There are lots of little gems of good news popping up all over the North County. As the year progresses, the fear some businesses have been feeling is diminishing. Here are a few things I think reflect the progress being made.
In Vista they are celebrating a brand new automobile dealership. BMW of Vista opened recently in a building that once housed a Circuit City on Hacienda Drive. The new dealership is a 40,000 square foot facility with 22 service bays, sales offices and a showroom. It is the first new BMW dealership to open in the U.S. New jobs and new sales taxes are a double win for the city. Recent reporting by cities in the county show sales of new cars and light trucks were up 15.7 percent to 86,200 vehicles last year, the best year-over-year improvement in sales anywhere in California, according to the California New Car Dealers Association.
In late January, Vista broke ground for a new Hyatt Place hotel. The 150-room hotel is on the corner of Faraday Avenue and South Melrose Drive. The facility is scheduled to open in early spring 2012. This is the second new hotel in Vista. At the end of 2010, the ribbon was cut to open a TownePlace Suites by Marriott hotel on South Melrose and Sycamore Avenue. New jobs and new sales taxes for the city are again double wins. The leadership of Vista has created a comprehensive redevelopment and economic development stimulus plan to spur spending at the city’s retailers and to revitalize the local economy through private sector investment. It seems to be working.
Carlsbad has seen a major merger and acquisition take place creating Beckman Coulter and Danaher. Danaher, a $13 billion plus company made up of hundreds of companies, bought Orange County-based Beckman Coulter, a $3.3 billion medical device company, on Feb. 7. The transaction is valued at approximately $6.8 billion, including debt assumed and net of cash acquired. Beckman Coulter has a manufacturing plant in Carlsbad that has several hundred employees. According to plant manager Dean Anderson, the facility will remain in Carlsbad.
Another successful company in Carlsbad has made the news. ViaSat, the satellite communications company, is now planning to launch its new satellite, ViaSat-1, in July, which will increase speed and capacity of the company’s Internet services.
Tri-City Medical Center has earned another feather for its cap by being awarded national accreditation for its Cancer Center Program from the Commission on Cancer.
The City of Escondido announced it has transferred $20 million in redevelopment money to its general fund. The money transfer is couched as a repayment to the city from its redevelopment agency, which owes the city coffers $32 million in loans and interest. The city is in the midst of a major reshaping of its economic redevelopment with hotels, a new hospital and plans for a minor league baseball stadium. New Mayor Sam Abed is shaking up the community, as he and his colleagues in City Hall try to take the city to a new level of economic development.
The City of Carlsbad is the recent winner of the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its fiscal year 2010-11 budget. The city staff was honored for pioneering efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and for setting an example for other governments in North America. This award reflects the work of a city staff that has kept the city in the black at year-end for more than 25 years. In this year’s budget, the city manager lopped off $10 million and cut 25 positions from the work force, while keeping libraries and community centers open seven days a week, streets well maintained and all other core city services intact. Award-winning teams produce award-winning results for their residents. This new fiscal year also includes a host of new initiatives from the new mayor and City Council. A major focus at the top of the list is working with the business community, not only to help existing businesses prosper, but also to attract new economic development for the city. An additional key priority is a new synchronized traffic signal system, improved pedestrian crossings along the beach, a Main Street type project for the Village, and a land exchange project with the state of California for land adjacent to the ocean along Carlsbad Boulevard. The new team in town is up and running at full speed.