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sandiegodweller Sep 26, 2007 2:17 PM

Navy to mask Coronado's swastika-shaped barracks
 
Navy to mask Coronado's swastika-shaped barracks

By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 26, 2007


CORONADO, Calif., -- The U.S. Navy has decided to spend as much as $600,000 for landscaping and architectural modifications to obscure the fact that one its building complexes looks like a swastika from the air.

The four L-shaped buildings, constructed in the late 1960s, are part of the amphibious base at Coronado and serve as barracks for Seabees.

From the ground and from inside nearby buildings, the controversial shape cannot be seen. Nor are there any civilian or military landing patterns that provide such a view to airline passengers.

But once people began looking at satellite images from Google Earth, they started commenting about on blogs and websites about how much the buildings resembled the symbol used by the Nazis.

When contacted by a Missouri-based radio talk-show host last year, Navy officials gave no indication they would make changes.

But early this year, the issue was quietly taken up by Morris Casuto, the Anti-Defamation League's regional director in San Diego, and U.S. Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego).

As a result, in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, the Navy has budgeted up to $600,000 for changes in walkways, "camouflage" landscaping and rooftop photovoltaic cells.

The goal is to mask the shape. "We don't want to be associated with something as symbolic and hateful as a swastika," said Scott Sutherland, deputy public affairs officer for Navy Region Southwest, the command that is responsible for maintaining buildings on local bases.

The collection of L-shaped buildings is at the corner of Tulagi and Bougainville roads, named after World War II battles.

Navy officials say the shape of the buildings, designed by local architect John Mock, was not noted until after the groundbreaking in 1967 -- and since it was not visible from the ground, a decision was made not to make any changes.

It is unclear who first noticed the shape on Google Earth. But one of the first and loudest advocates demanding a change was Dave vonKleist, host of a Missouri-based radio-talk show, The Power Hour, and a website, www.thepowerhour.com.

In spring 2006, he began writing military officials, including then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, calling for action.

That August, he received a response from officials in Coronado, who made no promise to take action and said, "The Navy intends to continue the use of the buildings as long as they remain adequate for the needs of the service."

In December, the now-defunct San Diego Jewish Times wrote about the buildings and the controversy.

Soon Casuto and Davis got involved.

Casuto began an on-and-off dialogue with the chief of staff to Rear Adm. Len Hering, commander of Region Southwest. He said that several members of the Jewish community had complained to him.

"I don't ascribe any intentionally evil motives to this," Casuto said, referring to the design. "It just happened. The Navy has been very good about recognizing the problem. The issue is over."

Davis, who is Jewish, is also pleased with the Navy's decision.

During a discussion with military officials on other issues, Davis had mentioned the Coronado buildings and suggested that rooftop photovoltaic arrays might help change the overhead look. The base gets 3% of its power from solar energy and has been looking to increase that percentage.

Reached in Versailles, Mo., vonKleist, the talk-show host, said he was ecstatic.

"I'm concerned about symbolism," he said. "This is not the type of message America needs to be sending to the world."

tony.perry@latimes.com

keg92101 Sep 26, 2007 3:09 PM

[QUOTE=sandiego_urban;3075728]Shots of the skyline that I took yesterday. It's expanding and filling in nicely :tup:


http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y12...n/IMG_1169.jpg

QUOTE]

Hey, the Electra crane came down! I'm working up in LA now during the week and haven't been home in a couple of weeks. The sun hits that building pretty nice. Is East Village Bowling open yet? Also, check this tid bit out regarding more leasing notes from SDBJ...

Alliant Insurance Services Inc. decided against leasing 50,000 square feet of space in DiamondView Tower Downtown after the company was purchased this year by The Blackstone Group, which owns another Downtown high-rise, the Merrill Lynch building at 701 Broadway. Alliant will lease space in that building instead.

Jason Wood, vice president of finance and leasing for Cisterra Partners, developer of DiamondView Tower, says 30,000 square feet of the space Alliant was to take on the 10th floor of the 15-story building has been taken by The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, currently located at 1010 Second Ave. The remaining 30,000 square feet is on the market. DiamondView Tower, says Wood, is 84 percent occupied. One of the latest leases went to the Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery for a ground floor space at 10th Avenue and K Street

Sweet...a pub! Check out the website:http://www.tiltedkilt.com/index.html

Derek Sep 26, 2007 9:35 PM

Looks like it will give Hooters some compitition. ;)


I expect complaints from conservatives on that one though, as it is so close to Petco Park, which is a family setting. That pub is obviously not.

