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Daily Business Report-Jan. 7, 2015

Daily Business Report-Jan. 7, 2015

The North Park Theatre will offer big names in entertainment, according to new owner SD Observatory LLC.

North Park Theatre Gets a New Owner — Again

The West Coast Tavern also sold

The next chapter in the strange history of the North Park Theatre is about to unfold, as David Cohen and the Verant Group, who bought the theater in 2013 from the bankrupt Lyric Opera San Diego, have sold it to SD Observatory LLC, U-T San Diego reported.

The West Coast Tavern was also part of the sale.

The West Coast Tavern was also part of the sale.

David Cohen

David Cohen

That group, which takes over the theater Jan. 15, is the owner of the Orange County concert venue “The Observatory.”

“SD Observatory promises a seamless transition, but adds that there will be a lot more buzz in town, with big names in entertainment lined up to draw audiences in from all areas of San Diego and beyond,” according to a statement from the Verant Group’s publicist, William Lopez.

Cohen and the Verant Group, who also sold their restaurant at the front of the theater, the West Coast Tavern, to Observatory LLC, had already removed the theater’s seats and brought in pop acts. But Verant also allowed room for organizations like the San Diego Musical Theatre and the LGBT Film Festival. In an interview in December, Cohen had expressed a desire to balance and broaden the theater’s offerings even further.

Cohen was not available for comment Tuesday, but he did release a statement through Lopez:

“Deciding to sell the property was not an easy one, as both of these venues are near and dear to us. But I know that under this particular new ownership, both establishments will reach new levels of success, and that is not only good for the businesses themselves, it will also greatly benefit the community of North Park as a whole.”

Read the full report…

Kearny Mesa Industrial Park

Kearny Mesa Industrial Park

Kearny Mesa Industrial Park Sold

To L.A. Company for $32.3 Million

Rexford Industrial Realty Inc., a real estate investment trust based in Los Angeles, has acquired the 13-building Kearny Mesa Industrial Park for $32.3 million or $172 per square foot. The acquisition gives Rexford 36 industrial properties in Southern California that were acquired for a total of $400 million.

The property is located at 6970-7170 and 7310-7374 Convoy Court, in Kearny Mesa. The property consists of 13 multi-tenant industrial buildings, ranging from 8,400 to 33,000 square feet, with a total of 187,763 square feet on 12.05 acres. The complex is currently 98 percent occupied and is comprised of 57 units of varying sizes.

Cassidy Turley Acquired by Chicago Firm

Cassidy Turley, a commercial real estate firm with several offices in San Diego County, has been acquired by Chicago-based DTZ, a private equity investment consortium. The consortium is backed by TPG Capital, PAG Asia Capital and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. The consortium acquired DTZ in November 2014.

The unified company represents $2.9 billion in annual revenues and more than 28,000 employees and now manages 3.3 billion square feet globally on behalf of institutional, government, corporate and private clients. DTZ is ranked No. 1 in China for investment sales transactions, with over 50 percent market share, and is ranked No. 3 in London and the U.K.

As announced previously, Tod Lickerman will be the Global CEO of the integrated company. Joseph Stettinius Jr., Cassidy Turley’s CEO, is now Chief Executive of the Americas, while Brett White, former CEO of CBRE Group, who also invested in the acquisition, will become full-time executive chairman in March 2015.

North City Campus

North City Campus

San Diego Continuing Education North City

Campus Awarded LEED Certification

San Diego Continuing Education’s new North City campus has been awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification for sustainable and green design by the United States Green Building Council. The North City campus, which finished construction in August 2013, is one of a total of 43 projects in the San Diego Community College District awarded or tracking certification.

The North City campus is a two-story, 42,000-square-foot facility designated as the Campus of Excellence for Business and Information Technology for San Diego Continuing Education. The new facility provides

state-of-the-art, technology-rich classrooms, computer labs, multipurpose areas, and administrative offices to support the business technology curriculum and was constructed using materials with high recycled content.

Sustainability is incorporated into the overall design with features such as an open air courtyard that provides day lighting and natural ventilation to the majority of interior spaces. The building includes operable windows for natural ventilation with sensors to shut down mechanical units when windows are open. This and other highly efficient mechanical systems reduce energy consumption and exceed state energy efficiency standards by 35 percent. Additionally, Low-E glazing on exterior windows maximizes the use of natural daylight and reduces energy demand.

The project was designed by San Diego-based Joseph Wong Design Associates. Balfour Beatty Construction was the construction manager.

