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Aug. 6, 2014

Waterton’s Presidential Towers in Chicago Captures LEED Silver

Presidential Towers - Exterior thumbnailBy Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Writer

Chicago—On the heels of a multi-year redevelopment, Chicago’s Presidential Towers apartment community has been awarded LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Waterton Residential, the owner of the 2,346-unit property in the West Loop, made the announcement.

Meeting operational and site maintenance performance standards enabled Towers 3 and 4 on West Madison St. to achieve LEED certification. The standards focused upon water and energy consumption, waste mitigation and use of sustainable and locally-sourced products.

Credits were garnered for the use of sustainable cleaning products and energy-efficient lighting systems, and for offering residents alternative transportation modalities. Presidential Towers is a short walk from the Loop and popular retail, restaurant and nightlife options. Its location just west of the Chicago River also puts it close to Ogilvie Transportation Center, Union Station, the Clinton subway stop and several Chicago Transit Authority bus routes.

“A LEED EB project is always challenging because you are working with what already exists, and have no control over design [or] construction,” Lela Cirjakovic, senior vice president of operations for Waterton Residential, tells MHN. “In the case of Presidential Towers, the main challenge with the LEED EB process was around energy benchmarking a multifamily building due to the availability of comparable data. We knew Presidential Towers was doing all the right things. We just had to prove it via the use of analogous data from similar peer buildings. Energy is a big LEED prerequisite and accomplishing this was vital to the success of the project.”

Another prerequisite for LEED standing is ensuring the property is non-smoking. “This was a big effort and cultural shift for Presidential Towers, but with perseverance from the on-site property team, a new non-smoking policy was successfully implemented and rolled out,” Cirjakovic says. “Now all of the current and future tenants reap the benefit of a healthy home environment.”

The nearly 30-year-old Presidential Towers features a mix of studio, convertible, one- and two-bedroom apartments offering dramatic views of the skyline. After purchasing the property seven years ago, Waterton initiated a sweeping unit makeover, adding new appliances, countertops and sustainable cabinets.

How has the redevelopment and LEED Silver certification been received by those who live in the property? “Presidential Towers residents have reacted with overwhelming support,” Cirjakovic says, noting that they‘re proud of the fact the property has garnered LEED EB certification, because only about 15 LEED EB multifamily buildings exist worldwide. “They are excited about this effort, and Waterton hopes it will lead to resident retention and lease renewals.”

Adds David Schwartz, co-founder of Waterton Residential: “It wasn’t enough to simply modernize individual residences and common areas, which we did, but to look at Presidential Towers holistically to ensure it had all of the services and amenities that would help residents not just enjoy living there, but be proud to call it home.”

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