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Plant demolition

(AP) -- An obsolete and unsightly power plant on the shore of San Diego Bay will be imploded this weekend.

The South Bay Power Plant has been a landmark on the city of Chula Vista's bayfront since the late 1950s, and steps toward demolishing it began more than a decade ago.

Conditions permitting, the implosion will take place at 7 a.m. Saturday.

The Port of San Diego has invited the public to view the collapse from designated safe areas.

The plant site encompasses 150 acres of land and 242 acres of water.

Delta plan declined

(AP) -- A federal judge has declined to grant requests by federal officials for more time to update a plan that protects threatened delta smelt and endangered salmon species in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, but the judge did give officials the option to provide additional details.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been working on completing a revised delta smelt plan by Dec. 1. The plan looks at how delta pumping affects the fish.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is working on a similar update for salmon, with an April 2016 deadline.

The agencies had asked for three additional years to finish the updates.

The Fresno Bee reported that in his decision Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Lawrence O'Neill didn't reject the request, but gave the agencies the option to provide more details on a science and management plan.

Meritage 4Q net

(AP) -- Meritage Homes on Thursday posted fourth-quarter net income of $95.1 million, reversing a loss in the final three months of 2011, helped by the resurgence in demand for new homes and a tax benefit.

Meritage's (NYSE: MTH) profit amounted to $2.49 per share and compared with a loss of $11.8 million, or 36 cents per share, in the same quarter the prior year.

The recent quarter's results included a $71.5 million tax benefit.

Excluding the effects of that, the company posted an adjusted profit of 63 cents per share.

Total revenue from home and land sales closings jumped 48 percent to $364.6 million from $246 million in the 2011 quarter.

Meritage said its home closings increased 39 percent to 1,240 units, while the average price of the homes sold rose 7 percent to $294,000.

Meanwhile, home orders increased 46 percent to 1,094 homes and the average price of those homes rose 17 percent to $323,000.

The company's cancelation rate fell to 13 percent from 19 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011.

For the full year 2012, Meritage earned $105.2 million, or $3 per share, compared with a loss of $21.1 million, or 65 cents per share, in 2011.

Total closing revenue increased to $1.19 billion from $861.2 million.

First Solar acquisition

(Bloomberg) -- First Solar Inc. (Nasdaq: FSLR), the biggest maker of thin-film solar products, bought the 50-megawatt Macho Springs project in New Mexico from Element Power Solar for an undisclosed amount.

The Luna County project will be completed next year, the Tempe, Ariz.-based company said Thursday.

El Paso Electric Co. (NYSE: EE) plans to buy the output from the solar energy field under a long-term contract that still needs state regulatory approval.

TRI Pointe shares

(AP) -- Shares of TRI Pointe Homes Inc. (NYSE: TPH) climbed more than 16 percent in the home builder's first day of trading.

The stock market debut is a sign that the long housing market recovery is gaining traction. Home sales and prices have routinely been setting multiyear highs as they come back from the real estate collapse.

TRI Pointe raised approximately $232.9 million from its initial public offering of about 13.7 million shares.

The offering priced at $17 per share, above the expected price range of $14 to $16 per share

The Irvine, Calif.-based company said that it is selling 10 million shares, while a fund affiliated with Starwood Capital Group is selling about 3.7 million shares.

The fund is giving the underwriters a 30-day option to buy up to an additional 2.1 million shares.

TRI Pointe expects net proceeds of about $156.3 million, after deducting an underwriting discount and some expenses.

It plans to use the net proceeds to acquire land and for development, home construction and other related purposes.

In a regulatory filing, TRI Pointe reported $22.3 million in home sales for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2012.

That compares with $9.3 million in home sales a year earlier.

The company's projects are primarily in California. The company reported a loss of $3.9 million for the nine months. It lost $3.1 million a year earlier.

WTC center boost

(AP) -- A performing arts center planned for the World Trade Center site got a financial boost Thursday that improves the chances of the languishing project to begin construction in four years.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corp. (LMDC) approved $1 million to hire staff or consultants research that will determine the cost of a building, said Maggie Boepple, director of the center.

The approval means that construction of the center could begin in 2017, with a projected opening in 2019, she said.

“This is a push-off for the project,” Boepple said.

The LMDC had withheld the money in September, citing concerns over the project's cost and fundraising ability.

Boepple and a board of directors named last year have raised $25 million for the project.

The LMDC, a city-state corporation created to coordinate long-term plans for the trade center site, has appropriated another $99 million for the construction and design below grade.

The above-ground construction will be funded with private money through fundraising, she said.

The final cost is hoped to be lower than the initial estimate of $400 million to $500 million.

Architect Frank Gehry was retained in 2006 to develop a world-class facility that could host and produce a range of performing arts.

Gehry's preliminary design calls for a 1,000-seat theater, a secondary 200-seat theater, rehearsal spaces and cafe, among other features.

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