Markham Gardens Becomes Staten Island’s First LEED Silver Community
- May 12, 2011
Staten Island, N.Y.–Markham Gardens, a 289-residence, mixed-income community of rental apartments and for-sale townhomes on Staten Island, N.Y., has earned the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver certification. With the accomplishment, Markham Gardens becomes Staten Island’s first LEED-certified housing development.
The property was a redevelopment endeavor undertaken by The Domain Cos., The Arker Cos. and Neighborhood Housing Services of Staten Island at a total cost of approximately $55 million. The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD) were among the long list of public and private entities that provided financial support for the project. “The LEED Silver certification exemplifies the City’s commitment to supporting standards that promote greener building practices that create healthier homes for our tenants and increase the sustainability of the overall development,” Eric Bederman, a spokesperson for HPD, tells MHN. “Markham Gardens exemplifies the best of what we can accomplish when the City and our development and community partners all work towards a common goal of strengthening our neighborhoods.” HPD provided $25 million in tax-exempt bonds for construction financing and a $13.7 million permanent first mortgage loan for the apartment segment to help bring the residential development to fruition.
Occupying 13 acres, the two-year-old Markham Gardens encompasses an aggregate 240 apartments ranging from studios to four-bedroom floor plans and 49 townhomes to accommodate low- and moderate-income households, as well as those who are positioned to pay market rates. Community amenities include a 6,000 square-foot recreational center with everything from an indoor basketball court to a computer center, in addition to playgrounds and a wealth of open green space.
However, it was more than just the green space that garnered the LEED Silver designation. Domain and partners’ efforts to create a sustainable community began with the preservation and recycling of some existing structures and certain artifacts, including a bevy of lighting fixtures and wrought iron fences. Recycling efforts also extended to landscaping, which was designed to reuse 90 percent of the existing trees and plants. And inside, the residences’ energy-efficient appliances continue the green pattern.
While Markham Gardens marks a first in the USGBC LEED certification arena, developers in the area have not eschewed the practice of sustainable building. “It’s a trend because people are recognizing not only the benefits of pursuing certification, but the advantages that come with sustainable development,” Matt Schwartz, principal with Domain, tells MHN. “Tenants do enjoy lower energy costs, and it increases resident retention.” Also, the green aspect adds to the property’s marketability and reduces operating costs for Domain.
As for Markham Gardens’ introduction of LEED Silver to Staten Island’s multifamily sector, Schwartz says, “I’m sure that now it’s become more established, more people will follow.”