Daily Business Report-Oct. 2, 2015
An MTS bus and a trolley converge at the Downtown Central Library.
Metropolitan Transit System Logged
Nearly 97 Million Passengers in FY 2015
Bus and trolley ridership on the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System hit a record 96,712,980 trips in fiscal year 2015, with trolley ridership passing the 40 million mark for the first time, the agency announced Thursday.
Total ridership broke the previous record of 95,026,413 million set in fiscal year 2014.
“We added a significant amount of service with Rapid and the public responded,” said Paul Jablonski, chief executive officer for MTS. A second straight year of record ridership and an 18 percent increase since 2010 demonstrates that transit is an affordable and attractive option for San Diego residents and visitors.”
Overall, the MTS bus system logged 56,578,389 trips in FY 2015, a 2 percent increase over FY 2014. Trolley ridership increased 1 percent over the previous year from 39,694,624 trips in fiscal year 2014 to 40,083,465.
• The Blue Line, with 16,532,209 riders in fiscal year 2015, was the most-used trolley line. Ridership increased 9.5 percent over the previous fiscal year. Green Line and Orange Line ridership both decreased slightly. The Silver Line carried 32,944 passengers around the Downtown loop on the San Diego Vintage Trolley.
• The expansion of high-frequency, limited-stop Rapid service was a significant factor that led to increases in bus ridership and the overall ridership record. Three new Rapid routes launched in 2014: Rapid 215 provides all-day, every-day service between Downtown and SDSU; Rapid 235 provides all-day, every-day trips between Escondido and Downtown, and Rapid 237 travels between Rancho Bernardo and UC San Diego on weekdays. In total, Rapid service accounted for 2,654,308 trips toward the new ridership record.
• Some MTS bus routes saw major ridership increases, including most routes connecting to UC San Diego, University City and the Sorrento Valley area.
• Special events also contributed to the new record, which are big economic drivers for the region. This included historic concerts at Petco Park by Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones. And for Comic-Con, MTS achieved record ridership in fiscal year 2015 with 239,227 extra trips taken during the four-day event, an 11 percent increase over the previous year.
MTS ridership has steadily grown over the past six years and is expected to surpass 100 million passengers in fiscal year 2016.
Bill to Regulate Civic San Diego
Faces 11th Hour Opposition
San Diego CityBeat
The nearly two-year battle over the fate of Civic San Diego has landed on Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk in the form of AB 504. Authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, the bill would allow nearly all projects approved by the land-use nonprofit to be appealed to the City Council.
Having fought unsuccessfully for months to kill the legislation, the local business community has launched a vigorous last-ditch effort, including a widespread letter-writing campaign and hiring a long-time friend of the governor to lobby for a veto.
“We are not fighting against oversight,” said Kris Michell, CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership. “We are fighting for certainty in the process.”
Arguing the proposed appeals process could stifle real estate investment, the Downtown San Diego Partnership and the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce have, over the last five months, spent tens of thousands of dollars lobbying against the bill.
While previous efforts have fallen short, the Downtown San Diego Partnership has refused to give up. It hired the Crane Group in September, according to a disclosure report. The president of the Washington, D.C.-based lobbying firm, Lucie Gikovich, is widely known as Brown’s close friend, having served as his confidential secretary during his first terms as governor, as well as a staff member during his time as mayor of Oakland.
Los Angeles Company Acquires
Eaves Carlsbad for $112 Million
Los Angeles-based Decron Properties Corp. has acquired Eaves Carlsbad, a 450-unit apartment complex in a transaction valued at $112 million.
The acquisition marks Decron’s entry into the San Diego market and drives Decron’s total 2015 new acquisitions to almost $300 million. A real estate investment, development and management firm, Decron’s portfolio includes 2.5 million square feet of commercial and retail space and 6,000 multifamily units located primarily in Southern California.
Decron said it will undertake an $18.2 million capital improvement program that will include significant interior upgrades, exterior enhancements and site improvements. Decron will adjust many of the units’ floor plans to include larger bedrooms, expanded kitchens and enlarged patios. Following the renovation, units will have luxury amenities and finishes, including in-unit washer dryers (select units), stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops, plank flooring, wooden kitchen cabinets, and modern light fixtures. In anticipation of the major renovation, the property will be rebranded as The Reserve at Carlsbad.
Luxury Cinema Angelika Film Center & Café
To Open Oct. 9 in Carmel Mountain Plaza
Reading International Inc. will open the new Angelika Film Center & Cafe, a luxury cinema located at Carmel Mountain Plaza in San Diego, on Oct. 9. It is the company’s first on the West Coast.
