Tag Archives: Gerding Edlen

Portland chooses Gerding Edlen for $80 million living building

A proposed living building in Portland is moving along. This week, the Portland Development Commission announced its plans to award the project’s feasibility study to Gerding Edlen Development.

A living building is a building that meets the Living Building Challenge. The challenge

In 2007, this was Mithun\'s award-winning concept of a living building
goes beyond LEED platinum. A living building is self-sustaining, and aims to produce and reuse all its resources like energy and water. Since the concept was introduced by Jason McLennan of the Cascadia Green Building Council in December 2006, a number of projects have taken the challenge on. Most of them are on the smaller side, or are residences.

What makes the Portland project unique is its size. The building would be around 220,000-square-feet.

The project, called the Sustainability Center of Excellence, is on a super fast track. It received proposals two weeks ago and held a public meeting last week. Yesterday, the PDC announced it intends to award the project to Gerding Edlen, along with SERA Architects and GBD Architects. The three main partners in the project are the PDC, the Oregon University System and the Living Building Initiative, a consortium of organizations focused on sustainability.

Gerding Edlen and its team will investigate whether the project is feasible. If it is, it will have the option to move ahead with project development.

The goal of the building will be to attract other sustainably-minded businesses to Portland and to Oregon. Do you think this is a good way to attract business? Should Seattle be following in Portland’s footsteps, or are we too different to compare?

Locally, the Phinney Neighborhood Association hopes to turn the Phinney Neighborhood Center (everyone’s favorite giant blue building) into a living building. The Bullitt Foundation has also purchased a property and is just in the beginning stages of considering whether to do a living building or not. Am I missing any local living building projects? If so let me know.

For more information or some interesting local opinions on this project, visit Portland Architecture here, the Burnside Blog here, or read this article in the Portland Tribune. Enjoy!

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Does Gerding Edlen’s Bellevue Towers make Bellevue any greener?

This week, I wrote an article in the DJC on Bellevue Towers, its developer, Gerding Edlen, and what the project represents for Bellevue.

Bellevue Towers is a two-tower luxury condo project with 539 units. According to

Bellevue Towers
Mike Brennan, director of Bellevue’s Development Services Department, it is the most prominent green building in Bellevue and the first multifamily high-rise that has gone for LEED certification in the city. It is targeting LEED gold and is supposedly the largest LEED-certified residential project in the Northwest, according to press materials. It is also the first project Gerding Edlen has done in the Puget Sound region.

That’s a lot of firsts. I’m wondering what this means for Bellevue.

Bellevue tends to have a mixed reputation when it comes to green buildings. In my wanderings, I’ve heard about city codes that make it difficult for projects to do low impact development, and green techniques that relate to stormwater. I’ve also heard disappointed reactions that the city wasn’t more receptive to green building earlier.  (For a reaction on how Bellevue has been MIA, see the comments to a previous post regarding Kirkland here.)

But I wonder if that is changing.

Bellevue is the first city in the Puget Sound region to have a Gerding Edlen development. Gerding Edlen, Portland’s premier green developer, is known internationally for its work. I’m sure Seattle and other cities would have appreciated one of its projects.

Phil Beyl, principal in charge of Bellevue Towers with architect GBD, said the city welcomed aggressive sustainable techniques “with open arms.” Working on this project was exciting for him, precisely because he felt like he was bringing something new to the city: “We’ve been able to bring to Bellevue an elevated level of sustainability that now I think has raised the bar quite a bit higher… and that’s very exciting.”

Brennan said Bellevue is hoping this building will serve as an example and bring other green development to the city (though he also was unsure whether it actually would or not).

Incidentally, there are only two LEED certified buildings in Bellevue, according to the USGBC’s registry. But there are 24 that are registered. Then again, some of the projects that are awaiting certification like the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center (wrote about it a year ago here in the DJC) are pretty darn interesting. 

Then there’s my own experience with people that read this blog.

I like to track where blog readers come from, and believe me, there’s been a dramatic shift. Last summer, I was surprised by how little readers I had from Bellevue (one here and there but virtually none). I even e-mailed certain city representatives to get them to read, but readers from Bellevue remained flat.

In the last two months, something changed. Now, Bellevue is consistently the third rated city, in cities that read this blog. (Behind Seattle, and then either Portland or New York, depending on the day.)

What the heck is going on?

Did something shift or did a whole lot of people from Bellevue start reading this blog for no reason? Was it the economy? Was it the change in presidents? I’m stumped.

