MHN Interview: Defining ‘Green Luxury’
Philadelphia—Luxury communities are attractive to residents, and green features are becoming more and more in demand. In the new Goldtex Lofts in Philadelphia, which was developed by Post Brothers, luxury and green are combined. MHN talks to Mike Pestronk, CEO of Post Brothers, about this new development.
MHN: Describe the Goldtex Lofts, particularly the green elements. What makes these unique?
Pestronk: The Goldtex Lofts can best be described as a new breed of Eco-Chic apartments. Not only are these luxury units on the cutting edge of design with the highest-end amenities, they were built with the most advanced environmental features available, creating a new standard for green development in Philadelphia and beyond.
Our team took a deliberate and continuous path toward exceptional design from the outset of the project. We set out to create an entirely new ‘envelope’ around the building in order to make use of the existing structure, leave an exceptionally small environmental footprint, and create a modern world-class design.
In order to maintain stunning light and views and yet become incredibly energy efficient, seven different materials make up the surfaces of the outer walls. We included four types of glass, solid aluminum and a planted green wall on the eastern face. The façade design obscures the ‘loft’ column grid visible on similar rehabilitated buildings. All of the elements of the building’s skin reflect light differently, resulting in a striking jewel box.
This attention to detail continues through every element inside. Our best-in-class apartment layouts are incredibly thoughtful and ergonomic. Custom features that can only be found in a Post Brothers apartment include custom-designed hidden loft staircases.
The design of nearly every component in the building is sourced from local manufacturers and artists, including sophisticated cabinetry, first-rate overhead lighting and luxurious materials at every turn.
Goldtex’s energy saving systems save around 15 million pounds of CO2 emissions per year vs. comparable buildings (using coal generated electricity), the equivalent of taking over 1,200 cars off the road! Some of the Eco-chic features include:
- One hundred percent wind-generated power providing pure green energy to all residents at a cost competitive with traditional ‘dirty’ electricity sources and reducing the building’s carbon footprint to almost non-existent
- Completely new building envelope with multi-layer insulation, creating a highly effective thermal barrier while utilizing the original shell as a heat sink
- An optimized mix of top quality windows incorporating opaque, light-spreading and non-light transmitting glass types with heat blocking coatings and argon gas insulation
- 10-story green living wall and lush green roof to help regulate the environment by absorbing carbon
- Heating and air conditioning system that balances demand throughout the building, utilizing ambient heat in the structure to control the temperature in each apartment without requiring additional energy
- Heat energy, drained from the building from bathroom and common hallway exhaust fans, is extracted to generate power before the air is released into the atmosphere
- Operable windows, ceiling fans in every room, and electrically operated shades to enhance your environmental comfort and help reduce energy usage
- Energy Star-rated appliances, LEED compliant fixtures and LED and CFL light bulbs throughout
MHN: What are the rents? Is this average for the area?
Pestronk: A complete list of rents for Goldtex is below. In comparison to other luxury rentals in Center City Philadelphia, our rents are extremely competitive. Our business model is based on the concept of affordable luxury where we deliver the highest-end design and amenities at price points that are palatable to young professionals and families.
|Floor Plan||Beds||Baths||Size||Price Range*|
|Studio A||0||1||525||$1,425 – $1,515|
|Studio B||0||1||600||$1,575 – $1,665|
|One Bed A||1||1||750||$1,805 – $1,995|
|One Bed B||1||1.5||950||$2,355 – $2,445|
|Two Bedroom||2||2||1,100||$2,545 – $2,775|
|Three Bedroom||3||2.5||1,500||$3,245 – $3,375|
|*Prices vary based on floor and view
*There are no additional costs for the use of building amenities (gym or pool)
MHN: What is “green luxury” and how do you keep the costs down for your residents?
Green luxury, or eco-chic as we also call it, refers to best-in-class apartments that combine the highest-end design, amenities and finishes with the most advanced environmental systems and features available. For us, keeping costs down for our residents is an integral part of our affordable luxury business model. The green elements are a critical piece of that equation. Given the energy efficiency of the building and its systems, the utility costs will be 30 to 50 percent less than other like buildings in the area. Beyond that, we don’t charge incremental fees like amenity fees or pet fees as many other buildings in the area do. We want all of our residents to enjoy all that our buildings have to offer without any hidden or excessive fees.
MHN: As a developer, how important is it to incorporate green features into a community?
For Post Brothers, it’s extremely important. As far as we’re concerned, it’s a key part of our building philosophy. It’s the right thing to do, and more and more people are starting to understand that and look for green buildings now. It’s an approach that pays dividends for the environment, for the resident and for the business.
MHN: Do you think green luxury is a trend?
It’s a trend for builders who want to be best-in-class and one that guides everything that we do. Based on the demand for green buildings and the importance that is being placed in our society on environmental consciousness, we believe it’s here to stay. But we’ve never made decisions based on following trends. Our goal is to set the trends and to set new standards for excellence in residential development. We believe we’ve done that with Goldtex, and we’ll always strive to do that as long as we’re in this business.
Who are your main competitors in the space?
Honestly when you’re talking about green buildings in Philadelphia, there’s no one that comes close to what we’ve done at Goldtex. I can only hope that we serve as an example and a wake-up call to other developers in the region when it comes to green building.