Second Wind…Restoration…On Track!

Okay we have all accepted long ago that I work too much to be an effective Blogger, social media poster, nor will you find pics of my kids birthday party all over FaceBook (as if anyone really gives a #%# what little Johnny got for his “big day” in the first place) so very little chatter on my end.

 

Although recently I have experienced someone in my life who works and plans in silence and does the same thing, and since it annoys the crap out of me I thought the best thing I could do is to make things right in my neck of the woods, would be to “talk” to you again and let you know what has been going on in my (for lack of a better term) absence.

 

So shall we start on a personal level?

Tucson is a miserable forsaken corner of Hades where nothing should live except lizards and cactus and I am still not sure about the lizards!! That being said I am more educated on Air Conditioning and know enough not to need to stay much longer. So allow me to be bold enough to be the first one to put it out in public and say, I am going back to San Diego very soon and will kiss the California ground when I arrive! In addition to that part of my celebration let me add that the forward motion on the project has not waited for my recovery in the least, but it did delay me while I caught my breath.

Now let’s get to the fun bit, the project!

Though the team Commercial Real Estate Agent, Milburn Stevens in Palm Desert CA, I have been introduced to a builder whose company is also involved in Solar Engineering. This gentlemen after a con-call with me on our Solar needs, found a manufacturer of Solar glass (not available in CA) in Hong Kong who is coming to CA to meet with me on including their product in the project. Now on the surface what does that matter it’s just another meeting and I have been having them over the years so what makes this unique?

On the International scope of this project (many of our team come from Europe and Asia) each country we add increases the reach into that country for investments and this company will need to add a plant in the US (there are none now) which gains the leverage in San Diego to have the new US plant there (a huge goal for the city & federal government) to provide the project and increase capital in the City. We are coordinating between 4 schedules to meet in the next couple of weeks in CA. The builder is also using the same Federal program we are to finance his next project, someone to watch go through it first.

After speaking with my Attorney, John Maalouf in NYC, we have sorted out how to approach to business & investment models, as his office can also be the legal liaison for the Federal funding program (team – if you want to know the program title let me know) that will be step II to the fund-raising. Yes that is the focus, and my only one.

Step I is the launch of the project data, what I mean by that is putting in public all the hard work we have put in over the last (for me soon to be) 7 years of dedication for many on the team it has been a little over 2 years. There are only 2 groups that I would need to meet with prior and that would be the Center for Sustainable Energy, and Clean Tech San Diego. the first one is only an update as I brought them in about 3 years ago and they have the manufacturers of new Green technology whom would be a great fit for the project and to be featured in a public project will offer deep discounts to participate. They also have a fantastic advisory team that educates the public on Green energy as well. Much of what I learned beyond SDSU came from them. Clean Tech San Diego was Former Mayor Sanders’ pet project, they know where all of the alternative energy funding programs are and their member list includes many of the San Diego Green investors. I don’t think I need to add much to that.

I don’t care who ends up as Mayor (there is going to be an election to replace the crazy one), or much else in the politics in the City now. Everything we needed we now have in place. The former Mayor (who loves the tenacity of the project over the years he was Mayor) is on the Board of Directors for the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, the City Councilman I have known for 6 years, who also knows the project and supports it, is Acting Interim Mayor & one of his personal assistants is another supporter from the former City Councilwoman Donna Frye. You may recall she and I met many (for her I would guess) times and she was instrumental in directing my attention to the Theatre. The list goes on.

Now before my next vanishing act allow me to apologize to my dedicated (and very tolerant of my quirks) Design, Architectural, and craftsmen team for being so very silent. I do that when I work, personally I have always wondered when folks who post and chatter online all day, have time do work? Perhaps they just talk about it, not that type myself.

My job now is go get the funding, nothing else, it’s an everyday thing with me on whom to approach, when, how and more importantly how not on the project. We have been working for a long time and failure for me is not an option, I was told by a good friend that it never was an option for me. So since it’s not an option it’s back to work for me. I will be better on emails (very sorry Cleo about the last one) and once there is more to say I will do that too.

