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Condo on the way

SAN DIEGO -- Zephyr Partners, a San Diego-based investment/development firm, has secured $13 million in joint venture equity financing from a New York investment management company, and will begin development on a new 35-unit luxury development called Ocean Street Condominiums in Carlsbad.

Commercial real estate investment banking firm George Smith Partners arranged the financing for Zephyr, according to Senior Vice President Malcolm Davies.

The site is now occupied by the 51-unit Ocean Street Apartments, acquired by Zephyr in 2011.

Zephyr also holds the necessary entitlements to demolish the current structure.

Zephyr and the investment management company are now positioned to seek construction financing, and plan to break ground on the project this year.

The coastal condos at 2303 Ocean St. in downtown Carlsbad will consist of three-bedroom units of approximately 2,210 square feet each.

The property will also feature amenities including a pool and fitness center.

Wetlands destroyed

(AP) -- A California agency said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed to obtain a permit before clearing a 43-acre Los Angeles wildlife habitat.

The Army Corps cut down the Sepulveda Basin woodlands last month, destroying a lush refuge for king snakes, bobcats and white pelicans.

The corps said it took action to help police deal with homeless camps and lewd behavior.

The Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board said the federal Clean Water Act requires anyone working in wetlands to obtain a permit from the state agency.

The board has asked the Army Corps to provide details about the decision to eliminate the woodlands.

The Los Angeles Times reported clearing the San Fernando Valley area could lead to sediment fouling the Los Angeles River.

BofA shrinkage

NEW YORK (AP) -- Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) said its fourth-quarter earnings shrank as it cleaned up old problems from its mortgage unit.

The bank made $367 million in the last three months of 2012 after paying preferred dividends, down from $1.6 billion in the same period a year ago.

The earnings were equivalent to 3 cents per share.

The bank had warned that it expected earnings to be only “modestly positive.”

It took big charges related to a settlement with the government-backed mortgage lender Fannie Mae (OTC: FNMA) and a separate agreement in which it and other banks settled government accusations of wrongful foreclosure practices.

Revenue was dragged down by the Fannie Mae settlement.

It fell to $19.6 billion after stripping out an accounting charge, down from $26.4 billion in the same period a year ago.

Analysts called it another quarter of sacrificed earnings as the bank works through its troubled mortgage division.

A long string of regulatory fines and lawsuits for the unit have made earnings unpredictable for several years.

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