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Daily Business Report-Dec. 1, 2014

Daily Business Report-Dec. 1, 2014

Westminster Manor in Downtown San Diego is the largest of the low-income projects.

Low-Income Housing Projects Slated

For San Diego and Imperial Counties

Carlsbad-based Chelsea Investment Corp. has closed escrow on three properties in San Diego and Imperial Counties that will provide low-income housing for several targeted populations. Combined, the transactions will add nearly 260 units to Chelsea’s portfolio. The company has developed and financed more than 7,681 affordable-housing properties throughout California, Arizona and New Mexico since 1992.

The largest development is Westminster Manor, a 16-story high-rise apartment building at 1730 Third Ave., in Downtown San Diego. Chelsea represented itself in the transaction while the seller was represented by Victor Krebs of Colliers International. Purchase price was $28,650,000.

The 152 studio and one-bedroom units for low-income seniors built in 1972 will undergo a full interior and exterior renovation estimated at $12.5 million. The property was formerly owned and operated by Westminster Manor of San Diego Inc., who has partnered with Chelsea to refinance and redevelop the building so that it will remain as affordable senior housing for another 55 years.

Residents, who will be relocated during the construction period, will return to find apartments with new kitchens, energy efficient appliances and wall heaters, flooring, paint, window coverings and newly renovated bathrooms.

Building improvements will include new fire sprinklers and fire alarms, sound-insulated windows, roof and boilers, along with extensive repairs to the plumbing systems and balcony decks. Asbestos will be abated and an improved building security system installed.  Also planned are an expanded community room, a new computer room and library, larger laundry facilities, common areas enhanced with updated colors and design, and an improved outdoor space. The building exterior will also have a fresh look with new paint, tinted windows, and signage.

During the renovation, the Chelsea/Westminster Manor of San Diego Inc. partnership has arranged for residents to be temporarily relocated to accommodations including The Lafayette Hotel and the Residence Inn Gaslamp. The partnership also contracted with Serving Seniors to provide a social service professional who, along with a property management representative, has been working with residents to prepare for and ease their transition to the temporary quarters.

The work will commence in December, with the relocation occurring in phases, beginning in early February. Completion is expected in September 2015.

BASIS Architecture of San Rafael designed the renovation project, with Ivy Architecture as landscape architect and interiors by Artisan Design. Emmerson Construction, an affiliate of Chelsea, is the general contractor and ConAM, the property manager.

Financing for the $54 million project was provided through a combination of sources.

In a separate transaction, a Chelsea affiliate purchased 3.12 acres at 470 Wall Road in the City of Imperial from C&G Farms Inc., for $650,000.

The third property is a 2.86-acre site at 1070 Meadows Drive in Calexico that will be home to the 48-unit Villa Primavera Apartments.


Robert Quimby was hired this year to become director of SDSU's Mount Laguna Observatory.

Robert Quimby was hired this year to become director of SDSU’s Mount Laguna Observatory.

Astronomer Wins ‘Surprise’

Breakthrough Award

Fifteen years ago, Robert Quimby, SDSU astronomy professor and director of the Mount Laguna Observatory, was among the first people on earth to realize something staggering about the universe: Its gradual expansion is accelerating.

At the time, Quimby was an undergraduate research assistant working with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory astrophysicist Saul Perlmutter on the Supernova Cosmology Project. Perlmutter shared in the Nobel Prize in Physics for the project’s work in 2011. Earlier this month, Quimby and several other researchers who worked with Perlmutter were recognized with the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. Quimby will receive a $33,000 share of the total $3 million prize handed out.

Today, Quimby is recognized as a leading researcher in the study of supernovae, particularly “superluminous” supernovae that can flash up to 100 times brighter than typical exploding stars. But during his time as a summer research assistant working under Perlmutter, he was just a number-cruncher, still learning the ropes of advanced astrophysics.

His job was to take the data that other researchers had collected from measuring the light emitted by faraway supernovae and to calculate two variables: omega matter, a measure of the average density of the universe; and omega lambda, a measure of the inflation of the universe.

At the time, most astrophysicists thought that ever since the Big Bang, the universe’s expansion had been gradually slowing down, and would likely eventually stop. In that scenario, the calculated omega lambda value would have been a negative number. But that’s not what Quimby found when he ran the calculations.

“I’m one of the first people to be confident that omega lambda is greater than zero,” Quimby said. “But as an undergraduate, I had no idea what that really meant. I didn’t understand the significance of it. It turned out to be bigger than I could have imagined.”

What Perlmutter and others (and eventually Quimby) understood was that an omega lambda value greater than zero meant the universe’s expansion was speeding up.

“It’s like if you threw a ball up in the air, and not only did it not come down, it continued to fly away faster than you threw it,” Quimby explained.

Physicists aren’t sure exactly why this is. It’s one of the biggest mysteries in contemporary cosmology. There must be some currently unaccounted force in the universe that is causing this acceleration, Quimby said, but so far nobody has been able to satisfactorily explain it.