SDG&E Completes and Energizes

New East County Substation Project

San Diego Gas & Electric announced Tuesday that the new East County (ECO) Substation project has been energized and is now operating as an integral part of SDG&E’s electric transmission system. The entire project includes a new 58-acre state-of-the-art substation in the East County community of Jacumba, an upgraded substation in Boulevard and a 14-mile transmission line connecting the two substations. The ECO Substation project was designed to enhance electric reliability in the region and to help facilitate the delivery of renewable wind and solar energy to SDG&E customers.

“The ECO Substation project is a vital reliability addition to our local transmission system and will improve our service to our customers in the eastern part of our county,” said David L. Geier, vice president of electric transmission and system engineering for SDG&E. “This project will also help in meeting California’s aggressive renewable energy goals by facilitating the development of renewable energy in the region.”

Construction began on the approximately $435 million project in May 2013 and the 500kV transmission substation in Jacumba was completed about one year later in June 2014. Construction recently wrapped up on the reconstruction and modernization of the existing Boulevard substation, which was built more than 60 years ago. Both the reconstructed Boulevard substation and new 14-mile 138kV transmission line connecting the two new substations were placed into service last week. The ECO Substation project interconnects with the existing 500kV Southwest Powerlink transmission line, strengthening this part of the transmission system.

New Labor and Employment Laws for 2015

To be Explained at Thursday Workshop

Employment and business law firm Cara & Garland APLC will be hosting “Points and Authorities: New 2015 Labor and Employment Laws,” a complimentary workshop to brief California employers and employees on new employment laws slated to take effect in 2015. It will be held on Thursday at The Bristol Hotel, 1055 First Ave., in Downtown San Diego.

Registration and complimentary hot breakfast will be served at 7:30 a.m., and the workshop is scheduled to start at 8 a.m.  The public is invited.

Attendees will receive a set of comprehensive materials and will be provided with complimentary valet parking. For more information, call Cara & Garland at 858-454-2400.

Marine Group Boat Works Pledges

$25,000 to Living Coast Discovery Center

Marine Group Boat Works has pledged $25,000 in in-kind donations to the Living Coast Discovery Center, a nonprofit zoo and aquarium located on San Diego Bay in Chula Vista.

The donation marks the sixth consecutive year that the locally owned boat-building and repair facility has covered the Living Coast’s annual animal food budget, which represents one of the center’s largest annual expenses. Additional in-kind support from Marine Group comes in the form of ongoing facility maintenance assistance and equipment.

Marine Group CEO Herb Engel will continue to serve as a member of the Living Coast’s board of directors. The company’s director of communications, Leah Yam, will also continue to lend pro bono support to the center’s development and marketing efforts.

The Living Coast Discovery Center has released an animal ambassador wish list so that members of the community can directly support the animals at the Living Coast. These tax-deductible donations will be used to help care for the center’s animals, including enrichment items, habitat enhancements, enclosure maintenance, and veterinary care. More information is available at

San Diego Opera Returns to KPBS Radio

San Diego Opera is partnering with KPBS Radio to present encore broadcasts of the opera’s three mainstage productions — “La boheme,” “Don Giovanni” and “Nixon in China.”

The broadcasts will not be aired live, but will air one week after opening night allowing those attending the performance a chance to hear it again.

Nicolas Reveles, San Diego Opera’s director of education and community engagement, will continue to host these broadcasts supplementing the performance intermissions with historical facts, anecdotes and artist interviews.

San Diego Opera on KPBS Radio can be heard on 89.5 FM, 89.1 FM in La Jolla and 97.7 FM in the Imperial Valley, online at or via the mobile app.

The full schedule for San Diego Opera on KPBS is:

“La bohème” — Saturday, Jan. 31 at 8 p.m.

“Don Giovanni” — Saturday, Feb. 21 at 8 p.m.

“Nixon in China” — Saturday, March 21 at 8 p.m.


Novel Imaging Technique Improves Prostate Cancer Detection 

A team of doctors and physicians from UC San Diego School of Medicine (with counterparts at UC Los Angeles) report a novel imaging technique that measurably improves upon current prostate imaging — and may have significant implications for how patients with prostate cancer are ultimately treated. The team reported the technique in the Jan. 6 issue of the journal Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Disease.

“This new approach is a more reliable imaging technique for localizing tumors. It provides a better target for biopsies, especially for smaller tumors,” said Rebecca Rakow-Penner, a research resident in the Department of Radiology and the study’s first author.

The technique is also valuable in surgical planning and image staging, said David S. Karow, assistant professor of radiology at UC San Diego and the study’s corresponding author. “Doctors at UC San Diego and UCLA now have a non-invasive imaging method to more accurately assess the local extent of the tumor and possibly predict the grade of the tumor, which can help them more precisely and effectively determine appropriate treatment.”