In the meantime aside from the meetings there is still some work, a new thing for the team is that we have a Master Carver in Chicago, John Wray, who hand draws renderings is making a set for us to include in the presentation. As he is also designing the bars (yes Design team he knows that he needs the nod from you this is just preliminary) he has some buy-in and he can’t wait to send them, when he does I will post them on our internal group for you to see.

I’ve gotten my second wind, have been restored (thanks to God and everyone including my enemies!), and am on track to succeed and bring to life what we have dreamed of all this time. Don’t dispair if you don’t see me all over the place I’m with you and won’t let your faith in this and in me be for nothing, failure is not an acceptable option so I won’t fail.

Gratefully Still Your

Davenport

Now we get legal, and deal with investment!

My Night Voyeurs (the Theatre kind I mean!) let’s chat,

Okay so I may never be the constant blogger but I do only speak when there is something significant to say, and here it is.

Some of you may know that the attorney for the business is the top International Trade Attorney John J. Maalouf, for those who don’t but are on Linked In with us look him up it would be worth a read. I consulted with him a few weeks ago about the government program to bring International investors here to the US by investing in companies OTHER than non-profits.

The questions I had were;

Does his company operate this program? The answer was yes. Reason for the question? As most of you know I prefer to keep as few organizations and companies involved as their specialties allow. If your company does it very well I stay in one “house”.

Once split into separate companies (more on that later) can the Centers set up to operate the program raise funding for the parts individually? The answer was again yes.

Using no more than 15 – 20 such investors what would be the next steps to add to fund raising? His answer was he plans to put the companies with an investment bank for the Inc side of the funding.

These are the best answers I could have wanted to hear. Raising the amount needed for this project is, to say the least, a monumental task and as it rests only with me and the legal team (there are 2 attorneys on the team one is John for all things business and the other is Greg Markel for litigation as everyone knows being sued is a vile reality of the country) we have a job ahead of us.

Now let me explain about the splitting of the project into companies. John and I decided about 2 years ago that in order to allow investors to put their funds with the company of its choice weather its a restaurant, the theatre with its tax credits, or the school, they have options. In addition to that the Atrium will house 4 small food stalls that will be owned by Davenports and rented by the business owners until they are flush enough with funds to buy us out and operate interdependently should they choose.

Okay so what now? John and I are going to begin work on the separations and the submitting of the companies to the Investment Centers, then the contracts for the rest of the process. Yes it like everything else takes time buy each step brings the project closer to fruition and that is a good thing.

Some of you may have seen or hear on KPBS the interview (albeit short) I did in March on a program to showcase the theatre. It gained the project a much needed bout of public exposure. There was a question I had for the interviewer which was why did she choose me to do the interview with folks like the CEO of what was CCDC, and the President of SOHO? She said was that out of the 6 other rich developers she interviewed I was the only one with a plan for the theatre! That has opened more doors in San Diego for the project and with investors on the station that is in the hearts of those who contribute from vast fund and foundations to the Arts. Exactly what we need.

Another event that caught my attention brought to it by the same interviewer, was that the horrible hip hop club on the corner of 4th Avenue and B Street which is down the street from the theatre is now as of November of last year closed. The owners and I had already spoken about purchasing the building before it closed, they were soft on the idea then not so much now. Why am I interested? There was a request from CCDC for the project to include the rest of the block so I set off to find out about the other 3 owners of the rest of the lots. One was interested, the other two were like the 4th & B owner, not so anymore. We are beginning conversation on the purchases as this would allow expansion of the building and the concept into an entire block. Now there is only a parking lot operating on the block everything else is closed. We have leverage!!

Well my little theatre cherubs the rest will have to wait for another post, my apologies to my London and US team for being away so long and not making a meeting but when I work I am more silent it is a trait I will do away with once we are were we need to be but don’t dispair I will be working for the project always.

To that end I believe I will be back home in San Diego either at the end of the Summer or the end of the year but there will be a fund raiser or two before then to secure the building and get the public and investors in to be in the know about the plans.

