To ensure delivery, please add to your address book, learn how
If you don't see images, click here to view
Story Ideas  Events 
Real Estate Bisnow
Legal BisnowWomen BisnowTech BisnowAssociation BisnowNYC Real Estate
September 23, 2008



On Tuesday LCOR will unveil part of phase one of its $850 million, 32-acre North Bethesda development – specifically, the largest Harris Teeter supermarket in Maryland capped by a 17,500 SF environmentally friendly green roof. It is the first – but probably not the last -- green roof for the grocery store chain. Nearby residents "enjoy the view tremendously," LCOR vice president Michael Smith, says, "the store itself is just phenomenal."

So yes, Tuesday's crowd – 1,000 attendees are expected -- is sure to ooh and aah over the grocery store's design: a two-story, 63,000 SF structure at the base of Wentworth House, the recently-delivered first apartment building at North Bethesda Center. What they probably won't notice is the eight-building project's storm water management system. It's not quite as sexy as a green-topped Harris Teeter, but it delivers greater environmental benefits – and may well turn out to be a model for similar development in Montgomery County.

Basically it is a system that collects rainwater in tanks that are below grade and that siphons the run-off into the county system, Smith explains. By contrast, the typical approach is to build at-grade pools, which are not very aesthetically pleasing and also takes up space that could be used for more development, Smith says.

It's a novel approach to storm water management – and one the country is eager to continue to pursue. Only a few have been developed in Montgomery, Smith says. "I know [Montgomery County officials] are working with other property managers near us as well on this."

The savings for a below grade system are minimal – Smith says the numbers for both approaches pencil in very close to one another. The financial benefit is the opportunity for additional development. "We have the potential to add one more building to North Bethesda Center because of this," he says. If LCOR were to opt for a new building, "it would probably be another residential project," Smith says.

Still under development, North Bethesda Center sits halfway between downtown Bethesda and downtown Rockville.  It's a Main-Street style projects that will link the four residential and four commercial buildings to the Red Line White Flint Metro station. All together it will deliver 930,000 SF of office space and 202,000 SF of retail space.



The business case for green building is still largely intuitive, although various studies are closing in on quantifiable numbers. Most famously CoStar found that rental rates in Energy Star buildings have a $2.38 per SF premium over comparable non-Energy Star rated buildings and have 3.6 percent higher occupancy. It also found such buildings
are selling for an average of $61 per SF more than their peers. This study was released close to a year ago; unfortunately there have been few others quantifying the benefits of green building. The relative scarcity of such numbers, though – especially for other
asset types such as multifamily or retail  -- have not stopped CRE investors from gravitating to green.

"It's funny because the benefits are still difficult to quantify," says Frederick Rothmeijer, a founding principal of MRP Realty. "We are not, for instance, incorporating whatever additional rents we might get into our pro formas or quantifying a faster lease up rate because of LEED. But we are still getting a lot of investors that are specifically asking about our plans." For the record, MRP is designing LEED Gold or Silver into almost all of its developments. What is likely motivating investors, Rothmeijer speculates, is the theory that within several years any building that is not LEED designed or certified will be considered obsolete.

Scott Muldavin, executive director of the Green Building Finance Consortium in San Rafael, CA, backs up Rothmeijer. "The demand for sustainability among commercial investors has risen dramatically in just the last six months. They see that more local governments are incorporating green building standards into municipal law – such as DC. They also see that more tenants are demanding green buildings."

According to Muldavin, a relatively new organzation called the Sustainable Leasing Initiative – a group that includes some of the biggest tenants such as IBM, Wachovia and Citibank – is readying an environmentally-friendly building feature checklist for its members. "Consider if you are an investor in office buildings. You will pay attention to the demands of the biggest block of potential users," Muldavin says.



The Green Builders Council of DC, a coalition of more than 30 local builders and developers, has introduced what it says is the nation's first green collar job training curriculum for the Washington DC area construction industry.

The curriculum will train workers to recognize the challenges that construction presents to the environment; understand how the life cycle phases of a building impacts the environment; identify eco-friendly alternatives to conventional building practices and understand the costs and benefits of those alternatives, and; understand the LEED process in order to apply construction practices to a building's rating. The curriculum has been endorsed by USGBC as well as Green Advantage, an organization that provides environmental certification for construction trades workers.



Nov. 19-21. Boston. USGBC's Annual Greenbuild Conference.

1050 K Street
Reznick Group
Arent Fox
Advertise With Bisnow
CONTACT EDITORIAL                             CONTACT ADVERTISING                              CONTACT GENERAL INFO

This newsletter is a journalistic news source which accepts no payment for featured interviews. It is supported by conventional advertisers clearly identified in the right hand column. You have been selected to receive it either through prior contact or professional association. If you have received it in error, please accept our apologies and unsubscribe at bottom of the newsletter. ? 2008, Bisnow on Business, Inc., 1323 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036. All rights reserved.

Arlington Economic Development Arlington Real Estate Showcase Registration The JBG Companies Monday Properties