Long Island City’s Historic LEED Silver Brewster Building Lands JetBlue

JetBlue has officially moved into its 200,000-square-foot space at the historic, LEED Silver-certified Brewster Building in Long Island City, which manufactured the “Brewster Buffalo” fighter plane during World War II.

Brewster Building in Long Island City

Built in 1911, the Brewster Building in Long Island City already had a strong connection with the aviation industry even before JetBlue signed a sublease with its anchor tenant, MetLife, in 2010: it was where the Brewster Aeronautical Company manufactured the Brewster F2A (known as “The Brewster Buffalo”), which was the first monoplane fighter airplane used by the U.S. Navy during World War II.

Earlier this month, JetBlue officially moved into its 200,000-square-foot space at the Brewster Building. Close to 1000 employees – including nearly 100 who relocated from Connecticut – are now based out of the space, which is located at 27-01 Queens Plaza North and serves as the airline’s corporate headquarters. It’s a ten-year sublease that also permits JetBlue signage on the Brewster Building facade (visible from Manhattan, but not in the image above).

The Brewster Building itself – which is owned by New York City-based Brause Realty – earned LEED Silver certification in late 2008 under the Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance rating system on the shoulders of an extensive 2003 renovation. The 400,000-square-foot, 12-story tower was originally designed by architects Stephensen & Wheeler and earned 44 of a possible 92 points under EB: OM (SS: 5/12, WE: 4/10, EA: 17/30, MR: 2/14, IEQ: 11/19, and 5/7 for Innovations in Operations).

The build-out of JetBlue’s space – which was designed by HLW International – included a number of green features (though it doesn’t appear that JetBlue pursued any formal third-party certification for its efforts) which involved the following during both the design and construction phases of the build-out:

  • - During construction, all demolition was certified at 90% recycled. The construction team also reused many existing materials, such as ceiling tiles, sprinkler pipes and other duct work.
  • - An open office design lets more natural light permeate the floors; glass fronts on all offices and conference rooms further increases the flow of sunlight. These design elements have allowed JetBlue to reduce lighting power usage to just over one watt per square foot.
  • - Lights are motion-sensitive and turn off when rooms and work areas are not in use.
  • - All furniture and carpet is made from recycled materials.
  •  - Centralized business centers for printing, copying and faxing reduces the energy consumption of printers and the amount of toner waste. Excess paper is recycled.
  • - All appliances are Energy Star-certified and the HVAC system uses high-efficiency motors with economizers. A central monitoring system controls and balances the HVAC output.
  • - Complimentary daily bike storage is offered and 77 percent of JetBlue’s crewmembers who work at the Brewster Building take public transportation.

What’s particularly neat about the build-out is that HLW’s design aimed to both showcase the JetBlue brand while also connecting it to the company’s operations. For example, design elements from JetBlue’s Terminal 5 at JFK Airport – including the historic Eero Saarinen-designed TWA Terminal – are replicated through the space’s curves, branded walls, and expressive JetBlue colors.

About Stephen Del Percio

Stephen Del Percio has written for gbNYC+ since 2006 and currently serves as in-house counsel for one of the world's largest engineering, construction, and technical services companies. He earned a B.Eng. from Columbia, his J.D. at William & Mary, and lives in New York City with his wife and daughter. You can follow Stephen on Twitter, email him at stephen@gbNYC.com, or join gbNYC on Facebook to continue the conversation.

about gbNYC

gbNYC is a multi-disciplinary consulting and real estate services firm. In addition to representing office tenants and commercial buyers in leasing and acquisitions, we also provide innovative consulting solutions from a unique, green building perspective. We advise on green building financial incentives, comment on proposed green building marketing strategies, author white papers, treatises, and market analyses, organize seminars on the LEED process and professional accreditation, and provide advice and analysis on green building risk management and the overall state of green real estate, leasing, and construction, in New York City and beyond.

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  1. In Long Island City, (Somewhat) Controversial JetBlue Signage Lands On Historic LEED Silver Brewster Building | gbNYC Real Estate Group | Commercial Real Estate & Green Buildings in New York City - Thursday, August 16, 2012

    [...] that occupy a minimum of twenty percent of a building, or occupy 50,000 total square feet. JetBlue, of course, moved into its 200,000-square-foot space at the Brewster Building back in April under a 10-year sublease from [...]

  2. In Long Island City, (Somewhat) Controversial JetBlue Signage Lands On Historic LEED Silver Brewster Building – insiderater.com - Friday, August 17, 2012

    [...] that occupy a minimum of twenty percent of a building, or occupy 50,000 total square feet. JetBlue, of course, moved into its 200,000-square-foot space at the Brewster Building back in April under a 10-year sublease from [...]

  3. From offices to condos, green buildings in LIC, Queens | Queens NYC - Monday, August 20, 2012

    [...] notable example of efforts to make a building green is the Brewster Building (GMAP), home to JetBlue’s new corporate headquarters along Queens Plaza. This historic building [...]

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