McCormack Baron Salazar Achieves Sustainable Development Distinction Unique in Development Industry

May 6, 2011 | McCormack Baron Salazar

McCormack Baron Salazar (MBS) is the first developer in the world to have received two U.S. Green Building Council LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) Certifications for completed neighborhoods.

This distinction comes about with the certification of their second neighborhood, University Place, in Memphis, Tennessee, which was recently certified in the Pilot Program of LEED-ND.

In 2010, MBS’ first LEED-ND development, Renaissance Place in St. Louis, Missouri, was certified by USGBC. Both communities are urban, mixed-income, affordable developments built under the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s HOPE VI program. Together, these LEED-ND certifications are the latest demonstration of McCormack Baron Salazar’s commitment to being the nation’s leading for-profit developer of green, mixed-income, urban communities.

With the certification, University Place becomes the first completed LEED-ND Certified development in Tennessee and one of about a dozen such completed LEED-ND sites certified worldwide, to-date.

The LEED-ND Rating System integrates principles of smart growth, urbanism and green building into the first national certification system that provides independent, third-party verification that a development's location and design meet accepted high levels of environmentally responsible, sustainable development. LEED-ND is collaboration between USGBC, Congress for the New Urbanism, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“McCormack Baron Salazar has shown tremendous leadership through its commitment to building greener, healthier communities,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council.  “Its latest LEED for Neighborhood Development project, University Place, is ushering in a new era of mixed-income sustainable development throughout the U.S.”

University Place is a 405-unit, 30-acre, mixed-income, mixed use, multigenerational, HOPE VI community that revitalized the severely distressed Lamar Terrace public housing site. Completed in 2009, the development is a partnership between MBS, Community Capital LLC, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Memphis Housing Authority. The neighborhood is south of the Memphis Hospital and Biosciences District and is bounded by Interstate 69/240, Lamar Avenue and E.H. Crump Boulevard. The community includes one- through five-bedroom apartments and townhouses, senior and universally-accessible units, a full-service community center and a range of neighborhood amenities.

“The University Place certification would not have been possible without strong advocacy from the residents of community and the support of our many partners, including HUD, the Housing Authority, Memphis HOPE and the philanthropic community and Community Capital,” explained Richard Baron, founder and CEO of MBS. “We made a concerted effort to include comprehensive sustainability goals in the redevelopment project and encouraged participation and input from community stakeholders to help guide the implementation process.”

University Place received outstanding LEED-ND scores in the areas of “Smart Location & Linkages” and “Neighborhood Pattern & Design” rising from its connections to amenities in the surrounding community—a variety of stores, institutions, and recreational options—all accessible within a ½ mile walking distance or convenient bus transit lines. Also certified under the Federal ENERGY STAR for Homes program and USGBC’s LEED for Homes (Silver), University Place met its “Green Construction and Technology” targets by using environmentally sensitive construction techniques and by ensuring that brownfield contamination, stormwater runoff and pollution from construction activities were significantly reduced or completely abated. The site’s most prominent feature is a one-acre pond, which serves as stormwater retention for the majority of site runoff while presenting a beautiful entrance to the transformed neighborhood. The design team also avoided environmental disruptions by using pre-existing water and wastewater infrastructure, restoring the historic street grid and using a dense design that helps to minimize unnecessary land use. 

“University Place serves as a great example of how green design is building a better Memphis”, said USGBC Memphis Chapter Board Chair Jeremy Benkin, LEED AP O+M. “Through the use of LEED-ND McCormack Baron Salazar has helped improve the fabric of our community. Congratulations on achieving the first LEED-ND designation in the region!”

“We are very proud of this distinction, “said Vince Bennett, COO of MBS. “Since inception, the company has worked to make sustainability a core goal of our redevelopment projects. We have always incorporated traditional neighborhood design and energy efficiency into our communities. With the LEED-ND program as a guide, we are able to exceed our previous efforts and expand this goal to create environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable places.”

McCormack Baron Salazar recently completed the development of one of only six LEED Platinum Certified Schools in the world (Crossroads School, St. Louis, MO) and the company is currently constructing three sustainably-built developments co-sponsored by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development competitive capital fund grants to be located in St. Louis, Miami, and the Legends Park neighborhood of Memphis.

University Place Apartments operates at 99% residential occupancy and is professionally managed by McCormack Baron Ragan Property Management. Family support services are provided by McCormack Baron’s nonprofit partner Urban Strategies Memphis HOPE.

Tags: 2011