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Daily Business Report-Jan. 28, 2015

Daily Business Report-Jan. 28, 2015

An artist’s rendering of the Urban Discovery Academy under construction in East Village.

New Charter School Viewed as Important

Element in Transforming East Village

A public charter school under construction in Downtown’s East Village is being viewed as a welcome addition to the city’s urban core. The K-8 Urban Discovery Academy is being built on 30,000 square feet of property along the western side of 14th Street, between E and F streets.

Another view

Another view

The project will continue nearly a century of educational use of the site by incorporating and renovating an historic two-story, 20,000-square-foot San Diego Community College District building and integrating it with a new two-story, 16,000-square-foot learning space.

For the past six years, Urban Discovery Academy has been operating out of rented space on Sixth Avenue, across from Balboa Park.  KCM Group was selected to oversee the relocation and construction of the project.

“Educational facilities are important assets for Downtown and East Village,” said Councilman Todd Gloria. “Schools like the Urban Discovery Academy will help attract families to these neighborhoods, which contributes to the creation of vibrant and diverse communities.”

The new Urban Discovery Academy will consist of a school facility with outdoor parking and playground areas. It was designed by AVRP Studios Architectural. The school is chartered through the San Diego Unified School District.

“We are very proud to be partnered with such a great educational institution and to guide the construction process of this revolutionary new school,” said Gordon Kovtun, founder and principal of KCM Group. “Urban Discovery Academy will be an invaluable new element for the East Village’s residential and commercial evolution.”

The project is scheduled to be completed by July.

Court Clears Way for Infrastructure Projects

A San Diego Superior Court judge on Tuesday confirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by lawyer Cory Briggs and San Diegans For Open Government and cleared the way for the city of San Diego to finally issue $120 million in bonds to pay for badly needed infrastructure and public safety projects.

San Diego, like many other cities, uses lease revenue bonds to finance capital improvement projects prioritized by the mayor and City Council, including libraries, fire stations, life guard stations and accessibility projects, and to replace crumbling sidewalks and aging storm drains.

Among the projects that were endangered or delayed by the lawsuit were replacement of the Hillcrest fire station, reconstruction of the City Heights fire station, the completed construction of the Skyline Branch Library, construction of the new Mission Hills/Hillcrest Branch Library, and the completed construction of the South Mission Beach Lifeguard Station.

Other funds had been designated for the La Jolla Cove lifeguard station, San Ysidro Branch Library, the San Carlos Branch Library, the University Village tot lot, Tierrasanta athletic field lighting, upgrades to the SDPD pistol range and the Mission Beach Boardwalk sea wall, and accessibility projects under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Had no lawsuits been filed, the first bonds would have been issued in April 2014.

Superior Court Judge Ronald L. Styn on Tuesday declined to reverse his earlier ruling dismissing the case for failure to serve notice as required by law. The dismissal is “with prejudice,” a legal term meaning that it cannot be refiled. There remains a right to appeal, but an appeal is unlikely to affect issuance of the bonds.

“As we said before these lawsuits were filed, this sort of financing has been upheld by the Supreme Court and is used by cities throughout California,” San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said.  “These lawsuits caused unnecessary delay and expense to taxpayers, but the law does not allow the city to recover attorney fees when we win.”

San Diego Region Awarded $16 Million

In Federal Grants for Services to Homeless

The San Diego region has been awarded more than $16 million in federal grants to support housing and service programs for the homeless. The grants will renew effective projects already in operation and fund new ones identified through a local scoring process, according to Councilman Todd Gloria, who announced the grants. He chairs the San Diego Regional Continuum of Care Council governing board.

“These funds will go a long way to help us achieve real results addressing homelessness,” said Gloria. “As Chair of the RCCC, I thank our membership for the intensive efforts that resulted in the award of these funds for our community. San Diego is fortunate to have local homeless housing and service providers dedicated to serving this vulnerable population.”

San Diego grants listed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development include support for several  critical local programs and services that Gloria has advocated, including the Homeless Management Information System, Connections Housing and rapid re-housing.

Double-Digit Increases in Revenue

And Profit for San Diego’s Illumina

San Diego’s biggest biotech company, whose systems can sequence a human genome for under $1,000, reported a record fourth quarter with double-digit increases in revenue and profit.

