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Tuesday, Feb 27, 2024

Architectural Foundation Holds Orchids, Onions Awards Ceremony

The San Diego Architectural Foundation sang the praises of numerous well planned, designed and executed projects at its annual Orchids and Onions awards ceremony Nov. 30 at the Birch North Park Theatre. The foundation also acknowledged a few of the worst.

The annual event, which began in 1974, recognizes the good, the bad and the just plain ugly in architectural design in San Diego in hopes of sparking dialogue.

This year’s Orchids and Onions showcase had nine award categories, including architecture, historical preservation, interior design, landscape design, planning policies and sustainable design.

The Grand Orchid, or top honor, was awarded to Aztec Green and San Diego State University Transit Center on Campanile Drive. The architect was Portland, Ore.-based Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects.

The Grand Onion was also given to a transit-oriented project. The Interstate 5 and 805 merge was awarded the grand onion because of the high cost of the project and lack of traffic relief.

Other award winners were:

– & #8201;Orchid for Architecture , Francis Parker Middle School

– & #8201;Onion for Architecture , Thurgood Marshall Middle School

– & #8201;Orchid for Landscape Architecture/Built Environment , Caltrans Headquarters

– & #8201;Orchid for Landscape Architecture/Ecology , Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve

– & #8201;Orchid for Urban Design/Historic Preservation , NTC Promenade

– & #8201;Orchid for Historic Preservation , Paseo de Mission Hills

– & #8201;Onion for Historic Preservation , Pipitone Building

– & #8201;Orchid for Interior Design , Anthology

– & #8201;Orchid for Interior Design , The Guild

– & #8201;Orchid for Landscape Architecture/Sustainable Design , Cottonwood Park

– & #8201;Orchid for Landscape Architecture/Sustainable Design , Briercrest Park

– & #8201;Onion for Planning Policies , Campo Casino Expansion

– & #8201;Onion for Planning Policies ,Sunroad Centrum office building

– & #8201;Orchid for Public Art , Sea Passage Fountain in Coronado

– & #8201;Onion for Public Art , Magic Carpet Ride in Encinitas

– & #8201;Orchid for Sustainability , Children’s Museum San Diego

– & #8201;Orchid for Sustainability , Del Sur Ranch House

– & #8201;Onion for Sustainability , Del Sur Housing Development

– & #8201;Orchid for Sustainability , Hammond Lofts

– & #8201;San Diego Architectural Foundation’s Humanitarian Award , Qualcomm Stadium

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Apartment Vacancy Rates Drop, Rents Increase:

Apartment vacancy rates decreased this fall, according to the San Diego County Apartment Association’s Vacancy & Rental Rate survey released Dec. 3. As vacancy rates decreased to 3.4 percent, rental rates increased 2.3 percent to an average of $1,168 countywide, according to the seasonal report.

“We anticipated a decrease in vacancies from what was reported last spring as returning condominium conversions began to be absorbed by the market,” said Robert Pinnegar, executive director of the association. “Foreclosed homeowners returning as renters have probably further driven the decrease in vacancies.”

The association report stated that vacancy rates decreased as rental rates have increased to reflect rising operational costs. Linda Morris, president of Cambridge Management Group Inc. and association president, said costs to maintain and manage rental housing keeps rising, which ultimately affected rents.

Studios and units with three or more bedrooms had the highest vacancy rates, according to the report. Studios had a 4.5 percent vacancy rate and three-plus bedroom units had a 4.2 percent vacancy rate.

The San Diego County Apartment Association, a nonprofit trade association, anticipated that the impact of the October wildfires on occupancy rates would be minimal.

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New Office:

A Toronto-based landscape architecture and land planning firm opened a San Diego office in late November. LANDinc.’s new office is headed by landscape architect Neil Hadley, formerly with San Diego’s Spurlock Poirier Landscape Architects.

LANDinc. offers resort planning, landscape architecture, urban design and planning, environmental planning and sustainable development and graphics and communications design. The Pacific Beach office is LANDinc.’s first U.S. outpost.

“We were strategic in selecting our first U.S. office location,” said Hadley in a business announcement. “San Diego’s booming economy, reputation for sustainable development, and passion for design excellence made it a natural for us.”

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Looking Out For Fire Victims:

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie M. Dumanis announced the extension of a provision that prohibits sharp price increases in services and products during and shortly after a declared state of emergency. The district attorney’s office requested the extension in the interest of residents who continue to be affected by the recent wildfires.

“This is an effective deterrent to potential price-gouging,” said Dumanis. “This extension of price gouging protection is part of a comprehensive approach taken by our office to protect wildlife victims from the criminal element that disaster attracts.”

It is illegal for businesses to increase prices of essential goods and services by more than 10 percent during the state of emergency or shortly after. The prohibition applies to goods or services for emergency clean-up, building materials, housing and storage services.

In addition, the district attorney’s office reported it has issued eight cases against unlicensed contractors who approached residents affected by the October wildfires. It works with several other agencies to conduct undercover operations to protect wildfire victims from “criminals posing as contractors.”

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