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Daily Business Report-Jan. 25, 2017

Daily Business Report-Jan. 25, 2017

Rendering of CityMark Development’s XPO townhomes. (Credit: The Mckinley Associates)

Construction Begins on Urban

Townhomes in Bankers Hill

Construction is now underway at XPO, a collection of 21 urban townhomes at the edge of Balboa Park in Bankers Hill.

XPO townhomes night view. (Rendering by The McKinley Associates)

XPO townhomes night view. (Rendering by The McKinley Associates)

The name XPO is a nod to the 1915 Panama-California Exposition held at Balboa Park, the reason for the park’s recent centennial celebration. Located at Sixth and Hawthorn Street, the project created by CityMark Development

is expected to open this summer.

“These homes will reflect Balboa Park’s spirit of innovation, community and modern thinking,” said Russ Haley, vice president of CityMark Development. “Residents will have the park’s many walking paths and natural features as their backyard and residents’ private view decks will provide an elevated view of the park’s majesty.”

The two-bedroom, two-and-one-half bath townhomes will live on two or three levels, offering 1,215 to 1,740 square feet of living space. There will be three floor plans to choose among, some offering an additional loft space. Residents will have private garage parking with direct residence access. Pricing is expected to start from the $700,000s.

An urban color palette of neutrals and dark gray with stone accents will allow the contemporary architecture to blend gracefully into the existing streetscape. Interiors will be open and characterized by thoughtful and innovative architecture.

The architect for the project is The McKinley Associates.


Pot grower (Shutterstock)

Pot grower (Shutterstock)

Group Seeks Supervisors Help in Planning

For Commercial Cannabis Farming

A new group representing cannabis farmers will ask the Board of Supervisors today to chart a way forward for commercial cannabis and hemp farming in San Diego County.

At the meeting, board members are expected to consider zoning changes that could have wide-ranging impacts on residents hoping to grow medical cannabis in the county’s unincorporated areas – especially if the board opts to limit cannabis growing only to existing cannabis dispensaries.

Members of the newly formed Southern California Responsible Growers Council are concerned that this could leave farmers in the back country completely out of the equation.

Formed last year, the Responsible Growers Council is comprised of more than 80 members — including more than 40 San Diego County farmers, land owners and business owners.

“We started the Responsible Growers Council because we want people to know who we are, what we do, and what benefits we can bring in terms of new tax revenues and especially more jobs,” said Anthony Wagner, the group’s executive director.

“Across the state, the agricultural side of the cannabis industry is evolving fast,” Wagner says. “Our members want to grow their crops legally and in a way that is acceptable and beneficial to communities.”

If the board moves to allow broader commercial cannabis growing, this will allow local farmers to diversify their crops and better support their families, according to Wagner.

Farmers will also benefit because cannabis crops typically require less water than traditional local crops, he said.

In the last 16 months, the State of California has enacted two laws that chart a legal path forward for commercial cannabis farming — the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act, and the Adult Use of Marijuana Act —the state scheduled to issue its first licenses in January 2018.

Despite this, farmers still need zoning approval from the board — or any local jurisdiction — before they can apply for a state license.


Funding for Robotic Startup

Companies Reaches Record High in 2016

2016 was the best year on record for investment into robotics and UAS start-up companies, says a new report. About $195 billion in investment was doled out to 128 such start-ups across a wide range of industries last year, according to The Robot Report. Investments went to companies making UAS and other unmanned systems for everything from agricultural work and industrial manufacturing to automated vehicles.

In terms of the markets that received funding, unmanned aerial systems were at the top of the list, as 25 unmanned aerial systems received funding, followed by 15 agricultural robotics startups, service robotics for businesses, service robots for personal use, vision systems providers, self-driving systems and mobile robotics and AGVs companies, in addition to other categories.


Westerly will offer three floor plans featuring four to five bedrooms and three to 4.5 baths .

Westerly will offer three floor plans featuring four to five bedrooms and three to 4.5 baths.

Model Construction Starts for

Rancho Tesoro Project in San Marcos

CaliforniaWest and Presidio Residential Capital announced the start of model construction at Westerly, a new neighborhood with 71 home sites on 13 acres within the 253-acre master-planned Rancho Tesoro community in San Marco.

A grand opening is scheduled for late spring 2017, and Westerly is expected to be completed by spring 2019. The retail value of the development is $56 million.

This is Presidio’s first joint venture partnership with CaliforniaWest. Westerly will offer three floor plans featuring four to five bedrooms and three to 4.5 baths ranging from 2,801 to 3,521 square feet in Santa Barbara, Monterey and Spanish ranch styles. Designed by KTGY Group, the homes will have open floor plans with large great rooms, gourmet kitchens with oversized islands, spacious master suites with optional oversized retreat, standard bonus rooms, optional casita with private entry, optional covered outdoor living rooms and two-bay attached garages.

Residents will have access to a community recreational facility with a pool, spa, tot lot, bocce court, fire pits, barbecue and picnic areas. In addition, Westerly residents will have the opportunity to enjoy more than 40 acres of open space, 2.7 miles of scenic trails and three private parks.


National City Property Sold

For Apartment Construction

KirE Homes has purchased property on East 31st Street in National City for $1.22 million and plans to build a 61-unit apartment building on the site. Construction is scheduled to start in November.

“San Diego County is experiencing tremendous growth in the multi-family sector. With this growth, we are starting to get a lot more interest from developers looking to build multi-family residential properties. The sites offered an excellent addition to KirE Homes’ apartment portfolio,” said Al Apuzzo of Lee & Associates, which represented the sellers, RAR 2010 Living Trust and Catherine Y Beck.


Suzanne Varco and S. Wayne Rosebaum

Suzanne Varco and S. Wayne Rosebaum

Suzanne Varco and S. Wayne Rosebaum

Form New San Diego Law Firm

Suzanne Varco and S. Wayne Rosebaum have formed Varco & Rosenbaum Environmental Law Group LLP in San Diego. The firm was formerly known as Opper & Varco LLP The Environmental Law Group.

In addition to Varco and Rosenbaum, Linda Beresford will continue with the firm as a partner and Eric Grant has joined the firm as an associate. Richard Opper has left the practice.

“Over the 13 years since we first established our practice, environmental law and related areas have continued to be our focus. Our new name highlights our significant expertise in this ever-evolving area of law,” says Varco, who remain as managing partner of the firm. “We are proud that we will also continue to be a certified women-owned firm.”

The firm provides services in a broad range of environmental law areas ranging from litigation and appeals to transaction, compliance, advice and advocacy.Varco’s private law practice concentrates in areas of brownfields’ redevelopment hazardous waste cleanup, and real estate transactions. Rosenbaum practices in the areas of storm water, land use and natural resources, with an emphasis on water quality and land use laws affecting infrastructure and renewable energy projects.


Fident Capital Moves to Downtown

Fident Capital, a local boutique real estate investment bank, has relocated its team to Downtown San Diego. The new office, located at 515 Fifth Ave. (on the corner of Island), is on the second floor of the building and encompasses 2,500 square feet.

“As our team and client roster expand, we needed a space that would be able to grow with us,” said Fident Capital President Kevin Choquette. “We have a dynamic group, and the real estate opportunity in Downtown San Diego matches well with our skill sets and growth.”

Fident specializes in securing equity and debt financing for value-add and opportunistic estate projects throughout the west. Prior to relocating Downtown, Fident was located in the University Town Center neighborhood.


Larry Paulson Named

President of Qualcomm India

Larry Paulson

Larry Paulson

Qualcomm Inc. announced the appointment of Larry Paulson as president of Qualcomm India. Paulson succeeds Sunil Lalvani, who decided to step down after about a year in the post.

