Compiled by CVAR Government Affairs Director Bill Ruh. This month in the Cities Report: Canceled 4th of July celebrations; renter and business assistance from El Monte; COVID testing in Baldwin Park; Chino Hills habitat; Citrus College donates masks to local hospitals; Pabst buys brewery; Upland repeals eviction rule and more!
Rexford Industrial Reality Inc., a Los Angeles real estate investment trust that invests in and operates industrial properties in Southern California, has acquired a six-acre site, at 720-750 North Vernon Ave., Azusa, for $15.5 million. The company paid for the acquisition with cash. The acquired property is located within the Los Angeles-San Gabriel Valley submarket, for $59 per land square foot. The site comprises 71,692 square feet of buildings, fully leased on a long-term, triple net basis.
Rexford intends to collect cash flow from the in-place lease and, when the lease expires, redevelop the site by constructing a new, much larger Class A warehouse and distribution facility.
The company said that according to CBRE, the vacancy rate in the 153 million-square-foot Los Angeles-San Gabriel Valley submarket was 1.5 percent at the end of the fourth quarter 2019. Rexford noted that Vernon Avenue is a well located, fully occupied industrial property with a long-term in-place triple net lease, providing a favorable level of recurring cash flow plus the potential for future value-add redevelopment given the relatively low implied value of the underlying land.
The city of Baldwin Park, in a partnership with Vital Medical Services and Baldwin Park Unified School District, will open an appointment-only COVID-19 testing site to allow more community members to have access to testing. The testing site, located in the Baldwin Park Adult School, 4640 N. Maine Ave., Baldwin Park, will be open Tuesday to Saturday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., as long as supplies allow.
Testing will be provided for symptomatic residents at a crucial point in our fight against COVID-19. The eligibility for screening of Baldwin Park residents, and employees of Baldwin Park businesses are as follows: Anyone who is exhibiting symptoms of fever, cough, shortness of breath or who are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period due to a confirmed COVID-19 exposure (with more than 7 days of quarantine remaining) regardless of immigration status. Priority is being given to: Those with symptoms who have underlying chronic health conditions, those with symptoms who are 65 and older, those with no health insurance, and residents who are low income.
This service is for COVID-19 testing only, not for treatment or health advice. People who meet the eligibility criteria and are seeking to be tested should wear a mask and bring photo identification to ensure a smooth admission and testing process. Note that bringing photo identification is not required to be tested but will help ease processing.
The site will be staffed and run by Vital Medical Services, which will screen patients with a nasal swab that is administered by a licensed health care professional. The testing process takes between 5 and 10 minutes but waiting times may vary.
To schedule an appointment for COVID-19 testing, visit www.baldwinpark.com/testing.
For the latest information on COVID-19 in the city of Baldwin Park, visit: baldwinpark.com, call (626) 214.1670 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The city of Chino Hills has spent more than a $1 million over the last two decades creating and maintaining a 9-acre wetlands habitat south of Big League Dreams sports park. The habitat includes protections for the Least Bell’s Vireo. The council recently approved an agreement with Rivers and Lands Conservancy to manage the habitat for $574,633.
In 2000 the city was cleaning out the Los Serranos Storm Drain Channel when it was ordered to stop work by the Department of Fish and Game because a Least Bell’s vireo nest was discovered The tiny endangered songbirds live in dense shrubs and small trees along rivers and streams. At the time the city was ordered to develop an environmental plan and create 9 acres to offset the 3 acres of vegetation it removed during the cleanup. The city spent $330,000 to create the habitat and entered into an agreement with the California Conservation Corp for $39,000 a year for management over the next five years.
As part of mitigation compliance, the city is obligated to maintain the habitat forever. In 2008, the city satisfied the second level of compliance to restore the area, but to fulfill the third level of compliance, the city must establish a long-term management plan. The plan includes entering into a conservation easement deed agreement that prevents development and an endowment management agreement. The role of the endowment is to establish funds for the long-term monitoring and maintenance of the site.
