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Regional Roundup



Carlsbad: This Version of Las Vegas Is Kid-Friendly

Las Vegas is being re-created in Legoland California’s Miniland USA, one brick at a time. Actually, 2 million for those who are keeping count.

The project, set to open at the Carlsbad theme park in the spring, will feature replicas of such famous hotels as Luxor Las Vegas; New York, New York; Excalibur; Mirage; Treasure Island; MGM Grand; and the Stratosphere.

“The Strip” comes complete with a miniature wedding chapel and monorails, as well as some real life Sin City sounds, recorded of course.

With an estimated 16,000 hours of labor and 2 million Lego bricks, the tab for building Miniland Las Vegas has been projected at $1 million.

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“Miniland is the heart of Legoland California where kids and their families can see all that can be created with Lego elements,” said John Jakobsen, the park’s president and general manager. “As a visually stunning United States landmark, Las Vegas will be a shining example of creativity and imagination.

“Las Vegas is recognizable around the world, and we are excited to give our family visitors the chance to experience the city in a kid-friendly environment.”

More than 24 million Lego bricks create Miniland USA. Las Vegas will be one of six geographical locations in Miniland.

Legoland California is a 128-acre park geared toward children ages 2 through 12 with more than 50 family rides, attractions and shows.

Legoland employs roughly 1,200 people during the summertime peak travel season, and 600 people at off-peak times.

The park doesn’t cite revenue or attendance figures, but expects record attendance this year.

, Connie Lewis

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National City: Industrial Park Part of L.A.’s Story

Voit Development Co. has sold a 78,865-square-foot industrial park located on 3.2 acres in National City to Los Angeles-based Rexford Industrial LLC for an undisclosed amount.

The business park on West 33rd Street includes more than 54,000 square feet of industrial space occupied by Virginia Beach, Va.-based Amsec, a subsidiary of San Diego’s SAIC Inc. The project also includes more than 24,700 square feet of multi-tenant industrial space, ranging from 339 to 8,900 square feet. Among the tenants is San Diego-based Clean Harbors, which offers hazardous waste management services.

Woodland Hills-based Voit Development acquired the project and completed its redevelopment in 2005.

Michael Mossmer and Rob Miller of Voit Commercial Brokerage represented the company in the sale.

, Pat Broderick

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San Marcos: Mall Offering ‘Ulta-Mate’ Experience

An Illinois beauty retailer was set to land in San Marcos last week.

Ulta was expected to open Friday, Nov. 17 at San Marcos’ brand-new shopping center, Grand Plaza at 173 Las Posas Road, off Highway 78. It is the fourth Ulta location in San Diego County.

The Romeoville, Ill.-based company sells brand name skin and hair care products, as well as its own line of Ulta products. The retailer also offers salon services, including hair and nail treatments and skin care consultations.

Ulta was founded in 1990 and consists of 195 stores in 26 states. The other county locations are in Carlsbad, Oceanside and La Jolla. The average Ulta is approximately 10,000 square feet and employs about 25 to 30 people.

, Jessica Long

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Vista: What a Difference a Half-Cent Can Make

Voters in Vista approved a half-cent sales tax increase when they passed Proposition L on Nov. 7.

The sales tax in Vista is currently 7.75 percent and the new tax will be 8.25 percent.

The tax is expected to go into effect April 1 and expire March 31, 2037. The city anticipates receiving $292 million in additional revenue in the 30-year life of the tax.

The tax increase will fund general government purposes of the city. During the campaign, tax backers said they planned to use revenue to hire more police and firefighters, build new fire stations, replace an aging City Hall, repair streets and add youth sports facilities.

The city plans to issue a request for qualifications this month for architectural services to build a new civic center. A similar request for qualifications for two fire stations will go out after the city determines the best locations for those stations, according to the city manager’s office.

Most cities in San Diego County have a 7.75 percent sales tax. The exceptions are El Cajon, with 8.25 percent, and National City, 8.75 percent.

, Brad Graves

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Solana Beach: Washington Firm Open to Energy Deal

Solana Beach-based Open Energy Corp. signed a joint development agreement Nov. 13 with Kennewick, Wash.-based Infinia Corp. to integrate the company’s products into a power generation system.

