The Smartest Conversation in Town
‘Blue Economy’ & Boutique Hotel | KorAms Key | Bump in Road for Beverly Hills | New Year’s Resolution for Huizar?

‘Blue Economy’ & Boutique Hotel | KorAms Key | Bump in Road for Beverly Hills | New Year’s Resolution for Huizar?

Boutique Dreams in San Pedro

Would a bustling hub of the “Blue Economy” be enough to turn the long-vacant Warehouse 1 at the Port of Los Angeles into a boutique hotel? Here’s one formula that might get there: Take 34 acres of wide-open research-and-development space situated in a port complex that handles about 40% of all water-borne imports for the entire U.S. … Add a local tech sector that’s well positioned to add the exploration of the oceans to its aerospace portfolio, with a bit of Boeing for good measure …

Consider the region’s academic oomph as part of the program – and then give notion a hometown edge with loyal son of San Pedro Tim McOsker making the case for nonprofit AltaSea to knit all of that into a new sort of commercial center … Word around waterfront makes a boutique hotel a likely contender with requests for proposals on redevelopment plans expected to go out next year …

… The prospect would stand to gain from the budding development of AltaSea, which nearly surrounds Warehouse 1. AltaSea aims to incubate and accommodate companies involved in sustainable aquaculture and emerging technologies for ocean-related devices and other products and services – all part of what’s also known as the “Blue Economy.” McOsker – onetime chief of staff to Mayor James Hahn and current partner at powerhouse law firm Glaser Weil – also serves as chief executive officer of AltaSea …


…AltaSea’s lease with the Port of Los Angeles gives it about 400,000 square feet of open R&D space on its 34 acres, with nearly a mile of waterfront dock. So far it’s home to a group of tenants that range from several startup outfits such as aquaculture startup Catalina Sea Ranch to aerospace giant Boeing Co. The aerospace giant also develops and builds submarines, a business unit that leases space at AltaSea for work on its unmanned Echo Voyage vessel …. AltaSea also is home base to the latest adventure of the 211-foot E/V Nautilus and its skipper Robert Ballard, the fellow who found the Titanic … And a coalition of local colleges and universities have signed on to the vision, anxious to turn the port’s East Channel into the “Innovation Channel” … McOsker says the biggest constraints on landing more tenants and servicing more research vessels at AltaSea’s docks at this point are upgrades on utilities and other improvements that are in the works … The longer-term vision can be seen at … Stay tuned on this one.

Century Plaza’s Pace

We’ll have to wait several years to see how AltaSea develops and whether a hotel shapes at Warehouse 1. The wait won’t be so long on the Fairmont Hotel at the Century Plaza – the ongoing makeover of the famed crescent is expected to wrap up within a year, with some luxury residences to boot. Check this video for quick glimpse of the progress on from Avenue of the Stars.

Reel’s Riposte, Bump in Road for Beverly Hills

It’s good to have pals—especially if they’ve been raised on the sort of competition that brings bona fides such as the Pulitzer Prize that Orange County Business Journal Editor-at-Large Rick Reiff keeps on his wall from his days in Akron, or the Loeb Award that dresses up the resume of Jim Flanigan, a longtime business columnist for the L.A. Times 


Reiff chips in here with a report that Roy Reel, business development executive for the Downtown office of architecture and engineering firm Harley Ellis Devereaux, might have gotten off the best line of the night during the birthday party for Hollywood-born, Irvine-based architect Carl McLarand at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach on Dec. 9. … McLarand was turning 80, and some table chatter made it clear that Reel is a contemporary. So why, someone asked, is he still working? “Because I’m only 82,” deadpanned Reel …

Nothing wrong with Reiff’s ears, and Flanigan’s eyes remain plenty sharp—good enough to notice numerous vacancies in the row of retail shops right across the street from Saks Fifth Avenue on the 9600 block of Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. What gives? That’s what Flanigan asked after passing through the posh stretch. I passed the query along to a local with a mind for such matters, who got to the heart of the matter, as usual, by citing the overlooked obvious: Some Beverly Hills retail landlords have yet to come to grips with the fact that the rise of online shopping is hitting their toney turf, too, and they might have to come down on rents even on shop space in position to draft off the high-end crowds hitting Saks.

