Daily Business Report-April 14, 2016
Ongoing casino construction at the Jamul Indian Village. (Photo by Jim Childers)
Agreement Between County and Jamul
Casino Approved by Board of Supervisors
By City News Service
An agreement between the county of San Diego and Jamul Indian Village over the impacts of the tribe’s new casino was approved Wednesday by the Board of Supervisors.
The agreement addresses how to handle the traffic, public safety and environmental effects in surrounding areas from the construction and operation of the Hollywood Casino that’s scheduled to open later this year.
“They scored,” tribal Chairwoman Erica Pinto said after the board’s vote, referring to the residents of Jamul who claimed that 98 percent of the surrounding community is opposed to the casino.
“It’s important because we are good neighbors,” Pinto said of the agreement. “Our mantra is public safety. The public is going to get so much from this and so are we.”
The agreement passed on a 3-1 vote, with Vice Chairwoman Dianne Jacob opposed and Supervisor Greg Cox absent.
“I find myself in a difficult situation, to approve an agreement on a casino that I do not agree with,” Jacob said before the vote. “My opposition to this casino is well documented for 20 years. Nice building, wrong location.”
A crowd of about 200 people filled the chamber and two overflow rooms for the three-hour hearing that included two formal presentations and public testimony. Opponents outnumbered proponents by about 3-to-1 when it came to public testimony from almost two dozen speakers, mostly residents of Jamul.
“It’s the single biggest eyesore in the community,” Jamul resident Connie Via said. “This is about greed and corruption. No casino in Jamul. Not now. Not ever.”
The Jamul-Dulzura Community Planning Group was unanimous in its opposition to the agreement and gave a 15-minute presentation listing the reasons.
The Jamul Indian Village hired casino manager Penn National Gaming to develop the $400 million complex.
The casino is expected to include a three-story gaming and entertainment facility of 200,000 square feet, featuring more than 1,700 slot machines, 50 live table games, restaurants, a Tony Gwynn sports bar and an enclosed below ground parking structure for 1,800 cars.
“I realize the folks don’t want a casino,” Supervisor Bill Horn said. “The fact is, there is going to be a casino. We don’t have jurisdiction over a sovereign nation. They don’t have to be here.”
County staff reminded the board that the tribe was not bound to enter into the agreement and could go forth with the casino plan.
The tribal government had been negotiating with the county for more than two years to reach the agreement “because we are good neighbors,” Pinto said. “That speaks volumes about the people we are.”
SENTRE Acquires Historic Sherman
Heights Apartment Community
San Diego based SENTRE, dba Sterling Sherman Heights LLC., has acquired a 27-unit, Colonial Revival-style apartment building in the historically designated Sherman Heights neighborhood of San Diego.
Built in 1908 and situated just a few blocks from East Village at the corner of 20th Street and Island Avenue, the property will be renamed The Sterling, in acknowledgement of the original architect William “Sterling” Hebbard.
The purchase reflects SENTRE,’s sixth multi-family acquisition in the past five years, and second in the downtown San Diego area, under the
Sentre Living Urban brand.
In 2014, SENTRE, acquired the 90-unit The Barcelona in Bankers Hill, which is currently undergoing a comprehensive renovation of both unit interiors and amenity spaces.
The Sterling, located at 470 20th St., was formerly known as Sophie’s Arms, and was purchased for $5,300,000, or $196,000 per unit.
19-Story Little Italy High-Rise Sold
The19-story office tower at 610 W. Ash St., the only Class A high-rise in Little Italy, has been sold to a partnership between Gemini Rosemont and Central Properties.
The selling price was not disclosed. The seller preferred not to be named, according to Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P., who marketed the property.
The building is 98 percent leased. Tenants include ESET, the Department of Homeland Security and the Environmental Protection Agency. The property includes a nine-level, 397-space parking garage.
Water Authority Again Sues
Metropolitan Water District
The San Diego County Water Authority on Wednesday filed its fourth lawsuit against the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, alleging that MWD’s newly adopted rates for 2017 and 2018 violate California law, the state Constitution and common law that all require rates to be set based upon cost of service. MWD adopted the rates at its Tuesday meeting.
A Superior Court judge ruled in November 2015 that MWD’s rates for 2011-2014 were illegal. The judge directed MWD to pay the Water Authority more than $243 million in damages, costs, pre-judgment interest and attorneys’ fees. (Post-judgment interest is expected to grow the total to more than $275 million over two years.)
In his November ruling, the judge also ordered MWD to only set legal rates in future years.
Ignoring the judge’s ruling and order to set only lawful rates, MWD’s board of directors approved rates and charges for 2017 and 2018 on April 12 using the same illegal methodology that it used in 2011-2014.