Go pub! :)

OCtoSD Sep 26, 2007 11:44 PM

Now That's Iconic
 
Electra looks Iconic, for the future the Irvine company should take note. Though I can not say i dislike their building.

Derek Sep 26, 2007 11:52 PM

Does anybody know why Trophy's left their downtown location?

An upscale steakhouse is going in thier spot now.

sandiego_urban Sep 27, 2007 1:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by keg92101
Hey, the Electra crane came down! I'm working up in LA now during the week and haven't been home in a couple of weeks. The sun hits that building pretty nice. Is East Village Bowling open yet?

Yeah, Electra stands out pretty well from Shelter Island. The slight curvature in glass looks nice. Regarding East Village Tavern, I read that it opened last Saturday. Definitely a place we should all check out.


Quote:

Originally Posted by keg92101
Jason Wood, vice president of finance and leasing for Cisterra Partners, developer of DiamondView Tower, says 30,000 square feet of the space Alliant was to take on the 10th floor of the 15-story building has been taken by The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, currently located at 1010 Second Ave.

It's a bummer about Alliant, but I think the building will benefit more with FIDM relocating from their 2nd Ave location. I'd rather see students roaming the area instead of a bunch of insurance people, anyways...:haha:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Derek loves SD
Does anybody know why Trophy's left their downtown location?

I was surprised to hear that it closed as well. When I walked by there after a baseball game it always seemed to be packed. Did you all know that a FOX Sports Grill is opening next year at the Hilton? I'm hoping that they will get the pedestrian bridge going before it opens so that it will be easy to get over there from the stadium.

sandiegodweller Sep 27, 2007 1:35 AM

I was surprised to hear that it closed as well. When I walked by there after a baseball game it always seemed to be packed. Did you all know that a FOX Sports Grill is opening next year at the Hilton? I'm hoping that they will get the pedestrian bridge going before it opens so that it will be easy to get over there from the stadium.[/QUOTE]

Rising Price of Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge Has City Officials All Crossed

Project Will Take 15 Months Once Contract Is Awarded
By MIKE ALLEN

San Diego Business Journal Staff


A pedestrian bridge that would span Harbor Drive near the San Diego Convention Center garage could cost $25 million, twice the original estimate.
Call it a bridge too high, at least in terms of its cost.

A pedestrian bridge that would traverse Harbor Drive and connect the south end San Diego Convention Center garage with Park Boulevard was recently estimated to cost $25 million, more than double an original $12 million estimate when the project was first proposed about three years ago.

William Yee, project manager at the Centre City Development Corp., San Diego’s downtown redevelopment agency, said a big spike in the worldwide costs for construction materials, including steel, concrete and lumber, is the reason for the big rise in the estimate.

CCDC said it is close to issuing a request for proposals on construction, assuming it receives approvals on a revised design from its board and the City Council.

Yee said the agency could launch the bidding process in late October after receiving approvals. CCDC would then select a contractor and negotiate a contract by year-end so that construction could begin early next year, Yee said.

The bridge should take 15 months to complete.

As infrastructure projects go, this is one of the largest that CCDC has undertaken. The agency is renovating Balboa Theatre for an estimated $26 million, but the cost for the pedestrian bridge exceeds the $21 million to build a multi-level parking garage next to Petco Park.

Not Thrilled

City officials weren’t thrilled about building a bridge, but were required to do so by the state’s Public Utilities Commission, Yee said.

As part of the Petco Park redevelopment plan, the city would realign Park Boulevard, and create a wider road from K Street to Harbor Drive. Ultimately, the plan calls for widening and installing landscaping to create a pedestrian-friendly promenade to connect Balboa Park to San Diego Bay.

While city staffers argued that opening Park Boulevard to traffic (it’s now closed at the southern end next to the ballpark) was a simple modification of an existing opening at Eighth Avenue, the PUC disagreed.

The PUC ruled that the opening of Park Boulevard was not a revision, but a new crossing and wanted to ensure the safety of pedestrians by changing the grade level to cross both the street and two sets of rail tracks from Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway and the San Diego Trolley, Yee said.

