Fordham Place, a 14-story mixed-use development on Fordham Road and right across from Fordham University (also: Fordham Fordham Fordham), has been covered here at gbNYC before. That was back in 2009, when Stephen highlighted it; back then, it had an unspecified level of LEED pre-certification, and earlier this week Fordham Place earned LEED-CS Gold, making it the first commercial LEED-CS building in the Bronx. Which is greatly to its credit, of course, but which also seems notably less like news now than it did back in the summer of ’09.
That’s because, in the time since, the Bronx has been racking up LEED laurels at a crazy rate. From LEED Silver shopping malls to Mill Pond Park’s LEED Gold municipal structure to ultra-green affordable housing to the only LEED For Neighborhoods honoree in NYC, the Bronx has been one of New York City’s green building bright spots for some time. (And don’t get us started on the awesomeness of its more fanciful, pie-in-the-sky green development ideas) All of which is not bad for one of the city’s more frequently forgotten boroughs, and which — given that the Bronx was the city’s poorest borough by a healthy margin the last time anyone checked — is either a real sustainability accomplishment or a moderately damning criticism of the isolated-LEED-showcase approach to borough-scale sustainability. Or, more likely, it’s both at the same time — that Fordham Place is one of the first Class A office developments in the Bronx over the last two decades is just one indication of how far the borough has yet to go, but it’s also quite the mixed-use Class A office development, and therefore well worth a salute and a closer look.
Originally planned as a LEED-CS Silver development by architects GreenbergFarrow and Croxton Collaborative Architects (who oversaw the LEED bid and many of the sustainability initiatives), the Fordham Place project wound up over-delivering its way to LEED Gold. Over $500,000 worth of grant-based help from NYSERDA undoubtedly helped as well, but the picture that emerges from (um) the press release linked above is of a successful collaboration between everyone involved. The development increased the size of the 86,000-square-foot structure originally on the corner plot more than threefold, resulting in a 276,475-square-foot structure that’s home to a Best Buy, a Sears, a charter middle school, and the aforementioned 116,000 square feet of LEED Gold Class A office space. There are whole counties a brief drive away that can’t match that.
Fordham Place’s sustainability stats are equally impressive. Between the thermally upgraded building envelope, the state-of-the-art building management and HVAC system, and a host of other, smaller green building measures, Fordham Place is claiming an 18% energy reduction over code compliant design throughout the building and a 41% reduction in potable water use. An impressive 63% of the original building was reused, and 82% of construction waste was diverted from landfills, and — in a blatant gbNYC pander — 100% of the roof materials are reflective, and EnergyStar compliant. Fordham Place may not be a harbinger of a borough-wide turnaround — there’s a lot of work to be done there, regardless of how much construction waste misses the landfill — but it is, at least, another success in a borough with an increasing number to its name. And that’s something worth celebrating in its own right.