Articles With "Development" Tag

Sprawl Movies: The Unforeseen + Radiant City

Stories about sprawl are pretty compelling.  With sprawl, on the one hand, you have unrestrained capitalism and the chase for economic distinction, and on the other hand, you have depleted community resources, mediocre homes, and limited city resources.  Tough issues to deal with on both sides.  Here’s the gist on two, new sprawl movies:

  1. The Unforeseen – Official Selection of the Sundance Film Festival 2007, this is documentary about a development near Barton Springs in Austin, Texas.  Apparently, the story is told evenly from all sides and somewhere in the middle, the developer gets a little help from the future Governor George Bush. 
  2. Radiant City: A Documentary About Suburban Sprawl – there’s a trailer for this one above.  Garage-centric homes, side-by-side, with no community feel whatsoever.  Apparently this film is comedic and tugs at the problems of sprawl in a unique way. 

I haven’t seen either (other than trailers), but I look forward to seeing them when they come around. 

REITs Going Greener, Consumers Priced Out of Green Products, Greener Hotels, and Eco-friendly Home Costing (WIR)

Week in Review
  1. Real estate industry quietly embracing green development, with 41% of U.S. REITs actively pursuing energy efficiency and green building upgrades. 
  2. Business leaders aver that even though companies are greening products of all kinds, buyers are unwilling to pay a green premium (ed. note = consumers probably think the premium is unjustifiably exorbitant, even with the green components). 
  3. Enjoy your green stay: hotels are rolling out all sorts of green programs, in part because customers demand them, and in part because they save money. 
  4. The eco-friendly house (and renovation) has gone mainstream, but is it really worth the cost? 

Group 41, "CONTAIN Your Enthusiasm"

Hybrid_seattle

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about container architecture, but there’s a good reason to do it today because I’ve received a tip on Joel Karr and Group 41.  This San Francisco-based architecture firm is issuing a innovative project challenge.  Here’s how it works:

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Ramifications: GE Real Estate Moving to New, Potentially LEED-CI Headquarters

GE Real Estate

You may not think this news is all that sexy, but it’s a pretty big deal.  GE Real Estate is an enormous source of capital funding for commercial properties.  To get an idea of what we’re talking about, here are the figures:  their portfolio is weighted heavier in equity investments at 54% with the other 46% in debt investments; the average investment size is roughly $6.5 million; in 2006, GE RE closed $29 billion in real estate transactions; GE RE has $59 billion in total assets.  Long story short, GE Real Estate is a star player in the real estate lending game, and since they invest more on the equity side (and equity investments are smaller than debt investments), they work with tons of customers.

So starting June 25, 2007, GE Real Estate will operate from its new headquarters in Norwalk, Connecticut, at 901 Main Avenue.  901 Main Avenue is a class A+ property and it’s not inherently green.  BUT, GE RE has registered with the USGBC to go green on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors under the LEED-CI (Commercial Interiors) certification system.  LEED Registration is not a guarantee of anything, the project still must be certified upon completion. 

Here’s my take: 
When GE RE is done greening the interiors, people are going to start talking about it.  Employees will like the green building.  The financial benefits of the green building will stand out.  And all those people working inside will start to ask developers why they aren’t pursuing LEED certification, if they aren’t going green.  Now capital is abundant, so this talk will be nothing more than a mere ‘suggestion,’ but eventually, developers will listen and there will be a trickle down.  I’m calling it right now.  GE RE is going to ‘sneeze’ green on their customers and we’re going to see a major ‘tipping point’ in the real estate development industry.  Anyone agree?

5th STREETpads by Greenpads LLC

5th STREETpads

The husband and wife team of Liz Miranda and Tim Rempel started Greenpads LLC in 2005, and 5th STREETpads is their first project.  Matter of fact, this six-unit multifamily development received a slew of awards, including the 2006 Build It Green Award + 2006 Design Advocates Design Award for Multi-family Development.  5th STREETpads has six, 2-3 floor townhomes that vary in size from 1360-1640 sf.  The development is a great example of comfortable, lower-impact living as a result of building up, not out.  Here are some of the green features:  Borrego solar system that provides up to 85% of each unit’s electricity; hydronic radiant floor heating with floor-to-floor thermostat control; blown-in wet cellulose and bonded logic thermal insulation; SIP panel roof system; low-VOC painting in all the units; FSC-certified Brazilian cherry flooring; large double-glazed, low-E windows and sliding doors for optimal natural lighting; skylights in all the units; green Italian laminate cabinetry; filtered water and Energy Star appliances throughout; and Toto low-flow toilets.  These are incredible homes.  And although some materials seem to have a heavy carbon impact due to shipping and transporting, we’re talking about a solid step in the right direction for the greening of multifamily real estate development. 

Good Links:
++Greenpads LLC
++Rempel Architects

Arrowhead by SOM in South Quay, London (S2)

SOM Arrowhead

With the weird looking skyscrapers, there’s a business problem of having expensive, unusable space.  Often, the most pragmatic, profitable shape is the plain old rectangle.  So for the sake of staying grounded in reality, today I’m going back to the boxy, modern-style skyscraper.  Above is Arrowhead, a 525,000 sf office building under construction in South Quay, London (UK) by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.  The 26-story building is expecting an "excellent" rating under BREEAM, the environmental building assessment tool used in the UK.  Among other green features, Arrowhead will have a green roof on the top and a mid-level rooftop terrace.  The building also has a glass climate wall with external metal shading to retain heat gain in the winter and permit cooling in the summer. 

Good Links:
++Arrowhead, London, United Kingdom [SOM]
++SOM Gets Green Light for Office Development in Millennium Quarter [WAN]

SOM Arrowhead Lobby

::"S2" is short for "Skyscraper Sunday," a weekly article on green skyscrapers posted every Sunday::



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