The habitat consists of coast live oak, black walnut, blue elderberry, Western sycamore, arroyo willow, black willow, California sagebrush, evening primrose, California bulrush, and numerous other trees and plants. Wildlife observed in the habitat include the Least Bell’s Vireo songbird, three species of hawks, yellow warblers, ducks, coyotes, desert rabbit, and egrets or herons.
The city of Claremont is cancelling all Fourth of July Celebration events scheduled for Saturday, July 4, 2020. The decision comes after the Governor’s announcement that large gatherings and events will not be allowed until Phase Four of the California reopening plan. The city and its event partners announced changes to the annual celebration in early May. The City was going to move forward with the flag raising ceremony and parade. However, staff made the decision to cancel the parade and flag raising amidst county and state announcements that physical distance and restrictions on large gatherings will continue through the summer. In place of this year’s event, staff will be developing virtual Fourth of July contests and activities for residents.
This year would have marked the 72nd Annual Fourth of July Celebration.
The city of El Monte’s mayor and city council approved cash assistance of up to $1,200 for qualified renters. To qualify, residents must be within Los Angeles County’s 50% income limit and be able to prove they were financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Residents can go to El Monte’s virtual city hall to apply through May 20. Anyone without access to the internet can pick up an application at El Monte City Hall, 11333 Valley Blvd., and drop off the completed form at a designated dropbox.
Residents who apply will be put into a lottery system to determine who will receive funding, as the city has only $250,000 in Community and Development Block Grant funds (from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development). The funds come from CDBG-CV, which are designated to local cities by the CARES Act, or the $2.2 trillion economic stimulus package the federal government passed in April.
The application for the assistance program opened Wednesday, May 6 and will be open until May 20. The lottery will commence May 27. City Manager Alma Martinez said payments will be distributed directly to landlords around the first week of June.
Additionally, as many as 55 small businesses in El Monte financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can receive a $10,000 grant from the city on a first-come, first-served basis. Businesses can apply through El Monte’s virtual City Hall. Businesses must meet the following requirements:
• Located within the El Monte city limits
• Employ fewer than 20 people, including the owner
• Operational for at least one year
• Must have or register for a DUNS number, a nine-digit ID for businesses
Officials will review applications for eligibility. The city’s website has more information on the review process.
The El Monte City Council approved the one-time grant program to support local businesses during this crisis. The city noted that state and federal authorities have offered billions in loans and other assistance to small businesses restricted or shut down by the pandemic, but many continue to struggle.
Citrus College in Glendora recently donated over 600 N95 respirator masks to area hospitals as part of its ongoing response to the nation’s public health crisis. On April 21, college personnel delivered masks to Foothill Presbyterian Hospital in Glendora, San Antonio Regional Hospital in Upland, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center in Pomona and City of Hope in Duarte. The masks, which were part of the college’s emergency supplies inventory, were donated in response to the critical shortage of personal protective equipment affecting those on the front line of this global pandemic.
Citrus College made these donations as reports show that more and more healthcare workers are falling ill with COVID-19, while many others are being asked to re-use their masks due to a scarcity of supplies. When the college realized they had a modest inventory of N95 masks, it decided to get them into the hands of those who desperately need them.
Prior to distributing the masks, Citrus College personnel reached out to local hospitals to determine where the need was greatest. Once the recipient list was confirmed, the logistics of delivery were finalized.
The physical closure of the Citrus College campus took place on March 18, and a limited number of essential employees were granted access to the campus to help facilitate the donation of the masks. The campus will remain closed through June 12, 2020.
Molson Coors Beverage Company’s Irwindale brewery will have a new owner by year’s end as Pabst Brewing Company has exercised its option to purchase the facility, according to a Form 8-K Molson Coors filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in May and posted to the company’s website.
