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Building green to reap the long-term benefits

In the world of real estate development, there continues to be a divide that determines how green a structure is built. On one side is the spec building, sold as soon after completion as possible to new owners. On the other is the developer who remains the owner for several years out. Most often, the developer-owner will look a bit more closely at operating costs from the beginning, which tends to push the design toward greater energy-use efficiency.

One of the leading developers following a build-and-hold strategy is Gerding Edlen, a Portland (OR)-based company that currently owns and manages 63 LEED-certified buildings in eight states. As I wrote this article about the company, I couldn't help but think how the eco-conscious culture of this West Coast city influenced the business decisions of the company principals – a philosophy in building that then is imported to the other places where they operate.

As one might hope the developer takes it a step further, reinventing concepts in building amenities, in providing artists' residences at below-market rates for example, and connecting structures and occupants to nature (particularly in urban environments). Their growing portfolio strongly suggests wisdom of this strategy.

Some of the noteworthy projects of the firm are OHSU Center (the Oregon Health & Science University Center for Health & Healing in Portland), Jones Chicago, Vestas North American Headquarters (Portland), Brewery Blocks (Portland), Dexter Horton (Seattle) and Factory 63 (Boston).

Russ Klettke is a business writer who works in a range of industries – law, finance, real estate, food, fitness, nutrition, manufacturing and professional services, among others – but with a strong passion for sustainable design, innovation and practices. Contact him to discuss your own communications needs.

Photo: Matt Edlen, director of acquisitions and development, speaks of the developer's broad portfolio of healthcare, residential and corporate buildings that meet one or several of the firm's "Principes of Place." Some of these principlss have to do with energy conservation, while others are about quality of life issues such as access to transportation alternatives, communities that foster art and those that honor historic elements as cultural touchstones.


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Russ Klettke

Business Writer

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