The Green Exchange

A Chicago-based development firm is waiting to receive zoning approvals from the city in order to proceed with a 250,000 square foot mixed-use project at 2545 West Diversey Avenue on Chicago’s North Side. Once the approval is handed down, Baum Development LLC plans to invest $30 million into the former Frederick Cooper Lamp Company building [...]

A Chicago-based development firm is waiting to receive zoning approvals from the city in order to proceed with a 250,000 square foot mixed-use project at 2545 West Diversey Avenue on Chicago’s North Side. Once the approval is handed down, Baum Development LLC plans to invest $30 million into the former Frederick Cooper Lamp Company building and renovate it to an undisclosed level of LEED certification.

Baum’s project grabbed my attention, though, because the firm is marketing the building exclusively to commercial tenants that either make or provide sustainable products and services. It has already signed letters of intent with a sustainable building material supplier, an eco-friendly printing company, and a sustainable furniture designer. It’s also targeting organic restaurants and architectural and engineering firms specializing in green design. Baum is not receiving any financial incentives from the city for the project, which will include a garden courtyard and a green roof.

This is the first project I’ve come across that’s exclusively pursuing green commercial tenants. The concept of a small office building that contains a community of sustainably-driven tenants is intriguing. Of course, the final piece of the puzzle for an owner interested in the idea is what kind of premium it might expect to receive from such tenants. The article discloses very little about those that Baum has already signed up- not even how many square feet of space they’ve leased- so my thoughts here are mere speculation. I suppose it would depend on whether a potential green tenant would see additional value derived from positioning its business among others that are similarly sustainable. If so, why wouldn’t tenants be willing to pay higher rents, particularly if the building itself performs at a higher level than a conventional commercial office building?

In any event, these types of projects are definitely worth looking out for.

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  1. Office Max! - Sunday, December 3, 2006

    The Green Exchange…

    A look at Green Building for small office buildings…….