Five years ago, long before the rest of the industry climbed aboard the green train, developer Bob Horner decided to take a chance and make his 15-story Winthrop Club environmentally friendly.
Horner's project, which is scheduled for completion next spring, will be the first residential building in Evanston, Ill., to receive the LEED Silver designation from the U.S. Green Building Council. “We clearly were ahead of the curve when we started with LEED,” Horner said. “Now the rest of the world is catching up with us.”
But being a frontrunner wasn't easy. Horner says making the Winthrop Club's 99 condominiums LEED certified took a lot of time and paperwork. Thankfully, incorporating elements such as recycled materials and native landscaping did not add more to the $50 million cost. “We don't find it is a lot more expensive compared to the quality we usually build,” he says. “We haven't seen an increase in cost. But if you started with a lower quality or more economical building, you would see a significant increase.”
Cost may not have been a factor, but time was. For Winthrop's architect, Michael DeRouin, the LEED requirements added three months to the design period. “The hardest thing for designing for LEED is it is all encompassing,” he says. “You have to consider everything you are doing and rethink it. You can't go with your gut. The biggest challenge is what new technologies to incorporate and investigate.”
DeRouin says he struggled with what new technologies to use in the building that the market would accept. He also had to change the look of the building from a traditional façade to a more contemporary design to fit in with Evanston's guidelines.
The Winthrop Club will offer one- to three-bedroom units ranging in price from $329,000 to $1,859,000. About a third of the units are sold, and most of the buyers live nearby. “Many buyers are within 5 miles of the site,” Horner says. “These are people who are active empty nesters, living in a larger home, and [want] to improve their lifestyles.”
- Myrtle Beach, S.C.: The Hoffman Group is developing the first phase of the Towers on the Grove South Towers, a two-phase resort on 500 feet of coastline in the Cherry Grove section of North Myrtle Beach. Designed by Carter Architecture of Myrtle Beach, the project will include 221 condominiums with prices starting at $149,000. The ground level retail space will feature a restaurant as well as commercial venues.
- Flushing, N.Y.: Despite a slow market, Muss Development's Sky View Parc sold 40 apartments in 10 days. The $1 billion, 3.3 million-square-foot project will hold six residential towers on 14 acres. Homes range from the $400,000s to more than $2 million. A rooftop park will cover a three-story, 800,000-square-foot retail shopping center.
- Vancouver, Wash.: The newly converted condo community Evergreen East consists of 12 buildings of 60 units, each with two or three bedrooms. Each condo features a single-car garage, patio or deck, and landscaped entryway, while units boast new appliances, cabinets, carpet, and flooring. The floor plans range from 981 square feet to 1,127 square feet, with prices from $148,900 to $167,900.
- Newport Beach, Calif.: LNR Property Corp. and Hopkins Real Estate Group have started work on Avalon at South Bay, a mixed-use retail and residential project on a former landfill site in Carson, Calif. The project is located along the 405 freeway between Avalon and Del Amo boulevards and will encompass 168 acres, including 1 million square feet of retail space, 1,300-plus residences, and a hotel.
- Lewiston, Mass.: Randall Road Associates is developing The Bluffs Apartments, an 11-building project that will feature 65 two-bedroom, town house-styleapartments at an average of 1,120 square feet. The Bluffs is part of a five-year redevelopment project that started with the rehabilitation of several large, mill-style buildings into mixed retail, office, and industrial projects.
- Washington, D.C.: Stonebridge Carras and Cassidy & Pinkard Colliers landed an important tenant for their Constitution Square project. The two-phase project of offices, apartments, and retail has secured a 15-year lease with the Department of Justice. The first phase broke ground in April.
- Bellevue, Wash.: Northwest Town-homes of Seattle purchased Caribbean Apartments for $5.3 million from Seattle-based Caribbean Alliance Investments. The firm plans to turn the 20-unit building into 24 upscale townhomes. The price tag equates to $220,833 per buildable unit, which is among the highest prices ever paid for multifamily ground in the Puget Sound area, according to Josh Blake, who negotiated the sale for Hendricks & Partners.
- New York City: PRD Realty Corp. recently opened The Heritage at Park Slope, which will offer two-bedroom condos starting at $825,000. The project, which will be completed this summer, includes outdoor amenities such as playrooms and private rooftop cabanas. Individual units will offer oversized soaking tubs, Bosch stainless steel appliances, and Italian cabinetry.
- Bal Harbour, Fla.: Officials from Star-wood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide held a groundbreaking ceremony in March to turn the former Sheraton Bal Harbour into the St. Regis Resort & Residences. The 9 acre complex of three all-glass towers will be completed in 2011. It will include 268 luxury residences, 37 condo-hotel suites, 183 hotel rooms, and 24 St. Regis Residence Club residences.
- Championsgate, Fla.: Champi-onsGate Resort, an 1,800-acre, resort-style community, will start construction of 180 luxury rental apartments and 100,000 square feet of retail and office space in May. ChampionsGate officials estimate the cost of the project at $69 million. The resort will have a pedestrian-friendly lifestyle center along with storefronts and restaurant space. The apartments, called The Reserve at ChampionsGate, are designed by L2 Studios of Orlando.