Daily Business Report-Aug. 3, 2015
The Fish Market Restaurant reopens today.
Fish Market Restaurant
Back in Business Today
Owners of The Fish Market Restaurant on the Downtown Embarcadero paid their 300-some employees the ultimate compliment by paying their salaries during the two months the business was closed down following a May 27 fire.
It’s a family-owned business and that’s what families do, according to Dwight Colton, the vice president of operations. Many of the employees have been with the restaurant since it first opened in 1989. The compensation totaled an estimated $2 million.
Today is a special day for the employees and the owners as the restaurant reopens for business — full service.
The restaurant sustained $1.2 million in fire and water damage but the owners decided to rebuild quickly. They set a goal to reopen as soon as it was safely possible.
“We made a commitment to re-build and re-open as quickly as possible and we are grateful to the Port of San Diego, the city of San Diego and the county of San Diego for their support and assistance throughout the process,” said Colton.
During the repair and rebuilding process, The Fish Market’s owners and management team saw an opportunity to refresh and update the restaurant. Enhancements include a new color palette, ceiling treatments, fabrics and wall coverings.
“We refreshed elements of the interior that we hope will be pleasing to our guests. In addition, our employees are very excited to be back in the building,” said Colton.
The waterfront restaurant is The Fish Market’s flagship property. The company has another location in the Del Mar/Solana Beach area and four more in the San Francisco Bay area. The two-story San Diego Bay property also includes the upscale Top of the Market restaurant on its top floor. The Top of the Market is still undergoing construction and will re-open in six to eight weeks.
Along with the reopening of The Fish Market, its sushi, oyster and cocktail bars, as well as the retail seafood market, are open and fully operational.
The company owners: John Frieis, Robert Wilson, Richard and Cammie Staunton, Richard and Tammy Duckett, Cory Caudaur and Fred Duckett Jr. III.
Manchester Pacific Gateway
Project Making Headway
Manchester Financial Group is starting to make headway on the Pacific Gateway development Downtown, according to Jason Hughes of Hughes Marino.
“After reaching a soon-to-be formalized settlement with the California Coastal Commission (and a forthcoming final court hearing on the NEPA lawsuit), Manchester plans to develop the entire site between Pacific Highway, Broadway, and Harbor Drive into hotels, offices, and high-end retail,” said Hughes.
“Better yet? Manchester is now planning on building the entire project all at once rather than in phases over a 10-year period. The office towers are going to have the best water views in the city (maybe the entire West Coast). New renderings reveal a modified design that allows for even more office floors to have unobstructed views than previously envisioned, which will be forever unobstructed.”
Big Bayfront Restaurant to Debut
Set to open this month, Coasterra will be San Diego’s biggest bayfront dining venue, a 28,000-square-foot restaurant, outdoor lounge and event space on Harbor Island, complete with a floating party barge. It cost $15 million and almost didn’t happen. Scheduled for a mid-August opening, Coasterra will be perched on the east end of Harbor Island. See San Diego Union-Tribune
17 Percent Higher Water
Rates Proposed for San Diego
City News Service
A proposal to raise water rates in San Diego by nearly 17 percent next year is scheduled to go before the City Council’s Environment Committee this week.
The city’s Public Utilities Department has suggested increasing rates to customers by 9.8 percent beginning in January, and an additional 6.9 percent next July 1.
The hikes would cover a combination of lower revenues as customers reduce consumption amid the drought, and higher expenses.
Among the extra costs cited by the department:
• The climbing price of importing water from the main water wholesaler in Southern California, the Metropolitan Water District, via the San Diego County Water Authority.
• Pricey water received from the Carlsbad desalination plant, which is scheduled to begin deliveries this fall.
• The implementation of the city’s program to recycle water into drinking water.
• Replacing aging infrastructure.
• Installing high-tech water meters.
A residential customer whose monthly bill is now around $36 would see a hike to a little over $39, according to a city report. A customer now paying $71 would see his or her bill go to over $77.
Under the plan, all city water customers would receive a notice in the mail about a City Council public hearing tentatively scheduled for Nov. 17, when a final decision could be made.
