Articles With "Development" Tag

Skyscraper Sunday: LEED Candidate MintoSkyy (Toronto)

Mintoskyy_northeast Going green isn’t all that difficult when sustainability is woven into the fiber and fabric of your company’s existence.  There are a few companies in the business world that survive on a green business strategy.  Right now, it might be a niche play, but things change as everyone else comes around.  Minto is a Canadian real estate company with a history of quality, green developments.  Green is in the company’s fabric.  In 2006, Minto received the Canadian LEED Silver for MintoGardens (Toronto), a 34-story condominium complex.  Now, they’re going after another LEED certification with MintoSkyy.  Minto builds to LEED standards to "promote healthier living, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save residents money, and contribute to a healthier planet." 

MintoSkyy is all about living in a modern, sophisticated environment with expansive windows and breathtaking views.  In addition, suites will have individual meters for water and electricity (you pay for what you use); energy efficient thermal windows; an "all-off" switch at the front door that lets you leave knowing all the lights are off; and energy efficient appliances.  Minto also has a rigid common area management system that minimizes consumption of light and energy resources.  Also, the building will rely heavily on recycled materials, environmentally friendly paints, and a green roof (which reduces heating + cooling costs).  Located at Broadview + Pottery Road in Toronto, this 23-story condo tower looks pretty good to me.  :: Minto ::

Mintoskyy Sleep
View from MintoSkyy (on the right)

Would You Pay a Premium to Lease Green Space?

Usgbc

Here’s the situation.  You have two new 15-story buildings in a good location near downtown.  Both buildings have received several inquiries from potential tenants.  Building #1 is a traditionally-built, modern facility.  Building #2 is similar, but it’s green (LEED-CS + LEED-CI).  A lease for 40,000 square feet of space at #1 is $35 and #2 is $36.50 per square feet.  Would you pay the extra $1.50 per square foot to lease space in the green building?  We’re talking about a serious premium.  I’m interested to hear what your perspective is on this. 

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, these rents are justifiable for a few reasons.  I’m going to clip out a few comments from their article, but feel free to read the entire thing

  • Organizations with business models reflecting sustainability will be more likely to pay the premium. 
  • Although green buildings are going up at an incredible rate, most of these are for use by the owners and most developers view speculative green developments as risky. 
  • There is a dearth of tenable green lease space and requests for green space are falling on deaf ears. 
  • The market is tenant driven right now and tenants have had success cooperating with owners to make green improvements or renovations. 

I think there will be a paradigm shift, but I don’t know how it will happen.  Somehow, the values of individuals and organizations need to shift towards an appreciation of sustainability, and that will create serious, mainstream adoption of green buildings.  Maybe the impetus will be regulatory?  Self-imposed?  Strategic?  I learned in Starting a Business 101, that some of the best opportunities in business become available due to a void or an absence in the market.  If it’s true that some customers and tenants are requesting green space, but the inventory isn’t available, there’s a void in the market that will be filled by the first innovators.  The rest will wake up some day and think, "I thought green buildings were for hippies?!  What’s going on?"  Which is partially an answer to my post the other day.  Via Appraisal Podcasts

Construction 2.0: Jeriko House + Luxury, Green Living

Jeriko_house

Jeriko is Different… Design… Strength… Green… Flexibility… Living.  Jeriko House: It Lives in you.  Today, New Orleans-based CEO of Jeriko House, Shawn Burst, announced his company’s plans to enter the modular/prefab home building market with 5 different models (each with an infinite number of configurations).  Burst teamed up with a German engineer to use a patented, interlocking aluminum framing system–one that is strong enough to meet the strictest U.S. earthquake and hurricane building codes.  The plumbing, appliances, lighting, hardware, interior finishes, and exterior cladding are all integrated into an advanced structural system through the collaborative efforts of a team and network of design/construction professionals.  Starting at $175 per square foot, a Jeriko House will have such luxuries as Asian teak wood finishes, coconut skin walls, Indian rosewood door handles and stone, and marble + ceramics from around the globe.  Homes will also include "biometric systems and homeowner-friendly technology."  Bourne-style, I presume. 

The first home will be completed in New Orleans and the company anticipates orders of 100 more relatively soon.  Actually, they’re taking orders right now for May delivery.  Their website says a purchaser is responsible for permits, site work, foundation, plumbing, electrical, HVAC rough in, and landscaping.  Shipping is included in the cost of the home, and Jeriko will help you build it. 

