Daily Business Report-Jan. 30, 2015
The photovoltaic system is installed on the south side of the Celadon high-rise in Downtown San Diego.
Massive Solar Photovoltaic System
Installed on 17-Story Downtown Building
Adroit Solar Energy Engineering has finished installing a 143-foot-tall solar photovoltaic system on the Celadon high-rise in Downtown San Diego. The array, built as a vertical façade on the south side of the building, is the tallest electric solar system of its kind in the U.S., the company said.
Celadon, located at Ninth Avenue and Broadway, is a development of BRIDGE Housing, a nonprofit developer, owner and manager of affordable housing.
The 17-story high-rise will feature 250 affordable rental apartments for individuals and small families. Eighty-eight of the apartments are targeted to be supportive housing, including 25 units for youth aging out of foster care and adults under the MHSA program; 63 apartments will serve frail seniors under the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).
The apartments will be affordable to residents with annual incomes of up to $37,920 for a two-person household. Monthly rents will range from approximately $533 to $879, depending on factors such as income, household and apartment size.
The solar system installed by Adroit will generate power for the building’s common areas. Out of the 125 solar panels, 85 have black frames, and 40 have silver frames, forming a stepladder design on the top floors. The translucent silver-framed panels allow for some sunlight to pass through, and this modern solar aesthetic also serves as a functional shaded area for residents enjoying the view.
Above the roof, Adroit installed a solar hot water system that will offset an estimated 50 percent of the entire building’s hot water needs. Celadon is expected to be LEED Silver certified and will have other highly efficient mechanical systems as well as an eco-roof with drought tolerant plantings.
Rancho Santa Fe Family Compound
Goes on the Auction Block on Feb. 26
A family compound stretching over eight acres in Rancho Santa Fe and featuring a 2,500-square-foot Roman spa and steam room will go to the highest bidder at a Feb. 26 auction by luxury real estate auction firm Concierge Auctions.
Previously listed for $36.5 million, the estate, called Casa Del Sol, contains a 9,000-square-foot main residence, a 2,500-square-foot guest home, a 1,500-square-foot staff residence, the spa and steam room plus two pavilions housing a fitness center and loggia. Palms, fruit trees and rose gardens stretch across the property.
The property will be auction in cooperation with with K. Ann Brizolis of Pacific Sotheby’s International and Markus Canter and Cristie St. James of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices.
“Casa Del Sol is an oasis of tranquility and refinement,” said Brizolis. “Amenities overflow here, and its ornate details are equally as exquisite as they are unique. This auction presents an unprecedented opportunity to acquire a Rancho Santa Fe trophy property at your own bid price.”
Casa Del Sol also boasts a 13-seat movie theater, an entertainment room with a bowling alley, a fitness center and a dog grooming station. Outdoors is a pavilion with a resort-style pool and cabana, a kitchen, fire pit and Buddha bar and lounge. Two 1,000-foot-long driveways also lead way to a 10-car garage.
The Casa Del Sol auction marks the third in the Rancho Santa Fe community for Concierge Auctions in less than six months. In August 2014, the firm sold El Milagro, a nine-acre estate with golf course access and private hiking and horseback riding trails, for $14.3 million. In November 2014, Rancho Las Brisas, a 10,000-acre-plus, gated community residence, sold to the highest bidder for $5.032 million.
Casa Del Sol is located at 15651 Puerta Del Sol Road. For more information, call (212) 257-5018.
Bill Proposed to Treat Cheerleaders
As Employees Under California Law
Cheerleaders for professional sports teams would be treated as employees under California law under a bill introduced Thursday by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego).
The bill was prompted by lawsuits filed by cheerleaders for the New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills in which they claim they’re paid below minimum wage considering how many hours they work.
“NFL teams and their billionaire owners have used professional cheerleaders as part of the game day experience for decades,” said Gonzalez, a cheerleader in college at Stanford.
“They have capitalized on their talents without providing even the most basic workplace protections like a minimum wage,” Gonzalez said. “If the guy selling you the beer deserves a minimum wage, so does the woman entertaining you on the field. All work is dignified and cheerleaders deserve the respect of these basic workplace protections.”
The bill — AB 202 — would require that professional sports teams provide cheerleaders with the same rights and benefits as other employees. The teams consider the cheerleaders to be independent contractors.
