Plaza at Las Olas
Address: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Project Specs: Retrofit / Major Renovation
Project Type: Office
Square Feet: 85,439
Project History: Bringing a sophisticated new dimension to the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale’s iconic Las Olas Boulevard, the 85,439-square-foot Plaza at Las Olas (PALO), located at 301 East Las Olas Blvd., is a remarkable transformation story that spans more than seven decades. Originally built as a 2-story structure in the 1940’s, PALO has been renovated four times to achieve its stunning contemporary style with clean lines and crisp, corporate colors that feature the traditional Stiles blue and red. The 2010 transformation of this building was one of many since its original construction in the 1940’s. The most recent changes took it from Spanish Mediterranean style architecture to a more contemporary style.
Commitment to Sustainability
Sustainability is one of the guiding principles of Stiles. They understand that their business directly impacts the world’s resources, and continuously strive to attain higher sustainability standards while balancing the interests of the environment, communities, stakeholders, employees and customers. In 2007, Stiles realized that the real estate industry was being transformed to where sustainability practices would be the norm and not the exception and all business areas would require a culture shift. Stiles embraced the LEED system and set a goal to have 25 LEED accredited professionals by the end of 2008. The company achieved it with a team that comprised developers, construction staff, property managers, architects and Human Resources. These professionals created a foundation of sustainability that transformed their operations and culture. In 2009 Stiles formed its Sustainability Board with cross-divisional representatives who were committed to implementing sustainable practices throughout the company. The Board assumed responsibility for providing ideas and guidance to Stiles executives on market opportunities, corporate progress and market trends. The group actively researches sustainability programs, organizes special events and offers LEED advisory services to our customers.
- Two analyses were performed. The first was to review the impact of the renovation on the rent for the vacant spaces. The second compared the future value of the overall building after the current tenant’s term expired, predicting either a renewal at the market rate or lease termination with new occupancy at market rates. For both analyses, Stiles did not address landlord concessions because they can vary by lease terms, space quality for tenant improvements and credit worthiness of the tenant. Study results indicated that a renovation of the building would achieve an additional $4 to the triple net rental rate.
- Considering the increase in value over the original investment of $1,875,776, the proposed investment was deemed a worthwhile venture. Depending on when the asset would be monetized, Stiles forecasted a possible internal rate of return of 14 percent.
Site Sustainability/Materials Use
- Stiles sourced construction materials locally to reduce the fuel needed for transporting materials and the emissions that would have emerged from those vehicles. Locally sourced materials, including acoustical ceiling tile and gypsum board were used on the interior of the project. The materials were locally harvested, processed and manufactured within a 500 mile radius of the jobsite, thus reducing its carbon footprint through decreased transportation distances. Stiles also used locally sourced exterior steel components to further reduce the carbon footprint.
- Ninety percent of the total construction waste generated was recycled and diverted from local landfills. A construction waste management plan was developed between Stiles Construction and the waste management companies to ensure compliance with LEED/USGBC guidelines. Waste generated onsite was comingled into a single container then transported to a local sorting facility off site. At this facility, materials such as wood, plastic, cardboard, carpet, concrete and metals were sorted and sent to local recycling facilities. Detailed reports from each waste management and recycling facility were analyzed by Stiles and the USGBC to factor the total percentage and volume of recycled construction waste.
- On the interior space, millwork panels and furniture components feature wood products which are sourced from vendors approved by the Forest Stewardship Council. Eighteen percent of all materials used qualify under the LEED-CI rating system for recycled content. Stiles and the project vendors worked closely to target the qualifying materials for each trade and calculate the total percentages of recycled materials used in each product. Products used including steel, carpet, drywall, furniture, floor tiles and acoustical materials qualified for the recycled content percentages.
- More than 100 percent of the regulated electricity used by PALO is being provided by renewable sources. That’s 1,300,544 kWh over the next two years. Stiles maintains a contract with Renewal Choice Energy, a renewable energy, climate intelligence and communications solutions firm that provides services in areas of carbon accounting and disclosure, supply chain sustainability assessments and scorecard programs, energy audits, renewable energy and carbon offsets and strategic planning.
- A new, 350 KW, more fuel efficient emergency generator was installed compared to the former generator which was 100 KW.
- New fluorescent light fixtures use efficient T5 bulbs compared to T8 bulbs. Other new fixtures include low voltage downlights and LED exterior lights. This caused a lighting power reduction usage of 23.75 percent from baseline. All floors and spaces are equipped with Lutron occupancy sensors to reduce energy consumption by automatically shutting off the lights during periods of non-use. This can help save 20 – 30 percent of lighting energy costs.
- New energy efficient VAV boxes were installed in all the retrofitted spaces to work with the existing air handler units on each floor.
- The building exterior is enveloped by Low-E efficient glass with .27 solar heat gain coefficient, which was installed where windows were retrofitted (old windows had .73 solar heat gain coefficient).
- The building contains 100 percent Energy Star rated fixtures and appliances, which were installed in all the new retrofitted spaces. The Energy Star rating for the building currently stands at 97 percent.
- The roof was coated with Top Gard 4000, a commercial grade roofing system with a built-in UV product. This product is 100 percent acrylic to allow flexibility during temperature changes and has a white pigment with the ability to reflect 83 percent of the sun’s energy.
- The toilets have a dual-flush feature that can save up to a half gallon of water per flush. You can either select a reduced flush (for liquid and light paper waste), or a full flush (for solid waste).
- A heavy-duty cartridge is the main component of the waterless urinals. The cartridge is designed to collect uric sediment while the remaining liquid, which is non-corrosive and free of hard water, flows into the sanitary drainage pipe resulting in waste-free water and an odor-free environment.
- The common area bathrooms are equipped with electronic sensor faucets with a 0.5 gpm aerator, which activate only when hands are present under the spout. The hands free on/off operation circumvents the need to touch the handles to operate a faucet resulting in a more sanitary environment and limiting water waste.
- As the team worked through the sustainability (and LEED) process during the renovation, they aimed to create innovative solutions and improve upon best practices for design, construction and property management.
- By monitoring consumption on a minute-by-minute basis, Stiles discovered inefficiencies never seen before. Specifically, they identified spikes in energy consumption that was costing the company at least $5,000 per year.
- With a state-of-the-art energy consumption and cost-reporting system, employees and tenants have gained a better understanding of their energy consumption and costs. Stiles utilizes a very cost-effective method of obtaining energy consumption data and compares it against baselines and benchmarks. This technology also measures work performed by outside maintenance services, so the company can continuously track the quality of its technical staff and outside service professionals.
- Stiles Property Management developed a comprehensive waste recycling program that diverts 90 percent of the building’s waste from landfills.
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