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New LEED Projects in L.A., Atlanta, Seattle, Pleasanton

Los Angeles Office Building Achieves First EB O&M Label
December 1, 2008
The 168,000-square-foot office building at 5055 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles has achieved Silver certification under the new LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (LEED EB O&M) platform, becoming the first commercial property in the nation to earn the designation.

The U.S. Green Building Council launched LEED EB O&M earlier this year. The platform is a retooling of the previous LEED platform for existing buildings, which did not immediately connect with the marketplace.

The LEED certification process at 5055 Wilshire was started by the building’s previous owner, USAA Real Estate, which sold the property in July to Somerset Group, a New York-based real estate investment firm. Somerset hired Transwestern to complete the certification and handle other retrofits, which are ongoing.

"We inherited a gem and just kept it on track," said Dennis Thurman, director of energy programs and the head of West Coast engineering for Transwestern.

The nine-story building was constructed in 1948 in Los Angeles’ Miracle Mile area and has earned the government’s Energy Star label each of the past six years. Tenants include media firms such as The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard Magazine and AdWeek.

Two other properties have earned Silver certification under the older version of LEED-EB: the 41-story office tower at 901 5th Ave. in downtown Seattle, and Pleasanton Corporate Commons, a 600,000-square-foot office campus in Alameda County, CA.

At about 550,000 square feet, the 901 5th tower is one of the largest properties in the country to achieve LEED-EB certification. Kennedy Wilson and RREEF co-own the property.

Retrofits include two new lobbies and a 65-seat conference room, a green roof plaza that reduces the "urban heat island" effect, and energy-efficient mechanical systems and lighting controls. "For the past three years, the team has worked tirelessly to refurbish 901 Fifth Avenue to achieve the coveted LEED Silver designation, a rarity for an existing building to achieve," said Mike Kent, a managing director and head of leasing and property management for the Americas division of RREEF Real Estate.

The tower was constructed in 1973. Tenants include the design firm DLR Group Inc., the technology company Widevine, and Silicon Valley Bank.

Retrofits at Pleasanton Corporate Commons, a four-building, multi-tenant complex, included a recommissioning, a new eco-friendly cleaning program, irrigation controls to reduce water usage, and priority parking for carpoolers and alternative fuel vehicles. A property management team from Hines oversaw the upgrades and submitted the LEED registration paperwork without having to hire consultants.

Hines delivered the campus in 2001 and sold it UBS Real Estate Investments in 2003 for $173 million, according to CoStar information. Tenants include Charles Schwab & Co., Safeway, Workday, Tiburon and Regus Business Centers.

Three of the buildings have received the Energy Star label annually since 2001, saving more than $850,000 per year in energy costs, according to Hines.

Cousins Properties is pursuing LEED Gold certification for its Terminus 200 high-rise, a 25-story building that is under construction in Atlanta’s Buckhead area.

More than 75 percent of the property’s 565,000 square feet of space will receive natural daylight, which should lower lighting costs. Water consumption in bathrooms will be 40 percent lower than normal and irrigation consumption will be 50 percent less, while high-tech HVAC systems will provide 30 percent more fresh air than is required by industry standards.

The property, a joint venture of Cousins and Prudential Real Estate Investors, is being constructed in the $660 million Terminus mixed-use development, at the intersection of Peachtree and Piedmont roads. It broke ground last year and is scheduled to deliver in the third quarter of 2009.

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