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New council, new plan

(AP) -- Santa Monica's newly elected City Council has voted to rescind an agreement allowing a developer to raze one of the beachfront city's two remaining trailer parks and replace it with hundreds of high-end condos and apartments.

Tuesday's vote was taken shortly after several new members, elected last month, were sworn into office.

The council previously gave final approval to an ordinance allowing for a mixed-use development containing 377 condos and apartments and nearly 25,000 square feet of retail space. It would be built on the current site of the modest, 1950s-era Santa Monica Village Trailer Park.

In tossing out that vote, the new council ordered city staff to meet with the developer to discuss plans for reconfiguring the project and providing affordable housing and other benefits to trailer park residents.

Duke in sunny Tucson

(AP) -- Duke Energy Renewables has purchased a solar power project at the University of Arizona's technology park that is expected to begin commercial operation in this coming week.

Duke Energy Renewables announced Thursday that it purchased the 6-megawatt Gato Montes Solar Power Project from AstroSol Inc.

The array consists of 48,000 thin-film photovoltaic panels.

Tucson Electric Power Co. will buy the electricity produced by the array under a 20-year agreement.

The Gato Montes project marks Duke Energy Renewables' fifth solar project in Arizona in two years in Mohave, Pima and Yavapai counties.

In all, the company will have 37 megawatts of solar energy production in the state by the end of the year.

Since 2007, the company said it has invested more than $2.5 billion to grow its commercial wind and solar business.

Carburetor ban

(AP) -- The National Park Service said personal watercraft owners with carbureted two-stroke engines are going to have to keep their Jet-Skis, SeaDoos and WaveRunners off lakes Mead and Mohave after Jan. 1.

Park Superintendent Bill Dickinson said concerns about the amount of fuel the old-model engines spew into the water are behind the ban on the two Colorado River reservoirs.

Dickinson noted the Lake Mead reservoir behind Hoover Dam supplies drinking water for millions of people in the Las Vegas area.

Boats are exempt. And personal watercraft with direct-injection two-stroke or four-stroke engines aren't subject to the rule.

The Park Service said a list of watercraft that meet standards will be posted online and made available at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area visitors center, entrance stations and marinas.

BofA vs. MBIA

(Bloomberg) -- Bank of America Corp. said it's issued a notice of default to MBIA Inc. after buying some of the bond insurer’s notes in an attempt to block a legal maneuver in their three-year dispute over toxic mortgage assets.

BofA, which failed to persuade investors to sell it a majority of the $329 million of 5.7 percent bonds due in 2034 that were outstanding early in November, said in a statement Thursday that it has acquired $136 million of the notes.

MBIA said on Nov. 26 that it repurchased $170 million of the securities, leaving $159 million in investors' hands, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

MBIA (NYSE: MBI) was seeking consent from its bondholders to alter terms of the securities to protect itself from the threat of a regulatory seizure of MBIA Insurance Corp., its unit that insured real estate related debt that soured during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

After BofA (NYSE: BAC) bid to buy the December 2034 bonds, potentially providing holders with a better deal than the $10 per $1,000 of face value solicitation fee from MBIA, the insurer purchased about 52 percent of the debt in order to ensure it had sufficient support.

Silver Bay IPO

(AP) -- Silver Bay Realty Trust Corp. has raised $245.1 million in its initial public offering of stock, which it intends to use to buy thousands of single-family homes.

Silver Bay was recently created to buy homes and rent them out, as the U.S. housing market slowly heals. It will be managed by investment firms Pine River and Provident.

Silver Bay said Friday that it priced 13.3 million shares at $18.50 apiece, the low end of its expected range of $18 to $20 per share.

That suggests modest demand for the company's stock.

The banks managing the deal may buy another 2 million shares.

The stock was set to begin trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “SBY.”

Silver Bay is expected to buy about 3,100 single-family homes after its market debut from Two Harbors Investment Corp. (NYSE: TWO), a publicly traded real estate investment trust, and from Provident.

Renewable plant

(AP) -- Wilmington, Del. city officials have broken ground on a renewable energy plant that will be fueled by trash and sewage sludge.

Groundbreaking was held Thursday for the $36 million power plant that city officials say will significantly reduce the amount of sludge produced by the Har Road Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The plant will burn trash and sewage sludge to generate electricity and excess heat will be also used to dry leftover sewage sludge.

City officials said the project will create jobs as well as saving money.

The project is part of a no-bid extension of a 2008 energy saving agreement between the city and Honeywell (NYSE: HON), which said the plant will save $16.7 million over two decades.

Italian renewable

(Bloomberg) -- Enel Green Power SpA, the renewable energy unit of Italy's biggest utility, has connected a 70-megawatt wind farm to the grid in Mexico’s southern state of Oaxaca.

The $160 million project consists of 35 turbines supplied by Spain's Gamesa Corporacion Tecnologica SA, Rome-based Enel Green said Friday.

UK commercial values

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. commercial real estate values fell for the 13th straight month in November as negative economic sentiment swayed investors, Investment Property Databank Ltd. (IPD) said.

The average value of stores, offices and warehouses declined 0.5 percent from October, led by retail and industrial properties, London-based IPD said Friday.

Total return, which combines changes in real estate values and rental income, was zero in November, compared with 0.3 percent in October.

“There have been continuing declines in the U.K. property sector, which has not benefitted from one-off events such as the Olympics, and continues to suffer from a lack of liquidity constraining demand,” Phil Tily, a managing director at IPD, said.

Britain's economy has shown signs of cooling after coming out of a double-dip recession in the third quarter. The U.K. budget office said last week it expects unemployment to peak at 8.3 percent at the end of next year.

Pay growth in the United Kingdom held at 1.8 percent in the three months through October with consumer-price inflation at 2.7 percent, the Office for National Statistics said.

That limits demand for goods and services, hurting landlords' ability to raise rents.

Capital values have now fallen 3.9 percent this year, IPD said in the statement.

The IPD index was compiled from appraisals of 3,509 properties valued at 32.1 billion pounds ($51.7 billion) at the end of November.

US paint sale

(AP) -- Akzo Nobel NV, the biggest maker of paints and coatings by sales, said it has agreed to sell its U.S. home paints arm for $1.05 billion ((euro) 800 million) to PPG Industries Inc. (NYSE: PPG).

Akzo (PNK: AKZOY) is the main supplier of in-store paints for Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) and makes the Glidden brand, among others.

Although the business had sales of $1.5 billion in 2011, analysts believed it was not as profitable as Akzo's larger industrial paints and coatings businesses.

Akzo said it would use proceeds to focus on stronger markets and growth markets.

The sale is the first strategic move by new Chief Executive Ton Buechner, who joined the company in April but left shortly afterward due to fatigue. He returned a week ago.

LDK seeks consent

(Bloomberg) -- LDK Solar Co., a Chinese solar manufacturer that owes more than $3.1 billion, is seeking consent from noteholders to take on more debt.

The company will offer noteholders 10 yuan ($1.60) for every 10,000 yuan they hold in its notes due in 2014, according to a filing Friday.

By accepting the payment, creditors will consent to various conditions, including approval for LDK (NYSE: LDK) to issue as much as $200 million in convertible preferred shares, and to take on as much as $350 million in additional debt to increase production and fund the developement of solar farms.

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