Investor Spotlight: Hines

This month, we sat down with Eric Hepfer, managing director at Hines. An EDC investor, Hines is a global real estate investment, development and management firm with 148 developments currently underway around the world. We spoke with Eric to learn more about the company’s local projects, and how they align with our regional goals.

Please tell us about your past projects and history in the region. What are some things most people don’t know about Hines’ work? 

Hines came to San Diego in 1996 to work on projects for SDSU, including the Tony Gwynn stadium, which we parlayed into serving as development manager for Petco Park and then acquiring and developing properties. We developed three towers at La Jolla Commons. I joined Hines in 2012 to work on the second tower – a 420,000-square-foot tower for LPL Financial, where we incorporated an innovative fuel cell electrical generation system that can power the entire tower. For the third tower, I managed the design, entitlement and predevelopment before we sold it to American Assets. I also supervised the lease up and sale of the 449,000-square-foot Procopio Tower in downtown, and our company’s expansion into the Carlsbad market with the acquisition and repositioning of 400,000 square feet of flex/office projects.

In addition to our current work to transform Mission Valley’s Riverwalk Golf Course into a 200-acre, mixed-use, transit-oriented village, we’re in pre-development on a student housing project adjacent to the CSU San Marcos campus, and we’re evaluating a number of additional deals throughout San Diego.

Your Mission Valley project, Riverwalk, is closely aligned with EDC’s inclusive growth goals. Can you tell us more about this?

Riverwalk is a complete-village project that celebrates its surroundings and provides an interdependent mix of uses for a wide variety of people, including a new, central trolley station. It also opens and restores over 100 acres of park space to the general public living, visiting and working in Mission Valley, which is woefully underserved with park space. Hines will also restore the expansive portion of the San Diego River that runs through the project, and we will add a large section to the San Diego River Trail. The regional vision includes connecting this biking/walking trail from East County all the way to the ocean. Adding the Riverwalk section will go a long way toward completing this vision.

The 4,300 units planned at Riverwalk are comprised of a diverse mix of market-rate, affordable and senior housing. Furthermore, we’re making it possible to live at Riverwalk without relying on a car. We’re creating a new trolley station on site and developing a mix of uses, which includes retail and office space. We’re positioning Riverwalk to create economic opportunity. In addition to its live-transit-work-play options, we intend to provide good jobs and, potentially, job training programs for a broad range of people.

What is your long-term vision for San Diego?

Our LPL Tower, with its onsite energy generation capabilities, and Riverwalk, with all of its strategies for loosening our reliance on cars, demonstrate our firm’s commitment to responsible planning and development and creating projects and places to foster social mobility. We even have an ‘Office of Innovation’ that tracks and studies new technologies. Going forward, Hines will develop additional high-quality, large-scale, game-changing projects that will positively impact our region.

Can you tell us more about your San Diego team?

Our team is relatively young. We’re raising families and balancing careers. We’re embracing alternative modes of transportation and have located our office so our employees can use transit, which I do nearly every day. We recognize that we’re in a unique position to affect many of San Diego’s quality of life issues for our generation and others. We take that responsibility very seriously.

That doesn’t mean we don’t make time for fun, though. We work hard and play hard, realizing that spending social time together makes work more enjoyable and strengthens employee retention. Most recently, our business generation team challenged ourselves to surf and ski in Southern California in one day…which we did!

Investor Spotlight: Aerotek


San Diego Regional EDC welcomes new investor Aerotek to its membership of more than 180 companies in the region. Headquartered in Maryland, this privately-owned staffing company has more than 230 integrated offices throughout the United States and Canada. They have had a presence in San Diego County for 25-plus years, currently operating out of San Marcos, Scripps Ranch, and Kearny Mesa. In 2018, Aerotek grossed $6.6 billion in revenue and they continue to maintain more than 100,000 active contract employees weekly.

Aerotek’s mission is to bring great people and great organizations together, which functions well in San Diego’s diverse and robust economy. This has also allowed them to serve many people throughout different professional industries. Additionally, Aerotek has benefited from San Diego’s deep talent base and strong economic prowess, and of course from the features that make San Diego so Life. Changing. From the beautiful beaches and Petco Park to Old Town’s rich and historic culture, it is easy to see why Aerotek chose to open offices in San Diego.

Investor Spotlight: Silvergate Bank

This week, we sat down with Dino D’Auria, executive vice president and chief banking officer at Silvergate Bank. One of EDC’s newest investors, Silvergate Bank is a San Diego-based community bank that serves individuals and businesses across industries including manufacturing, defense, property management, real estate investment and many more.

1) Please tell us what your company/organization does.

Silvergate Bank has four main lines of business: Mortgage Warehouse Lending, Correspondent Mortgage Lending, Real Estate Construction and Investor Financing, and – my division – Business Lending and our Branch network. We also have an on-line portal that serves our Fintech clients for Treasury Management services.

In our Business Banking group, we primarily serve growing, privately held companies or Community Service Organizations (Not for Profit) by helping them position their balance sheets for growth and assist them in efficient and cost effective cash management.

Many of our clients come to us after having trouble working with larger banks, because they did not fit. We take the time to teach clients how to properly report their financial statements and communicate in “banker-speak” to enable them to get the financial services needed to grow. Some examples of our work:

  • A privately held company that rents film production equipment was piecing together many small loans at typically high rates of interest to finance their 25 percent year-over-year growth. Silvergate Bank was able to consolidate these loans into two loans at a more favorable interest rate and reduce the monthly debt service by 25 percent. This allowed more working capital to be preserved in the company, which can be leveraged to support his continued growth.
  • A privately held company that sells packaging material was using UPS to finance its shipments of product. By coaching the company on maintaining supporting net worth in his company, we were able to replace this expensive funding source with a Formula Line of Credit cutting his financing costs by 50 percent and setting him up to grow his business.

2) What are some advantages to being located/doing business in San Diego?

San Diego is a close-knit business community. Our team is able to bring other professionals as resources for our clients through our networking activities. The economy is diverse and provides a stable base for entrepreneurs to grow their companies and have the confidence that things will be good in the future.

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation. Pick another San Diego company that is at the top of its game.

Gap Intelligence is a dynamic marketing research company that is very progressive in using technology and creating a positive dynamic culture.

4) What do you anticipate for your company in five years? What do you anticipate for San Diego?

We expect to grow Business Banking to be an equal share of our balance sheet as our other lines of business. We also plan to expand into Orange County, Los Angeles and the Inland Empire so there are plenty of growth opportunities at the bank.

San Diego will continue to positively progress as it has over the last 20 years.