens in Jamul and surrounding communities.
The project has faced fierce opposition from residents of Jamul and most notably by county Supervisor Dianne Jacob, a resident of Jamul, who claim the casino would cause severe traffic problems and would not be compatible with Jamul’s rural atmosphere.
Halozyme Therapeutics Partners
With Janssen Biotech
San Diego’s Halozyme Therapeutics is partnering with Pennsylvania-based Janssen Biotech to develop new products using Halozyme’s Enhanze, their drug delivery technology used to improve dispersion and absorption of injected therapeutic drugs.
Haloyzme will receive $15 million to start and if certain development, regulatory, and sales milestones are met the company is eligible to receive additional payments of up to $566 million.
Northrop Grumman Wins Deal
To Supply Drones to South Korea
Northrop Grumman Corp. won a $657.4 million contact from the U.S. Air Force to provide South Korea with four RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned surveillance aircrafts. The company said that the contract will “provide critically needed wide-area surveillance capability to military commanders so they can make more informed decisions.”
Northrop Grumman said it aimed ro deliver the first Global Hawk in 2018.
NASSCO Starts on 2nd ‘ECO’
Tanker at San Diego Shipyard
General Dynamics NASSCO has started construction of a second “ECO” tanker to be built for American Petroleum Tankers at its San Diego shipyard,
part of a five-tanker contract.
Each of the five 50,000-ton product carriers will be LNG-conversion ready and will hold a 330,000 barrel cargo capacity. With a specialized ECO design, the tankers are more energy efficient and incorporate environmental protection features, including a Ballast Water Treatment System.
The five-tanker contract will also help sustain NASSCO’s workforce of nearly 3,200 and will add approximately 300 more jobs in the near future.
The new construction and operation of the new vessels are aligned with the Jones Act, requiring ships carrying cargo between U.S. ports to be built, crewed and owned by the U.S.
General Dynamics NASSCO
Open Bremerton Shipyard
BREMERTON, WASH. — General Dynamics NASSCO on Wednesday celebrated the grand opening of its new location in Bremerton, Wash. The facility will support the company’s recently awarded contract to repair and maintain U.S. Navy aircraft carriers home-ported in and visiting Bremerton and Everett, Wash.
“We feel right at home here in Bremerton. This community has done a fine job in making us feel welcome,” said Jeff Brooks, a General Dynamics NASSCO senior general manager assigned to the Bremerton operation. “We look forward to providing high-quality repair and maintenance services as part of our partnership with and commitment to the U.S. Navy.”
The Bremerton location is the newest addition to General Dynamics NASSCO’s bi-coastal network of shipyards. Other shipyards include its main shipyard in San Diego, NASSCO-Norfolk (Norfolk, Va.) and NASSCO-Mayport (Jacksonville, Fla.).
SDG&E’s Sunrise Powerlink Reaches
1,000 Megawatt Renewable Energy Goal
San Diego Gas & Electric announced Thursday that more than 1,000 megawatts of renewable power is being delivered to the San Diego region made possible by the Sunrise Powerlink transmission line.
Before the nearly $1.9 billion infrastructure project was approved, SDG&E pledged that Sunrise would be used to deliver substantial amounts of Imperial Valley renewable power to the California market. The 500-kV Sunrise Powerlink, which was completed in 2012, connects the Imperial Valley Substation in Imperial County to the Sycamore Canyon Substation in San Diego County.
The recent addition of the 150-MW Solar Gen 2 Imperial Valley solar project now brings to more than 1,000 MW the total amount of solar and wind power being transmitted to SDG&E customers from the Imperial Valley.
“When SDG&E voluntarily committed that a third of the power we deliver to our customers would be renewable, the Sunrise Powerlink was the optimal path to get us where we needed to be,” said James P. Avery, senior vice president of power supply for SDG&E.
Seven of the 10 solar and wind projects SDG&E signed contracts for in Imperial Valley now are delivering a combined total of more than 1,000 MW of renewable energy to the grid. The achievement meets SDG&E’s commitment six years ago to replace any failed renewable contract that would have been deliverable by Sunrise with a new renewable contract from the same region. The power from these projects has greatly increased the amount of renewable energy in SDG&E’s resource portfolio, which has risen from 11.9 percent in 2010 to more than 30 percent in 2014.
Cal State San Marcos Receives
Record Applications for Fall 2015
California State University San Marcos has received another record amount of applications for fall 2015.
The University had the second highest two-year increase in both freshmen and transfer applications in the 23-campus California State University system.
For fall 2015, CSUSM received 13,472 applications from prospective first-time freshmen, a 7.6 percent increase from the 12,517 received for fall 2014, and a 19.8 percent increase from the 11,242 received for fall 2013.
The university also received 7,940 fall 2015 transfer applications, a 6.6 percent increase from the 7,451 received for fall 2014, and an increase of 14.1 percent increase the 6,959 applications received for fall 2013.
“As our reputation has grown so have the number of our applications,” said CSUSM President Karen Haynes. “As we expand our reach, more and more students are choosing Cal State San Marcos as their first-choice institution.”
Fall 2015 applicants can expect to receive notification of acceptance by the close of January 2015.
Jerry Sanders Reups with Chamber
Jerry Sanders, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, has renewed his contract with the organization for another three years, extending his term through December 2017. Sanders, a former mayor and police chief of San Diego, joined the chamber in 2013.
Scottsdale, Ariz. Destination Management
Company Expands Into San Diego
AZA Events of Scottsdale, Ariz., a destination management company, has opened an office in San Diego. The office is located at 4025 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 300, in Mission Valley.
Lori James-Brownell is president and owner of the company, which has been in business for more than 23 years. She said the primary focus of AZA Events is the corporate and incentive market segment, and the organization has the ability to produce events and accommodate groups of all sizes, from a 20-person board of directors to complex events with more than 5,000 attendees.
“It only made sense for us to start offering full event services in Southern California, our neighbor to the West,” James-Brownell said. “San Diego and surrounding cities are among the top corporate and special events markets, and our established relationships with supplier partners and businesses have proved tremendously helpful, making this expansion seamless.”
KGTV Journalist J.W. August to Retire
ABC10/KGTV announced Thursday that J.W. August will retire at the end of this year,after 33 years with the station. The cornerstone of Team10, the station’s investigative broadcast unit, August has been recognized nationally for his investigative reporting by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Investigative Reporters & Editors, the National Press Club, and more.
In 2006, the National Society of Professional Journalists awarded August its Sunshine Award for his efforts on behalf of open government, one of more than 130 journalism awards with which he has been honored.
A former president and founding director of Californians Aware (an advocate for open state government), August is the immediate past president of the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and current president of the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition (focused on ending human trafficking in the Americas). In his retirement, J.W. plans to travel and teach.