By Linda O’Flanagan
Three years of work polishing a rough diamond in midtown has earned APF Properties a gold star.
The company announced earlier this month that its Club Row Building at 28 West 44th Street has become just the third Class B office property in New York City to achieve LEED-Existing Building (EB) Gold Certification.
A $9 million retrofit that included $1.5 million in improvements that can be directly or indirectly linked to energy and water savings has elevated the building to a select group that includes 1440 Broadway, 498 Seventh Avenue and 345 Hudson Street.
And while the investment might not immediately translate to higher rents for APF, principal Berndt Perl said he’s in no doubt it was the right thing to do.
“Sustainability is in our DNA as owners and managers,” said Perl. “We believe it is the right approach to take for the environment, as well as for the comfort of our tenants, and to preserve and enhance the long-term value of the portfolio. APF Properties has proven expertise in creating efficiency in older building stock and we are focused on executing plans to achieve a more sustainable portfolio.”
Perl said the retrofit at 28 West 44th has yet to attract more and higher paying tenants, however the green upgrades within its A Class portfolio has resulted in “better retainageˮ of existing tenants.
The Gold Certification for the Club Row Building is the latest milestone in APF Properties’ ongoing campaign to achieve LEED and Energy Star compliance throughout its $900 million portfolio of commercial office buildings in New York, Philadelphia and Houston. Berndt Perl, principal of APF Properties, made the announcement.
The company bought 28 West 44th in a joint venture with Purdential Real Estate Investors for $161 million, all the while with an eye to capitalizing on the 371,000 s/f property’s location along one of the most prestigious streets in Midtown, short two blocks from Grand Central Station.
Built in 1919, the 22-story tower with a block-through arcade of service shops for tenants, has undergone a plethora of changes to improve sustainability to achieve Gold Certification that include reducing water use by over 25 percent annually, saving over 536,800 gallons a year; recycling over 79 percent of ongoing consumable waste; recycling 100 percent of electronics waste; achieving Energy Star Label and Energy Star Scores of 86 and 83 in 2013 and 2014, respectively; and purchasing green power and carbon offsets from US-generated wind energy and landfill gas capture projects representing over 50% of the property’s two-year energy use
“The LEED-EB Gold Certification at 28 West 44th Street demonstrates APF Properties’ ongoing commitment to providing its tenants with a sustainable, modern and healthy environment in which to work,” said John Fitzsimmons, vice president/director of Real Estate Operations at APF Properties.
“Our overall goal is to achieve Energy Star and LEED Certification throughout our commercial office building portfolio in New York, Philadelphia and Houston.”
Indeed APF Properties went over and above to earn its certification implementing a greening cleaning program, sustainable purchasing, waste reduction, water fixture upgrade and Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) control policies at 28 West 44th Street.
Prior to achieving the latest certification, APF Properties announced that they had cut water use nearly in half at another one of their New York City office buildings, the 132,000s/f tower at 286 Madison Avenue.
The 48 percent decrease in water consumption at the property between 2006 and 2013 is due to a recently completed, multi-year capital improvement program that included the installation of waterless urinals, dual flush toilets and motion sensor sinks.
Prior to that, APF Properties achieved LEED Certification for Existing Buildings at 1601 Market Street, a 36-story,704,000 s/f Class A office building in Philadelphia, just two years after APF acquired and upgraded the building in a multi-million dollar renovation.
It was the first non-governmental building in Philadelphia to receive LEED certification for existing buildings, which demonstrates APF’s leadership in that market.
Between 2010 and 2013, 1601 Market Street reduced its energy use by more than 2.5 million Kilowatt hours per year, amounting to an 18 % reduction in energy use during that time period, a huge accomplishment for a building of that size.
LEED was developed to define and clarify the term “green building” by establishing a common standard of measurement — a benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance buildings.
To earn LEED certification, a building must meet certain prerequisites and performance criteria within five key areas of environmental health: 1) sustainable site development, 2) water savings, 3) energy efficiency, 4) materials selection, and 5) indoor environmental quality. Projects are awarded Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum certification, depending on the number of credits achieved.