In 2014, prostate cancer was the leading cause of newly diagnosed cancers in men and the second leading cause of cancer death in men.

Suneva Medical’s Bellafill Gets FDA

Approval for Treatment of Acne Scars

Suneva Medical Inc., a privately-held aesthetics company based in San Diego, announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the dermal fillerBellafill, for the treatment of acne scars. Bellafill represents a significant clinical advancement as the only filler on the market approved for this disfiguring skin condition, the company said.

Suneva said Bellafill was studied extensively prior to its FDA approval and proven to be safe and effective for the correction of moderate to severe, atrophic, distensible facial acne scars on the cheek in patients over the age of 21 years.

“These types of acne scars affect millions of people and can have a profoundly negative impact on their self-esteem and self-confidence,” said Nicholas L. Teti Jr., chairman and CEO at Suneva Medical. “The results of this rigorous clinical study prove that Bellafill reduces the appearance of acne scars — providing a solution to this widespread skin condition that previously had limited treatment choices.”

99 Cents Only Stores Settle Lawsuit on

Disposal of Hazardous and Medical Waste

99 Cents Only Stores will pay $2.3 million to settle allegations that its employees improperly stored, handled and disposed of hazardous and medical waste, the San Diego City Attorney’s Office reported.

Under the terms of the stipulated judgment announced Tuesday, 99 Cents Only Stores has adopted new procedures under which hazardous waste is collected by state-registered haulers and taken to authorized disposal sites, rather than placed in trash bins and taken to local landfills not equipped to handle such wastes.

Six of the retail chain’s 251 California stores and distribution centers are in the City of San Diego.

The lawsuit against 99 Cents Only Stores was filed in San Joaquin County by 28 California agencies. The investigation was led by six agencies: the San Diego City Attorney’s Office and the district attorney’s offices of Fresno, Los Angeles, San Joaquin, Solano and Sonoma counties.

All Peoples Celebration to Recognize

50 Years of the Voting Rights Act

Ryan Haygood, a national voting rights attorney who has twice defended the Voting Rights Act before the Supreme Court and has used it to successfully block discriminatory voter ID laws that have emerged in the last few years, will be the keynote speaker at the Jan. 19 All Peoples Celebration at the Balboa Park Activity Center. It will be one of the first centennial activities in the park. The free community space opens at 9 a.m. and a ticketed brunch starts at 10 a.m. Tickets are $50 per person.

The event is hosted by Alliance San Diego.

This year the event will recognize the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, which protects voters from racial discrimination and enforces their right to vote free of literacy tests, poll taxes or other obstacles meant to prevent voting. Haywood will speak on the modern-day struggles over voting. He will be joined in the program by local musicians and spoken word artists who will share their talent to honor the living legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King.

SDSU Online Construction Courses Begin Jan. 12

SDSU’s College of Extended Studies is helping individuals build their construction careers by offering a wide variety of online certificate programs for an industry that faces a shortage of skilled workers nationwide.

The housing crash and the Great Recession that followed cost 1.3 million such workers their jobs, and fewer than 500,000 have returned.

The College of Extended Studies offers four online construction certificate programs: Civil Sitework, Construction Estimating, Construction Practices, and Construction Supervision. These programs are all designed to provide practical on-the-job skills. Online courses begin Monday, Jan. 12, with the last day to register being Monday, Jan. 19.

The construction programs are authorized by SDSU’s College of Engineering, offered in cooperation with the Associated General Contractors of America, and endorsed by the San Diego chapter of the American Society of Professional Estimators.

For additional information, call (619) 594-0670.

Biomatrica Receives Patent for Method

Of Biological Materials Storage

San Diego-based Biomatrica Inc. announced Tuesday that the United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent for Biomatrica Inc.’s invention of its core technology for stabilizing biological materials dry at ambient temperatures. The technology covered by the new patent allows for improved accuracy in diagnostic and other applications in which biological materials are measured because it protects biological samples from degradation prior to testing.

The patent, U.S. Patent No. 8,900,856 B2, specifies that “The invention may be used for storage of dry samples and for storage at ambient temperature, and also may have use for the storage of diverse biological materials and samples, such as but not limited to DNA, RNA, blood, urine, other biological fluids.” Additionally, the patent covers, “buccal swabs, bacteria, viruses, PCR products, cloned DNA, proteins, cells and tissues, or other biological samples.”

