Wednesday, April 14, 2010

NoMa's Constitution Square is Green, and Now Gold

Constitution Square, NoMa's largest mixed-use project, received a Gold ranking today from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The project was awarded an enviable Gold ranking in the LEED ND category for sustainable neighborhood development.

But don't think of waterless toilets and recycled material; the "ND" standard is a fuzzier version of the older sustainability rankings. Rather than rate only the physical building, which can only be evaluated after construction completes sometime this summer, ND instead ranks the overall sustainability of the development with respect to potential impact on the surroundings. Factors that go into the certification include street width and building height, with an emphasis on mixing uses that allow more integrated living. According to the USGBC website, the system "integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism, and green building" into one rating. Alicia Call at HOK Architecture adds that the ND ranking "its a little bit more stringent than the other rating systems...but with a focus on community development." In short, the ranking is an endorsement of Metro-oriented, mixed-use, sustainable construction.

Liz Price, President of the NoMa BID, says Constitution Square is one of the first ND-approved projects in the country, having been part of a pilot program to factor location and neighborhoods into green techniques and to "look beyond the footprint of the building." Price says the BID and DC's Office of Planning promoted NoMa to the USGBC as a candidate for the pilot, and that Constitution Square was the obvious choice within NoMa, being the largest development in the neighborhood and one DC more ambitious projects.

The project broke ground in April of 2008, a joint venture between Bethesda-based StonebridgeCarras and Walton Street Capital, which acquired the land in early 2006. The development will include a 206-room Hilton hotel, 440 apartments, and 340,000 s.f. of office space in 5 buildings, including a new Harris Teeter. SK&I Architects designed the residential space, which will begin renting this summer and will deliver by August, according to Doug Firstenberg, a Principal with StonebridgeCarras. Office tenants will begin taking delivery next month. Planners hope the buildings themselves will also qualify for LEED Gold certification, with the outside chance of a Platinum ranking. The office space in Phase I is 100% leased, with only about 4000 s.f. retail space remaining up for grabs.

Bethesda-based Clark Construction is performing construction.

Washington DC real estate development news


JohnDC said...

So this is supposed to complete construction this summer? I had heard that it was opening up to rentals/retail late fall.

Anonymous said...

One Constitution Square, the office building at the corner of 1st & N, is actually tracking LEED Platinum right now. That's what helped them land the temporary GSA HQ.

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