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Changing Tenants in a LEED Certified Retail Space

How sustainable developments are adaptable to different uses

Posted by Marc Mondor

For those of you who have had the pleasure of shopping at the Borders bookstore in East Liberty in the last five years, you have been able to experience a nicely appointed bookstore, with music, magazines, coffee and lounge areas, all within a nicely daylit environment with unique urban views in a brand new retail shopping center. If you have had the opportunity to shop at Borders since January of this year, however, the experience was likely overshadowed by the bankruptcy reorganization of the entire Borders retail chain, closing this store in that process. Rather than the uplifting experience of shopping in a LEED certified space, the experience is overwhelmed by the more timely concerns of visibly diminishing inventory, sales becoming more drastic by the week, and what will happen to the space once it is empty. The store ultimately closed recently.

How do we move forward with the space now? Let’s remember that this store is part of the Eastside development, which was certified Gold under the new LEED for Core and Shell rating system back in early 2007. In fact, Rick Fedrizzi, President of the US Green Building Council, personally presented the plaque. evolveEA managed this process for The Mosites Company, the project developer and owner, starting in 2005 through a new USGBC pilot program for certifying speculative Core and Shell buildings. In this process, working with the design and construction team, evolveEA led the exploration of many greening goals and options. Strategies that were implemented include on-site stormwater detention, graywater irrigation, energy submetering, commissioning, Energy Star roofing, increased insulation levels, sustainable sourcing, water efficient fixtures, support of alternative transportation, considerable use of windows and green power purchasing. All of this is beside the fact that the project is already inherently green in its reuse of a brownfield site (some of you may remember the underutilized taxi, carwash and parking) and in its walkability from nearby neighborhoods and the adjacent busway. Eastside really started when Whole Foods opened in 2002 and will evolve again when an urban Target, with parking under the store and a “cartilator” will open this summer.

One of the goals and by-products of LEED certification is greater marketability due to the deliberate implementation of greening efforts in construction and in operations in support of the considerable overlap between greening goals and greater operational effectiveness. Whether the next tenant is retail or office and whether they require the entire 24,000sf space or subdivision, the flexibility of the space has been considered in the design. Another benefit of LEED certification is the formalization of processes. evolveEA created a Tenant Guidelines document for building tenants to utilize in considering greening options for their space and in fully taking advantage of owner-implemented measures. Also due to the project’s original LEED certification, a Commissioning Report, a Measurement & Verification Plan and an Energy Model exist and will assist with the effective and hopefully sustainable design and construction of whatever use will follow Borders.