— SDSU NewsCenter

Read more…

Scripps Climate Researcher Among

100 Foreign Policy Global Thinkers

Veerabhadran Ramanathan

Veerabhadran Ramanathan

Foreign Policy magazine has named Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a distinguished professor of climate and atmospheric sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, as one of its 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2014.

Ramanathan has over the course of more than 40 years achieved several breakthroughs in the understanding of the effects of aerosols — particularly air pollution — on climate. In recent years, he has advanced the control of what are termed short-lived climate pollutants as a means of slowing the advance of global warming in the near term. He has also advocated for religious leaders to take up the cause of environmental stewardship as a moral imperative and interacted with figures such as the Dalai Lama and Pope Francis toward this end. His efforts have included the co-authoring of several essays intended for the international diplomatic community on ways to achieve success in combating climate change.

The magazine recognized Ramanathan and other Global Thinker honorees on Nov. 17 at “Transformational Trends,” a daylong program in Washington D.C. co-hosted by Foreign Policy and the U.S. Department of State that explores the future of international relations. Secretary of State John Kerry delivered the keynote address.

The list of Leading Global Thinkers includes leaders such as India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Vladimir Putin; personalities such as television host John Oliver, and numerous artists, activists, and researchers.

Community College District Has New

Campus and Parking Services Director

Nicole Conklin

Nicole Conklin

Nicole Conklin, the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District’s new Campus and Parking Services (CAPS) director, describes herself as a “parking nerd,” having dealt with the many issues involved in parking since she was 16 years old.

Her mother, an administrative assistant in the Parking Services office at Binghamton University in Binghamton, N.Y., told her about a part-time job writing parking tickets on campus and the then-high school sophomore jumped at the chance. She went on to receive her bachelor’s and a master’s degree in geography with an emphasis in urban planning from the university in upstate New York.

Conklin now oversees the department at the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District that provides parking enforcement and services including safety escorts, room unlocks/locks, and lost-and-found at Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges.

The CAPS office was created in 2013, when the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District separated law enforcement functions from parking enforcement and customer services in its Public Safety Department. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department now has a sheriff’s sergeant and deputies assigned to the college district.

As the CAPS director, Conklin said her primary job is to ensure that students and employees are safe and that visitors feel welcome to attend college events.

“I also want to get a message out that CAPS employees are here to help in a variety of ways.  I have watched them go out of their way to help people and I realize what a fantastic team they are,” she said.

A monument sign welcomes the public to the Registrar of Voters Office in Kearny Mesa.

A monument sign welcomes the public to the Registrar of Voters Office in Kearny Mesa.

New State Law Gives San Diego Registrar

More Time to Certify Election Ballots

Nearly four weeks after Election Day, the San Diego County Registrar of Voters is still one day away from certifying the results. Next election, the wait will be even longer thanks to a new state law. The state elections code allows the office 28 days to ensure it properly counted the county’s ballots. The certification deadline is Tuesday.

Many people closely followed that process during this election as two of the county’s races are separated by a slim margin. As of Friday, Imperial Beach mayoral candidate Serge Dedina was up by 43 votes over incumbent Jim Janney. In the race for Chula Vista City Council, candidate John McCann led opponent Steve Padilla by only 2 votes. Days earlier, the race was tied.

For future elections, candidates, voters and journalists will wait two days longer for the certified results. The change, effective Jan. 1, extends the certification period to allow officials to count absentee ballots that are received up to three days after polls close.

Registrar of Voters Michael Vu said nearly 55 percent of San Diego voters cast their ballots by mail.


Balboa Park all lighted up

Balboa Park all lighted up

 December Nights

One Big Holiday Festival

Balboa Park December Nights, the nation’s premier holiday festival, will take place for the 36th consecutive year on Friday, Dec. 5, from 3 to 11 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 6, from noon to 11 p.m.

As always, the event brings families and friends together to spread holiday joy, learn more about the cultural value of Balboa Park and kick-off the “most wonderful time of the year.”

Participating Balboa Park museums open their doors free of charge from 5-9 p.m. both evenings and more than 350,000 visitors are expected to experience the joy of San Diego’s largest free community festival. Those who attend will participate in a truly multicultural experience, enjoying food, music and entertainment from around the world.

Revelers can watch top-notch musical and dance performances, enjoy delicious and diverse food choices and help spread a heavy dose of holiday cheer.

Some of the more well-known traditions include food from around the globe at the International Christmas Festival at the House of Pacific Relations Cottages; the annual Santa Lucia Procession at the Plaza de California; unique gift shopping at the museum stores and with the artisans of Spanish Village; and musical and dance presentations from the San Diego Junior Theatre, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Del Cerro Baptist’s Christmas Story Tree, and more.

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Voice Your Opinion

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.

Some areas may include Mayor Filner’s first 100 days job performance, should the city be responsible for economic growth and the creation of new jobs, how important are infrastructure improvements to our daily lives (streets and bridges, etc.), how important is water independence, how satisfied are residents with public transit or how do city residents value Balboa Park and other open spaces? Do you believe the City Council should revive the Plaza de Panama plan for Balboa Park?

You can email Probolsky Research directly with your ideas: