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San Diego Scene 7.2010

A “living wall” graces the two-story open air contemplation garden at the top of the 22-story office building at 525 B Street Downtown where the law firm of Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch makes its new home. Also called a “green wall,” the unusual feature represents the law firm’s attempt at making its offices as environmentally friendly as possible. Here, plant materials are grown on vertical spaces. Unlike traditional trellises, these kinds of systems support soil or inorganic growing medium so that the plants are not rooted into the ground. The wall at Procopio was installed by Jim Mumford of GreenScaped Buildings of San Diego. Mumford is well-known as one of San Diego’s “Eco-Warriors,” an emerging expert in sustainable building and a green roof and green wall pioneer.
“The green wall not only makes a bold statement about our commitment to the environment, it also makes a strikingly beautiful addition to our unique open air contemplation garden,” said Tom Turner, Procopio’s managing partner. “Jim Mumford is at the cutting edge of a terrific trend, and we are pleased to be a part of it.”
Mumford constructed and planted the wall over the course of two weeks. It has two 64-square-foot sections on a north-facing wall, each made up  of 73 individual plants, including Imperial red philodendrons, variegated spider plant, golden pothos, mother and bird’s nest ferns, arrowhead plants and various colorful bromeliads.
“Procopio is creating a healthy, natural environment literally from thin air,” says Mumford. “So many of us care about the environment and the legacy we are leaving our children. It’s important to us that we do business with people and firms who think the same way we do.  It’s smart for a law firm to demonstrate its commitment to the future through the thoughtful way it has designed its unique workspace.”
Mumford has been growing green walls as part of his living laboratory at GreenScaped Buildings, using various methods and products that contribute to low impact development, sustainability and restorative buildings. In addition to the aesthetic benefits of his green roof and walls, they produce increases in biodiversity, cooling buildings and reducing of the urban heat island effect, carbon sequestration, cleaning the air of particulates and adding oxygen.
“The explosion of interest in green walls is nothing short of amazing,” said Mumford. “Green roofs are wonderful but not practical for everyone. Green walls can be built for a fraction of the cost in many more places and unlike green roofs, easily seen and appreciated up close.

Eve Jihan Jeffers

Grammy-winning rap and hip-hop artist Eve Jihan Jeffers, known for her unique brand of glamour in music, film and fashion, will be among the headliners at this year’s San Diego Pride festival July 17-18 in Balboa Park. The Philadelphia-bred artist has a couple of successful hits, “What Ya Want” and “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” and is preparing a more mature album titled “Lip Lock,” which she describes as transcending the rap sounds of yesterday while “representing the woman I am today.” The artist recently started her own film and production company and is preparing to launch a fashion line. She’s had recent stints on “Glee” and “Whip It!” and is to appear in a VH1 “Behind the Music” episode scheduled to air this summer. Her performance at Pride festival is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. on July 17 on the festival’s Cox Communications main stage.
The festival also has booked beatboxer and “American Idol” alumnus Blake Lewis, who will perform at 6:10 p.m. on July 18 on the main stage. For additional information on the Pride weekend, call (619) 297-7683 or visit sandiegopride.org.

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Blake Lewis

The San Diego Pride festival also will feature beatboxing artist Blake Lewis appearing on the Cox Communications main stage. His appearance will be at 6:10 p.m. on July 18. Lewis appeared on season six of “American Idol” in 2007, and later produced a debut album, “Audio Daydream.”

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Public broadcasting station KPBS will honor its 50-year anniversary on Oct. 9 at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, an event that will have a 1960s theme, “KPBS Celebrates the Sixties.” It will be the station’s first gala in more than 15 years and will raise money to help keep its programs going. Caroline Nierenberg, who previously served as gala chair for the Jewel Ball and the Burnham Institute, is this year’s gala chair for KPBS. Longtime KPBS donors Donald and Darlene Shiley will serve as honorary chairs. Costumed greeters, retro décor, and a tribute to the Supremes by NRG are among the special effects planned. Hosted by master of ceremonies Ken Kramer, the event also features public radio/TV personalities. For more information, contact Claudine Casillas, KPBS marketing coordinator, at (619) 594-4266.

