On The Radar: What’s on the Horizon for Makers Quarter

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At the eastern edge of downtown San Diego, Makers Quarter is already becoming a new hotspot for young, urban trendsetters. From film festival events and craft beer tastings to art galleries and community gardens, “This is a melting pot where creative culture brings to life a collaborative community…” But what’s happening in this historic neighborhood now is just a preview of what is sure to come.

Read more at HughesMarino.com!



How To Work with Millennials: A Millennial’s Perspective

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There is no shortage of articles that have been written by highly regarded publications offering advice on “How to work with Millennials.” It’s understandable. We’re a new generation, we’re the largest generation since the baby boomers, and we’re the first generation born into an online, “all-of-the-time” kind of world. Yes, we’re different from previous generations, but previous generations were different from those who came before them. All generations grow and evolve – and ours is too.

What is surprising about most of the tips for working with Millennials is that they tend to focus on the negative stereotypes and character traits of Millennials. Perhaps instead of focusing on the negative aspects – and begrudgingly accepting Millennials into the workplace – it’s time to look for the positive traits that Millennials bring to a company’s productivity, culture, and growth (Hint: we’re innovative, efficient and creative, to name a few).

With that in mind, here’s a positive way of looking at how to work with this younger generation, and how to appreciate the unique strengths that we bring to the workplace.

1.  DO Ask Us To Think Outside of the Box
We grew up in the age of Apple, Facebook, Twitter, IDEO – and many of the most creative companies to date. We’ve witnessed some of the most innovative products and marketing campaigns in history, and we’re not afraid to think outside of the box. Ask us to get creative – we’d love the challenge.

2.  DO tell us how you prefer to communicate. 
Millennials love to communicate via email and text. The shorter and quicker, the better. That being said, we know it’s not for everyone. We want to communicate with you in whatever way makes you most comfortable – but communicating that is key.

3.  DO encourage balance.
One of the key qualities that Millennials possess is a focus on work-life balance. In fact, it’s probably not a bad idea to encourage balance for all employees, regardless of their age. Work-life balance is directly correlated to employee happiness, and happy employees are productive employees. Happy employees don’t quit their jobs either, so if employee retention is important, then this is probably good for ALL the generations in an office.

4.  DO act as more than just a boss – be a mentor!
Millennials highly value the guidance of mentors – in fact, we seek mentors in our bosses. We are particularly interested in learning how to juggle everything, how to mix (or not mix, if that is the case) business with pleasure. The lines between work life and personal life may be blurrier for us, since we were born into a social media-driven world. So we love to learn from you as a boss – but we also want to be friends, share goals, and connect with you (and our other team members) on a more personal level too.

5.  DON’T be afraid to ask us to work in teams.
Education has evolved in recent years to be much more team-focused. And with the entrepreneurship boom – and the focus on working in teams – we are not only used to teamwork, but a lot of us truly thrive in team settings.

There are a lot of positive aspects of having Millennials on your team – but it’s important to focus on the good rather than be afraid of the bad. So, maybe, instead of looking for ways to “manage Millennial employees,” we could all benefit from celebrating the differences among us, and working towards a common solution of maximizing the advantages that come from a multi-generational workplace.



why san diego attracts startups

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Not only is San Diego a beautiful place to live with almost perfect weather year-round, but it’s also proving to be a major hotspot for entrepreneurs in the startup world. I recently chatted with GlobeSt.com in an interview, pointing out the many advantages of living and working in the “Millennial Capital of the US”.

From cheaper office space to the abundant talent coming out of local universities, San Diego supports an ideal setting for a thriving industry that focuses so much on the life/work balance.

Read more on GlobeSt.com!



spaces we love and how to get them in san diego: pinterest’s crafty HQ

Originally published by Hughes Marino.

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It’s only fitting that one of the most creative websites in the world, Pinterest — a website that inspires millions every day with home improvement projects, recipes, workout tips, makeup lessons and more — has one of the most creative and inspiring workplaces I’ve seen in all my years in commercial real estate. Located in South of Market, San Francisco, this transformed 1938 warehouse is the epitome of tech. With exposed ceilings and steel beams, it is a great mix of the masculine nature of an industrial building with feminine accents such as marquee-style signs, colorful couches, and miniature hot air balloons hanging from the ceilings.