Green Commitment:
Straight from the website: "We feel it is our duty at Jeriko House to take a leading role in the efforts to save our planet. Sustainability, energy efficiency and environmental friendliness are at the core of our beliefs. With a R&D team searching the globe for the latest and greatest green innovations and technology Jeriko will fulfill its roll as a socially responsible company at the forefront of the Green Revolution."  I like what Jeriko’s saying, but we can’t forget that acting locally, rather than globally, has its green benefits as well.  Also, take a look at today’s press release.  For every 10 houses sold, those 10 owners form a committee that votes to give a Jeriko House to a family in need somewhere in the U.S.  I think Jeriko is taking an innovative perspective to all facets of the business and can’t wait to see the first home!  Maybe I’ll just drive down and see it when they’re done. 

Skyscraper Sunday: LEED Silver One Victory Park

One Victory Park

Taking a page from local developer Harwood, it looks like Hillwood decided to throw its hat into the green development ring with One Victory Park.  1VP is a 20-story, 450,000 square-foot, LEED-Silver office building slated for completion in 2008.  I’ve read a few conflicting reports on the actual details of the building, so we’ll have to watch and really determine the true specs.  Hines + Hillwood will be co-developing the project, which includes a Two Victory Park that seems identical to 1VP.  Boka Powell is the lead architect with Austin Commercial as the general contractor.   

1VP already has a tenant for six floors of the building.  Haynes and Boone recently announced that it would relocate from the Bank of America tower (tenant of 22 years), retaining Gensler as the interior design architect.  A recent news article pointed to suggestions that all the offices would be the same size, meaning senior and junior attorneys would be indistinguishable according to office size.  Why?  Efficiency and money savings.  Use your imagination on this one.  Image via

Noteworthy Green News: Week in Review

Week in Review
  1. Massachusetts Power Plants to Pay Emissions Penalties: State Rejoins a Northeast Greenhouse Gas Initiative – Massachusetts power plant owners will have to pay a penalty for every pound of emissions that contribute to global warming under an agreement signed by Governor Deval Patrick yesterday that is expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for an ambitious energy conservation and renewable energy program.
  2. Green Schools the Hottest Market for Green Building According to McGraw-Hill Construction’s Latest Report – MHC found that the education sector is the fastest-growing market for green building, good news for the industry, given that education construction (at the K-12 and university levels) is the largest construction sector, by value, at $53 billion for 2007.
  3. Wind Farm Building Boom to Continue in 2007: Wind Power Capacity in the U.S. Grew 27% Last Year – The U.S. now has enough installed wind power capacity (11,603 megawatts) to power between 3 million and 3.5 million homes, which reduces annual greenhouse gas emissions by 23 million tons of carbon dioxide. The number of homes relying on electricity produced by wind energy will rise to nearly 4.5 million by year’s end if the AWEA’s forecast is accurate.
  4. The U.S. Climate Action Partnership: Big Businesses and Eco-Advantage – The companies in the U.S. Climate Action Partnership are Alcoa, BP America, DuPont, Caterpillar, General Electric, Duke Energy, Lehman Brothers, PG&E, PNM Resources and FPL.  These big businesses have a goal help the U.S. create public policy that would act aggressively and sustainably to slow, stop, and reverse the growth of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  See also NRDC

Clarification Please! Is Green Building More Expensive or Not?

20_dollar_bill

Recently, I attended a guest lecture by a seasoned real estate developer, and he was talking about the profitability of his projects.  This speaker has major experience will all types of investments including retail, single family, industrial, condo, etc.  I put him on the spot and asked him about the numbers he’s seen on sustainable developments.  His answer:  "They’re expensive, a break-even proposition at best.  Development is going that direction, but not now.  They’re not cheap, at all.  We’re talking 20, 30, 40% more expensive.  I won’t do them."  I was blown away. 

In stark contrast, on Monday, January 22, Rick Fedrizzi, CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council, said to the Miami Herald, "We are now at the point where you can build to LEED standards and it is not one penny more than conventional buildings.  We are more experienced now.  We have a proliferation of green building products and services."  From this perspective, it’s profitable and financially responsible to be environmental and build green. 

Someone’s wrong, who is it?

When I hear Fedrizzi’s statement, I’m led to believe that he’s accounting for construction on a first costs basis (not including the operational savings).  And I think he is.  He’s saying it costs the same to build green as non-green, on a first costs basis.  I mentioned the obstacles to building green recently, so is this a case where the developer was unaware?  What’s the deal?  I’m interested in hearing some real world discussion here. 

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