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Roxana Velásquez Martínez del Campo has been named executive director of the San Diego Museum of Art, the first female ever appointed to the post, and will begin work in the fall. She succeeds Derrick R. Cartwright, who left the museum’s top staff position in September 2009.  American born and raised in Mexico, Velásquez has represented professional, civic, and cultural endeavors at three major national museums in Mexico City. She has served as the director of Museo Nacional de San Carlos, Museo Nacional de Arte (Munal) and, most recently, Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes. Velásquez has helped organize international exhibitions like “Rubens and his Century,” “Victorian Era,” “Goya,” “Frida Kahlo Centennial” and “Illusions of the Middle East from Delacroix to Moreau.” Velásquez, a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors Board of Trustees and Asociación Mexicana de Profesionales de Museos, has been distinguished by the King of Spain with the Cross of Isabel la Católica for outstanding cultural projects of Spanish art organized in Mexico.

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Jim Hill of Treasure Trove at the coin auction.

The seven coin collector clubs of San Diego County will bring their 53rd annual “Coinarama” coin show to the Scottish Rite Event Center, 1895 Camino del Rio South, in Mission Valley on July 24-25. Hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Seventy-five bourse tables are sold out to dealers, who will offer American and foreign coins, gold, currency, bonds and other numismatic material, plus reference books and supplies. Dealers will provide free informal appraisals of coin values. One area will be set aside for “Coins for Kids” and will include contests, awards and free coins and coin albums for children. The popular auction will be held Saturday at 5:30 p.m. with Jim Hill of Treasure Trove doing the auctioneering. Adult admission is $4. Ages 15 and under are free. More info is at coinarama.org.

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Rendering of Point Loma Seafoods’ renovation.

The family-owned Point Loma Seafoods, one of San Diego’s most popular restaurants and fish markets, will undergo a $2.7 million renovation at the end of the year. The Board of Port Commissioners gave concept approval to the renovation. The plans call for demolition of the existing building and replacing it with one designed in the Monterey, California Cannery Row style. Other plans incorporate a new outdoor dining area with a fire pit and seating wall, new contemporary interior space and kitchen and a second story viewing terrace. The new building will feature a stucco exterior with river-rock and heavy timber accents. A lighthouse tower with a public art component will be added. The project will incorporate sustainable features and low-irrigation water systems. Point Loma Seafoods is located in the America’s Cup Harbor area near Shelter Island. The restaurant project will be designed to complement the new sportfishing redevelopments in America’s Cup Harbor. The restaurant plans to operate out of a temporary satellite location nearby during the renovation. Completion is expected to take less than a year.

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San Diego’s four major university business schools have formed an alliance to accelerate the growth of clean, high-technology businesses. The San Diego Entrepreneurship Alliance will provide support for a newly formed nonprofit business incubator called Clean Venture Inc. The USD School of Business Administration, the Rady School of Management at UCSD and the Colleges of Business Administration at SDSU and Cal State San Marcos established the alliance to assist Clean Ventures hatch new firms to provide products and services that reduce greenhouse emissions, conserve natural resources and boost the regional economy with new “green-collar” jobs over the next decade. The incubator’s first start-ups should be underway by the end of the year. David Pyke, dean of the USD School of Business Administration, said there are “great opportunities” for new cleantech firms to develop solutions to the region’s most critical needs in such areas as transportation, water conservation and reclamation, energy independence and transition to a clean energy economy. More information on the initiative is available at cleanventure.org.

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Award-winning photo.

Beatriz Lozano-Ruiz of La Jolla has won the “Live. Love. Archstone.” photo contest with a picture of four silhouetted figures jumping on a La Jolla beach during sunset. Lozano-Ruiz’s photo earned her a Las Vegas Love package valued at more than $2,000, including round-trip airfare for two, two nights in a Tower Suite at Treasure Island Casino and Resort, a massage at Oleksandra Spa & Salon and tickets to a live show. The sponsor, Archstone, is an apartment investment and operations company. “The contest was designed to celebrate the personal and civic pride we have in where we live,” said Melanie Flaherty, Archstone’s director of marketing for the West region.