The department’s proposal also includes possible rate hikes in 2017, 2018 and 2019, based on estimates of future costs for imported water, which makes up 85 percent of the city’s total. According to a department presentation scheduled to be delivered Wednesday, the cost of water originating from somewhere else has nearly doubled in the last seven years.
The City Council last voted to raise water rates in November 2013, when the hike was more than 7 percent.
However, the department presentation says the average monthly bill of $70.81 is below the average of the various water districts in San Diego County, which is just over $78.
University of San Diego
To Welcome New President
The University of San Diego will officially welcome new President Dr. James T. Harris today.
To introduce Harris, his wife, Mary, and son, Brendan, to their new Alcalá Park home and Torero community, the university will host an ice cream social open to the campus. It will be from 1 to 3 p.m. at Colachis Plaza on campus.
The USD Board of Trustees unanimously selected Harris last February. Harris recently served as the president of Widener University in Chester, Pa., for 13 years, comes to USD with extensive experience leading a comprehensive liberal arts-based institution, including a particular commitment to student development and community engagement.
Harris succeeds Mary E. Lyons, who served at the helm of USD between July 1, 2003, and July 31, 2015.
Harris will become USD’s fourth president since the 1972 merger of the San Diego College for Women and the University of San Diego College for Men and School of Law. Previous USD presidents include Dr. Author Hughes, 1972 to 1996; Dr. Alice B. Hayes, 1996 to 2003; and. Dr. Mary E. Lyons.
Marines’ First Squadron of F-35B Jets
Declared Ready for Deployment
The Marine Corps announced Friday that the first squadron of 10 stealthy F-35B Joint Strike Fighters is ready for worldwide deployment.
The announcement marks a significant step in the largest weapons program in history. A total of nearly 2,500 planes are planned in three versions for the Marines, Navy and Air Force, and many foreign countries are buying the fifth-generation aircraft as well.
“The decision was made following a thorough operational readiness inspection, which assessed the Marine Corps’ ability to employ this complex weapon system in an operational environment,” said Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. “This achievement is a testament to the efforts of the F-35 joint program office and industry team, as well as the hard work and support from the Marine Corps.”
The Lockheed Martin-built F-35B, also known as the Lighting II, can take off vertically from assault carriers and fly at supersonic speed while its stealth design hides it from enemy radar. It will eventually replace the Marines’ AV-8B Harrier, F/A-18 Hornet and the EA-6B Prowler.
Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 based in Yuma, Ariz., is the first to be operational. Marine Corps Commandant Joseph F. Dunford Jr. said the squadron “is capable of conducting close air support, offensive and defensive counter air, air interdiction, assault support escort and armed reconnaissance as part of a Marine air-ground task force, or in support of the joint force.
“The F-35B’s ability to conduct operations from expeditionary airstrips or sea-based carriers provides our nation with its first fifth-generation strike fighter, which will transform the way we fight and win,” Dunford added.
The new jet’s development has not been without controversy, with critics saying it is too complex and not sufficiently maneuverable in combat. However, Lockheed Martin says the new aircraft regularly beats opponents in test flights and simulations.
The Marines are the first to get the new jets. The Air Force version is expected to be operational next year, followed by the Navy version in 2017.
USS San Diego Gets New Commander
City News Service
The Navy announced Friday that Capt. Carl Meuser assumed command of the amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego, which is based at its namesake city.
Meuser succeeded Capt. John Menoni in a ceremony Thursday aboard the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum. Menoni, who commanded the San Diego during its maiden deployment, was skipper for about a year and a half.
Meuser, an Oklahoma native, previously commanded the destroyer USS Higgins and was executive officer of the cruiser USS Antietam.
“I look forward to go down to the sea with our ship, in the prime of our lives, and doing something bigger than ourselves — something of which we can be proud of for the rest of our lives,” Meuser said.
He began his Navy career as a journalist, serving with the Navy Broadcasting Detachment in Keflavik, Iceland, and as the independent duty journalist on USS Portland, an amphibious landing dock ship. He later gained his commission after graduating from the University of Oklahoma.
The San Diego, the fourth Navy vessel to bear the name, is currently undergoing extended maintenance at the BAE Systems shipyard on San Diego Bay.