MWD’s overcharges of the Water Authority for 2017 and 2018 are expected to be more than $134 million, and overcharges for the eight years contested by the Water Authority are approximately $524 million (not counting the interest, court costs and attorney’s fees from 2015-2018) . If allowed to stand, overcharges by MWD could exceed $2 billion over 20 years.
“We don’t relish the prospect of more litigation, but MWD’s repeated refusal to follow the law damages San Diego County ratepayers and cannot be allowed to stand,” said Mark Weston, chair of the Water Authority’s Board of Directors. “The Water Authority has prevailed on the merits of two similar cases and we intend to continue challenging MWD’s rates as long as MWD tries to operate outside the law.”
Mayor to Unveil $3.3B
Spending Plan for City
By City News Service
Mayor Kevin Faulconer is scheduled Thursday to unveil a $3.3 billion spending plan for the city of San Diego’s next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
The mayor’s office said the proposed Fiscal Year 2017 budget includes “major gains” in street repair and neighborhood infrastructure and calls for an expansion of services.
The proposal is also expected to include an increase in the city’s budget reserves, which will be hiked incrementally from 14 percent to 16.7 percent over the next several years under a plan approved by the City Council on Tuesday.
The spending plan is scheduled to be presented to the City Council next week. The council members will comb through the budget in May and adopt it in June.
Council Panel Tentatively OKs
Major Construction Projects
By City News Service
Major municipal construction contracts to replace reservoirs in Scripps Ranch and a pipeline in Pacific Beach were given tentative approval Wednesday by the San Diego City Council’s infrastructure committee.
One of the two, the Miramar Clearwell Improvements project, is considered among Public Utilities Department’s top priorities, and city staff is asking for authorization to hire Shimmick Construction for nearly $90 million.
Clearwells 1 and 2, located at the Miramar Water Treatment Plant, are nearing the end of their service lives and don’t meet current seismic codes. According to a staff report, inspections during a recent shutdown determined that replacement of the reservoirs, which hold 20.8 million and 31.5 million gallons of treated drinking water, respectively, was “imminently necessary.”
The planned replacements would add 6 million gallons of capacity at the facility that serves the water needs for most areas of the city north of Interstate 8.
The project would also result in a new chlorine contact chamber with adjoining lift station, a maintenance building, a new security guard shack with surveillance equipment and fences, and the installation of a 1 megawatt solar power system.
If the deal is given final approval by the full City Council at a future meeting, construction would begin in June, with the new facilities projected to go into service sometime in summer 2020.
Also given a go-ahead was a nearly $34 million agreement with TC Construction for work that would replace around 8.4 miles of mostly cast-iron water pipes running between Crown Point and Middletown, 2.4 miles of sewer mains and demolition of an abandoned reservoir. Both systems were installed in the 1950s.
“Cast-iron means ‘break,’ so it’s not only a good thing for the city’s infrastructure but the drought as well,” according to committee Chairman Mark Kersey, as water would no longer be lost because of broken pipes.
The work is scheduled to begin in July and take place at night in several six- to eight-month stretches over a period of about three years, according to staff. No work will be conducted between Memorial Day and Labor Day, in order to accommodate beach crowds.
The pipelines contract will also have to go to the full City Council for final approval.
San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus to Pay Tribute
To LGBT Centers at SDSU and UC San Diego
The San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus is saluting The Pride Center at San Diego State University and the UC San Diego LGBT Resource Center at its 2016 spring show “California Dreamin’” on April 23 and 24 at the Balboa Theatre.
“We’re celebrating in song everything California, so we wanted to highlight our new generation of LGBT Californians and the incredible work being done on San Diego’s largest campuses to help them succeed,” said Bob Lehman, SDGMC Executive Director.
The Pride Center at SDSU offers a welcoming and safe space for LGBTQ students and hosts events such as movie nights, dances and barbeques. It also links students with campus-wide offerings such as the recent Trans Week of Empowerment and the upcoming Out of the Darkness Walk for suicide awareness.
All of these activities are overseen by Coordinator Christopher Lujan who recently took on the role, drawing upon his experiences at the Los Angeles LGBT Center working with LGBT youth.
The UC San Diego LGBT Resource Center is directed by Shaun Travers, who says, “Our students come to the LGBT Resource Center to find a sense of community, to find others that are like them, that are similar to them. So many students are just beginning to understand who they are and what that means for their future.”
The LGBT Resource Center provides a host of services from its state-of-the-art Cyber Center underwritten by gay philanthropist David Bohnett to social spaces with room for various LGBT groups to meet.
“California Dreamin’” tickets are available at www.sdgmc.org or by calling the Balboa Theatre at (619) 570-1100. Tickets start at $28.