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Shops at San Miguel Ranch.

The Shops at San Miguel Ranch, a 103,548-square-foot shopping center in Chula Vista, has been sold for $19.8 million — one of the largest retail sales this year in the county. The center, located at 2350 Proctor Valley Road, is 76.8 percent leased. Tenants include Albertsons, Starbucks and First Bank. Pete Bethea, Rob Ippolito, Jesse Lowe and David Bradley of Cushman & Wakefield negotiated the lender sale for Jefferson Pilot Investments Inc. The buyer, MGP IX REIT LLC, represented itself. The shopping center was developed in 2007 by McMillin Commercial.

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Santa Fe Station.

The San Diego Model Railroad Museum is inviting the public to its 30th anniversary party on July 31. Guests can view all of the museum’s collection of model trains of North America during the event, scheduled from between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Volunteers also will be available during the day to give visitors behind-the-scenes tours of the museum and its exhibits. The museum, located in the lower level of the Casa de Balboa on the Prado in Balboa Park, has five giant operating exhibits or “layouts” — on the 0 scale (same as your grandfather’s Lionel trains), HO scale (1/87 actual size) and N scale (1/160 actual size).
Throughout the day, visitors are invited to share a slice of the 30th anniversary cake, and children can “mark their tracks” on a special rail car wall mural located in the Library Great Room. The mural will remain on display at the museum throughout August.
The museum houses more than 27,000 square feet of scale models, toy trains, railroad history exhibits and has a comprehensive railroad research library. About 320 museum volunteer club members from four clubs with four different philosophies of model railroading have constructed and operated the layouts for the public for the past 30 years.
Guests can sign up for the behind-the-scenes tour online at sdmrg.org.

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Senior Wellness Center dining room.

Wellness Center interior view.

Construction has been completed for the new two-story, 17,000-square-foot Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center located at Fourth Avenue and Beech Street in Downtown San Diego. Senior Community Centers, in partnership with HomeAid San Diego, is the developer of the $3.4 million tenant improvement project, which is expected to receive LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. San Diego based-Smith Consulting Architects provided design services. Ledcor Construction Inc. was the general contractor. The center replaces the Senior Community Centers’ former Downtown facility at Ninth and Broadway. It offers one-stop health and wellness services for low-income seniors throughout the region. The design and construction involved rehabilitation of an existing 60-year-old building that was acquired by Senior Community Centers through a gift of $3 million from the Gary and Mary West Foundation. The first floor of the new facility encompasses a main lobby, a “living room” area for socialization and reading, an activity room for cards, chess and other board games and an “enrichment center” for lectures, art and exercise classes, demonstrations, job and volunteer training and other group activities. At the Cyber Café, seniors can learn and develop computer skills, use the Internet, send e-mails to friends and family and interact with youth from nearby schools who volunteer to serve as teachers and mentors.
The second floor accommodates the Center for Healthy Aging, where clinical staff and partners provide a range of health assessments, interventions, case management and activities designed to promote optimum health and well being.
The design incorporates energy saving features such as daylighting, high efficiency air conditioning units, automatic lighting control systems and low-flow plumbing fixtures. Natural light in the main dining room eliminates the need for electrical lighting during daylight hours.

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The Asian Heritage Society’s seventh annual Asian Heritage Awards program will be staged July 10 aboard the USS Midway Museum and will feature a special social responsibility award going to Habitat for Humanity. The society also will give special recognition to Tom Hom, the first Asian American from San Diego to be elected to the City Council and the California Assembly. Habitat for Humanity has built homes in poor rural areas of many countries in Asia since the 1980s. One was initiated in cooperation with former President Jimmy Carter in Chiang Mai, Thailand, earlier this year. Japanese pop star Masumi headlines the entertainment lineup The awards are produced by the Asian Heritage Society along with the newspaper, ASIA, The Journal of Culture & Commerce.
The event is the second year of military representation as part of the awards ceremony, including sponsorship by the U.S. Navy. Other sponsors include Phamatech, the Avery Tsui Foundation, Ford Motor Fund, Barona Resort and Casino, Cox Communications, The Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, DDH Enterprise Inc., United Parcel Service, Julia Cheng Pinnacle Financial and Best Western. To reserve tickets or a table, or for sponsorship information, call (619) 408-9928.