— City News Service
Center for Sustainable Energy Receives Grant
To Expand Solar Power to Multi-tenant Properties
The U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative has awarded $712,000 to the Center for Sustainable Energy (CSE) for a project aimed at eliminating barriers to greater adoption of solar electric power systems at multiple tenant commercial properties and multifamily housing.
The award is part of SunShot’s $14 million Solar Market Pathways program to develop solar deployment plans that establish business certainty and provide multiyear strategies applicable across the nation. CSE will be working with the California Solar Energy Industries Association, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council and other solar stakeholders to identify technical, regulatory and financial barriers constraining widespread solar adoption in multitenant developments.
The project’s goal is to expand use of a special utility billing arrangement, called virtual net metering, that allows the “virtual” sharing of energy generation credits from a single solar system among multiple tenant accounts with separate meters, such as apartment buildings, commercial offices and shopping malls.
“Nearly all of the residential solar energy installations in California have been made on single-family housing, yet a third of the state’s residents live in multi-unit dwellings, and in addition, there are tens of thousands of multimeter commercial facilities,” said Ben Airth, a senior manager at CSE. “The regulations that permit virtual net energy metering were put into effect in California several years ago, but for a variety of reasons both solar contractors and property owners have not taken advantage of the potential for energy and cost savings.”
Car-Sharing car2go Brings
New Electric Fleet to San Diego
San Diego members of the car-sharing company car2go will be able drive new, more powerful 2014 models of Daimler smart fortwo electric vehicles starting Wednesday.
The company said 400 of the new vehicles are now available to its 33,000 local members. The previous fleet dated to 2010.
“San Diego is fast becoming the nation’s electric vehicle capital, and with the largest electric car-sharing fleet in the nation, we are proud to continue our commitment in preserving the local environment of our great city,” said Will Berry, car2go San Diego Location Manager.
“The new 2014 vehicles, while maintaining the zero-emissions footprint, have a much smoother acceleration, and overall, a more comfortable car2go driving experience that our members will truly enjoy,” Berry said.
Since its launch in 2011, the company has tallied over 1,000,000 trips in the San Diego area. Car2go is a subsidiary of Daimler AG, the maker of Mercedes-Benz automobiles.
— Times of San Diego
Air Pollution Monitor to be
Installed at San Ysidro Port of Entry
Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld, along with representatives from the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. General Services Administration, will unveil a new air pollution monitor at the San Ysidro Port of Entry next Tuesday.
The device, which begins operating that day, will be used to collect real time data on the levels of air pollutants in San Ysidro and adjoining communities. The monitor measures PM2.5 (fine particulate matter up to 2.5 microns in diameter) in the form of soot from engine emissions, which can result in negative health effects when inhaled.
In addition, EPA will highlight $110,000 provided to the San Diego Air pollution Control District for the purchase, installation, and operation of the San Ysidro PM 2.5 monitor.
The U.S.-Mexico San Ysidro border crossing is the busiest land port of entry in the Western Hemisphere. On average, 50,000 cars and buses and 25,000 pedestrians cross the San Ysidro port of entry daily. Emissions from vehicle traffic potentially impact pedestrian traffic and residents who live and work in the San Ysidro area.
Health studies have shown a significant association between exposure to fine particles and premature death from heart or lung disease.
Freel Legal Clinic Services Now Offered in Hillcrest
California Western School of Law’s Access to Law Initiative (ALI) is now holding monthly legal clinics in Hillcrest to provide free and low-cost legal services to residents who would otherwise lack access to legal assistance.
These clinics will be held on the second Tuesday of each month at the LGBT Center at 3909 Centre St. from 9 to 11 a.m. Volunteer lawyers will be available for free 30-minute consultations to help people evaluate their legal problems.
The legal consultations were made possible with funding from the office of City CouncilmanTodd Gloria.
“These clinics complement our Community Education program in which we partner with community groups to have our lawyers make presentations on legal issues of interest to community members,” said Bob Seibel, ALI director. “Our Access to Law Initiative lawyers are making a great contribution to the community by providing these free services while they also work to build their law practices that provide affordable legal services to the community.”
ALI began operations in San Diego in June 2012 and has offices in two locations Downtown and one in San Marcos. The program is part of a rapidly emerging concept in the provision of affordable legal services to clients who often do not have access to lawyers. ALI also provides critical training and professional development for lawyers who have chosen to practice in solo, small-firm, and nonprofit enterprises.
To make an appointment for a consultation, contact Joshua Bruser at (858) 342-0551.
