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Business Bits – June 2015

Posted: July 3rd, 2015 | Business Bits, Featured, News | No Comments

By Hutton Marshall

State tax credits inject $20 million into San Diego economy

The San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. (EDC) recently released a report quantifying the benefits of California Competes, a state-run discretionary economic incentive. The report found that San Diego companies receive more than $19.9 million in tax credits, which are expected to help create 3,968 new jobs locally.

The EDC’s president and CEO Mark Cafferty praised the awarded companies for showcasing the region’s economic diversity.

“The companies selected for California Competes are indicative of the diverse industries that make up San Diego’s economy,” Cafferty said in a statement. “We frequently hear that businesses choose San Diego because of our talented workforce and our dynamic innovation ecosystem.”

The report reveals that, compared to other cities receiving the tax credit dollars, San Diego created the second most jobs, and only companies in Los Angeles outnumbered those in San Diego receiving credits. It was ranked fourth in overall value of tax credits awarded.

The largest tax credit recipient in the city was Petco, which received $2.6 million and created 263 jobs. The credits even boosted San Diego’s growing craft brewing industry, awarding funds to both Modern Times Beer and Council Brewing Company, creating a combined total of 101 jobs between the two.

WebPass expands Internet service to Mission Valley

WebPass, a wireless Internet provider based in San Francisco, recently announced it would expand its services to Mission Valley. The service began operating in Downtown San Diego in 2012.

Rather than traditional Internet service providers such as Time Warner Cable and AT&T, WebPass does not use modems or contracts, branding themselves as a hassle-free alternative. They promise much faster connection speeds than their national competitors at a similar price point.

The continued expansion of WebPass, which was founded in 2003, comes at a time of increasing dissatisfaction with traditional Internet providers. On San Diego’s Yelp, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications each have a 1.5-star rating. WebPass, by comparison, has a 4.5-star rating.

“We anticipate our first building will be turned on in late July. We look forward to sharing our services with the businesses and residents of Mission Valley,” WebPass president Charles Barr said in a statement.

WebPass offers their services only in buildings built after 1995 with at least 10 units. The service will first be available to Mission Valley businesses, with residential service to follow after.

The Container Store introduces local ‘luxury closet’ collection

The Container Store, a Texas-based “storage and organization solutions” company, announced in early June that it would introduce a custom-built closet collection to its San Diego store. TCS Closets are now on display at the company’s Mission Valley outlet near Fashion Valley Mall. They will roll out in the company’s other locations by the year’s end.

Each closet is custom-built from the floor up to fit the customer’s space. In-home consultations, which include renderings for a custom design and a complete organization plan, are available for $75. When a customer spends $500 or more on their custom closet, they will receive a $75 credit toward their purchase.

“This is the ultimate closet experience our customers have been waiting for and we’re thrilled for them to start experiencing it in San Diego,” Melissa Reiff, president and chief operating officer of The Container Store, said in a statement. “We have worked on every detail to deliver the uncompromised style and definitive organization solution our customers deserve.  It’s that promise of an organized life that we want to give our customers.”

A look at 2 Downtown mixed-use development proposals

A Civic San Diego selection committee has set its sights on two proposed mixed-use developments that will add over 100 affordable housing units to the Downtown area. The selection committee of the urban development nonprofit recommended that the city enter into negotiation with the companies behind the two proposals, in order to see the projects to fruition.

Cisterra Development, a San Diego-based company, proposed plans for a 751,500-square-foot mixed-use building at Seventh Avenue and Market Street. In addition to 32 affordable apartments, the complex will include 58 condos, 115 market-rate apartments, office space, 238 public parking spaces and 46,000 square feet of retail space. It will also include a 160-room, five-star Ritz Carlton hotel.

The second development, proposed by the Washington-based Holland Partner Group, would be located at Park Boulevard and Market Street. Plans include 341 apartments (86 would be designated affordable), 51,700 square feet of office space and 22,900 square feet of retail.

The selection committee’s recommendation does not yet speak for the Civic San Diego board. The committee’s recommendation will be publicly discussed at a July 15 CivicSD meeting, at which point the board will decide whether to urge the City Council to approve the committee’s proposal selections and enter into negotiations with them.

“The selection committee reviewed and carefully evaluated some exciting proposals and are confident they have identified two highly qualified teams that will deliver innovative place-making projects that provide great amenities and housing for downtown San Diego,” CivicSD president Reese A. Jarrett said in a statement. “Additionally, these developments reflect our mission to provide varied housing options for our community with the addition of nearly 100 affordable homes, as well as important revenues earmarked for future development of affordable housing.”

—Send items for Business Bits to editor@sdcnn.com.

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