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Wednesday, Jul 17, 2024

Hilton Garden Inn Fire Comes Days After Topping-Off Ceremony

Just days after celebrating a topping-off ceremony that celebrated placing the Hilton Garden Inn’s final steel beam into place, a fire devastated the building under construction in Torrey Hills.

The $14 million project, 75 percent constructed and scheduled for a September opening, was destroyed, said a spokeswoman for the developer.

The 55,000-square-foot, four-story hotel on Vista Sorrento Parkway at Ocean Bluff Avenue was designed for 80 rooms, plus ballroom, fitness center, pool, restaurant and spa.

The Homewood Suites, adjacent to the Hilton project, suffered water and smoke damage. The hotel, which opened in June 2005, was full with 300 guests when the fire broke out.

Bob Rauch, general manager and partner of the two properties, said guests in rooms on the side facing the construction were relocated to hotels close by.

“Every member of our management team was on-site within five minutes of the fire breaking out and we were able to evacuate the hotel and take care of the guests we have here to make sure everyone was safe and comfortable,” he said.

Rauch said water and smoke damage at Homewood Suites would be repaired as soon as possible and would be operational again in two to four weeks.

The Hilton project is owned by Del Mar Hotels Inc. with Joe Simone as president and Rauch as general partner.

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New Bakersfield Office:

Rick Engineering Co., a San Diego engineering and surveying company, opened its eighth office in Bakersfield on May 14.

Roger Ball, president and chief executive officer of Rick Engineering, said the company’s strategic plan has always included opening an office in Bakersfield to serve California’s fast-growing Central Valley.

He said the timing was ideal because of a combination of a healthy local land development industry, long-established clients working in the area and the leadership of Sandy Bergam, a local engineer heading up the new office.

Rick Engineering employs 450 and has other offices in Orange, Rancho Cordova, Riverside, San Luis Obispo and in Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.

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YMCA Becomes An Owner:

The YMCA of San Diego County has purchased a 19,000-square-foot office building at 3708 Ruffin Road in Kearny Mesa for $4.8 million. The office will be used as the YMCA’s countywide headquarters.

Kearny Mesa has been home to the YMCA’s corporate offices for more than 30 years. It currently leases space on View Ridge Avenue. The YMCA said it projected significant savings in purchasing a building compared to leasing over 10 years.

The YMCA anticipates moving into its new building early next year.

The nonprofit is the second-largest YMCA in the nation with 283,000 members and participants. Only seven cents of a dollar contributed goes to administrative overhead.

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Chamber Awards Construction Firm:

Competitive Edge Construction Inc., an Escondido construction management and general contracting firm, won a Business of the Year award from the Escondido Chamber of Commerce.

The award will be presented to Competitive Edge at the chamber’s award dinner on June 15 at Orfilia Vineyards in Escondido.

The firm’s current construction management projects include the $8.6 million second phase of the Escondido Charter High School, scheduled for completion in August, and Palomar Oaks, a 47,000-square-foot commercial building under construction in Carlsbad.

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Magazine Highlights La Jolla Home:

A La Jolla Shores home designed by Bill Hayer of Hayer Architecture Inc. with interior design by Helene Ziman & Associates, both located in San Diego, will be featured in the July issue of Architectural Digest.

Helene Ziman said this is the first time a female designer from San Diego County has been featured in the magazine, known for featuring the design and d & #233;cor of high-end homes nationwide.

“Having one of my projects featured in Architectural Digest has been one of my career goals,” she said. “I’m delighted to join the elite cadre of designers and architects who have been so honored.”

Work by Ziman’s firm has been featured in several other local, regional and national publications.

Send real estate news to Michelle Mowad at


. She may also be reached at (858) 277-6359, ext. 3109.


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