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Thursday, Jul 18, 2024

Trains, Planes and EVs

Bill Shopoff in January earned our nod as a Businessperson of the Year in the real estate sector, after a 2023 that saw a number of lucrative sales for his Irvine-based Shopoff Realty Investors, including a $329M industrial sale in the Inland Empire, among other achievements.

It wasn’t his only recognition from us last year; he was also an Excellence in Entrepreneurship award winner last March.

On the acquisition front, Shopoff last year diversified his investment portfolio, as high interest rates kept the firm’s typical real estate deals on the back burner.

His company during the fourth quarter put $19 million into Gascoyne Materials Handling & Recycling LLC (GMHR), a waste management company based in Dickinson, N.D.
GMHR cleans railroad cars and recycles the materials from them.

“There wasn’t a lot to invest in real estate, so this seemed like an interesting opportunity for us,” Shopoff told our Kaitlin Aquino last week.

For more updates on Shopoff and our four other 2023 Excellence in Entrepreneurship winners, as well as nominees for 2024 edition of the event, see this week’s Special Report.

The Gascoyne Materials investment isn’t the first such non-real estate deal for Bill Shopoff; another venture he backs is Irvine-based low-carbon fuel startup Vertimass LLC, which last year announced plans to raise $25 million in a Series C round.

Vertimass, where Shopoff serves as chairman, last month partnered with Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.-based Blue Biofuels Inc. (OTC: BIOF) to develop sustainable aviation fuel and renewable propane and butane co-products from ethanol.

The partnership’s resulting joint company is called VertiBlue Fuels LLC. VertiBlue aims to build a facility in Florida, which will produce about 10 million gallons of aviation fuel and 2 million gallons of propane and butane co-products in its first year.

Annually, the project is anticipated to produce around 70 million gallons of aviation fuel and 14 gallons of propane and butane co-products every year.

Rivian Automotive (Nasdaq: RIVN) calls its new retail hub along Coast Highway in Laguna Beach its “brand awareness headquarters.”

See this page for more on how the facility will be used early next month for a major new product rollout by the Irvine-based EV maker.

The recently refurbished South Coast Theater site, which is among the few historic buildings in Laguna Beach to successfully get the city’s OK for redevelopment of late, appears to already be paying dividends for the city.

City filings pertaining to Rivian’s upcoming R2 vehicle launch note that the EV maker “has generously offered to donate two vehicles to the city for a three-year term at no cost.”

The donation is part “of separate and ongoing discussions with Rivian regarding the electrification of the city’s fleet,” filings note.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.

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