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Bon Voyage?

September 17, 1985|BILL RITTER

Rumors abound that Crown Cruise Lines will steam out of San Diego next month and relocate, if only for the winter, at its corporate headquarters in the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., area, where president Odmund Grunstadt owns several oil tankers.

Crown's 7,000-ton, 700-passenger Viking Princess is due in dry dock Oct. 14 for engine repairs and ship classification surveys, so "right now (that's) our prime concern," according to Hank Jara, Crown's general manager here.

Jara won't discuss company plans, but he acknowledges that a decision on Crown's San Diego business plans will be forthcoming, although not before month's end.

Crown had a profitable summer but lost money last winter, according to industry sources. The Viking Princess has a harder time in the winter months competing with other cruise ships that sail to warmer ports than Ensenada and Catalina, Crown's only two destinations.

West Palm Beach officials have reportedly made overtures to lure Crown to Florida for the winter. If the company were to make the move, it wouldn't be until January, according to industry sources.

That summation is based on Crown's continued advertising campaign--which runs though December--and the company's desire to tap the short-haul holiday cruise market.

He Passed This Tryout

There are those who laughed hard and mightily at real estate pro Jack Singer when, at age 37, he showed up at the San Diego Padres' first-and-only public tryout in June, 1981, and tried to win a spot on the roster.

Baseball fans will recall that the team was hopelessly mired in last place, and, desperate for talent in the pre-Jack McKeon days, the club lured about 40 hopeful major leaguers to San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium for a tryout.

Singer, a minor league outfielder in the mid-1960s with the St. Louis Cardinals organization, was cut with 20 others right after the fielding and running tests, and before he had a chance to bat.

Singer captured lots of media attention at the time, being a 37-year-old trying out with athletes ages 17 to 23.

As it turns out, none of the 40 tryouts ever made it in the Padres' organization, according to team officials.

But Singer may have the last laugh on the skeptics: Last week, Singer, now 41, was named president and general manager of the San Francisco Giants' AAA farm team in Phoenix.

Price Hides Again

One of Pacific Southwest Airline's new employee-selected directors was less than enthusiastic about a media photo session Monday just before the airline's first-ever board meeting.

But that's not unusual. The director, Sol Price, founder of the successful Price Club chain, has for years shied away from publicity generally and photographers specifically.

While the photogs arranged the directors' seating Monday, Price quietly moved out of the room. As he left, he was heard to grumble, "That's the problem--too much concern with form and not substance."

New Bank Prospers

It has been 10 months since First La Mesa Bank (In Organization) received state approval to offer stock, and the fledgling institution is near its goal.

That's the word from President and Chief Executive Paul Sipe, who expects the bank's initial capitalization goal of $3.5 million to be exceeded by a couple of hundred thousand dollars.

FDIC approval could be forthcoming by early next month. A subsequent go-ahead by the U.S. Justice Department is needed before the bank's doors can actually open.

Expected date for that to occur: Between Nov. 1 and Nov. 15, said Sipe.

Slow Boat to Success

BSD Bancorp, the holding company for several banks, including Bank of San Diego, is trying to turn around its fortunes--net income for the six months ended June 30 of $485,000 compares with a year-end (and first-ever) loss of $964,824 last year.

But change is often slow, as Executive Vice President Louis Cumming quickly points out.

How slow? "Financial institutions," surmises Cumming, "are like aircraft carriers. You try to change direction, you turn the wheel, and you travel 300 miles before anything happens."

Store for the Lean

Fresh on the heels of the Horton Plaza opening, Ernest W. Hahn Inc. claims that its North County Fair regional shopping center in Escondido is 75% "committed for lease." The $120-million facility won't open for six months, so officials are fairly gushing over the occupancy rate--it's higher than the 58% leased that Horton Plaza was six months before its opening.

Meanwhile, North County Fair has been successful leasing the one storefront that officials describe in less than glowing terms: A long and skinny facility right next to a major department store.

The location is considered less-than-perfect because, as customers walk down the mall, they tend to look at the major store ahead and right past the small one, according to John Visconsi, senior leasing agent for Hahn Inc.

But that didn't seem to be a problem for the skinny store at the Fair. Despite its odd size--only 18 feet wide, with three wall-to-ceiling columns running down the middle, and 100 feet long--the store has already been leased, according to Visconsi.

The tenant was not a tie shop, a tall and skinny clothing store, nor a two-lane bowling alley, but a women's shoe store.

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