Illumina, with headquarters in University City, on Tuesday announced fourth fiscal quarter net income of $153.3 million, or $1.03 per share, a 90 percent increase

Illumina CEO Jay Flatley

Illumina CEO Jay Flatley

from the same quarter a year ago. Revenue grew by 32 percent to $512 million compared to a year ago.

The results “greatly exceeded our expectations,” CEO Jay Flatley said in a statement. “Our focus on technology innovation, as evidenced by the launch of HiSeq XTM Ten, which enables the $1,000 genome, and the NextSeq 500, were major contributors to our outperformance.”

In July 2014, U-T San Diego reported  Illumina had a market value exceeding $20 billion, making it easily the most valuable biotech company in San Diego County.

Illumina is getting a San Diego sales and use tax of up to $1.5 million over 10 years under an Economic Development Incentive Agreement approved by the San Diego City Council. It’s meant to keep hundreds of biotech manufacturing jobs in San Diego.

The company recently announced that its HiSeq X Five, HiSeq 3000/4000 and NextSeq 550 instruments “will position us for continued long-term growth as we develop and address the large and nascent market opportunities ahead of us.”

Gross margin in the fourth quarter was 75.1 percent compared with 66.9 percent in the prior-year period.

Research and development expenses for the fourth quarter totaled $142.9 million compared with $76.7 million in the prior-year period.


Rancho Valencia

Rancho Valencia

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa

Named Best Luxury Hotel in U.S.

Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa in Rancho Santa Fe has been named the best luxury hotel in the United States by U.S. News & World Report. The resort received a 5-diamond rating from AAA last week and had a five-star rating from Forbes. It also made Conde Nast Traveler’s 2015 World’s Best Hotels Gold List.

“We’re taking the guesswork out of finding a great hotel,” said Erin Shields, travel editor for U.S. News, in a press statement. “The Best Hotels of 2015 represent the top properties recognized by experts.”

California also took the top spot with the most ranked hotels in the United States, while New York City had the highest concentration of ranked hotels among U.S. cities.

The Grand Del Mar in San Diego was No. 7 on the top 10 hotels list.

Define Financial Relocates to Bigger Space

Symphony Towers

Symphony Towers

Define Financial, a financial planning and wealth management firm, has relocated its corporate headquarters from a small space in Symphony Towers Downtown to a space in the building that is more than five times as large. Located at 750 B Street, the new office is designed to accommodate growth and enable the company to continue building its team.

Define Financial was launched in June 2014 by Taylor Schulte to provide a place for individuals and small business to receive objective, conflict-free financial advice. Schulte founded the company after years of working as a financial adviser at Morgan Stanley and launching the San Diego operations for Beverly Hills Wealth Management.

“We didn’t know if we’d be in a position to be relocating in less than a year’s time, not to mention  expanding our office space to more than five times the original size,” said Taylor Schulte, CEO.

Define Financial specializes in customized investment solutions, retirement, tax and college planning, charitable giving and insurance, working with individuals, families and small businesses in San Diego County and throughout California.

Improvements Recommended for S.D.

Fire-Rescue Dept. Not Implemented

Nearly four years after a respected consultant issued recommendations for improving the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, few of the ideas have been carried out, according to a report to be delivered to the City Council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee today.

The study by Citygate Associates of Folsom in February 2011 has been treated by city officials as a blueprint for the future of the SDFRD.

A working group made up of City Council members David Alvarez and Marti Emerald, along with Chief Javier Mainar and others, developed a timeline for implementing the recommendations. The council adopted the working group plan that November.

According to the report going before the committee, most of the delays are the result of the city’s painstaking creation of a comprehensive, five-year plan to address a massive infrastructure backlog. The infrastructure plan took a few years to develop and encompassed not just the SDFRD but many other city departments.

Some work has also been slowed by litigation over a $120 million infrastructure bond that could have been issued in the middle of last year. The city won a pair of lawsuits but the plaintiff plans to appeal.

In the City Council’s adopted timeline, most of the plans set for completion three years ago have been finished. That’s not the case for subsequent years, the report shows.