I will be more than glad to leave rocket hot, lousy Tucson AZ in any case! I will see my City and my building very soon and kick into high gear again!

I remain as always your,

Davenport

Home Sweet Home – My Visit – The Party – Why did I go…

My Little Theatre Cherubs,

Well let me just say that the Mayor (until Dec 3rd that is) Jerry Sanders has lost a lot of weight and looks great, we took our picture together as we do every year (2 this year because I missed the State of the City Address this years so I was one behind I suppose, and we spoke about the project.

He is still supportive and we will talk more when he gets back from Italy (a well earned vacation I would say) sending me his personal email address so that he can get his invitation to the press conference. Yes it is almost ready and I am finally doing it the team is prepping their statements as to why they agreed to work on this project and what they want to say about their companies.

Politically there were many at the event that I needed to contact again and if I do say so myself (and since this is my blog I do) it went as well as could be expected…even better, shall I continue? Of course I will.

The event was in essence a block party like no other. The donation benefited charity not the least the new library project which is headed up by Deborah Barrow who I met at the last State of the City Address and is also supportive of this project and has also become a good friend. She and I will meet again on my next trip to SD and naturally I will be updating you on this too. Her understanding of what it takes to operate a multi-million dollar project and how the politics operates in the City will help navigate where I have not been yet. She is also a great lady.

Another proponent of the project and a good friend for years is our new (not to the council just to the district) City Councilman Todd Gloria. Todd has been helping me with information and has opened his office resources to me for a long time. We met when I was Chairman of Redevelopment in North Park before he became City Councilman of District 3, he is now, as of Dec 3rd, going to be in charge of District 4 which is Downtown where the CA Theatre is. This is a huge deal for us because the former City Councilman for the area was never a part of the project nor did he know what was going on at all.Todd recently accepted my invitation to become a connection on LinkedIn which for me is wonderful now he can see the project and the fantastic team first hand!

I met with one of the gentlemen on the County Board of Supervisors and traded information with him when he shook my hand agreeing to attend the press conference as well, he said that he was proud of me for taking on this project and he is pleased that it will be done. The County Board of Supervisors is extremely important in the development of anything Downtown so this was a bonus for the trip.

One extra that I not only didn’t expect but could not have foreseen was meeting David Cohn, if you don’t know who he is let me enlighten you. The Cohn Group in San Diego is nothing short of restaurant Royalty. They own the fabulous Prado Restaurant, The Corvette Grill and 10 other of the best restaurants in San Diego. For the past 4 years there was no other restaurateur I would have rather met but never thought that I would. God is great! He is in his own words “an idea guy” he was almost as excited as I get discussing the project with me. He gave me his card and asked if we could continue our conversation further (if you have ever sought a business person for information or advice you know that getting their card is normally the goal of negotiating and you have to ask for it they don’t give it readily so you understand my joy when…) I received his personal card without even asking for it! Tomorrow the email to him goes out and hopefully soon we (you and I) will have a lot more to discuss about that. He and his family were very nice aside from being the top restaurant group they were pleasing to talk with.

There is another restaurant in San Diego that holds a lot of weight in the culinary world and has the highest of standards that one is Mister A’s and premier French restaurant. That night I also got the opportunity to meet the Chef de Cuisine and the General Manager of that venue. We spoke about food of course and about them doing events at the International restaurant in the new venue we are building. Perhaps one or both of these fine establishments would host events to fund raise for the project. You know I will find out and you know I will let you know.

I can’t describe to you how wonderful it was to be home again even for a little while I shopped, ate, and remembered the smell of (believe it or not) water! SD is home the project is there, and soon enough so will I be. Movement in this project is not always obvious but it is always there.

Until we see each other again in the dark my lovelies, I remain 5th row center your

Davenport

Now that the Election is over…the real work begins!

Yes My little loyal theatre minions it mattered! Whomsoever you voted for one thing is certain for this project the best man won.

There are tax credits, foundations, investors etc that were waiting for the outcome of last night, I was one of them. There is a huge sigh of relief in my camp I assure you! Keeping the tax credit cliff for the rich works in our favor because there is another one for them if they invest in a small business. Following me so far?

