Emerald Green, designed to achieve LEED Silver certification, is the first sustainably designed project for Glenwood Management, one of New York’s oldest and largest rental builders and owners. It’s also Glenwood’s first foray into Midtown West.
Located on 38th Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues, Emerald Green, being readied for occupancy by the end of October, consists of 569 spacious apartments in two, 24-story towers. What sets Emerald Green apart is its open-air, landscaped garden courtyard with fountains and a reflecting pool connecting the two towers. Both glass-enclosed lobbies face the outdoor courtyard, with a glass arcade for residents to stroll through and take in the landscape. This open space in an urban setting, as well as the buildings’ green attributes, create a connection to the natural environment the owners feel will really appeal to a wealthy demographic.
“We thought it’s the right thing to do for the environment and we wanted to distinguish ourselves in the marketplace,” says Gary Jacob, Glenwood’s long-time executive vice president, who’s involved in the siting, financing, development, design, and construction of Glenwood’s properties. While there are other green rentals in New York, many are in Battery Park, where it’s mandated, Jacob relates. “There haven’t been that many market-rate buildings that have done it, so it’s an extra marketing tool.”
Because it’s a green building, Glenwood benefited from modified financing through the New York Housing Finance Agency, reimbursements from NYSERDA, and other incentives, Jacob says.
This is one of the last development projects to be launched before the real estate market fallout. Glenwood views its position as a rental as an advantage over condominiums, and expects a strong response to Emerald Green, despite having to lower rents by about 15 percent. Rents begin at $1,900 for studios; $2,250 for one-bedrooms; $3,250 for one-bedroom with office; and $3,950 for 2-bedroom units.
“There are some rental buildings in this area, the far West Side, and they all will get rented, albeit at lower prices than we were hoping for. But the good thing about a rental building is that it will always rent up and then when the market gets better, we’ll raise the rents. If it was a condominium, you get one crack at it and if you miss the market, you’re in trouble,” Jacob says. “We’ve never opened up a building that doesn’t rent. We’ll achieve what we normally achieve in all of our buildings: 98 percent occupancy.”
If Glenwood is bullish on its prospects for Emerald Green, it also found the LEED criteria relatively easy to achieve. The firm was already siting its buildings near mass transit and using energy-efficient windows and appliances. “We discovered a lot of the things that we were doing already would actually qualify us for [LEED]. So with a little extra effort, we could do something that’s good for the environment and helps us market the building,” Jacob says.
What’s new here are synthetic sheetrock and recycled building materials, flooring made from rapidly-renewing bamboo instead of three-quarter-inch parquet oak floors, low- and no-VOC paints, finishes, cabinets and other furnishings, and motion-detector lights in stairwells.
“Knowing how other tenants feel about smells and odors of building materials—a lot of people are sensitive to that—and having low-VOC paints, caulking, carpet, and kitchen and bathroom cabinets could only be a plus,” Jacob relates.
The green roof is also novel. While Glenwood is known for landscaping on ground floors and roofs, it created a green roof here with plant materials that don’t require watering and installed white pavers to reflect heat. Says Jacob: “It lowers the heat gain in the roof, so it’s energy efficient for us, and it’s good for the environment by lowering carbon dioxide emissions. We’re capturing a lot of the water that lands on our roof for irrigation. That saves us some money as well.”
In addition to its green features, Emerald Green boasts many of the high-end amenities included in its other properties, such as Barclay Tower, The Belmont, and The Regent, among others. Features include a yoga stretching room overlooking the courtyard, as well as a children’s playroom, theatre, swimming pool, fitness center, library, lounge with kitchen facilities, laundry facilities, and 24-hour doormen. An optional indoor garage and valet/maid services are also offered.
The site is in the heart of the garment district, an area that has already begun turning residential and that Glenwood hopes will be “the next Soho,” Jacob says.
Having had this experience, Jacob envisions Glenwood retrofitting its existing 20-or-so luxury buildings in the same green fashion, one apartment at a time. As a long-term investment owner, Glenwood recognizes not only the environmental and health benefits of going green, but the financial ones as well, he says.
Resource List DEVELOPER GLENWOOD MANAGEMENT New York City (212) 535-0500 (Uptown Office), (212) 430-5900 (Downtown Office); glenwoodnyc.com ARCHITECT STEPHEN B. JacobS GROUP, P.C. (212)421-3712; sbjgroup.com LEED CONSULTANT VIRIDIAN ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL, LLC (212) 704-9920; viridianee.com INTERIOR DESIGN SALADINO GROUP INC. (212) 684-6805; saladinostyle.com APPLIANCES GE CAFÉ PROFESSIONAL SERIES (800) 626-2005; geappliances.com/products/cafe CARPETING AXEMINSTER CARPETS LTD +44 1297 630650; axminster-carpets.co.uk