Research Team Wins $1.7 Million Grant
From California Stem Cell Agency
A team at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) has won a $1,784,000 grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to support the development of a new method for detecting DNA damage in stem cells to ensure that only the highest quality cells are used in transplantation or therapy.
“Sometimes even the most promising therapy can be derailed by a tiny problem,” said Jonathan Thomas, chair of the CIRM Board, which voted to fund this and other proposals in the agency’s Tools and Technologies initiative. “These awards are designed to help find ways to overcome those problems, to bridge the gaps in our knowledge and ensure that the best research is able to keep progressing and move out of the lab and into clinical trials in patients.”
Professor Jeanne Loring is principal investigator for the new TSRI project. “The technology we are developing is similar to that now used for diagnosing cancers,” said Loring. “In this case, the test — which is fast and simple to use — will enable researchers to detect abnormal cells in stem cell populations.”
Quality control is an important step to ensure the safety and efficacy of potential therapies using stem cells — which possess the ability to develop into many other distinct cell types, such as nerve, heart, or lung cells, and hold promise for repairing damaged tissue from a range of diseases and injuries.
SDSU Prof Gets His Pot Shop;
Opponents’ Appeal is Denied
An appeal of a conditional use permit granted to a San Diego State University business professor to operate a medical marijuana dispensary in Otay Mesa was unanimously denied by the city’s Planning Commission Thursday.
In October, a city hearing officer granted a conditional use permit to David Blair to open A Green Alternative in a 1,400-square-foot space in a strip mall at 2335 Roll Drive, near the Brown Field airport. It was the first permit for a legal dispensary to be granted by the city.
The hearing officer’s ruling was appealed by Barbara Gordon, a North County drug prevention specialist.
Blair applied for the permit under rules established by the City Council earlier this year. The regulations require prospective dispensary owners to go through a lengthy permit application process, and also specify zoning and distances to keep the operations away from residences, schools, churches and the like.
In the case of A Green Alternative, the neighborhood is zoned “heavy commercial” and includes a fast-food restaurant, a filling station and a warehouse.
Commissioner Susan Peerson said A Green Alternative “meets and exceeds” the requirements of the permit.
Blair and his representatives told the commissioners that they have hired a security firm to provide guards at all times for the facility. They also said the nearest neighborhood is 4.9 miles away and the nearest residence, which is just under 2 miles away, is a prison.
“We know right from wrong, we know what the ordinance says,” Blair said. “The reason that we floated to the first position (among permit applicants) is because every time the city requested something of us, we doubled it.”
Opponents of the dispensary contended that “heavy commercial” doesn’t adequately describe the area because the businesses are patronized by families with children.
When A Green Alternatives does open, it will be the first legal medical marijuana dispensary in San Diego and the second in the county. One opened on unincorporated land near El Cajon in July.
The rules set by the City Council will allow up to four legal marijuana dispensaries per council district within city limits.
A couple of other dispensaries have been approved by the hearing officer. City planning staff is still processing other permit applications.
Police and code enforcement officers have worked with the City Attorney’s Office to get court orders to shut down numerous pot shops operating illegally.
— City News Service
Port Sculptures Silently Guard Freedom of Speech
Ten bronze monoliths — silent sentinels for freedom of speech — were unveiled on the waterfront Thursday in a special bi-national exhibition.
“Our Silences” by renowned Mexican artist Rivelino was created in 2009 and has traveled to 14 countries. The exhibit will be in San Diego through March 15 before traveling to other American cities.
The exhibition at Ruocco Park is co-sponsored by the Consul General of Mexico and Port of San Diego. Each of the sculptures is 11 1/2 feet tall. Five face northwest, and five southwest.
“I decided to make them huge because the problem of freedom of expression is huge,” Rivelino said through a translator.
The artist said the exhibit is especially meaningful in the wake of the terrorist attack on a French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
“Each country suffers different levels of repression,” he explained. “If you moved it from San Diego and placed it in Tijuana, it would speak differently.”
He said the art symbolizes both public and private silence, and both can be harmful. “The greatest silence is intimate; it’s individual,” he said.
Accompanying the sculptures is a “Braille box” where the blind can experience the work by touching a scale model. Rivelino said this symbolized his concern that no one should be denied freedom of expression.
The sculptures were unveiled at a ceremony attended by Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Port Chairman Dan Malcolm.
— Times of San Diego