Those of you whom believed this project to be fading (oh ye of little faith!) really didn’t see if from my perspective. Everything is set in San Diego with a new mayor (we don’t know yet if it is Filner or DeMaio but that matters less than the Presidential race anyhow), new folks in the Senate and the House and the like. The long haul is finally over so now we can do the real work!

Financing is the part that was hanging in the balance until last night. Now with the various options we can move forward at warp speed (compared to before anyway) and I can finish what we started years ago. 

On November 17th I will be in San Diego for Mayor Sanders last party and like I said before the Theatre is my only focus of discussion. Either he or the new mayor can do what I need done for this so things are looking very good now.

Got a call from an “investor” the other day funny how those who know little to nothing about the building look at it like its another opportunity to turn it into something diminished from what it was in 1927. He said he read everything I wrote (may read this too I suppose) and he wanted to know if I would be interested in working with his group and LEASING the theatre from them should they buy it. You know I have less than zero interest in that. I told him if he wanted to discuss partnering with our project fine if not good luck!

I get calls like that one fishing for information they are too lazy to obtain for themselves who he really made the call for I may never know nor do I care. The Facebook page, is doing great and so is the LinkedIn site (over 570 connections!) this started with an idea and will end with a triumph with this building or not.

Many of you know that I have a plan B and C and don’t need nor desire the rest of the block to do it. So hang on little ones now we ride!!!

Always yours 5th row center in the night

Davenport

Mayors Farewell Celebration – Nov 17th 2012

Hello My Little Theatre Minions!

Yes I know me posting again so soon, but I will be back in San Diego (only for a couple of days…heavy sigh!) why, because I have been invited to Mayor Jerry Sanders Farewell Party on November 17th!

Our Mayor has been one of the people in SD Politics along with Todd Gloria, Donna Frye, and Carl Demaio who have been very approachable and friendly to me over the years. He is an upfront, honest and very funny man who loved and fought for his city and we will miss him.

Every year for his last term we meet at the State of the City Address in January and take pictures together, he endorsed the project which of course makes him one of my fav folks!!

Upcoming also will be my Press meeting, the team whom are local will be invited but if you are like most of the team and very delightfully remote I will post the PowerPoint presentation online for you to view. If we are connected with me via LinkedIn or Facebook I will be posting it out there too.

You will finally be able to see the work that London produced and let me tell you it is beautiful they are a very talented group!

So why would I go to SD from Tucson (by the way if you have never been here…don’t bother!)? I plan on asking a very big question I will let you know about it later but suffice to say I want to get some political power behind the project to obtain the building the “easy” way. The Mayor is the only one who can do this and I think I have a great chance of getting him to say yes. Pray for me!

Hopefully too we will be adding a local investor to the group of International ones after the press meeting we will see what happens.

The California Theatre Resurrection Project out on Facebook is gaining speed too thanks to those who have “liked” us if you haven’t yet – what is taking you so long get out there!

On LinkedIn we have well passed the 500 connection mark and are well on the way to 600, none of these are just acquaintances they are professionals, artisans, craftsmen, bankers and vendors that will be used on the project. Once the funding is in place this thing will take off like a rocket!!!

I want to thank everyone who have hung in with me this long I could not have gotten this far without you and I promise I will do everything in my power not to disappoint you…or me!

If you are going to the Mayors party let me know okay.

Until we are together again in fifth row center in the darkness I remain your,

Davenport

The Silence is broken…yet again!

How have you been my little theatre minions?!

Me busy as %$^* (can I blog that? Oh well), aside from my new digs and job (Yeah even I have to work for a living until…) the project is getting polished for presentation. There are a few of you whom have been with me for over a year and some more than that. But the clock is ticking, and with the elections (both Presidential and Mayorial) going on politics and development meet.

The rep for the building is going around finally trying to obtain the rest of the block as many have done before. I received a call and email from the group that owns the “night club” next door thinking that I would play “Let’s Make a Deal” but even though I have an alternate plan about that block it is not my main focus by any stretch of the imagination.

