In fact, this segment of the market shows significant growth over non-green developments. While most green units are pricier than standard, there are several green, affordable housing developments, and industry experts maintain that the long-term payoff in healthy living more than compensates. Sustainability offers some protection against declining property values and insulates owners against increasing energy costs, according to the 2008 Green Building Survey conducted by Penton Research for National Real Estate Investor. New York House examined what’s available and what’s coming soon.
Manhattan LEEDs the way
Thanks to its population density, proximity to mass transit and other LEED point generators, the New York metro region offers the most options in green living.
Three Battery Park City projects, developed by the Albanese Organization and designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects, have become icons of environmentally responsible building. The Solaire, completed in 2003, was the first green residential high-rise in the country, followed in 2006 by the Verdesian, the first residential high-rise to receive platinum LEED certification. Both are rental properties.
The latest and greenest of the trio, the 35-story Visionaire condominium tower, will have 251 units and feature building-integrated solar panels, wind power, used water/rainwater recycling, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified wood flooring, and other green attributes.
The desirability of Battery Park City, with its waterfront, park space, and convenient location, has been a key selling point for Riverhouse, a luxury condo developed by the Sheldrake Organization and designed by the Rockwell Group. Set for completion in January, Riverhouse integrates style and sustainability in its 264 apartments, says Monique Roeder, director of marketing for Sheldrake. Units at Riverhouse (75 percent sold) average about $1 million, topping out around $8 million for the upper floors, she says.
Coming at the end of 2009 is Murray Hill’s first green condo building, 303 E. 33 St., a joint venture between Toll Bros. City Living and The Kibel Companies. This project is unique in its offering of almost 60 different apartment layouts, from studios and one- and two-bedroom units to a three-bedroom, 2,800-square foot triplex-with-terrace for $4.5 million. Pricing starts in the mid-$600,000s; the median price is around $1.1 million, according to Toll Bros.
Another luxury project, developed by architect Cory Tamarkin, is 456 W. 19 St. in West Chelsea, a boutique condo slated for completion in early 2010. The building’s classic industrial modern architecture blends into the neighborhood, but stands out with its 22 spacious duplex apartments, double-height ceilings and ecofriendly, LEED-registered design, construction materials, FSC-certified floors, and landscaped garden. Prices start at $1.5 million, with penthouses from $6 million.
Harlem’s green renaissance
Kalahari, a luxury, green, 249-home condo at 40 W. 116 St., is designed and built for LEED Silver certification, with sustainable technologies like a fresh-filtered air purification system, wind-generated energy, solar panels, and a striking garden courtyard connecting Kalahari’s two buildings. Keeping with themes of Africa and nature, Kalahari’s façade showcases the Adinkra symbol borrowed from traditional African art.
Kalahari homes, more than three-quarters of which have been sold to date, include three- and four- bedroom units, featuring open loft-like layouts priced from $900,000 to $1.6 million.
Across town, at 124th Street & 2nd Avenue, is Tapestry, which broke ground in November. Designed to be the “first affordable and mixed-income residential rental development” designed to LEED Silver certification in East Harlem, this 12-story, 185-unit building is developed by Jonathan Rose Companies and co-owned with Lettire 124th Street, LLC. It features underground parking, green finishes, accessible green roofs, an outdoor patio, doorman, and more. The mixed-use project will also feature retail space.
Rose was behind another affordable housing project in Harlem, David and Joyce Dinkins Gardens, at 263 W. 153 St., which has 85 apartments, 26 of which are designated for young adults aging out of foster care and the remaining for low-income households. Features include a green grid roof system, solar shades, and a rainwater harvesting system.
“Green projects like these are tremendous investments in the future of the community,” says Jonathan Rose. “By integrating social services, job training, affordable housing and green design, we’re modeling what the future of Harlem and New York City—in fact, cities nationwide—can be.”
The greening of Brooklyn
In Williamsburg, the Edge, an ambitious mixed-use waterfront development by Douglaston Development, is Brooklyn’s largest residential community striving for LEED certification. Three towers will include 1,085 luxury, ecofriendly homes, featuring spacious layouts, green finishes, and energy-saving appliances. Prices start at $440,000.
Also in Williamsburg is the Steelworks Lofts, a steel factory-turned-condominium. On North 4th Street, the 130,000-square-foot building is being converted to high-end lofts by Fifth Square Partners and AvroKO. Green design elements include locally sourced materials, FSC-certified flooring, low-flow toilets, low-VOC paints, formaldehyde-free cabinets, and bicycle storage areas.
Westchester and upstate developments
The historic Valeria, located in the northern Westchester County Town of Cortlandt and being redeveloped by AVR Homebuilders, will include 147 new Energy Star townhomes in a luxury community, on 750 acres of woods with an expansive lake.
Green builders upstate, who have the advantage of more open space, take a holistic approach to the construction process, from site selection to green materials and construction methods.
“Look at the land and it’ll tell you what sustainable is,” says David Borenstein, architect, developer, materials recycler and artist, whose green homes in Dutchess County have earned him accolades for reclaimed resources and appropriateness to the landscape. “My job is to look at things from a whole-systems approach and [build homes] empirically.”
In Borenstein’s view, more important than LEED certification is finding innovative, low-impact solutions to every unique building challenge, from siting to maximizing passive solar gain to addressing moisture issues connected with open cell foam insulation. Borenstein has built and sold the first two Energy Star homes in the upscale, 112-acre Pasture Rock development in Milan.
In New Paltz, green developer Anthony Aebi is building a 25-house, net-zero energy development for the middle price range, a departure from the million-dollar, net-zero energy LEED gold mansions he built in Esopus.
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