Everybody’s business

High-energy builder
Last week, builder Laurie Norton invited me out to see the house he’s currently working on: a one-unit infill project off Greenwich Drive adjacent to one of Tony Symmes’ developments.

Norton bought property that had been split off from another lot and set about building a 2,064-square-foot, two-story house with an “intimate back yard.”

Norton, a native of London, moved to Chico 20 years ago and has built both custom homes and “spec” houses.

What’s he’s doing that a lot of developers aren’t is making houses especially energy-efficient. He does it by making exterior walls thicker, using denser insulation and adding a layer of foil-backed Styrofoam to create a barrier that heat waves don’t penetrate as readily.

He also uses salvage materials when he can, such as his recent acquisition of old timbers from a building razed at Chico State University. “If there’s a building coming down and there’s good timber, why take it to the dump?” Norton asked. “The question is, why isn’t everyone doing it? Most of this costs more, but Norton said the savings come later from lower energy bills.

Norton said his house will go on the market this fall at about $200 to $230 per square foot.

“My demographic, I feel, is a young, urban couple,” he said.

Bro and Sis on the move
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Butte County is getting a new home, thanks to a donation by Tom DiGiovanni of New Urban Builders. DiGiovanni has offered up—at a greatly reduced rent—some of the property he owns at the corner of Sixth and Flume streets.

The offices are not far from downtown and from the Boys and Girls Club. BBBS Executive Director Julie Buck said that makes for a perfect location.

“We’re excited about being closer to the downtown business community, and we’re looking forward to working with the Boys and Girls Club,” Buck said. “We’re very grateful.”

“Civic groups like Big Brothers Big Sisters always need a little bit of help, whether it’s financial or otherwise,” DiGiovanni said. “It’s a way of doing my part.”

Beefed again
Pat & Larry’s Steakhouse, a longtime favorite of carnivorous Chicoans, is back in action. But you’ll need to take a short drive: The new digs are in Willows, at 610 S. Tehama St., where Franco’s Restaurant used to be.

It’s been open just a few weeks, but our eyes on the street (aka my favorite CN&R delivery driver) says the reincarnated (get it?) Pat & Larry’s is already doing a booming business.

Chico meat-eaters came to love the restaurant at East 20th and Park, where Pat & Larry’s boasted a large American flag and was named one of 28 “Top Beef Backers” by the California Beef Council.

Tee time
Nearly a year after it closed when its owners went bust, the Tuscan Ridge Golf Course is reopening for business.

Dale Morris, who described himself as media liaison for the new owners, said the front nine will open on June 30, with the rest of the course to follow in October. “Thursday’s our day,” he said. “The fairways are looking real good.”

Morris said he doesn’t actually know who the current owners are, but it’s not the people who had it at the time it closed and was slated to be sold at a public auction. The original owners were sued by several parties, including people who bought “lifetime memberships” at up to $16,500.