San Diegans Used 16 Percent Less Water in November

San Diegans continued to cut back on water use in November, part of a 10 percent statewide reduction in consumption for the month, the state Water Resources Control Board reported Tuesday.

State officials cheered the cutbacks, which came after some backsliding the previous month, and before December’s heavy rains.

Customers provided water by the city of San Diego used 65 gallons of water in November on average, compared to 76 in October and 82 in September, according to figures provided by the board.

November is a typical time to see less water usage, as the weather cools and rains begin. Also, tighter restrictions on water use approved by the City Council took effect Nov. 1 in San Diego.

“In many parts of California, it is clear that residents understand we are in a prolonged drought, and many continue to conserve water, even as we enjoy welcome rain and runoff that is beginning to recharge our reservoirs and groundwater supplies,” said state Water Board Chairwoman Felicia Marcus. “That is good news because it will take far more rain and snow to get us back to normal.”

State water officials said the heavy rains of the past month have delivered only about one-third of the precipitation necessary to end a prolonged drought.

Residents of Rancho Santa Fe, the affluent North County community which drew flack last fall for using the most water in the state — 584 gallons a day in September — cut back to 376 gallons per day in November.

Reductions in consumption were also seen by customers in the cities of Escondido and Oceanside; and the Fallbrook, Helix, Lakeside, Olivenhain, Otay, Padre Dam, Ramona, Rincon Del Diablo, San Dieguito, Sweetwater, Vallecitos, Valley Center and Vista water districts, according to the state report.

— Reported by City News Service

Local Survey: Small Business

Optimism At 10-Year High

Optimism among small- and mid-sized business has reached levels last seen during the pre-recession years of the early 2000s, according to a new survey by San Diego-based Vistage International.

The Vistage Confidence Index, which is scored as the percent giving favorable replies minus the percent unfavorable plus 100, was 107.5 in the fourth quarter 2014 survey — its highest level since 109.8 was recorded in the first quarter of 2005.

This 10-year optimism high among business leaders indicates that the majority believe the economy has made substantial progress and will continue to grow in 2015, Vistage said.

“In addition to the gain in confidence among CEOs in the closing quarter of 2014, indicators including the likelihood of increased interest rates around mid-2015, a tightening labor market and significant upward pressure on wages reflect the growing strength of the current U.S. economy,” said Richard Curtin, a research professor in economics and the director of consumer surveys at the University of Michigan who analyzes all Vistage survey results.

— Reported by Times of San Diego


Conrad Prebys

Conrad Prebys

Conrad Prebys Gives $2.5 Million

To Endow New SDSU Faculty Position

The local philanthropist made his second gift to SDSU in less than a year


By Greg Block

When Conrad Prebys gave San Diego State University a $20 million gift earlier this year to support student scholarships, it was only the beginning. Just 10 months later, Prebys and the university have announced a $2.5 million endowment to support a new faculty position in Bio-Medical research.

The Conrad Prebys Chair in Bio-Medical Research will be a newly created faculty position that will join SDSU’s world-class faculty researchers in the area of viromics, which takes a cross-disciplinary approach to learning more about bacteriophages and exploring their potential for medical usage.

The position is intended to be filled by an expert in the genetics of viruses, or viromics, one of the university’s research areas of excellence. This new faculty member will be a teacher-scholar, and will work closely with the Prebys Bio-Medical Research Scholars, students in that field who are recipients of scholarships supported by Prebys’s first gift to the university. They represent a diverse mix of students intending to pursue careers in bio-medical research and bio-medical engineering.

“It gives me great joy, especially at this time of year, to give to the education program at San Diego State University,” Prebys said.

The Conrad Prebys Endowed Chair in Bio-Medical Research is the largest endowed Chair in the history of the university and is a major step toward the university’s goal to be a top national public research university. A national search to fill the position will begin immediately.

Prebys’s first gift to SDSU was the single largest gift ever made to the university and helped propel The Campaign for SDSU toward its original goal of raising $500 million to support students, faculty, staff and programs. The Campaign for SDSU was extended in October to a new goal of $750 million.

Prebys’s original gift supports hundreds of students each year by providing scholarships for student veterans, and those in bio-medical research, creative and performing arts, Guardian Scholars, entrepreneurship, leadership and the SDSU Honors College.

Prebys is known throughout the San Diego region for his support of such organizations as KPBS, the San Diego Zoo, the Boys and Girls Club and the Old Globe Theater, The La Jolla Music Society, The San Diego Opera, Scripps Mercy Hospital, Scripps Prebys Cardiovascular Center, Sanford/Burnham Medical Research Institute and the Salk Institute.

— SDSU NewsCenter

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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: