By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
Greenbelt, Md.–The Bozzuto Group has garnered the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver certification for The Fitzgerald and Riverwalk at Millennium, residential properties in Baltimore and suburban Philadelphia, respectively, and the designations put the developer at the forefront in both metropolitan areas.
The awards come as no surprise to the green building community. “Bozzuto has a long track record of concern for the environment, Stuart Kaplow, chair of USGBC’s Maryland Chapter, tells MHN. “They’ve done environmentally friendly and conservation-oriented projects for years.”
A mixed-use residential community that made its debut last fall, The Fitzgerald occupies a 4.6-acre site owned by the University of Baltimore in the city’s Mount Vernon district, where the school is currently conducting a vast redevelopment endeavor. In addition to 275 luxury residents, the property features 24,000 square feet of ground-level retail space anchored by a Barnes & Noble bookstore and a 1,245-space public parking facility. Green elements that led to LEED Silver certification include a host of environmentally conscious construction methods, as well as green power, 40 percent water-saving features, a green roof and preferred parking for hybrid vehicles. However, The Fitzgerald’s most notable green element is its public electric-vehicle charging station hub, the very first in Baltimore.
Riverwalk, half of which was completely rebuilt as a result of fire damage while the property was under construction in 2008, features 375 residences and sits within a 60-acre complex fronting the Schuylkill River, less than 15 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Among the property’s long list of green elements are low-emitting windows; high-efficiency HVAC units; tankless hot-water heaters; low VOC adhesives and paints; low-flow plumbing fixtures; and water-efficient landscaping.
With LEED certification, both properties take a position of prominence in their respective cities. The Fitzgerald now carries the distinction of being the largest LEED-certified residential community in the Baltimore area, and Riverwalk holds the title of first LEED-certified apartment project in Conshohocken, and the largest in metropolitan Philadelphia.
“Multifamily was not the first area of building to go green in most markets; however, today, most tenants and prospective purchasers are looking for a green product,” Kaplow notes. “They’re interested in something that is cost efficient and energy saving, as owners and operators are interested in efficient design, construction and operations. Projects like The Fitzgerald and Riverwalk are not just cost efficient in terms of first costs, but also in terms of operations. Energy savings in green buildings are significant.”
With tenants and developers on the same page, the green theme is becoming increasingly significant in the advertisement of properties that fit the bill. “I think that more and more, environmental stewardship goes hand in hand with marketing to customers who want green,” Kaplow says. “Projects with environmentally conscious design features appeal to both renters and condo purchasers, and builders have long been known to build for the marketplace.”