The Angelika will offer a mix of specialty programming, which includes independent and foreign films, along with a slate of classic movies and filmed presentations of global cultural events. Opening titles include “Pan,” “The Walk,” “He Named Me Malala,” “99 Homes,” “Goodnight Mommy” and “Rififi.”
Each of the 12 screening rooms have full-recliner luxury seats in a stadium setting, digital projection by Barco, Dolby 7.1 audio, and reserved seating.
Fred Dagdagan, a Los Angeles-based designer of screening rooms for major Hollywood studios, designed the cinema to feature an open lobby, a mezzanine lounge and an outdoor patio, hardwood floors, a three-tiered crystal chandelier accented in blue neon, and an illuminated rendering of the Angelika logo.
Veteran Food Network Executive Bruce Seidel of Hot Lemon Productions and Chef Santos Loo designed a menu comprised of craft beverages and bites, including Green Bean Fries with Sriracha Ketchup, Kale Grilled Cheese with Tomato Jam, and Potato Chip Crusted Chicken Tenders, that can be enjoyed while watching a movie and throughout the theater.
The Angelika offers early matinee show pricing of $8.50 seven days a week till noon, where guests can receive a free Intelligentsia coffee with their ticket purchase as part of the Angelika Coffee Club. Parents with infants can join the Crybaby Matinee every Wednesday at 11 a.m. for a “worry-free” movie experience. There are also a variety of other ticket specials.
Mission Valley Office Property Sold for $5.5M
A multi-tenant office building at 2535 Camino Del Rio South in Mission Valley has been acquired by the Jim D. Petropoulos Revocable Trust for $5.5 million. The seller was Prospect SD LLC, a subsidiary of Viewpoint Equities Inc.
The property was built in 1983 and has recently undergone extensive renovations including new flooring and paint in all common areas and an updated lobby with new staircase and modern finishes.
At the time of sale, the property was 65 percent leased to 16 tenants. The tenant mix is comprised of legal, health care, engineering, and professional uses.
Colliers International was the broker.
Minimum Wage Jumps to $13 an Hour
For University of California Workers
City News Service
The minimum wage for thousands of workers at UC San Diego and University of California campuses across the state rose to $13 an hour Thursday, the first in a series of bumps that will push the wage to $15 by October 2017.
UC President Janet Napolitano announced the wage hikes in July. Under the plan, all employees who work 20 hours or more a week will be paid at least $13 an hour beginning today. All new and renewing contracts with the university will also require that workers be paid the same minimum wage.
The wage will rise to $14 an hour on Oct. 1, 2016, and to $15 on Oct. 1, 2017.
“Supporting the employees — and their families — who help make UC a leading institution is an important part of our values as a public university,” Napolitano said.
The University of California system is the state’s third-largest employer, with about 195,000 employees at its 10 campuses, five medical centers, three national labs, the Office of the President, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources and other locations, according to UC.
As part of the wage-hike plan, the UC also plans to expand its monitoring to ensure employees of contract companies are being paid the proper wages.
Airport and Hotel Launch
Sustainable Travel Program
Paradise Point, a Destination Hotel on Mission Bay, has partnered with San Diego International Airport on a new sustainable travel program.
The Good Traveler program, piloted by San Diego International Airport, seeks to offset environmental impacts of travel by encouraging guests to purchase carbon offsets in the form of merchandise or add-ons to hotel reservations. For $1, a traveler can effectively offset 500 miles of air travel or 200 miles of driving. 100 percent of program funds will go directly towards conservation projects counteracting the environmental impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.
Current projects benefitting from The Good Traveler proceeds include a forest restoration project in California, a wind farm project in Idaho and a water restoration project in the Colorado Delta. Following evaluation of the pilot program’s success at the end of this year, San Diego International Airport will consider plans to expand the program to additional cities and airports.
For more information on The Good Traveler program, visit www.thegoodtraveler.org.
Jared Cole Joins Moffatt & Nichol
Jared Cole, a senior bridge engineer with more than 14 years of structural engineering experience, has joined Moffatt & Nichol.
As a senior bridge engineer, Cole has served as project manager on a number of bridge replacement projects, and has experience coordinating civil, geotechnical, and environmental sub-consultants. He has also led the design for an array of bridges including spans comprised of cast-in-place and precast concrete girders, steel trusses and girders, and timber.
One of Cole’s recent projects include the Cabrillo Bridge over State Route 163 where he was responsible for writing technical specifications for the seismic retrofit and rehabilitation of the structure in the ity of San Diego.
Cole graduated from UC San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in structural engineering.