The issue of sustainability in the real estate sector has become more visible recently, with a recent report from the International Energy Agency estimating that buildings are responsible for 37 percent of global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions, with roughly three-quarters of that from operations and the remainder from creation of building materials. This should provide additional incentives to developers to focus more on energy-efficient projects.
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The U.S. Green Building Council awarded LEED certifications to 196 multifamily communities across the country in 2021. Illinois was present in the USGBC’s Top 10 States for LEED list each year the agency has been quantifying the number of projects to receive certification. The past year was no exception, with six properties totaling 2,115 units received either Gold, Silver or simple LEED certification.
The list below highlights the multifamily properties in the state of Illinois to be awarded a LEED certification from the USGBC in 2021. The entries are ranked in terms of number of units from largest to smallest and all are located, unsurprisingly, in the Chicago metropolitan area.
|Rank||Project Name||Project Address||Nr. Of Units||Certification Level||Certification Date|
|1||Wolf Point East||313 Wolf Point Plaza||698||Silver||5/26/2021|
|2||845 W Madison Phase 1 & Phase 2||845 W. Madison||586||Gold||1/27/2021|
|3||Aspire Residences||2111 S. Wabash Ave.||275||Silver||3/4/2021|
|4||The Link||811 Emerson St.||241||Silver||2/15/2021|
|5||Avidor Evanston||1727 Oak Ave.||169||Silver||3/10/2021|
|6||Wicker Park Connection||1640 W. Division St.||146||Certified||4/12/2021|
6. Wicker Park Connection
Centrum Partners completed the second phase of Centrum Wicker Park in 2018, with the property receiving simple LEED certification in the second quarter of 2021. Hirsch Associates served architects for the 15-story building, dubbed Wicker Park Connection.
Located at 1640 W. Division St. within Chicago’s West Town—Garfield Park submarket, the asset is within walking distance of the Division Blue Line station and less than 4 miles from the metro’s downtown. The 146-unit Wicker Park Connection features studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, as well 17 townhomes and 38 condos.
5. Avidor Evanston
High Street Residential together with The Carlyle Group completed the 169-unit Avidor Evanston in 2020. Bank of America provide $46.8 million in construction financing, Yardi Matrix data shows. The 17-story building was awarded LEED Silver certification in mid-March last year.
Located at 1727 Oak Ave. in Evanston, the property is aimed at over 55 active adult residents and features one- and two-bedroom options, while 10 percent of the units are set aside as affordable housing for seniors. The building includes some 12,000-square-feet of amenity space, which consist of a dog run and park, rooftop deck and a state-of-the-art fitness center with a yoga studio.
4. The Link
A partnership between Focus and CA Ventures completed The Link at the end of 2019, with bKL Architecture handling design. The transit-oriented development received LEED Silver certification in the first quarter of 20221.
Situated at 811 Emerson St. in Evanston, Ill., the project is within walking distance from the Foster “L” station and Northwestern University’s campus. The 10-story building offers studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, with floorplans ranging from 386 to 1,091 square feet. The development is composed of three linked segments, creating a U-shaped building, with its end and corners anchored in brick, with metal panel infill between and punched windows throughout.
3. Aspire Residences
Draper & Kramer completed the 275-unit Aspire Residences in 2020 and received LEED Silver certification one year later. SCB oversaw design, while Power Construction and Ujamaa Construction built the 25-story project with $69 million in construction financing provided by Helaba Bank, according to Yardi Matrix information.
Located at 2111 S. Wabash Ave. in Chicago’s Near South Side submarket, the transit-oriented asset is less than a block from the CTA’s Cermak/McCormick Place Green Line station. The project offers one-, two-bedroom apartments, as well as one-, two- and three-bedroom penthouse options. Community amenities include private garage with charging stations, bike storage, a lushly landscaped resort-style roof terrace with a sun deck and a dog park.
2. 845 W Madison Phase 1 & Phase 2
Also known as Porte, the development located at 845 W. Madison St. within Chicago’s Near West Side submarket received LEED Gold certification in the first month of 2021. The two buildings are connected by a two-story podium, which includes the pool deck, an outdoor grilling area and several of green space. Other green features include a fitness center whose wood flooring was salvaged from a high school gymnasium and a rooftop farm in partnership with The Roof Crop, which will offer residents access to fresh herbs and produce grown on-site, as well as honey from the beehives.
On the former site of the H2O Plus shampoo manufacturer, the project was developed in a partnership between Lendlease, The John Buck Co. and Intercontinental Real Estate Corp., with GREC Architects handling design. The property features studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom options, with 58 units set aside as affordable.
1.Wolf Point East
The largest project to received LEED certification in 2021 was Hines’ Wolf Point East in Chicago’s Near North Side submarket. The waterfront development comprises 698 units and was awarded LEED Silver certification in the second quarter of the year. Also, the project was awarded Gold in the Technology category in the 2021 MHN Excellence Awards.
The building is part of a 2-million-square-foot mixed-use development master plan, consisting of three towers, 2.3-acre public park, and a 1,000-foot-long river walk developed in the historical site of the first settlements in Chicago.
Located at 313 Wolf Point Plaza, the 60-story tower was developed in partnership with the Kennedy family and with backing from the AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust. At the end of 2021, the project received a $260 million loan from Wells Fargo Bank, which retired a $216 million construction loan from Bank of America, according to Yardi Matrix data. Master planned by Pelli Clarke Pelli in partnership with Pappageorge Haymes Partners, Wolf Point East features a four-level private car park equipped with vehicle charging stations.