Daily Business Report-June 12, 2015
Fifth Avenue Landing, once the planned site of the Convention Center expansion, is now looked on as maybe not a good idea.
Split Convention Center Going From
Nonstarter to Maybe, Possibly OK
Ashley McGlone/Voice of San Diego
Not that long ago, any suggestion that the city could expand the Convention Center with a separate building across the street or farther away was met with derision from boosters and city leaders who were committed to a contiguous facility.
Now the mayor’s point man on the expansion project and the current chairman of the Convention Center Corp., Steve Cushman, is signaling he’s changing his mind. At the same time, a new study is going forward that may show an offsite campus is best for the customers the Convention Center wants to attract.
It’s a slow-motion flip of prevailing opinion of Downtown boosters and city leaders that could have major implications for the future of the waterfront.
Cushman has spent six years pushing for a waterfront, contiguous expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, first as a port commissioner, then as co-chair of the mayor’s citizen task force.
Now, as chairman of the San Diego Convention Center Corp., Cushman isn’t so sure that’s the best site to expand or if an expansion is merited at all.
“It is truly is up in the air,” Cushman said at a board meeting last month, before advocating against spending more money to secure the planned site of the contiguous expansion, known as Fifth Avenue Landing. “It would be totally irresponsible, even if we had the money, to go spend $13.8 million to take over the remaining nine years of this lease because we have no project.”
The words hung heavy in the air and signaled a marked change in the posture of a man who’d worked hard on the 2010 deal to secure the contiguous expansion site. That plan called for the Convention Center to spend millions to buy out a private company’s port lease that expires in 2024.
City leaders have been making the case ardently for many years that a non-contiguous facility simply would not attract conventions.
Higher Prices Mean Fewer
San Diego Homes ‘Underwater’
San Diego may be facing a housing affordability crisis, but there’s a silver lining — fewer homeowners are “underwater” on their loan.
A new report from the online real estate site Zillow shows that San Diego had one of the lowest negative equity rates nationwide in the first quarter, with only 8.6 percent of homes, or 39,812 in all, worth less than the amount owed on the mortgage.
By contrast, nearly one home in five in Phoenix remains underwater, a total of 146,948, and in the smaller Las Vegas market, one in four homes were underwater, a total of 83,476.
Eight metro areas had lower negative-equity rates than San Diego, including San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles.
The national negative equity rate dropped to 15.4 percent in the first quarter. A year ago, the rate was 18.8 percent.
At the peak of the real estate crisis in 2008, more than 15 million American homeowners owed more on their mortgages than their homes were worth, putting them in negative equity.
Despite the improvement, Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries expressed concern that it was homes at the low end of the market that remained underwater.
“Because negative equity is concentrated so heavily at the lower end, it throws a real wrench in the traditional housing market conveyor belt,” he said. Potential first-time buyers have difficulty finding affordable homes for sale because those homes are stuck in negative equity. And owners of those homes can’t move up the chain because they’re stuck underwater in the entry-level home they bought years ago.”
— Times of San Diego
Sanford Consortium and Takeda Partner
In $10 Million Innovation Alliance
The Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine in La Jolla and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited have agreed to establish a $10 million, five-year Innovation Alliance that would advance each organization’s research missions.
Specifically, translational research and proof-of-concepts research projects will be identified and generated with an ultimate goal of delivering innovative therapeutic products to patients.
“UC San Diego and Takeda share a common goal of disseminating discoveries to improve lives,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “By sharing our talent and resources, our alliance will propel our research and delivery, and ultimately increase our positive impact on our society.”
The Sanford Consortium is a nonprofit organization — comprising the UC San Diego, The Scripps Research Institute, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology — principally engaged in translational research in stem-cell-based and regenerative medicine.
Takeda, headquarted in Osaka, Japan, is a multi-national company with research capabilities and expertise in the development and commercialization of pharmaceutical products.
Port Commissioners Approve 61
Waterfront Event Sponsorships
The Board of Port Commissioners have approved sponsorships for 61 events — a total of $732,500 in funding and $896,272 in waived fees, as part of the Tidelands Activation Program, an annual grant program.
The program includes sponsorship of the Port’s two signature events: the Port of San Diego Big Bay Boom July 4th Fireworks Show, and the Port of San Diego Big Bay Balloon Parade, scheduled for December 30. Other community events were selected for sponsorship through a public evaluation process led by the Tidelands Activation Program Advisory Committee, chaired by Commissioner Ann Moore.
“This is a prime example of a program that supports our goals of providing public, waterfront access to San Diego Bay for recreation,” said Chairman Dan Malcolm. “The Tidelands Activation Program events take place in every one of our five member cities, and they help introduce people to the Port’s public parks, open spaces and facilities.”
The sponsored events will take place between July 1 and June 30, 2016, with the exception of the July 4 Big Bay Boom Fireworks Show, which is funded a year ahead of time to provide the organizer with sufficient time to plan and pay for the show.
North San Diego Business Chamber
To Sponsor Tour to Tuscany
The North San Diego Business Chamber will hold an informational meeting on June 17 to provide details on a tour to Tuscany that it will sponsor in October. The meeting will be from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the chamber offices at 10875 Rancho Bernardo Road, Suite 104, San Diego.
The Tuscany tour is seven nights in October at a cost of $2,999 that includes round-trip airfare from San Diego.
To register, contact Brandie Erbe at (858) 487-1767 or email: email@example.com.
Solana Beach’s Belly Up Honored
As Small Business of the Year
Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins on Wednesday honored theBelly Up live music venue as her Small Business of the Year in the 78th Assembly District.
The Belly Up in Solana Beach is one of the most popular local music venues and has been repeatedly named the “Best Live Music Club” in San Diego County. It has featured acts as varied as the Neville Brothers, Jimmy Buffett and Mumford & Sons, and in its 41-year history has maintained a connection with the community, hosting fundraisers that benefit a variety of causes, from ALS to Toys for Tots.
“The Belly Up is a local institution that consistently attracts top talent and has kept faithful patrons coming back for more,” Atkins said. “Co-owners Phil Berkovitz and Steve Goldberg have shown through their hard work just how much of an impact one small business can have on a community. I’m pleased to honor their outstanding efforts.”
The Belly Up was honored in a ceremony at the Sacramento Convention Center for small businesses from throughout the state.
The 78th Assembly District runs along the coast from Solana Beach to Imperial Beach and also includes portions of central San Diego.
California has more than 3.5 million small businesses that account for more than half the jobs in the state.
— Times of San Diego