First the players can’t all agree, second one of them refuses to sell but wants to lease (imagine) and third I have no desire to add another grey mas of glass and concrete to the landscape so I have no desire at all to add to the stress for no reason. My mission is the theatre, period.

So what ever will I do if they decide not to sell (throw myself on the ground and kick and scream like a little child? Nah! {truthfully you should have known better to fall for that shame on you!}) re-create it block by block of course. Stopping me from this mission is just not possible Cherubs! There are a couple of larger lots for sale that can either accommodate the “new” building so either way it will not be torn down if I can help it.

But Davenport you say what about the money??? O ye of little faith don’t despair! Have you looked at my LinkedIn page lately, no? Well do that read the connections and then rest in new faith. People LOVE the arts but they LOVE profit more. The concept for the venue allows many to own and operate their own businesses inside the venue as partners but the venue operates under one form of management and with one focus. So it opens fully leased and operational, while many buildings sit empty.

I will never go away for too long my little ones but I do that from time to time. As a dear friend of mine once told me “out of sight doesn’t mean out of mind” you are always on my mind but the goal looms close and I need to do much work.

The website has been aching for an update so that is first along with putting the presentation together for the many media from both LA and San Diego that have signed up to attend the press conference next month.

Yes I am finally going to show the world (at least our side of SoCal) what we have been working on for the last 5 years (Has it been that long already?!) and I have to say that I am confident of the investor partners commitment and in our new President of the company (yup you will meet them soon enough but may I say I could not have made a better addition to the company) but most of all in the great and beautiful work done by the Architects at Design Engine in London, Head Designers at Pasfield & Park in London, Theatre Designers at Fabled Studios in London coming East we have Erich Friend Engineers at Techniqal in Texas, Ivan Harris Sound Engineer in LA, Green Olive Building Supply Sustainable Material Supplier in San Diego and one day perhaps you too.

Back to the everyday little ones but I will let you know when the Press Conference will be and post it if you can’t be there so you can see what the commotion is about!

Until we chat again my little theatre minions I remain your…

Davenport

 

The long strange trip…continues!

Once again I am here in Cyberspace with you my Theatre Minions!

           Nope not much of a blogger, don’t Tweet (personally I think it’s stupid, I could give less than a crap if you are at Starbucks) and have more to do than stay online all day but I digress. Since I last left you my little cherubs much has occurred.

             My personal issues aside there is finally an agent that has common sense to negotiate with and I have put into place both plans B and C, both of which would entail building a new theatre or basically doing the same thing but without the restrictions of the structure being historic. (my construction team likes that part!)

             Both locations are in Little Italy which is right off Downtown and a vibrant growing neighborhood. One is larger (40K sq. ft.) and the other is the same (20K sq. ft.). The owners are sane unlike this rep for the theatre owners (he is trying for more money and to tie up the others). Any of the options are just fine with me.

             For those of you whom have been with me for about a year and grow impatient just let me say that it has been 5 years for me and I am more impatient than you are believe me!

             Most of the time you are working with those whom have already decided what they want and only need you to do the work regardless of what talent or input you have. I have been there and didn’t plan on taking you or me there again. So I sourced you well in advance and never having or rarely having, worked that way you might not have ever seen how long their journey was prior to adding you to the team. Believe me it is much, much longer for us than it ever is for you but I know these results will be better.

             The company has a new President (I am still your CEO – Managing Partner etc.) and with him on board I have an ally who I can trust having known and worked with him for almost 10 years. Introductions to follow soon. The team is as complete as I can ask for. Now its time for the “fun”.

             Speaking of time have you ever had to negotiate to obtain over 150 Million dollars from various investors from all over the world that suit a project in an election year with a struggling economy? No? Well it’s no picnic nor is it fast and easy.

             So it’s full steam ahead with each plan but don’t expect a blow by blow this is my fight and I will win. Not just for me but for the building and the City and all of you.

 I remain as always your…

Davenport