Strategically Green - NAIOP Sustainable Development Award Honors Boston Properties for Atlantic Wharf Project

Winter 2012
Photos courtesy of Boston Properties

Massachusetts-based Boston Properties was named the recipient of NAIOP’s annual Sustainable Development Award, presented during a special ceremony at Development ‘12: The Annual Meeting for Commercial Real Estate. Boston Properties was honored for their mixed-use project, Atlantic Wharf, in Boston, Mass.

Bryan Koop, senior vice president and regional manager for Boston Properties, spoke with Margarita Foster, NAIOP vice president for knowledge and research, to obtain insights about the successful completion of this unique project. In discussing the development, Koop noted that Atlantic Wharf was filled with complexities that made designing and completing the project a challenge. “Since we had to build on the waterfront, we had to create a dam to hold back the water,” said Koop. “In addition, existing buildings were incorporated into the new tower. It was more of a challenge, but resulted in a better product.”

One of the unusual aspects of the Atlantic Wharf project was the mixing of new and old. Boston Properties targeted the creation of a sustainable and modern project, while preserving the integrity of existing buildings. “There were two historic properties on the site that were very meaningful to the city of Boston. The existing front structure, called the Russia Building, was retained, since it dates back to the 1700s, and the Boston Tea Party took place behind it,” said Koop. “Boston Properties transformed the Russia Building into lofts and kept the skin of the second property so the streetscape was unchanged, but the interior was enhanced and restored.”

Koop highlighted two highly innovative sustainable elements. “The first is the rain harvesting system which catches the rain during a storm. The rain is stored, used, cleaned and emitted back into the environment, cleaner than when we captured it,” said Koop. “The second is the green roof. Boston Properties installed a new type of grid system that allowed the pre-growth of the plant species on the grids, and once construction was completed, the species were added to the roof. More importantly, if there are ever any leaks, the grids can be taken apart, the leaks found and the system put back together.”

the entrance to Atlantic Wharf

“Boston Properties is honored to receive the 2012 NAIOP Sustainable Development Award and has great respect for NAIOP,” said Koop. “We met the panel that selected our project as the winner — the fact that they knew so much about our project was amazing.”

“This project exemplifies the dedication of NAIOP members to create innovative and sustainable projects that contribute value, not only to the developments themselves, but to the communities they serve,” said NAIOP President and CEO Thomas J. Bisacquino. “The Sustainable Development Award is one of the many ways that NAIOP reiterates its commitment to sustainable building. NAIOP and its member companies are strong proponents of energy efficiency and are committed to marrying increased efficiencies with overall prosperity of the industry.”

The Atlantic Wharf project was awarded LEED Platinum Certification for the project’s unique green design and construction features (see Quick Facts).

Boston Properties is a fully integrated, self-administered and self-managed real estate investment trust that develops, redevelops, acquires, manages, operates and owns a diverse portfolio of Class A office space, one hotel, three residential properties and three retail properties. The company is one of the largest owners and developers of Class A office properties in the United States, concentrated in five markets: Boston, New York, Princeton, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Quick Facts: Atlantic Wharf

Square Footage: A 31-story brownfield redevelopment project in an urban infill location comprised of 553,000 square feet in the Tower Office (Floors 9-31); 223,000 square feet in the Waterfront Office (Floors 2-7); and 25,600 square feet of retail space on Floor 1.

Innovation: A rain harvesting system that captures stormwater and reuses it for both HVAC and irrigation One hundred percent of the property’s parking was constructed below grade and a green roof was created on a majority of the low-rise building to reduce the heat island effect.

Materials Use: More than 95 percent of waste generated from the project was diverted from landfills, and the materials utilized in the construction included more than 30 percent recycled content.

The design of Atlantic Wharf features the restoration, re-use and integration of 42 percent of the existing historic structures on site. Of the three existing buildings, the Russia Building (1899) was fully restored, and the Graphic Arts and Tufts Building (1897) facades were preserved and combined into the new architecture and structure.

Energy Efficiency: Atlantic Wharf is designed to use 42 percent less energy than comparable New England office buildings.

The core and shell portion of the project controls approximately 67 percent of annual energy use, while the tenant design and operations influence the remaining 33 percent. To measure and verify the energy savings, tenant sub-metering was implemented.

Water Efficiency: Stormwater run-off from the roof of the building is harvested in a 40,000 gallon, basement-level retention tank and re-used throughout the property. By capturing and reusing this water, Atlantic Wharf reduces the amount of process water used by 15 percent in comparison to a similar building.

Accessibility: The property is located less than a half mile from two public transportation stations, providing easy access to all lines in the MBTA subway system. For pedestrians, the property contains an on-site connection to Boston’s public HarborWalk.

Site Development: The property includes vegetated open space equal to 34 percent of the property’s site area. The property includes 16,000 square feet of interior spaces open to the public for community events.

Honorable Mention

Brandywine Realty Trust
IRS 30th Street Campus | Philadelphia, Pa.

First Potomac Realty Trust
Three Flint Hill | Oakton, Va.

Geis Companies
MidTown Tech Park | Cleveland, Ohio

The Rockefeller Group
BASF NA Headquarters | Florham Park, N.J.

Trammell Crow Company
Hess Tower | Houston, Texas

Weston Solutions, Inc.
Garrison Station | Lakewood, Colo.

2012 Marks Eighth Annual Award for NAIOP

NAIOP established the Sustainable Development Award in 2005 to recognize the growing number of firms engaged in green development. NAIOP and its member companies are committed to developing model properties adhering to the highest standards in the industry and believe that socially conscious development is essential to the economic vitality of the industry.

Entries for the award were reviewed by industry leaders. Applicants were judged on a number of criteria, including:

  • Company commitment to sustainability;
  • Project history;
  • Economic analysis;
  • Water efficiency;
  • Energy efficiency;
  • Accessibility;
  • Innovation; and
  • Other sustainable attributes.