KorAms Key in L.A., OC

Flanigan is the guy who wrote The Korean-American Dream: Portraits of a Successful Immigrant Community. The book, recently off the University of Nevada Press, includes a reminder of what any trip to the Fashion District will readily reveal: Much of L.A.’s garment industry, a major employer for the region, is now in the hands of Korean-American entrepreneurs – even if their contribution often goes overlooked by the much of the mainstream media …

Also largely overlooked was last week’s sale of Uniti Bank in Fullerton, the first bank formed in Orange County to serve the Korean-American community there. Uniti fetched $63.9 million from Walnut Creek-based United Business Bank, which serves the mainstream market. The sale was especially notable because the vast majority of deals involving Korean-American banks throughout the U.S. have stayed within the ethnic community. It’s not clear whether the Bay Area-based buyer intends for Uniti to maintain its ethnic identity or be absorbed into the mainstream brand. You can bet Bank of Hope and the rest of the Korean-American banks based in L.A. will look with interest on developments in OC, where Uniti is in now in flux and Hanmi Bank plans to close a branch in Irvine.

New Year Resolution for Huizar?

14th District Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar still wasn’t saying anything at last check about the ongoing federal investigation that has the FBI and IRS targeting his office, even as the Eastside buzzed with talk that he might be ready to resign …

Huizar spokesperson Rick Coca did respond to one of the public queries included in last week’s edition of SullivanSays, which wondered why any City Council office wouldn’t have financial information readily at hand on an event such as Night on Broadway, which drew a reported 250,000 visitors and took fees from dozens of vendors 11 months ago … “Staff in charge of event last year is out until new year,” wrote Coca in an email. “We will have something for you after the holidays” … There’s no telling if Huizar or his staff realize how many red flags that response sets off.

Doti’s Double Duty

Add Economist Extraordinaire to Chapman University President Emeritus Jim Doti’s bona fides – the annual economic forecast he authors has racked up an enviable track record for accuracy. Doti’s take for 2019: Another year of growth for the U.S. economy, with a good chance that it pushes into record territory with 42 quarters of expansion, a 10 ½-year run that would top the 10 years of uninterrupted growth strung together between 1991 and 2001 … The pace of growth in the national GDP will slow, according to the Chapman forecast, down to 2.4% for all of 2019 … OC’s job growth will slow to 1.7% next year, down from 2.2% this year, a gain of about 35,000 jobs … No slowing down for Doti, who returned to the classroom once he stepped down as president and soon found a gap in the market for textbooks. The result: “Statistical Analysis With Excel,” a book he has co-authored for McGraw-Hill.

Doti’s Double Duty II

Doti has authored several other books on economics, but you might want to consider his other side as a writer if you need a children’s gift to put under the Christmas Tree … I can highly recommend “A Christmas Adventure in Little Italy,” – one of a trilogy of kids’ books he has to his credit.



Arts & Fashion

Stetson Open Road

The December 13 advance screening of Welcome to Marwen at LACMA’s Bing Theater was just right …

You heard it here first: Stetson’s Open Road is the latest hot piece of head gear among L.A. hipsters …

Call it sociology, political science, geopolitics or realpolitik –it was artful, in any case, how Rachel Kleinfeld discussed “A Savage Order – How the World’s Deadliest Countries Can Forge a Path to Security.” The talk came at a gathering sponsored by the Downtown-based Pacific Council on International Policy on December 13 at Public School 213, where remarkably good margherita pizza offset the difficult acoustics in a private room reserved for the occasion.

Media Notes


Word on the street says the hire of Derek Fisher as the L.A. Sparks head coach has brought serious approaches on broadcast rights from three radio stations, an unprecedented level of interest for the franchise …

Anyone else notice that LA Weekly’s 40th anniversary issue, dated December 14, didn’t include a masthead with a listing of leadership and staff at the publication? …

Give the all-digital Long Beach Postcredit for a scoop on Molina Healthcare’s decision to cancel its service contracts with 16 clinics owned by Golden Shore Medical Group. Add an asterisk, though, because the Post is owned by John Molina, son of Molina Healthcare’s founder, and himself a former chief financial officer of the company. Double asterisk: John Molina also is the brother of Mario Molina, who was chief executive officer of Molina Healthcare, and bought the 16 clinics from the company to form Golden Shore Medical Group after the brothers were forced out of the company their father started.

Sullivan Says: I’ll put the 2400 block of W. Kent Street in Echo Park up against Baxter Street – or any stretch of San Francisco, for the matter – when it comes to steep climbs on city streets.

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