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Petco Park

The home of the Padres took a 2010 Venue Excellence Award (in the Stadiums category) from the International Association of Assembly Managers. Petco Park was cited for demonstrating excellence in its management and operation and was judged on criteria such as service to the community, team building/professional development, safety and security. “We are constantly striving to make Petco Park the best venue in all of sports,” said Mark Guglielmo, the Padres vice president of ballpark operations. “This award reinforces the collaborative effort inspired by Jeff Moorad and Tom Garfinkel to deliver the finest guest experience in professional sports. The recognition indicates the hard work and focus from the entire front office and our building partners is paying off.”

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Carlsbad High renovation.

Carlsbad Unified School District has begun the construction of 11 new educational buildings at Carlsbad High School, one of eight schools in the district that will either be constructed or modernized under a $198 million bond measure passed by voters in 2006 (Proposition P). McCarthy Building Cos. Inc. is building the educational facilities, which represent the third and last phase of an overall $86 million renovation of Carlsbad High that the firm began in 2008. They will be completed in October 2011. The educational structures are being built on the site of the school’s former parking lot on the east side of Carlsbad High. McCarthy’s project manager for the work is Jun Eguia.
Last March, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to commemorate the completion of the second phase of construction, which involved demolition of the existing stadium, installation of underground utility infrastructure, and construction of a new 3,900-seat athletic stadium with aluminum bleachers and a synthetic track and field area. The stadium houses a new 10,000-square-foot building with locker rooms, restrooms and concession areas. The new stadium also features a Pop Warner-sponsored scoreboard with state-of-the-art LED technology for animated messaging.
Design consultants involved with the Carlsbad High School renovation include Perkins+Will, John A. Martin & Associates, Leighton Engineering, Cornerstone Engineering Inc., Johnson Consulting Engineers Inc., Donn C. Gilmore & Associates and Lightfoot Planning Group. Gafcon is the program manager. Erik Reuter is serving as director of school construction on behalf of the district.

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Horizon Tech Center

Horizon Tech Center, a three-building, 158,000-square-foot office campus in Scripps Ranch that is fully leased to Lockheed Martin, has been sold to a major REIT for $40.5 million. The buyer, KBS Realty Fund, operated by KBS Companies, is one of the  largest buyers of commercial real estate and structured debt investments. Horizon Tech Center was newly constructed by Opus in 2009. The Class A campus sits on an elevated site and adjoins a six-acre city park with walking paths and trail access to Lake Miramar. The property includes a full-service cafeteria, men’s/women’s locker facilities in each building, and a parking ratio of 3.9 spaces per 1,000 square feet.

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The San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce inaugurated the Flag, General and Senior Officers Ball in 1946 to honor service members returning home from World War II. This year’s black tie gala will be July 30 at the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina. Reception is at 5:30 p.m. The dinner, awards and dancing occur from 7 to 10:30 p.m. Honorees at the event will be Rear Adm. Christine Bruzek-Kohler, commander of the Navy Medical Center in San Diego, and Jerry Coleman, World War II Korean War veteran, former major league ballplayer and the voice of the San Diego Padres on Cox Channel 4. Entertainment will be by The Mighty Untouchables. Cost is $150 per person.