Read more at HughesMarino.com!



state of the market: downtown high rises

Originally published by Hughes Marino.

As we wrap up Q1, it’s time for a look at the state of the market in my area of specialization: downtown San Diego. Here’s the scoop on leasing commercial space in Class A and Class B high rises, and a hint of what to expect in Q2 if you’re hunting for space in a low-rise building as well.

Read more at HughesMarino.com!



the little things in 2014

It’s all about the little splurges in life to make it that much sweeter. A few of my favorites for the New Year are:

Fresh flowers. In my kitchen. In my bedroom. In my bathroom. Everywhere. I just love the smell and feel.

fresh flowers

The Pioneer Woman’s home style cooking. One of my goals for 2014 is to cook one 3-course meal every two weeks. There’s no one better to learn from than Ree!

Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman

Inspirational blogs like Eric Barker’s. And inspirational posts like “8 Things The World’s Most Successful People All Have In Common.”

An “Us Weekly” magazine subscription – such a splurge! But worth every penny. There is no better way to relax than with a magazine on hand!

us weekly

California getaways. I’ve been very fortunate to travel to over fifty countries (you may have seen this recent post about Panama City!), but I’m looking forward to a few weekends exploring beautiful California! Catalina, Newport Beach, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palm Springs – I’ve got my sights set on you!

catalina

Lululemon. It took me a while to jump on the Lululemon train – but after my mom insisted I try a pair, I fell in love. It has since transformed my wardrobe and my life…I either wear work clothes or Lululemon (regardless of if I am actually exercising) at all times. Even more than their clothes, they believe in goals! And long-term thinking! If you couldn’t tell, I am a huge fan.

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panama city

This winter, I had the amazing opportunity to visit Central and South America with my family – starting with Panama! I’ve learned about Panama over the years during school from a macro-perspective, focusing primarily on the economy and politics, but couldn’t have been more surprised by my experience visiting what I thought would be a very industrial city. I knew that Panama City was founded in 1519, but is really only 14 years old as of December 31, 2013 (the United States gave the Panama Canal and surrounding land back to the Panamanians on December 31, 1999). I knew that the Panamanian economy has expanded by over 50% in the past 5 years. And I knew that the canal itself is currently undergoing a $5+ billion expansion that is expected to double its capacity. What I didn’t know, or expect, was that this trade-focused city would be a beautiful, picturesque, modern city by the sea, clad with dozens and dozens of beautiful, cutting-edge high-rises directly on the water.

panama city spire

We only spent two nights in Panama, with one full day dedicated to exploring the city, and got an amazing vibe from the city, the people, and the culture, even in such a short amount of time!

We had a great private car tour of the city with PBA Tours (Panama Holding Group). Their team is the go-to travel company in Panama (they just toured Usher through Panama City a few weeks ago!). They can arrange your tour – or they will take you on a customized tour to your liking.

what to see

1) The Panama Canal – this is of course a must when in Panama! I was blown away by the mechanics of the canal. We visited as a large cargo ship was entering the canal, so we were able to witness firsthand the use of the lock system to feed the ships through the canal as smoothly as possible.

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2) Ancon Hill – Ancon Hill is the highest elevation point in the city and offers a spectacular panoramic view of the canal, beaches, high rises, and Casco Viejo! This was a highlight for us.

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ancon hill

3) Puente de Las Americas – this is the unofficial dividing line between North America and South America. Very cool!

4) BioMuseo – scheduled to open in April 2014, this is Frank Gehry’s first and only masterpiece in Latin America.

5) Casco Viejo – Casco Viejo is the “old town” of Panama City. We drove through the town admiring the French-inspired architecture! Fun Fact: Quantum of Solace (James Bond) was filmed here!

where to stay

The Trump Ocean Club, Panama City is a multi-use high-rise and architectural masterpiece featuring high-end residences, a luxury hotel, restaurants, meeting facilities, and more. It is currently the largest and tallest building in Latin America (rising 70 stories) and is only a few years old. It’s in one of the nicest neighborhoods in Panama City with nearly panoramic ocean views from all rooms. If traveling with family, the one major issue to consider is that the majority of the rooms and suites offer little privacy for families. The layout is very open – so open that the bathroom is completely open to the rest of the living area and bedroom. The Trump Residences, on the other hand, have a much more family-friendly layout with bathrooms that are separated from the main living area.

where to eat

The restaurants at the Trump Ocean Club are fantastic – and the hotel has a variety of cuisines too! From sushi, to grilled fish, to hamburgers, to tapas, you can find it all in this one location. We ate all of our meals at the hotel and thoroughly enjoyed them! One recommendation: the sloppy joe at Azul. There’s nothing like American comfort food in Panama City!

how long to stay

We had one full day to explore the city – and for our fast-paced style of travel, that was the perfect amount of time.



new year

Happy 2014 all!

The one thing that excites me most about new year’s (besides my brother’s birthday…and my hopeful aspirations of more consistent workouts and healthy eating) is goal-setting.

Since I was 10 years old, I’ve been an avid goal setter…and every year, for the past 13 new years, I’ve typed my goals for the year, printed them up, and stuffed them into my “New Year’s Tin,” featured below (as well as kept a pocket-size copy to carry with me to school…college…graduate school…and now to work).

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Goals have always helped me stay focused. They give me direction, intention, and purpose. Whether my goal was to finish building and decorating my very realistic doll house (yes, I did go through this phase…and yes, it had electricity) at thirteen years old or to graduate college with a 4.0 GPA at nineteen years old, I knew where I wanted to be by the end of the year – and I lived each day working towards achieving that vision. Awfully serious for a ten year-old, right?

One thing that I’ve noticed since I joined the full-time working world two years ago is that it is much more difficult to accomplish meaningful, impactful, important goals in just one single year. Buying a house, getting a big promotion, changing career paths, going back to school…all of those big, potentially life-changing goals require more than just one year to accomplish!

This year, I’ve decided to try something new.

Three-year goals AND a one-year checklist.

I want to think big – and the opportunities are boundless over the next three years of my life. I couldn’t be more excited to see where they take me. But I still want to get a few more manageable accomplishments under my belt – like a bathroom remodel – so stay tuned for updates!

Happy New Year. And happy goal-setting!
XO Star



readynow: suites for startups

Irvine Co.’s high-rises are ‘cool,’ even for Gen Yers.

By Roger Showley

Startup companies supposedly go from garages to grungy but “cool” brick warehouse lofts, thumbing their noses at sleek high-rises filled with button-down lawyers and accountants.

Well, the Irvine Company, the big owner and manager of big high-rises all over Southern California, isn’t caving to brick chic.

It operates 115 “ReadyNow” office suites in San Diego County in the very same office towers Generation Y whiz kids’ parents might frequent.

Instead of gutting the offices and letting them stand bare until a new tenant comes by, the Irvine Co. began cutting them up into 2,000-3,000-square-foot suites featuring open space plans, sleek furnishings and fancy kitchenettes.

Then when startup CEOs are ready to move out of the garage and into a real office space, they can set up shop within days and not have cool their computer jets for six months until tenant improvements are completed.

“Business was evolving in that time period,” added Nelson Ackerly. The Irvine Co.’s leasing manager for San Diego,

CEOs were asking how to maximize internal communication and collaboration and drive employee attraction and retention.

Through careful space planning, the suites can fit most tenants’ needs. Rachael Brown, an Irvine Co. leasing manager who helps tenants figure out their office needs, said ReadyNow suites can be occupied almost immediately.

“We can move them in within a week,” she said. “There are many ways we can get the customer turnaround very quickly.”

Of course, sometimes the drive to be trendy with the latest color schemes stretches tenant tastes.

“Sometimes we get creative with our color scheme,” Ackerly said. “A guy comes in and says, ‘I don’t even know what chartreuse is.’ (It’s yellow/pale-green.) You don’t always hit it perfectly.”

As for generational differences, he said bosses sometimes love the upgraded finishes and open offices as much or more so than their young hirelings.

“They absolutely love these spaces and realize what they can do for them,” he said.

In a tour of several downtown ReadyNow locations, Ackerly and Brown showed off AmeriCapital Commercial’s 3,100-square-foot space on the 23rd floor of Symphony Towers.

“They make the best kitchens,” commented AmeriCapital President John Estefanos.

Interlaced, a Apple-based cloud computing company, occupies 1,700 square feet on the seventh floor of the 501 W. Broadway building, formerly called the Koll Center. Its seven employees enjoy sweeping city views, prefurnished spaces and proximity to an onsite athletic club with outdoor pool.

On the same floor is SKT Marketing, another high-tech company that handles e-mailing marketing and customer lead generation for insurance companies, coupon websites, travel-deal websites and other advertisers.

Brandon Aldridge, cofounder with fellow Georgia Tech alumnus Ballard Johnson, said they sought an open-office concept and did consider warehouse and historic warehouse spaces elsewhere downtown.

“The buildings were really cool — brick and really open — but they didn’t work for us,” Aldridge said. “They were way too big or something was off about them. The price wasn’t right. They were more expensive per square foot. I think we really focused on what was functional as opposed to what was cool.”

He said he and Johnson and their two employees keep their attention focused on their computer screens and don’t yet have to impress visitors, or amuse themselves with frills that appeal to younger workers just out of college.

“There’s no real need for us to have a cool pool table or video games,” said Aldridge, 32. “That stuff is cool but for us, that was not the top priority.”

They pay $3,500 per month for the 1,700-square-foot space that they furnished themselves; they also painted one wall with a surface suitable for dry-erase white board markers.

The fully outfitted kitchen was a bonus.

“I thought it would be something basic, not stainless steel appliances,” he said. “This was definitely a plus. They definitely beat our expectations.”

Working with Hughes Marino leasing agent Star Hughes, Aldridge and Johnson negotiated something more important — a two-year lease with a third-year option and the ability to move to another Irvine space if growth outpaces expectations.

“In case we’re booming with 20 people in here, we’ll need a new office and we have the option to do so,” Aldridge said.

Ackerly said ReadyNow rental rates aren’t that much different from standard office suites, since in both cases tenant improvement allowances or built-in features are factored into the base rent. (Hughes said all things being equal, ReadyNows tend to be slightly more affordable.)

Hughes said other office landlords also are outfitting offices in anticipation of quick leasing needs of growing companies.

“It’s a popular trend because a lot of these companies, specifically more creative tech companies, need to get in fast,” Hughes said. “They need space in a month and you can’t build out a space that quickly.”

It’s also a smart move on the part of landlords, she said.

“The market is tightening in the Class A buildings,” she said, referring to the top tier in the market.

But there’s still 2 million square feet vacant downtown, nearly 20 percent of the total, and tenants remain in the driver’s seat in many cases. No new speculative office towers have broken ground in the central business district, though several have gained regulatory approval.

“The problem is the market isn’t quite there to justify $4 to $5 per square foot (monthly rents), when we’re still doing deals in the $1.80 range.”



is entrepreneurship on the rise in sd?

By Katherine Poythress, featured in the U~T San Diego

National entrepreneurial activity is at its highest level since the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor began tracking it in 1999, but how does San Diego stack up?

San Diego is a long way from catching up to Silicon Valley. But while business name filings seem to indicate a dip in entrepreneurship, tech industry statistics and venture funding data paint a picture of a region establishing itself as a destination for people wanting to try new ideas.

The latest data from the regional CONNECT program, released in its 2012 Innovation Report, showed a 67 percent increase in software startups last year from the year before, with 230 created in the first three quarters alone, generating nearly 800 jobs with an average salary of about $112,000.

Those data are just for the technology and life sciences sectors. And while there’s little other research quantifying activity to make new business ideas happen here, the amount of venture funding poured into the region is a good indicator, said Mark Cafferty, CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.

San Diego companies from all sectors raked in $957 million in venture capital in the first three quarters of last year, according to a MoneyTree Report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, ranking 10th among the 18 regions studied. In a more detailed report compiled by the Martin Prosperity Institute, San Diego ranked sixth among the top 20 locations for venture capital investment last year, with $1.1 billion funding 103 deals.

That accounted for about 4 percent of the total in VC funding for the 20 locations. Los Angeles was just ahead of San Diego, with $1.6 billion in venture funding for local firms, or 6 percent of the total. Meanwhile, companies in San Francisco and San Jose collected $6.9 billion, or about 26 percent of the total VC funding for 744 deals last year.

Aside from these disparate criteria, nobody is doing comprehensive measurements of San Diego’s entrepreneurial community at large.

The closest comprehensive measure is the number of fictitious business names filed with the San Diego County Recorder’s Office. Data from that office show that the number of new businesses has in fact dropped significantly since 2006, from 42,403 that year to 32,598 in 2012—a plunge of about 24 percent.

But people in and around the entrepreneurship community have anecdotes that they believe indicate more innovation is actually happening than ever before.

Serial entrepreneur and startup mentor Ray Hivoral says he sees an impressive amount of new business ideas in virtually every industry, from biotech to sports and fashion.

“We have an international airport, we have Mexico, we have the military, we have tech, biotech, craft beer and we have hospitality,” he said. “So yes, there are a lot of entrepreneurs. There’s more of a movement than there was before. Even the colleges are pushing it more than before.”

He gauges entrepreneurial activity among San Diegans based on their attendance at startup-related events. The events abound these days, with four Startup Weekends this year alone, the second annual Entrepreneur Day that drew 5,000 attendees in September and more recently, the 2013 World’s Best Technologies Innovation Marketplace, which was held here this week.

Meanwhile, Hivoral’s San Diego Entrepreneur meetup group has grown from 41 attendees in 2011 to more than 1,600 today.

Organizations like the Entrepreneur Center, CONNECT, SD Tech Founders and the San Diego Entrepreneurs Exchange, along with startup-related meetup groups, contribute to a climate that fosters self-employment, Hivoral said.

Star Hughes, a director at Hughes Marino, negotiates commercial leases on behalf of tenants wanting to move downtown, and she has seen a noticeable increase in startups seeking office space in the last year or two. Meanwhile, several coworking spaces, accelerators and incubators are popping up.

“There have been probably 10 tech startups come out of their homes just in the last three or four months,” Hughes said. “Downtown has become a much more vibrant community in the past year or so because of how many tech startups have moved here. They constantly bring these great events, networking opportunities, and just a lot more life to these traditional high-rises that have been dominated by law firms and financial institutions.”

Olivier Baudoux, founder of San Diego-based DrivAd, moved here from Santa Clara where he held executive-level positions with technology companies. He sees some encouraging signs that indicate an increased interest in innovation and entrepreneurship, he said, including a number of incubators and the CONNECT program, where he is a mentor.

Still, he is skeptical about how widespread entrepreneurial activity is in San Diego. Right now, the Silicon Valley veteran sees the area as a great place to live with a family, but not necessarily the best place to build a company.

“I think it’s such a long way from getting to where Silicon Valley is,” Baudoux said. “It’s harder to find talent and very hard to find capital, especially if you’re not in bio or the pharma industry. A company like mine has to try very hard to get attention from VC investors. It’s hard for even me, who has worked for multibillion-dollar companies.”

Both Baudoux and Hivoral believe more could be done to throw fuel on the fire of the entrepreneurial spirit here.

Hivoral suggests the city of San Diego offer up real estate in some of its blighted areas to serve as coworking space, a solution he believes would both create an economic stimulus in those difficult areas, and provide greater support for innovation.

Baudoux said that could be a game changer in pushing the local innovation economy forward.

“We need more coworking space in San Diego,” Hivoral said. “It allows all the entrepreneurs to gather and meet, to work outside of their house and get out of their silos. When they feel like they’re not alone, they’re more motivated to take on the duty of becoming an entrepreneur and actually doing it instead of just thinking about it.”



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