Paulson has more than 20 years of experience in strategy, R&D, customer development, product marketing and technology creation. He joined the company in 2013 as vice president of product management for Qualcomm Reference Design, a product of the semiconductor business, QCT. Most recently, Paulson led the QCT Platforms organization and has expanded the Qualcomm Reference Design platform. Paulson and his team also established the Qualcomm Global Pass program, which has been launched successfully in Latin America, North America, Europe, India and South East Asia.

Prior to Qualcomm, Paulson was the executive vice president and chief marketing officer at BrightPoint. Before that, he held numerous positions at Nokia during his 20+ year career, including global senior vice president and general manager of Nokia’s worldwide CDMA device business. Paulson also served as senior vice president, North America Business Development and president of Technophone (a wholly owned subsidiary of Nokia).


Personnel Announcements

Ashlynn Ball Promoted at RBTK LLP

Ashlynn Ball

Ashlynn Ball

Ashlynn Ball has beenpromoted to partner at San Diego-based CPA firm RBTK LLP. Ball joined RBTK in 2008 as a senior staff accountant, later earn

ing promotions to accounting supervisor and accounting manager. She began her career at KPMG in 2005 prior to joining RBTK.

In her new role, Ball will be responsible for managing and leading the audit and accounting services for RBTK clients.

Brian Gates Named COO of Burger Construction

Brian Gates

Brian Gates

Brian Gates has joined Burger Construction as chief operating officer. He is responsible for enhancing operations, expanding business development and augmenting the team to accommodate the company’s growth objectives.

Gates has more than 15 years of experience in commercial real estate development, management and construction. Recently, he served as senior director and commercial team leader at H.G. Fenton Company.

Gates holds a master’s degree in real estate from University of San Diego Burnham Moores Center for Real Estate and a bachelor’s degree in business management from University of Phoenix. He also studied building construction management at Michigan State University.

His past work experience includes profit and loss responsibility for HG Fenton’s 4.5 million-square-foot portfolio of office, industrial and retail properties.

Gates worked for five years with DPR Construction in San Francisco and San Diego, where he managed a variety of ground-up and tenant improvement projects.

Erich Foeckler Takes Post With Community Colleges Foundation

Erich Foeckler

Erich Foeckler

Erich Foeckler, a fundraising professional for 20 years, is the new executive director of development for the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges, the philanthropic partner for East County’s two community colleges.

The East County resident is in charge of developing and implementing a comprehensive fundraising plan for the foundation and will take the lead in forging relationships with donors who want to make a difference in students’ lives.

As the donor relations executive at the San Diego chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Foeckler increased grant funding by 25 percent and nearly doubled the size of the local office’s planned-giving membership. As the director of development and marketing at Home Start Inc. in San Diego from 2008-2012, he was credited for raising nearly $2 million to renovate homeless shelter facilities and for increasing grant funding and contracts by $1 million in a single year.

As the director of communications and special events for six years at St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center, a well-known El Cajon institution that serves the needs of adults with developmental disabilities, Foeckler was key in the center winning Oprah’s Big Give competition in 2008.

At the Foundation for Grossmont & Cuyamaca Colleges, Foeckler will be leading a major initiative to develop a permanent endowment for the Higher Edge Promise Scholarship program to fund East County high school graduates’ first year of classes at Grossmont or Cuyamaca College.

Jennifer Cooper Joins Kona Kai Resort & Spa

Jennifer Cooper

Jennifer Cooper

Noble House Hotels & Resorts, a hotel ownership and management group, announced the appointment of Jennifer Cooper as director of club membership for Kona Kai Resort & Spa, the group’s beachfront property in San Diego. Cooper is a hospitality professional with extensive marketing experience in brand building and membership program growth.

Before joining Kona Kai Resort & Spa, Cooper worked for Hotel Del Coronado as the Club at the Del membership sales manager where she planned, executed and integrated new membership programs and events.  She then was in charge of developing an additional membership program, Del Resort Membership.

Prior to that, she worked as a paralegal with Trigild Inc. in San Diego, as well as the sales and marketing coordinator with Turks & Caicos Sporting Club at Ambergris Cay.

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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: