Author: Rob

Green Street receives the 2013 USGBC MO Gateway Chapter Award For Restoration

Green Street was the proud recipient of the Award for Restoration at this year’s Growing Green Awards. Green Street was honored to recieve the award and will continue to strive to make more positive impacts in green building and development. 

Green Street is proud to be recognized along with the following Green Community champions!

Awards were presented at the 6th Annual Growing Green Awards on March 27 to:

  • Emerging Leader: Maryville University’s USGBC Student Group
  • Education: MICDS
  • Operational Excellence: St. Louis Zoo
  • Restoration: Green Street St. Louis
  • Innovation: Gary Steps, Butterfly Energy Works
  • Community Champion: Deb Frank, Missouri Botanical Garden

 

Green Street noted in improving Real Estate Market

As published by Tim Bryant, St Louis Post Dispatch, January 10, 2014:

Developers’ plans to build huge warehouses before securing tenants is a clear sign the St. Louis industrial real estate market is recovering.

“Last year was good and 2014 looks fantastic,” said Patrick Reilly, a senior director and principal at Gateway Commercial, in Clayton.

Demand for warehouse and industrial space flagged during the recession. Almost no such space has been built in the St. Louis area since 2008. But vacancy rates began falling early last year and will decline more this year, real estate experts say. Lease rates are edging up even as additional space is brought to market.

A result is that from the Gateway Commerce Center, near Edwardsville, to the former Chrysler site in Fenton and the St. Louis riverfront, developers are looking to take advantage of the improving economy.

Constructing a warehouse on spec — that is, with no tenant lined up — shows confidence in the market, experts said.

TriStar Properties plans to construct such a building at Gateway Commerce. Michael Towerman, president of Earth City-based TriStar, said the absence of available space there justifies spec construction.

Towerman’s company hopes to complete financing and break ground this spring on a 540,000-square-foot modern bulk warehouse — the category of industrial space with high ceilings, widely spaced columns and plentiful loading docks sought by national distribution firms.

TriStar’s building, which could be expanded to 1 million square feet, would add to the 10 million square feet of distribution centers at Gateway Commerce, which includes Unilever, Procter & Gamble and Hershey as tenants.

Only about 200,000 square feet of space remains available at the 2,300-acre industrial park, said Towerman, adding that talks with property brokers and potential tenants show more construction is needed.

“It’s also related to competitive lease rates, where they are sufficient to justify the cost of new construction,” he said.

Bulk warehouses total about 30 million square feet of space within St. Louis’ approximately 230 million-square-foot industrial real estate market. Towerman said the growing popularity of e-commerce increases the need for bulk space.

As people buy more things online, retailers add distribution centers to fill orders quickly. For example, Amazon is salting the country with mammoth “fulfillment centers” to provide customers same-day delivery. (Real estate brokers say a second spec warehouse might be in the works at Gateway Commerce but added they were unaware that Amazon was considering a facility in the St. Louis area.)

HEALTHY VACANCY RATE

Regardless, all signs point to a more robust industrial real estate market in the region.

Since hitting bottom in 2010, the area’s industrial market has had six consecutive quarters of growth, said Matthew Eastin, an associate at Cassidy Turley, in Clayton. Nearly 14 percent of the area’s industrial space was empty at the end of 2010. Three years later, the vacancy rate was 8 percent.

“It’s a great growth rate,” Eastin said. “Eight percent is a healthy vacancy number.”

That rate might tick down an additional half percentage point this year, said Eastin, adding that absorption of bulk modern space is providing much of the improvement. He predicted that more spec warehouse construction will take place this year.

“In my opinion, we’re beyond ready to see spec construction,” he said. “Now is the time to get going.”

Forty miles southwest of Gateway Commerce, along Interstate 44 in Fenton, KP Development has big plans for the site where Chrysler used to build cars and trucks.

KP Development of Clayton has an option to buy the nearly 300-acre site the company calls the Fenton Logistics Park. Scott Haley, KP’s senior vice president, said the site is suitable for light manufacturing, distribution centers and even office space.

“We’ve had a lot of strong conversations with many types of users for that facility,” he said.

KP’s president, Terry Barnes, said the company hopes to buy the site this year and have the Fenton Logistics Park “up and running” in 2015.

“What we’re seeing here in St. Louis and in other parts of the country is some pent-up demand from industrial-type tenants that were holding off but are now looking to expand or grow,” he said.

Before KP can put in new streets, other infrastructure and construct new buildings, it must first remove floor slabs from the demolished factory buildings Chrysler closed in 2009.

URBAN STRATEGIES

Industrial developers face different challenges in the city, where open ground is scarce and old buildings often require expensive retrofitting or replacement.

In 2009, Green Street Properties of Clayton renovated a 1920s streetcar garage for a truck tire company expanding from Evansville, Ind., and Goedecke Co., a construction services firm that moved to the site near Interstate 70 and North Broadway from midtown St. Louis.

In December, a Love’s Travel Stops store opened at I-70 and North Broadway as part of Green Street’s years-long effort to redevelop the area. Phil Hulse, Green Street’s managing principal, said the all-night truck stop is key to attracting more warehouse operators to the area.

Construction will begin soon on three build-to-suit structures near Love’s, Hulse said. One will replace a vacant trash-transfer facility within the area Green Street is reviving with the help of various tax incentives.

“When we get done, we’ll have created about 300 to 350 new jobs,” he said.

Another Green Street project is at the former Carondelet Coke site at the city’s southern tip. The 54-acre tract, renamed River City Business Park, will get at least one new building this year, Hulse said.

Construction of that 120,000-square-foot multi-tenant building will get under way in mid-year, he said. He added that work on a 200,000-square-foot-building at the site also could begin this year. Green Street hopes to develop as much as 700,000 square feet of new space at the site.

Gateway Commercial’s Reilly says the Metro East, St. Charles County and St. Louis County will be the area’s top submarkets this year. Elsewhere in the area, north St. Louis County, including Earth City, will be among the region’s stronger growth areas, experts said. They added that all parts of the region will benefit from the improved economy.

Reilly said that in just the past few weeks, lease deals were reached for 1.2 million square feet of industrial space.

“It’s been a long slog through the recession years,” he said. “But now deals are getting done. We’re hearing it. We’re seeing it. It’s decidedly a forward market.”

Phil Hulse, (Re)Building a better community

Author: Julie Murphy
Article as published in the St. Louis Business Journal, January 24, 2014. 

Phil Hulse
, founder and managing principal of Clayton-based Green Street Development Group, is known for his perseverance.

“Phil always finds a way to get things done, whether that’s on construction or in an interaction with the client,” said Brian Pratt, vice president of business development for Green Street.

Otis Williams, executive director of the St. Louis Development Corp., echoed Pratt’s take on Hulse. “Phil’s the kind of guy who sees something that he wants to get done, and he will stay the course and get it accomplished.”

Hulse, with his staff of eight, has spent the last seven years, for example, advancing a plan to redevelop the site of the former Carondelet Coke plant into a business park, 54 acres that will accommodate up to 700,000 square feet of new buildings in south city. Green Street will likely begin construction of the first building there in the second quarter of this year, Hulse said.

Hulse formed Green Street in 2008, with the plan of carving out a niche in commercial real estate – namely by redeveloping urban properties in St. Louis, transforming the bones of vacant buildings and polluted or contaminated “Brownfield” sites, into something “pretty spectacular,” as Hulse says, including “green” or sustainable elements.

Since 2009, Hulse’s firm has executed some $90 million in redevelopment projects, and it has approximately $100 million more in the pipeline, he said.

Hulse was born in St. Louis, but grew up in several cities across the country, depending on where his father’s work took the family. After graduating from theUniversity of Denver in 1971, Hulse worked for Hartford National Bank, in Connecticut. In 1974, he returned to St. Louis, where his brothers and father were living then. Hulse struck out on his own, running a couple of businesses, then changed course again. “I just did a 180, got my broker’s license, and started as a broker for Hilliker Corp.,” Hulse said.

In 1998, he helped form Summit Development Group, where he worked until the end of 2007, when he turned his attention to establishing Green Street.

At 64, Hulse has three sons from his first marriage. Following in their father’s footsteps, Peder and Chris work as local brokers and developers in town and have worked on and off with Hulse over the past decade. Hulse’s other son, John, is the director of business development for locally based StraightUp Solar.

Hulse lives in Ladue with his wife, Janice Rohan, owner of Park Avenue Design, and their daughter, Irina, 16, whom they adopted from Ukraine when she was two.

Early on, after working in banking, what businesses did you own?

I owned a construction company (Hulse Construction), a privately held company that did work here. I did that for about seven or eight years. We did mostl
y commercial installations for businesses. We were a private contractor for Southwestern Bell and Continental Telephone. After that, during the late ‘70s, early ‘80s, I had a fireplace and patio shop called Rockwood Stoves. Then in 1985, I transitioned into being a real estate broker.

You have a reputation for being very tenacious in your work.

I was always ambitious and interested in learning. I always wanted to connect with people who were smart and talented because you learn from them. If I was in a crowd, in high school or college, I would associate with people who were doing well, both academically and socially, because they were great role models. Then as I learned real estate, I picked mentors who were guiding forces, and then put my own spin on it. And you can have great talent, but unless you’re tenacious – there are a lot of road blocks sometimes to getting something accomplished, so our (Green Street’s) success has a lot to do with never giving up and sticking with the user (client). Sometimes it doesn’t happen the first time – sometimes it takes years to get a project off the ground. And if something negative happens, you have to always look at the bright side. Being in this business is very tough, and there’s a tremendous amount of risk to it, so you’ve really got to be light on your feet, smart and always push toward the finish line.

What else has allowed you to succeed?

It’s a combination of factors. We have a lot of experience in just developing, so we know how to dance through the woods when it’s not so pleasant. My focus has always been on the user market. How do I represent somebody, getting them to where they need to be with the real estate side of their business? You know, speculators will develop and build something without having the tenant or user, so having a user really defines the project. They help guide the ship to a good landing, with a good project because, without it, it’s hard to drive the financing, the equity or the vision. And then we’ve always had good partners that we collaborate with. Financially, there’s a lot to do, on this scale, in development, so you’ve got to have good partners who can weather the ups and downs. Whether it’s an architect, engineer, contractor — we work as a team. We have lots of perspectives, and what we (Green Street) do is guide the overall ship.

How do you find “users” or tenants?

It’s generally me, having that brokerage background, sniffing around like hound a dog … and we typically buy things before we have the user. Then you’ve got to find the user that kind of sets the stage for what you’re going to do. You’ve got to create a “story” that works on multiple deals. And you’re congregating people that benefit from everybody else being around them; you’re creating synergies.

Describe a typical Green Street redevelopment project.

A good example would be when we did the Sheet Metal Workers’ (Local 36) project down on Chouteau and Jefferson. Here you have a union membership — a body that you have to somehow guide through a transaction and deliver a building. This kind of evolved from, yes, we need a new building for administrative offices; we need a union hall; we need a school, but how do we do this in a way that distinguishes us within the trades and within the construction industry itself? The approach that we ended up taking, which they (the union) have a big impact on, is sustainability, green development. They have a lot to do with solar installations, green roofs, heating and cooling that needs to be highly efficient — if you’re going to get points within the LEED certification system. So we ended up turning this project into an opportunity to exemplify who they are.

And it involved a lot of public incentives. Having a school that’s training people for the future allowed them to attract a big allocation of New Markets Tax Credits that we sold to help buy down the project. We used Brownfields tax credits to deal with some of the environmental (issues). We had a TIF that we put on the whole site to capture the tax revenues that were flowing through it. And we used energy tax credits. So, we used a lot of tools.

What are some of the specific sustainable or “green” elements that Green Street incorporates?

It really starts with the site you select, and because it’s existing buildings, we’re reusing, recycling, which is a better approach. And we typically put much more sophisticated heating and cooling and lighting systems in so they’re efficient and you’re saving money on the operational side. We use a lot of natural light. We’re sensitive to how the site impacts what comes onto it, in terms of storm water, and we can manage that with bioswales. We use renewable energy more and more. We install a lot of solar panels and geo-thermal (systems).

Do you live a “green” lifestyle at home?

I put geothermal in it. When we redeveloped it and took things out, we reused them in different places. For example, we had bay-window doors that had non-insulated windows, so we used those same doors for interior doors, instead of throwing them in a landfill. And that’s why we (Green Street) reutilize buildings, rather than do them from the ground up. If you can find a building, and it’s got good bones, it saves a lot of energy and materials, so you’re decreasing the overall (environmental) impact. And when we take out older units we’re constantly donating stuff to groups like Habitat for Humanity. It’s just the right thing to do.


Hulse the history buff

Latest reads:

“Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” by Doris Kearns Goodwin

“Washington: A Life” by Ron Chernow

“Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship” by Jon Meacham


Where you can find Phil Hulse

On his bicycle, cycling down Conway, Clayton or Ladue roads, toward Chesterfield.

Jazz at the Bistro. “We’re season ticket holders.”

Old Warson Country Club, playing golf.

phil@greenstreetstl.com

How to choose a commercial real estate firm

As published by Diana Barr, St. Louis Business Journal, December 13, 2013:

As your organization’s needs change, you’re likely to need a commercial real estate firm to help you lease new space or buy a property.

Laclede Group is evaluating its options to either renew its headquarters lease or move, and Ellen Theroff, vice president of governance and standards, is overseeing that process.

Before issuing a request for proposal, Theroff said, executives met one on one with four or five commercial real estate firms, ultimately picking The Koman Group. “For us, it was a matter of choosing from a lot of really good options,” she said. “We were looking for someone who would listen to and help us address our needs.”

Find a firm that can handle all your options, she said. “We wanted a firm that could help us assess and really choose the best path in light of all of our needs.”

Try to identify a prospective commercial real estate firm’s “sweet spot,” Theroff said. Ask open-ended questions and gauge the answer: “What would be your recommended first steps if we say we want to build?” for example.

Have prospective firms include their compensation structure in their RFP responses. Theroff said to allow as much as four months to analyze proposals and select a firm.

Doug Schukar, president and CEO of USA Mortgage, said that in choosing a commercial real estate firm, he’s most interested in negotiation skills. The company, which uses Hilliker Corp., has grown to 15 branches, with 12 of those in St. Louis, and seeks certain mandates in each lease, such as a build-out allowance. “We’re looking to use our template for each lease,” he said.

To accommodate its growth, USA Mortgage needs a commercial real estate firm that knows the various markets and “different pockets we want to get into,” Schukar said.

Start with a face-to-face meeting with prospective commercial real estate firms to go over your goals, and then “follow your gut,” he said. “Some firms just want the path of least resistance; make sure they’re not just selling to you.”

Judy Berkowitz, executive director of Kids In The Middle, said to begin your search for a commercial real estate firm by getting referrals. The nonprofit, which works with children and families going through divorce, began the year by moving to a larger leased space in Maplewood.

Berkowitz said the organization worked with Green Street Real Estate Ventures after it was recommended by a board member. Without a referral, be sure to ask for references, she said.

In talking to prospective firms, get a feel for whether the broker will spend the time to understand your needs, and ask about time constraints, areas of expertise and fees, she said. Get other people in your organization involved in the process, Berkowitz said, and carefully read the brokerage agreement.

Love's Travel Center Opens In North Riverfront Business Corridor

As published by Tim Bryant, St. Louis Post Dispatch, December 12, 2013:

A Love’s Travel Stops opening today is the first business to get underway in a north St. Louis area city officials hope to redevelop.

The all-night truck stop, at Interstate 70 and North Broadway, will have a McDonald’s, a tire center and other facilities when fully open. A formal ribbon cutting is scheduled for Jan. 14.

Green Street Development Group, of Clayton, is behind redevelopment of the area the city plans to revive as part of north riverfront renewal. In 2011, the city’s St. Louis Development Corp. allocated federal New Market’s Tax Credits to the Love’s project.

Love’s, based in Oklahoma City, also got help from the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment in hiring local workers.

Wing Zone to open at Jefferson Commons

As published in the St. Louis Business Journal, November 18th, 2013 by E.B Solomont.

Is there a chicken war brewing?

Wing Zone, a restaurant concept based in Atlanta, is set to open its first St. Louis location next month, just weeks after Raising Cane’s debuted its first stand-alone store in the area, located in Des Peres less than a half mile from Chick-fil-A.

The Wing Zone restaurant will be located at 1643 S. Jefferson Ave., in a shopping center that was redeveloped by Green Street St. Louis for $8 million. (The Jefferson Commons shopping center is also home to a new Save-A-Lot, which opened last week.)

In an increasingly crowded chicken field, Wing Zone bills itself as a fast-casual, cook-to-order concept. Most of its business is takeout, but for customers who stay and eat, servers bring the food to their tables.

“People want the quality of a sit-down restaurant but want the value of a lower price,” said CEO Matt Friedman, who co-founded the company as a college student.

The average ticket price is $8 to $10 per meal.

Wing Zone currently has 90 locations, including 10 on military bases.

The St. Louis restaurant is owned by Roya Moshiri and her husband Monte Dover, who also own six Subway franchises in the area. The 1,500-square-foot restaurant is set to open Dec. 14, and Moshiri and Dover plan to open 10 locations in the area.

“This is a big deal for us,” Friedman said.

Franchisees pay the company an initial fee of $27,500 and 5 percent of sales in royalty payments. The typical start-up investment is $250,000, Friedman said. Last year, the average Wing Zone location generated $610,000 in revenue.

Wing Zone is “more than wings,” Friedman said. The chain has 17 proprietary flavors to season the chicken.

Friedman and Adam Scott in 1993 launched Wing Zone in the kitchen of their fraternity house at the University of Florida. In 2000, the company started growing through franchises.

As a company, Wing Zone did $45 million in total revenue last year.

Sav-A-Lot opens at Jefferson Commons

As reported in the St. Louis Business Journal by E.B. Solomont, November 14th, 2013:

A new Save-A-Lot supermarket is set to open Thursday in Lafayette Square, bringing a grocery store to a neighborhood that had few places to buy fresh produce. The 17,678-square-foot store, at the long-vacant Foodland plaza, is at the intersection of S. Jefferson and Lafayette avenues. The shopping center was redeveloped by Green Street St. Louis and is now being called Jefferson Commons.

“We’ve pretty much done a full redevelopment and renovation,” said Brian Pratt, vice president at Green Street, which bought the 45,200-square-foot site in 2011 and redeveloped it for a total cost of $8 million. “We peeled everything back to the superstructure, tore off the facade,” and then added a new roof and other improvements, he said.

Besides Save-A-Lot, tenants include H&R Block and Blast Fitness. Subway and Wing Zone occupy a 3,300-square-foot “out-lot” that Green Street constructed.

Pratt projected $12 million in retail sales.

To finance the project, Pratt said Green Street obtained private equity capital, a loan from People’s National Bank, New Market Tax Credits and $1.7 million in Tax Increment Financing.

Pratt said the construction created 125 full-time jobs and 16 part-time jobs. UIC was the contractor. Once all the stores are open, the center will employ 80 full-time employees.

Pratt said Green Street is pursuing LEED certification, and installed solar panels on the building.

“So we’re certainly proud of the sustainable impact the renovation will have on tenants and the community,” he said.

St. Louis-based Save-A-Lot, led by President and CEO Ritchie Casteel, is a division of Supervalu Inc., the parent company of Save-A-Lot and Shop ‘n Save. Supervalu reported net earnings of $40 million on $3.95 billion of net sales in the second quarter. Save-A-Lot reported second quarter net sales of $972 million compared to $973 million in the prior-year period.

Construction underway at Urban Chestnut Brewing Company

As Published by the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Sept 6th, 2013
Author: Tim Bryant

David Wolfe sees past the blank walls of an old brick warehouse to a light-filled brewery that represents the rapid expansion of his Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.

Wolfe is co-founder of Urban Chestnut, the fast-growing craft brewer that is expanding to the 80,000-square-foot building at 4465 Manchester Avenue.

With brewery partner Florian Kuplent, Wolfe is running the $10 million project to redo the former Renard Paper Co. warehouse as a brewery that will, potentially, provide two-year-old Urban Chestnut with the largest beer factory among the area’s craft brewers.

Urban Chestnut worked with Green Street, a Clayton-based developer, to find a building to renovate as a brewery. The beer maker says it has outgrown its brewhouse at 3229 Washington Avenue, which will remain open. That facility will produce 7,000 barrels this year, about double from a year ago.

The new brewery, located in the Grove entertainment area of the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood, will have an annual capacity of about 15,000 barrels, with space to expand to 100,000 barrels.

Green Street bought the Renard building in March and is leasing it to Urban Chestnut.

This week, workers punched holes on the Manchester side of the building for five large windows that will provide views of brewing equipment inside the structure.

“We’ve got daylight,” Wolfe said as he viewed the progress. “Nice.”

Another wall section will come down entirely to produce a patio for about 80 people. A glass partition will separate the patio from rows of beer fermentation tanks.

Peder Hulse, a Green Street vice president, said the building’s oldest section went up in the 1920s as a paint distribution center that was remodeled in the 1940s. An addition in the 1980s and another in the early 1990s brought the building to its current size. Urban Chestnut will use the newest section to store and ship beer.

Aside from new lighting, a gift shop and company offices, the building’s interior will get only a slight makeover.

“We’re going to keep it pretty raw and industrial,” Wolfe said.

Despite its fast growth, Urban Chestnut has yet to crack the ranks of the top U.S. craft beer makers. Schlafly, at 21 the old man of St. Louis microbrews, ranked 44th in craft beer volume sales last year, according to the Boulder, Colo.-based Brewers Association. Boulevard, of Kansas City, held the 14th spot.

“We’re still outside of the top 100,” said Wolfe, noting that Urban Chestnut is less than a tenth the size of Schlafly.

Still, Urban Chestnut is big in the St. Louis beer scene and is part of a golden age of craft brewing in many cities, including Denver, Portland, San Diego, Seattle and Boston.

Wolfe and Kuplent said they were happy to find a suitable building in the Grove, home to a growing number of bars and restaurants.

“We definitely want to be part of the urban life,” Kuplent said.

The new Urban Chestnut brewery, set to open next spring with about 30 employees, will get a warm welcome in the Grove, said Chris Colizza, project coordinator for Mangrove Development, which does mixed-use ventures in the area.

“It’s going to activate a whole block that’s currently vacant,” he said. “It’s going to help the neighborhood immensely from a commercial aspect.”

Colizza, formerly a planner for Park Central Development, the 17th Ward’s development arm in the area, said the brewery will be the Grove’s “marquee” addition, along with a new coffeehouse and, perhaps, a music venue in the 4100 block of Manchester.

HBD Construction, the general contractor on the Urban Chestnut project, has its office 10 blocks west of the brewery site. Its president, Mike Perry, said the stretch of Manchester east of Kingshighway was plenty sketchy before it developed as the Grove.

“I just assumed this would always be a troubled area,” he said. “It’s great to see it coming back.”

Tim Bryant covers commercial real estate, development and other business stories for the Post-Dispatch. He blogs at Building Blocks, the Post-Dispatch development blog. 

Low Impact, High Design: Better Brewing

As published in Feast Magazine, August 30th, 2013
by Brandi Wills

Better Brewing

For many restaurant owners, being a good steward of the environment also means making a long-term commitment to their businesses and the neighborhoods where they reside. Such is the case for Urban Brewing Co.’s co-founders, David Wolfe and Florian Kuplent. Just two years into their brewing business, Urban Chestnut is expanding operations to a second location in The Grove. The 70,000 square foot production brewery, packaging facility, warehouse and indoor/outdoor retail tasting room will be located in the former Renard Paper Co. building, quadrupling the company’s brewing capacity while simultaneously making it the largest craft brewing facility in the area. Projected to open in early 2014, Urban Chestnut has partnered with Green Street St. Louis – a local real estate firm recognized for the sustainable redevelopment of underutilized St. Louis-area commercial properties into LEED- (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified buildings. Green Street owns the building and is developing the project with Urban Chestnut.

“Because this project is a reuse of an existing space and not a new build, we’re working toward the Commercial Interiors LEED certification status,” Wolfe says. “This means green interior finishes, reducing water and energy use, recycling our construction materials, using local materials and artisans for our furniture, and more. These steps are what will make us a good citizen within our neighborhood. But we could do all these things without seeking third-party recognition [from LEED]. We’re becoming certified as a longevity measure. If we invest in geothermal energy and other efficient systems for this building, then they will be in place for future owners. The more people who [make sustainable design decisions] now, the easier it will be for future owners to do, too.”

Green Street St. Louis managing principal Phil Hulse says the company is working with local architects and contractors to design and build the new facility to incorporate high-efficiency lighting and mechanical systems, conservation of water, solar power and using natural and locally produced resources and recycled materials to lessen the building’s long-term impact.

“There are many benefits to incorporating [sustainable] principles into the building,” Hulse says. “One of the most important is that you create a better environment for people to work in and you have less negative impact on the surrounding environment (by minimizing our carbon footprint). Our focus has been to redevelop existing buildings and repurpose them for new uses – this is one of the best ways to incorporate sustainable design into the building.”

Rob Maltby, project manager with Green Street, clearly sees the investment Wolfe and Kuplent are making in their new neighborhood. “This project is reusing a building in a neighborhood that is really unique, diverse and growing,” Maltby says. “This project has the ability to connect with the community around [it], as well as filling a large hole in The Grove. Other projects we have done, while LEED certified, are more functional for the business. I think this project can showcase a green building in a 24/7 neighborhood, and how a lot of the elements of sustainability don’t just come from the building itself, but the impact it has on the surrounding community.”

For Wolfe and Kuplent, creating this kind of project in The Grove just makes sense.

“The Grove is a sustainable neighborhood,” Wolfe says. “It’s close to transit, in a dense community, and is walkable. Reusing the building eliminates massive amounts of building materials and habitat destruction, and it adds to the economic, environmental and social sustainability of the area. We’ll be creating jobs, reducing our carbon footprint and helping the neighborhood – all of these promote a holistic view of sustainability versus solely focusing on environmental factors.”

For Wolfe, that all-encompassing approach to sustainability is what gives this entire project a sense of purpose. “There are a lot of benefits to employing sustainable practices,” he says. “From a marketing stand-point, we’re appealing to people who care about the environment and aligning ourselves with their morals. And we’re investing in long-term cost-savings for our business with the many energy-saving measures we’re taking. But, honestly, the most important element is the cultural impact we’re making. People who work here, who see what we’re doing and how we’re doing it are going to follow suit. They’re going to start living it themselves and become better citizens. And as customers come to expect sustainability to be part of their restaurants, they’ll demand it more and more. It’s like they say, ‘The beach starts with one grain of sand.’ And we really do feel good about what we’re doing on a regular basis.”

Carondelet Commons Moves Closer To Construction

As reported by Tim Logan of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, July 2, 2013:

The long-awaited redevelopment of the old Carondelet Coke site in south St. Louis could begin by year’s end.

An executive from Green Street Properties, which wants to turn the old industrial site into a business park, said his group is close to landing a first tenant and wants to start construction late this year or early next.

Brian Pratt, vice president for development for Green Street, said the firm has “a pending letter of intent for one building, and preliminary interest” for others.

“We’ve now reached a stage where we can deliver buildings and attract jobs and investment,” Pratt told a subcommittee of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen Tuesday.

He was there seeking the committee’s blessing on $7 million in tax increment financing to build an access road for the $70 million project, which sits off South Broadway just north of the River Des Peres. The Housing, Urban Development and Zoning Committee voted to recommend the TIF, sending the measure on to the full board.

At 54 acres, Carondelet Coke is one of the largest pieces of vacant land in St. Louis City and redeveloping it has been a top priority for city officials. Cleaning the site cost $13.2 million  far more than initially anticipated — most of it paid for with brownfields tax credits from the state of Missouri. That work is now largely done, and Green Street is trying to line up tenants.

Pratt said the company envisions production and manufacturing companies on the site, which could house about 400 jobs within five years.

“We think once we have one building in place we’ll very quickly have other commitments,” he said. “Having that first tenant in place is key.”