“The city and the PUC discussed other options, including a tunnel, and raising Park Boulevard, but in the end they decided that the pedestrian bridge was the best solution,” he said.

sandiegodweller Sep 27, 2007 1:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Derek loves SD (Post 3077223)
Does anybody know why Trophy's left their downtown location?

An upscale steakhouse is going in thier spot now.

Donovan’s Pairs With Trophy’s to Cook Up New Steakhouse Site

Restaurateurs Expect to Attract 70% of Customers From Conventions
By CONNIE LEWIS

San Diego Business Journal Staff


Steve Josefski, general manager of Donovan’s Steak & Chop House in La Jolla, says that expanding into downtown gives the restaurant an opportunity to take advantage of convention business, as well as growth in residential and hotel development.
While the Gaslamp Quarter is unarguably the most highly trafficked attraction in the county, it has proven to be less than fertile territory for more than a few nightclubs and restaurants, most recently Trophy’s and LG’s Prime Steakhouse, two chains that closed locations there this summer.

According to the Gaslamp Quarter Association, 9.3 million people passed through there in 2006. But the competition among the 120 eateries, clubs and bars located in the entertainment district is fierce. Yet there are always others poised and ready to take the place of those that leave.

Or in the case of Trophy’s, which opened across from Petco Park in August 2005 and shut down this summer, there are those willing to bring in a partner — Donovan’s Steak & Chop House — with a formula expected to draw a steady flow of customers to fill in the gaps between spikes in convention- and ballgame-related trade. The 2.6 million-square-foot waterfront San Diego Convention Center is within easy walking distance of the Gaslamp.

Dan Shea, managing partner of the La Jolla-based company, which expects to complete remodeling construction of the Donovan’s third location in late November, said it had explored the possibility of locating downtown long before Trophy’s on the corner of Sixth Avenue and K Street became available.

Donovan’s has a 50.1 percent share in the new venture and Trophy’s has 49.9 percent.

“We looked for seven years in downtown, at every conceivable site there is and we did not find one that would give the economics we needed to get a return on investment that we expect,” Shea said. “We didn’t want to open just to see if we’d do well. We’re not emotional players, we’re financial players.”

Dale Wilson, managing member of American Café LLC, a San Diego firm that now counts four Trophy’s, said the company had planned to diversify from the fast-casual brand into the more upscale “prime steakhouse” category, but decided to partner with Donovan’s rather than go it alone downtown.

“We were scheming for ways to build our business during the off-season and figured this would be a great time to do it,” Wilson said. “But to our good fortune, they said, ‘Hey wait, we’re looking for a site, so throw in with us and we’ll do it under the Donovan’s banner.’ ”

Trophy’s has locations in Mission Valley, La Mesa, La Jolla and Eastlake.

Downtown Strategy

The first Donovan’s opened on La Jolla Village Drive eight years ago and the second was opened on East Camelback Road in Phoenix three years ago.

Shea is also a partner in Paradigm Investment Group LLC, a separate, 18-year-old entity whose holdings include real estate and 100 franchised fast-food restaurants, including Hardee’s and Burger King, in seven states.

Shea declined to give revenue figures for either of the two Donovan’s or Paradigm, nor would he say what the company projects in sales for the new restaurant venture. He said that while 80 percent of the La Jolla Donovan’s business is from local residents and 20 percent from out-of-town visitors, the situation will be nearly the reverse in downtown.

“I expect 70 percent will come from conventions and 30 percent from locals,” he added. “We have always believed we would do well with convention business.”
While the Gaslamp Quarter has no lack of steakhouses — the current count is seven — Shea said he believes that the reputation Donovan’s has built locally for serving only USDA prime cuts of meat accompanied by side dishes at no extra charge and providing an extensive wine list will help it stand out among the fray.

“We always looked to the (housing) density being built in downtown, because we thought we could capitalize on that,” he said. “People I’ve talked to who live downtown say, ‘We love your restaurant, but we only come here once or twice a year.’

“So we expect to get that part of the local business, so being downtown we expect to get that business.”

Quoting industry analysts, Wilson said that “fine dining is pretty much unscathed by national economic events.”

“High-end steakhouses have avoided the malaise of trading for options below that level brought on by $3 (for a gallon of) gas and 8.5 percent prime interest rates affecting general consumers,” he added.

Good Value

According to Steve Zolezzi, executive vice president of the San Diego County Food & Beverage Association, running a successful restaurant in the Gaslamp Quarter or anywhere else is a matter of providing customers value and good service for their dining dollar regardless of their budget.