Terms of the deal were not available by press time.

Together, the companies’ initiative is to generate electricity at a lower cost without burning fossil fuels or emitting greenhouse gases by using Open Energy’s Suncone CSP solar concentrating power system to deliver solar thermal energy to Infinia’s free-piston Stirling engine.

“By working with Open Energy, we believe we can accelerate the development and commercial availability of these truly important and unique solar power generation systems. Our companies share a similar goal , to fundamentally change how the world generates and uses energy,” said J.D. Sitton, chief executive officer of Infinia.

Open Energy develops renewable energy products and technologies and Infinia is an energy technology company that develops and delivers Stirling generators.

Open Energy, incorporated in 2002, trades on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board under the symbol OEGY.OB. Shares were trading at 60 cents at midday Nov. 14, down 2 cents from the Nov. 13 close.

, Stacey Bengtson

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El Cajon: City Discussing Preserving Old Buildings

The city of El Cajon was expected to consider an ordinance that would establish a process by which buildings with significant historical value could be preserved.

The proposed law was to be considered by the City Council on Nov. 14, and if approved, would designate the city’s Planning Commission to double as the Historic Preservation Commission of El Cajon.

The commission would have the responsibility to review requests and have 40 days to respond. Appeals of the commission’s decision would mean the City Council would then review the request.

The city’s ordinance said its purpose is to “preserve the heritage of the city by providing for the protection of its historic resources” and to “encourage public knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the city’s history.”

, Katie Weeks

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La Mesa: A City First, Town Hall Meetings

The La Mesa City Council plans to hold two town hall meetings to help gauge public concern about resource allocation as the council develops its two-year budget for 2007-2009.

The meetings have been scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. at two La Mesa campuses: Monday, Dec. 4 at Parkway Middle School, 9009 Park Plaza Drive; and Tuesday, Jan. 30 at La Mesa Middle School, 4200 Parks Ave.

Lydia Simms, secretary to the city manager, said that this would be the first time La Mesa has conducted town hall meetings.

Simms said these meetings are being arranged to help the council create a budget and denied any relation between the new meeting format and the “Chris Tanner incident” , a major sticking point for Mayor Art Madrid.

During a City Council meeting, resident Chris Tanner spoke in opposition to development plans and was later threatened with legal action in a letter from the city attorney. The council later apologized for the incident.

Madrid was re-elected as mayor of La Mesa on Nov. 7, against opponents Craig Maxwell and Jim Stieringer , his fifth consecutive term.

, Andy Killion

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Lemon Grove: City Eager to See What Survey Says

The city of Lemon Grove’s Community Development Agency is giving residents an opportunity to comment on redevelopment in the business district.

An informational survey is available online and at several city facilities, including City Hall, the Lemon Grove Public Library, the Lemon Grove Recreation Center and the Senior Center, through Nov. 30. In addition, it is being distributed outside of several Lemon Grove businesses and the agency will be surveying residents by phone.

City Manager Graham Mitchell said the city hopes the survey will provide information that can be used to plan projects that will meet the needs of the residents and address their concerns during redevelopment.

The city anticipates collecting more than 400 survey responses this month. Mitchell said the city paid $15,000 to San Diego-based Southwest Strategies LLC to collect and analyze survey responses and, ultimately, make recommendations for redevelopment improvements.

The Lemon Grove Community Development Agency has $6 million earmarked for redevelopment projects, including realigning streets to improve traffic flow and for development adjacent to the trolley station.

, Michelle Mowad

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San Diego: Businesses to Be Honored Nov. 28

On Nov. 28, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders is set to co-host the Mexico Business Center’s second annual InterAmerican Business Awards.

Companies with facilities in San Diego County and Tijuana will be awarded for their efforts toward improving the lives of the people and communities at the border.

There are more than 130 companies that have manufacturing facilities in both San Diego County and Tijuana, said James Clark, general director of the Mexico Business Center.

The awards are co-sponsored by the Tijuana Economic Development Corp.

The Mexico Business Center, a resource of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, assists San Diego County and Baja California businesses in selling their products and services in Mexico and the United States.

, Amy Yarnall

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