In January, Molson Coors announced plans to cease production at the 40-year-old brewery, effective September 2020. As part of an agreement, Pabst had 120 days to choose to buy the facility for $150 million.
This arrangement followed a lawsuit between the two brewers, two of the country’s largest, which Pabst filed over a nearly two-decades-old contract brewing agreement. Pabst and Molson Coors reached a settlement in the case in November 2018.
When Molson Coors ceases production in Irwindale, the 4.8 million barrels the brewery produced will shift to the company’s facilities in Golden, CO, and Fort Worth, TX. Last year, the Irwindale brewery employed 470 people and shipped beer to 261 independently owned wholesalers.
Last November, Pabst entered into an agreement with contract brewer City Brewing Company to produce the company’s beers and other beverages until 2040. It is not yet known how the purchase of the Irwindale brewery will affect that contract. In 2019, Pabst ranked as the fifth largest brewing company, a distinction it also held in 2018, according to national trade group the Brewers Association. Production numbers for 2019 have yet to be released, but in 2018, the company shipped 4.5 million barrels.
Pabst’s brands include legacy offerings such as Pabst Blue Ribbon, Lone Star, Schlitz, Old Milwaukee and others.
Nordstrom announced late on May 5 that it planned to permanently close 16 stores. Among those stores is Nordstrom Montclair, at 5015 N. Montclair Plaza Lane. The store first opened in 1986 and has served as one of four anchor tenants in the Montclair Place shopping center.
Nordstrom has 378 locations in total: 116 full-line stores, 247 discount Nordstrom Rack stores, three Jeffrey boutiques, two clearance stores, five Trunk Club clubhouses, and five Nordstrom Local service hubs.
The company is cutting only one type of store: its full-line locations, which are the multi-floor department stores that carry its entire assortment of products. The closures represent about 14% of Nordstrom’s full-line fleet.
In addition to Montclair, Nordstrom confirmed the following stores will be closed: Arden Fair Mall, 1651 Arden Way, Sacramento; Paseo Nuevo, 17 W Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara; Westfield North County, 270 E Via Rancho Pkwy, Escondido; 3601 The Galleria at Tyler, Riverside; Stoneridge Shopping Center, 1600 Stoneridge Mall Rd., Pleasanton, CA; as well as other stores in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Analysts praised Nordstrom’s decision to trim its store portfolio. Retail industry professionals noted that since those shops were originally opened, the demographics in the trade areas and the competitive mix have changed. A combination of on-line sales, competition and changing consumer tastes have left Nordstrom exposed. The closures are likely to inflict pain on shopping malls and neighboring retailers. Nordstrom’s department stores serve as anchor tenants for many malls. These tenants typically generate a large portion of customer traffic and rent revenue for mall owners.
The Mogharebi Group (TMG) has directed the sale of Cinnamon Ridge, a 101-unit affordable housing community located at 1051 E. Fourth St., Ontario. A Southern California-based private investor acquired the property for $15.5 million.
Alex Mogharebi and Otto Ozen of TMG represented the seller, also a Southern California-based investor, in the transaction.
Built in 1989, Cinnamon Ridge features 101 one- and two-bedroom units restricted to residents age 55 or older. The property consists of a two-story and a three-story residential building, totaling 48,520 rentable square feet. Situated on 2.3 acres, the community features a clubhouse with full kitchen, leasing office, controlled access, solar panels, laundry facilities and covered parking.
The city of Pomona has approved the installation of the new, portable SANDD mini – FR™ into patrol vehicles. SANDD mini – FR™ is a cutting-edge needle incineration device that has been developed specifically for first responders. The device incinerates needles on location, reducing the risk of first responders being injured by needles while on duty. The Pomona Police Department, regularly appearing on the television program Live PD, is the first law enforcement agency in the state of California to receive the SANDD mini – FR™ devices, which are scheduled to be installed into 60 marked and unmarked patrol units. The SANDD mini™ is recognized by the state as the only FDA approved portable, battery-operated needle destruction device that eliminates the use of sharps containers for disposal in both clinical and home settings.