“What it all gets down to is, did the restaurant provide a great experience and good value?” Zolezzi stressed.

After gutting most of the 6,500-square-foot interior of the former Trophy’s, replacing all of its light wood furnishings with darker wood, but leaving the kitchen intact, Shea said the new eatery will have seating for 200-plus.

It will also have a large, high-energy bar with a “‘Cheers’-like” atmosphere, he said referring to the popular 1980s TV show by the same name. Space once devoted to the eatery’s signature floor-to-ceiling trophy case will house a display case for wine varietals.

The owner of Palm Springs-based LG’s Steakhouse did not return a call seeking comment on the closure of its downtown location.

As to the future of what was formerly LG’s at Sixth Avenue and F Street, a spokesperson with Daphne’s Greek Cafe confirmed that the company plans to open Exy, an upscale Greek restaurant there in mid-November, but declined to elaborate.

The San Diego-based chain has 77 fast-casual Greek eateries in three states, as well as Daphne’s Greek Express in a food court at San Diego State University.

Derek Sep 27, 2007 1:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sandiego_urban (Post 3077407)
I was surprised to hear that it closed as well. When I walked by there after a baseball game it always seemed to be packed. Did you all know that a FOX Sports Grill is opening next year at the Hilton? I'm hoping that they will get the pedestrian bridge going before it opens so that it will be easy to get over there from the stadium.

It was always packed on game days! I should know because I almost always went there before games.;)


I'm glad to hear about the Fox Sports Grill, but I'd rather see it closer to the Gaslamp.

sandiegodweller Sep 27, 2007 2:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Derek loves SD (Post 3077453)
It was always packed on game days! I should know because I almost always went there before games.;)


I'm glad to hear about the Fox Sports Grill, but I'd rather see it closer to the Gaslamp.

I agree. The FSG in Irvine is great but it will be tough to get to if it is at the new Hilton.

keg92101 Sep 27, 2007 2:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Derek loves SD (Post 3077223)
Does anybody know why Trophy's left their downtown location?

An upscale steakhouse is going in thier spot now.

Its all dollars & cents. Trophey's is going into partnership with Donovans, and they signed the lease before the rates in the gaslamp skyrocketted. I wouldn't be suprised if they opened up again on the east side of the ballpark within a year.

HurricaneHugo Sep 27, 2007 2:27 AM

Dare I say that Electra looks like the most prominent building in downtown?

Derek Sep 27, 2007 2:28 AM

I want to see it lit up at night. :)

bmfarley Sep 27, 2007 3:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sandiegodweller (Post 3077501)
I agree. The FSG in Irvine is great but it will be tough to get to if it is at the new Hilton.

The new pedetrian overpass over harbor will help. I believe construction on that thing was/is suppose to begin this Fall. No?

bmfarley Sep 27, 2007 3:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Derek loves SD (Post 3077530)
I want to see it lit up at night. :)

I bet that'll take a while!

Derek Sep 27, 2007 3:30 AM

Does anybody know how many units Electra has sold?

sandiegodweller Sep 27, 2007 3:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bmfarley (Post 3077668)
The new pedetrian overpass over harbor will help. I believe construction on that thing was/is suppose to begin this Fall. No?

According to the article that I posted earlier today, the bridge is 100% over budget. IF the bid gets awarded by the end of the year, the project COULD start next year and be done by late 2009.

sandiegodweller Sep 27, 2007 3:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Derek loves SD (Post 3077711)
Does anybody know how many units Electra has sold?

Most if not all of the units are reserved. MY OPINION is that maybe 50% will complete their escrows.

Derek Sep 27, 2007 3:40 AM

Thank you.:)

keg92101 Sep 27, 2007 3:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sandiegodweller (Post 3077743)
Most if not all of the units are reserved. MY OPINION is that maybe 50% will complete their escrows.

They have been 100% under contract for over a year. My friend is a RE Attorney, and tried to get someone out of their purchase contract at the Legend. They are Iron Clad. the deposit is 10% of the purchase price, which is at least 50k, and would be forfeited. Thats a LOT of money to walk away from. Those units will hold their value long term with that location.

On a better note, more retail news... GORDON BIERSCH at IKON!

http://reappsfiles.breb.com/filecabi...restaurant.pdf


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