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The grand opening of The Cosmopolitan Hotel & Restaurant in Old Town will be celebrated on July 9 with a gala benefiting Meals-On-Wheels. Leading up to the event, there will be an online auction to bid on the opportunity to be the first to stay in the 10 rooms that comprise the hotel. Gala tickets are $85 per person and $150 per couple. To purchase, call (619) 297-3100, Ext. 22 or visit meals-on-wheels.org. The event will include live entertainment including actors, historic interpreters and strolling musicians. Guests will be able to participate in games of chance circa the mid-19th century, stagecoach rides and dancing.  The menu will be a sampling of The Cosmopolitan Restaurant American regional cuisine and the drinks selection will be reminiscent of popular 1870s beverages. The 181-year-old hotel includes an indoor and outdoor restaurant by the same name, boutique hotel with 10 rooms on the second level and private dining rooms for special occasions.

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Human rights activist Stuart Milk, nephew of Harvey Milk and founder of the Harvey Milk Foundation, and stage and film actress Cloris Leachman will take part in the San Diego LGBT Pride parade July 17 in Hillcrest. Leachman, 84, will be the celebrity grand marshal, Milk the political grand marshal. Milk’s uncle pioneered a gay rights movement more than 30 years ago and was assassinated while serving on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. The parade is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. along University Avenue, beginning at Normal Street and going west to Sixth Avenue and south to Upas Street.
Last year, Stuart Milk accepted on his uncle’s behalf the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama and the California Hall of Fame Medal from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “Stuart has carried the message of tolerance to subsequent generations worldwide, and we are delighted and honored in welcoming him in the parade,” said Larry Ramey, co-chair for San Diego Pride.
Leachman, a recent contestant on “Dancing with the Stars,” rose to fame in 1971 when she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in “The Last Picture Show.” She was recently cast in the new Fox Television drama, “Raising Hope,” due to begin filming in August, and will soon hit the San Diego stage with a one-woman show.
The parade is part of San Diego Pride weekend July 16-18. It starts with a Spirit of Stonewall rally at 6 p.m. on July 16 at Marston Point in Balboa Park, followed by the parade on July 17 and a two-day festival July 17-18 at Marston Point.

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Michael Chious, general sales manager at Breeza, developed by Intergulf Development Group and Lennar Urban, says the luxury mid-rise in North Embarcadero is attracting attention from second home buyers, particulary those from Canada, the upper Midwest, Arizona, Nevada and other parts of California. Besides the offering of San Diego’s mild temperatures, one incentive is Breeza’s recently acquired FHA approval. According to Chious, new home buyers may move into a unit with as little as 3.5 percent down. Floor plans range from 615 square feet for a one-bedroom, one bath unit, to 2,150 square feet for a two-bedroom plus media room, and two baths. Prices start from the low $300,000s to $1.8 million for a penthouse. Interiors include granite kitchen countertops, stainless steel appliances, polished chrome faucets, acrylic soaker tubs and triple paned glass windows.
Breeza includes residential and retail space comprising 155 homes, three offices and four commercial spaces encompassing nine stories, as well as a gated entry and underground parking. The project also incorporates the historic Parron/Hall building, which has been retrofitted to accommodate community space and three levels of for-sale office space. The classic San Diego landmark was constructed in 1909 for the San Diego Globe Grain & Milling Co. The Breeza sales studio is next to the lobby at 1431 Pacific Highway, (619) 234-8736.

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“We can’t rely on the banks to do the right thing,” Jim Abbott, president of Abbott Realty Group, said when discussing the state of the Downtown real estate market. “We have buyers and we have a sufficient inventory but  the lack of financing choices is the negative in the marketplace,” he said. Abbott said prices are off 38 percent from what he described as the peak in 2005, adding that the Downtown market is a long way from being out of the woods. He said speakers at a real estate symposium at  the University of San Diego recently suggested that there may be another dip in prices on the horizon. “High end sales are an exception in the current market because  these homes attract cash buyers,” Abbott said.

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We Want Your Opinions on San Diego’s Big Issues In the coming months, Probosky Research (one of California’s leading opinion research firms) will continue its partnership with SD METRO to survey San Diego residents about topics of interest to our readers. We’d like to throw open the door for suggestions for topics. What do you want to know? What do you think you know, but aren’t sure? What are you certain you know, but want to prove it beyond doubt? Ideally, we’d like to see questions that have to do with public policy.

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