Of the seven items set for two years ago, only one has been completed — the $2.6 million replacement of the fire station alerting system. A fire station under construction on the east side of Mission Valley is projected to be finished in July, and money for staffing the new facility is part of the budget plans for the next fiscal year.

— City News Service

San Diego Sport Innovators Accepting

Applications for its Next Springboard Program

San Diego Sport Innovators (SDSI) is accepting applications for its Jan. 30 through March 6 Springboard, a four-month intensive business accelerator program that pairs entrepreneurs with CEOs, finance and marketing executives for hands-on mentoring. The purpose is to fine-tune company business plans and assist in creating sustainable and scalable business models — all in preparation for strategic partnership and outside investment opportunities. There is no cost to apply, but upon acceptance companies must become SDSI members to participate.

“The SDSI Springboard program is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs to be coached and mentored by enthusiastic, independent, experienced fellow entrepreneurs and skilled executives. The evolution of each participating company from start to finish is truly remarkable. Not only do they have a clear picture of their business model and plan, they have recharged enthusiasm and confidence to pitch their company and to interchange in dialogue with potential investors and strategic partners on how to value their business,” said SDSI Business Advisor Rich Martin.

To date, 48 companies have graduated from SDSI Springboard since it became a standalone program from Connect in 2011. Ninety percent are still in business, have raised $28.8 million in capital funding and have created 94 jobs. While SDSI’s resources are located in Southern California, Springboard is open to companies outside of the region; however travel to San Diego is required. SDSI Springboard graduates include StrongVolt,, Arcade Belts, Bon Affair and Electrozyme.

Learn more at


Personnel Moves

John D. Alessio Elected to Management Panel

John D. Alessio

John D. Alessio

John D. Alessio has been elected to a four-year term on Procopio law firm’s management committee. The seven-person panel oversees the management and direction of the entire law firm, which has more than 140 attorneys in five offices.

Alessio’s practice focuses on complex class action and commercial litigation. He has experience representing public and private companies in state and federal courts across the state in litigation involving, among other things, lender and banker liability, unfair competition, trade secret misappropriation, employment, real estate and cross-border issues.

Alessio is the grandson of the late John S. Alessio, the late multimillionaire who was a banker, businessman, racetrack operator, philanthropist and gubernatorial adviser during a long career in San Diego. He died in 1998 at age 87. John D. Alessio is the son of Dominic J. Alessio.


Jonathan Consani Joins Allen Matkins Firm

Jonathan D. Consani

Jonathan D. Consani

Real estate attorney Jonathan D. Consani has been hired by Allen Matkins, a real estate and business law firm, for its San Diego office. As a member of the firm’s Real Estate Department, Consani will focus on a variety of commercial leasing transactions and land use matters.

Consani’s commercial real estate experience stems from assisting global brokerage firm CBRE’s in-house legal team on a broad range of issues.

He received his bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from Chapman University, and his juris doctorate, cum laude, from Loyola Law School. As an undergraduate, he served as a portfolio manager for Chapman University’s Student Managed Investment Fund, as well as a legal intern for a boutique law firm in Orange County.


Jolie Jensen Hired by Parisi Portfolio

Jolie Jensen, a designer in multifamily and hospitality projects, has been hired by Parisi Portfolio interior design firm as design project manager.

Jensen has more than 15 years of orchestrating design in large-scale, multi-family projects including condominiums and apartment complexes; as well as corporate offices, restaurants, golf clubhouses, and spa/fitness facilities.

Jensen has worked on projects with Bosa Development, Sares Regis Group, Avalon Bay Communities, Sudberry Properties, Inc and Wermers Properties, among others.

New Board Chair for Lavin Entrepreneurship Center

Steven Osinski

Steven Osinski

The College of Business Administration at San Diego State University has named Steven Osinski as chairman of the advisory board for SDSU’s Lavin Entrepreneurship Center. Osinski will continue to teach sales strategy and direct marketing courses at SDSU.

He is also the founder and CEO of 3 Hour Learning, an online educational program that teaches entrepreneurs and business professionals the fundamentals of successful sales techniques. He was previously the founder and CEO of the SMART Group advertising agency prior to its purchase by Monster Worldwide.

Osinski attended the University of Miami where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and a master’s degree in marketing.

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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: