Renaissance Place Earns Green Neighborhood Certification

June 10, 2010 | McCormack Baron Salazar

McCormack Baron Salazar’s Renaissance Place at Grand neighborhood was recently certified in the U.S. Green Building Council LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) Pilot program.

With this distinction, Renaissance Place becomes the first LEED-ND Certified site in Missouri and the largest of only six completed LEED-ND sites certified worldwide, to date. Renaissance Place at Grand is the latest demonstration of McCormack Baron Salazar’s commitment to being the nation’s leading for-profit developer of Green, mixed-income, urban communities.

“USGBC-St. Louis Regional Chapter is thrilled that we will have one of the first LEED-ND Certified Completed Neighborhoods in the country here in our backyard. The leadership of McCormack Baron Salazar and St. Louis Housing Authority are helping to put St. Louis on the map in terms of our sustainability efforts,” said Emily Andrews, Executive Director of USGBC St. Louis Regional Chapter.

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.

Renaissance Place at Grand is a 512-unit, 33-acre, mixed-income, mixed use, and multigenerational community that revitalized the former Blumeyer Public Housing Complex. Completed in 2008, the development was a partnership between MBS, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, St. Louis Housing Authority and Blumeyer Village Tenant Association. The neighborhood is immediately northeast of the Grand Center Arts District in the City of St. Louis and includes one- through five-bedroom apartments and townhouses, senior citizen and disabled-accessible units, a full-service community center, and a range of neighborhood amenities. The Certified neighborhood includes not only the apartment community but also the enhanced Chambers Park as well as the new green-built headquarters of the St. Louis Housing Authority, developed with McCormack Baron Salazar in 2009.

Cheryl Lovell, Executive Director of the St. Louis Housing Authority, commends the collaborative efforts of BVTA, MBS, KAI, HUD and the City of St. Louis under the Blumeyer HOPE VI Grant that led to the LEED-ND distinction. “The remarkable transformation of the area was key to our decision to locate our new headquarters in the area.”

Renaissance 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 retail stores, cultural institutions, schools and recreational options—all accessible within a ½ mile walking distance or convenient Metro transit lines.

Renaissance Place also met its “Green Construction and Technology” targets by using environmentally sensitive construction techniques and by ensuring that brownfield contamination, storm water runoff and pollution from construction activities were significantly reduced or completely abated. The site 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.

“This recognition would not have been possible without the strong interest of the St. Louis Housing Authority to support the team’s effort to achieve thoughtful sustainability and green goals. From the beginning, we encouraged participation and input from community stakeholders to help guide our staff throughout the implementation process which was important towards achieving this unique distinction,” said Vince Bennett, Chief Operating Officer of McCormack Baron Salazar.

The property operates at nearly 100 percent 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 and Blumeyer Village Tenant Management Association.

McCormack Baron Salazar also recently completed the development of one of only six LEED Platinum-Certified Schools in the United States (Crossroads School, St. Louis, MO), and is on track to complete three high-performance, Enterprise Green communities in St. Louis, Memphis, and Miami, respectively.

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