What do you think? Is Bellevue getting – or going to be getting greener? Has anything changed or is this really just one LEED project? Comment below or answer my poll at right.

For more on Gerding Edlen, click the tab ‘Gerding Edlen’ below. Or check out SkyscraperCity and look under Bellevue Development or Bellevue Towers.

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Penguin gets knighted, Gerding Edlen moves closer to San Diego center and other news

There’s a lot of news out there people. But possibly the most entertaining thing in my in-box doesn’t have to do with green materials or green buildings…. it revolves around a penguin.

penguin.jpgThe Environmental News Network reports that Norway has knighted a king penguin named Niles Olav. Sir Niles Olav is the third penguin to serve as the mascot of the King’s Guard. The first mascot penguin was chosen in 1972, and named after then-King Olav V. Sir Niles Olav (the penguin) lives in the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland and was promoted from regimental sergeant major to honorary colonel-in-chief in 2005. Just think, I never knew a penguin could be a knight! For more on this, click here.

In other (green building) news, Portland Architecture reports that Houston developer Hines has withdrawn from the competition for the San Diego city hall project, leaving the door wide open for Gerding Edlen and ZGF, though it doesn’t guarantee them the job. For more on the project, click tag ‘Gerding Edlen’ below or click here.

tinyhouse1.jpgJetson Green reports on a Yale grad school student who built her own tiny house that is off the grid. The home will cost about $11,000, is 8′ x 18′, and has a sleeping loft, storage loft, study nook, kitchen area, living area and bathroom.  For more, click here.

And Landscape + Urbanism has some awesome photos of green rooftops in NYC. For more, click here.

Happy news hunting! (penguin photo courtesy of ENN. Tiny house courtesy of Stephen Dunn, via Jetson Green). 

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San Diego looks at green city hall designs

This is the first in a series of guest posts by different representatives of the Northwest Building Efficiency Center. This post was written by Vicki Zarrel. 

It will be interesting to watch as San Diego picks from competing designs for a new city hall in downtown San Diego. Last week, two designs were revealed, each with goals for achieving LEED ratings.

Developer Gerding Edlen of Portland presented the most ambitious 080723bldggerding280.jpgproposal. The tall, curved structure (at left) would be surrounded by about 2 million square feet of private development. On-site wind and solar panels would generate energy for the entire complex, and an onsite wastewater treatment and reclamation system would bring about a net-zero water system. The Gerding Edlen proposal is designed to meet or exceed LEED platinum standards.

The other development proposal, by Houston-based Hines Corp., is designed to qualify for LEED gold. Hines is proposing a four-story glass city hall with a 19-story office 080723bldghines280.jpgbuilding across the street (below). Hines calls the design “the most viable, cost-saving and low risk proposal.” A company press release gives no specifics on the proposal’s energy or water-saving measures.

For more information, see the article and reader comments in San Diego’s Union-Tribune (both renderings are also courtesy of the Union-Tribune).

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What does green developer Gerding Edlen think is next?

For those of you not from the Pacific Northwest, Gerding Edlen Development Co. is widely regarded here as one of the best role models for sustainable project development. People want to know what they’re working on – and what they think is the next big thing in sustainability, as evidenced by my story on their Casey Condominium project being the DJC’s most read and most e-mailed story on Friday. 

casy1.jpgSo when I spoke with Mark Edlen, Gerding Edlen’s managing partner last week, and he said within a year LEED platinum would be “an absolute yawner” in his office, you better believe my ears perked up. Instead, he said it’s on to net zero buildings that consume more trash than they produce!

We were talking about the platinum rating because The Casey (at right), a $60 million, 61-unit building, is supposedly the first LEED platinum multifamily high rise in the world.  

It’s also the firm’s first foray into “eco-luxury”  – a combination of ultimate ecological consciousness and luxury (something not often associated with green buildings).

In fact, it is widely agreed upon that the green building movement has done a particularly bad job of combining function and beauty, something that most agree must become a stronger focus. But Mark’s focus behind developing green projects is that a project should not compromise anything from site to construction to occupancy comfort, just to be sustainable.

So why not go after green luxury, the same way you’d go after green office or hospital space?  What do you think? Can a building be both?

To read a local perspective, click here or here. For real estate stats, go here. For more go here. If you’re interested in Gerding Edlen, you can read about another one of their project’s in a December story I wrote here.

But if you want to learn more about the Casey, its green features, the difficulty of building green multifamily to such a high level, and the building’s art component, there’s only one place to look: the story in the DJC. Check it out here.

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