City officials noted that while on patrol, Pomona PD officers routinely come into contact with improperly disposed needles. In the field there are limited disposal options and most often officers drive the needles to the department’s property building and for placement into a ‘sharps’ container for destruction. Pomona PD staff conducted research for portable needle disposal equipment that can be used in the field, and found that the SANDD mini – FR™ is a safe and efficient option for needle disposal. Additionally, utilizing the SANDD mini – FR™ allows the city to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) regulations.
Due to heightened risk of disease and the high medical costs associated with needle stick injuries, law enforcement agencies find the workers’ compensation cost for a single needle stick injury can easily top $30,000 without the law enforcement officer even contracting a disease. If a law enforcement officer should contract HIV and/or Hepatitis C, medical claims could easily top $1 million.
JLL Capital Markets closed the $13.75 million sale of shops near to Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga. The 31,405-square-foot retail strip center is adjacent to the popular Victoria Gardens center, and was sold by Fit Development to an unnamed buyer.
Constructed in 2007, the 80%-occupied center is leased to a diverse mix of service-oriented, daily needs and soft-goods tenants, including DXL Men’s Apparel, Pacific Dental, and Shakey’s Pizza. Situated on 2.65 acres at 12455 Victoria Gardens Ln., the asset fronts the 175-acre Victoria Gardens, one of SoCal’s most dominant shopping centers that welcomes more than 16 million annual visitors.
In a complete reversal, the Upland City Council repealed its ordinance that protected commercial and residential tenants from evictions during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Out of 127 California cities and counties that have passed such measures, Upland and one other, the city of Duarte in eastern Los Angeles County, have rescinded eviction moratoriums, according to data compiled by the California Apartment Association.
Upland cited a letter from a law firm representing several apartment owners and retail property owners in the city, threatening to sue the city over the temporary evictions ban adopted March 31.
The urgency ordinance was aimed at allowing tenants to suspend rent payments if they contracted COVID-19 or lost their job or substantial income due to stay-at-home and closure orders. The ordinance prohibited a landlord from filing an eviction notice in court. Though back rent would have been paid eventually, tenants had until six months after the city declared the emergency is over.
The city of Upland is one of only two cities to repeal an ordinance placing a hold on commercial and residential tenant evictions during the coronavirus pandemic emergency. Lawyers representing owners of 755 apartments, including the College Park Apartment Homes, urged the city to repeal. If not, the lawyers threatened to sue the city of Upland potentially for millions of dollars of lost rent.
The property owners, represented by the law firm Rutan & Tucker, operate a total of 755 residential units in Upland, broken down as follows: 448 units in College Park Apartments; 240 units in Rancho Monte Vista Apartment Homes; 23 units with RMV Annex LLC and 44 units in the Arrow Vista Apartments. Also, the firm represents commercial owners within the College Park Retail Centre in Upland.
The letter stated that landlords have been informed by “numerous” tenants that they are unable to pay rent and that losses to landlords could reach hundreds of millions of dollars.
Upland, as well as Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Pomona, the city of San Bernardino and San Bernardino County adopted local eviction bans. Newsom’s order was strengthened by a ruling from the state Judicial Council on April 6, which stopped almost all foreclosures and evictions except when public health or safety is involved.
The order from the Judicial Council, the rule-making body of the court system, applies for 90 days after the state of emergency is lifted, while Upland’s applied for six months from May 31. Some wondered if cities needed to act after the latest rules were released.
West Covina is offering free gloves, masks and hand sanitizer wipes to residents in need. The donations come from resident Lily Han, the Los Angeles Diamond Lions Club, the Chinese American Association of West Covina and Harbin, the city’s sister city in China.
Residents can pick up the free protective gear from 11 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday at the Senior Center, 2501 E. Cortez St., West Covina.