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2012 Year in Review: Health, Hospitality & Education

Sharp opens new medical center; SeaWorld files for IPO

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Big changes came to the local health, hospitality and education sectors in 2012. While the health care industry works out how to adapt to reforms outlined in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the hotel industry saw a number of acquisitions and a local attraction made national news. Here are some of The Daily Transcript’s top health, hospitality and education stories of 2012.


Sharp opens new medical center, replacing original location downtown:

Sharp Rees-Stealy opened its new three-story, 66,365-square-foot medical center in Bankers Hill, across the street from the original facility it replaces. The $42 million building was designed to achieve LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

San Diego Hospice forced to cut staff, discharge patients:

San Diego Hospice will see its budget drop from $83 million to $63 million, lay off about a fourth of its staff, close a 12-bed in-patient facility in Carlsbad and be forced to discharge roughly 300 patients as Medicare enforces stricter compliance with its guidelines.

Kaiser Permanente opens neonatal, perinatal special care rooms:

Kaiser Permanente San Diego completed its new, $20 million, 30-bed neonatal intensive care unit as part of a $25 million facilities expansion.

Sharp HospiceCare purchases South Bay property for hospice home:

Sharp HospiceCare purchased its first South Bay hospice home. The 1.1-acre property in Bonita will be the latest of Sharp HospiceCare’s sites designed for patients and their families facing a life-limiting illness. The budget for the South Bay hospice home is $1.7 million. Current plans include the teardown of the existing structure in order to rebuild a new home. Completion is planned for summer 2013.


Fat City hotel project clears last hurdle:

The San Diego Planning Commission denied an appeal brought forth by Unite Now, a union group that represents hotel workers, to stop construction of the Fat City hotel project. The 362-room hotel can now officially begin construction, which is slated to start in early 2013. The $40 million hotel project will consist of two separate, six-story buildings with 182 parking spaces on the city block bound by Pacific Highway, Ivy, Hawthorn and California streets.

Blackstone’s SeaWorld files for initial share sale:

SeaWorld Entertainment Inc., the operator of aquatic amusement parks owned by buyout firm Blackstone Group LP, filed for an initial public offering. The Orlando-based company filed to raise $100 million, which is a placeholder used to calculate registration fees and may change, according to the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Blackstone will keep most of SeaWorld’s voting rights after the IPO, and the company’s ticker will be SEAS, the filing said.

In other news, SeaWorld is seeking to overturn a federal commission ruling that prevents its trainers from joining killer whales in the water during shows. Animal trainers have not been in the water with the orcas since the death of SeaWorld Orlando trainer Dawn Brancheau in February 2010. Federal officials have fined SeaWorld and issued three safety violations.

Karl Strauss opens restaurant in 4S Ranch:
Karl Strauss opened its seventh brewery restaurant in 4S Ranch, just west of Rancho Bernardo. Karl Strauss has spent the last 10 years focusing on growing its brewing operation and expanding its beer distribution beyond San Diego, more than doubling its 20,000 barrels in 2002 to 50,000 barrels projected for 2012.

Californians vote for higher education:
The 23-campus California State University system was set to face a $250 million, mid-year “trigger” cut, on top of its $16 billion deficit, and would have agreed to raise tuition by 5 percent in 2013 if Proposition 30 didn’t pass in the November elections. With the passage of the initiative, the system will receive an additional $125 million in state funding in 2013-2014 under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown signed as part of the 2012-2013 state budget.

-Compiled by Jennifer Chung Klam.

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