Granny flat
A “granny flat.” Image from Companion Unit Handbook

The San Diego section of the American Planning Association has honored a coalition comprised of social service agencies, real estate professionals and San Diego city officials past and present with one of its 2021 design awards. The APA cited the coalition for its 2019 Companion Unit Handbook, published to help homeowners navigate the complicated process of constructing an accessory dwelling unit or “granny flat” on their properties.

According to a news release, the accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, are helping to address San Diego’s rental shortage. One local magazine story published in March 2020 said nearly 600 property owners applied under new city rules to build units.

The APA recognized the handbook’s lead designer, the M.W. Steele Group, an architectural firm in Barrio Logan, and also recognized individual coalition members, including the City of San Diego, the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors, the San Diego Housing Federation, LISC San Diego and two former councilmembers, Scott Sherman and David Alvarez.

“The handbook was a great accomplishment,” said Alvarez in a prepared statement. “But the legacy of this partnership is the continued efforts to facilitate construction of ADUs so that San Diegans … help with the housing crisis.”

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San Diego restaurant group Good Time Design says it has expanded and reopened its bar and live performance venue Moonshine Beach in Pacific Beach and smokehouse BBQ eatery The Deck at Moonshine Flats downtown. And a spokeswoman said despite closures imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the group is adding six new venues in San Diego and Tennessee, which include The Presley in Liberty Station, Cerveza Jack’s in the Gaslamp and Moonshine Beach. The spokeswoman said all of the group’s venues are now open with the exception of Moonshine Flats in East Village, which will reopen when more Covid restrictions are eased.

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Package carrier FedEx has awarded San Diego tortilla maker Eat Coyotas with a $15,000 grant and $1,000 in printing and other business services as part of a nationwide competition. The local business is one of 10 that took third place in the FedEx’s annual Small Business Grant Contest. Equine Amnio Solutions, a veterinary drug company in Texas, took the grand prize, winning a $50,000 grant plus $7,500 in business services. Overall, FedEx says it has awarded more than $1.3 million total in grant money and printing credits since the contest’s inception.

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Toronto-based CI Financial Corp. is acquiring San Diego investment advisor Dowling & Yahnke. CI Financial said the acquisition will be its first in San Diego and will double CI’s assets in Southern California. D&Y has $5.1 billion in assets under management. The transaction is expected to increase CI’s total U.S. assets to $63 billion.

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Good news on the real estate front. San Diego commercial real estate investment trust Realty Income Corp. is acquiring another commercial real estate trust, Phoenix-based Vereit Inc. The deal is valued at $11 billion. Shares of the Realty Income are trading at near 52-week highs, and the REIT has the distinction of having paid dividends for 25 straight years. Realty Income concentrates on properties in retail, but has been expanding its business into other sector, such as vineyards and office space in the U.K.

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Carlsbad’s Ionis Pharmaceuticals is the presenting sponsor of this year’s 2021 ALS Association Greater San Diego Chapter May 19 virtual fund-raising event. Surprisingly, the ALS achieved its $80,000 fund-raising goal during its livestream event last August despite restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. A spokesman said viewers will have a number of opportunities to donate during May 17-21, including an online auction. The proceeds will be spent on patients and family services. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or more commonly Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neurodegenerative disease that impacts nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Anyone can “tune in” to the virtual “fiesta” free of charge. Head on over to www.alsfiesta.com or the nonprofit’s Facebook page for details, including the starting time.

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A final nonprofit note. Project [BLANK], a local multimedia concert series, will live-stream Olivier Messiaen’s “Harawi,” a concert-length song cycle, on May 28 and May 30 from a venue in San Ysidro. Harawi features original video art by Anna Chiaretta Cavatelli, mixed live to the performances of mezzo-soprano Leslie Ann Leytham and pianist Brendan Nguyen, performed at the Front Arte & Cultura Gallery. The concert combines Messiaen symbolist poetry with elements of Quechua, an indigenous language spoken by Quechuan peoples living in Peru, as well as other influences. Check out Project [BLANK] for more details, including start times.

Tom York is a Carlsbad-based independent journalist who specializes in writing about business and the economy. If you have news tips you’d like to share, send them to tom.york@gmail.com.

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