Blackwood's Spec-tacular LEED Venture
What compelled Blackwood Partners to construct a 728k SF LEED certified industrial building in Brampton on spec, the largest of its kind built in the GTA in nearly a decade? (Did it come to them in a dream like Kubla Khan?) Avison Young's Mark Sevenpifer tells us more.
Blackwood is responding to the lack of new large-scale industrial in the GTA since "everything blew apart" in 2008, shutting down a prosperous spec building scene, he says. The industrial market didn't recover until 2013, he says, and ever since there's been an uptick in development of larger-scale facilities, none bigger than Blackwood's 100 Ironside Drive (pictured below), situated on 32-acres off Highway 410. (No leases have been signed, but Mark's entertaining two proposals and aiming to have "a substantial amount" of the mammoth building leased by year's end.)
In pursuing LEED certification, 100 Ironside Drive is part of a growing trend. Office buildings get all the attention for sustainability, but Mark says the good-to-be-green movement has begun to trickle down into industrial. Hopewell Development's 567k SF Mayport Distribution Facility in Caledon was built to LEED standards, and Carttera Private Equities’ 895k SF distribution centre in Brampton will shoot for LEED as well. Trouble is, Mark says, it's tougher for industrial buildings to get LEED certification, with fewer boxes available to tick. "There's only so much you can do."
100 Ironside Drive gets LEED credit for having electric car charging stations, access to public transit, bike storage and change rooms, water-efficient landscaping, energy-efficient lighting and HVAC, and for managing construction waste and sourcing building materials locally. Mark says he's fielded two inquiries from agents tasked by clients with seeking out a LEED-certified facility. These companies want their brand associated with LEED; they're also lured by the cost savings newer industrial buildings offer. Small wonder, says Mark, noting he nearly chokes on his household electric bills. "Imagine running half a million feet with lights on 24/7?"