ROJECT IN PROFILE
The Gold Standard
The developers of the 8200 Tower at Normandale Lake Office Park are
hoping the building’s LEED Gold status will help it attract new tenants
despite the down market and, over time, generate higher returns
By Debra Hazel
GIVEN THE CURRENT STATE OF
commercial real estate, one might be forgiven for thinking that what Bloomington,
MN, does not need is another office building. But in the case of the upcoming 8200
Tower at Normandale Lake Office Park,
that may not be true.
A collaboration between owner Teachers
Insurance and Annuity Association, College
Retirement Equities Fund, developer United
Properties and various consultants, the 8200
Tower is already pre-certified as LEED Gold.
That should help attract new tenants and
achieve higher returns in a down time.
“It was our idea to make it a sustainable
project,” says Bill Katter, a vice president
with United Properties in Bloomington.
“We packaged it and brought it to TIAA-CREF, who asked us to go further. We
found we could get to Gold certification
without too much economic investment.”
The 11-story, 275,000-square-foot building—which will open in April—is part of a
1.7-million-square-foot office park that
includes four towers of class A office space.
Among the tenants in the other buildings
are TIAA-CREF, Microsoft, Merrill Lynch,
GMAC ResCap and Morgan Stanley. Amenities include a restaurant, conference/training facilities, a fitness center, retail and
walking trails nearby. A sky bridge will connect 8200 to one of the
other towers. While the four existing buildings are Energy-Star
rated, 8200 will exceed that efficiency, per TIAA-CREF’s policy.
“A large measure of what 8200 represents had its genesis in
TIAA-CREF’s support and direction,” says Nicholas Stolatis,
director of strategic initiatives, TIAA-CREF Global Real Estate.
The fund has been an Energy Star partner since 2002, and was
providing efficient buildings long before.
It also dovetails well with TIAA-CREF’s major commitment
to sustainability. The fund has a goal of improving the energy
efficiency of its 43-million-square-foot portfolio by 10% by
2010, he points out.
Set for delivery in April 2009, the 8200 Tower at Normandale Lake Office Park is already pre-certified
as LEED Gold. The 11-story building features 275,000 square feet of class A space.
“There is no one standard definition of green,” Stolatis notes.
“We have benchmarked 100% of our office portfolio, which
includes 200 buildings.” That isn’t as easy as one might think.
TIAA-CREF is working with energy intensity rather than energy
usage to reduce variances by region and costs of each individual
utility. By averaging a 10% improvement across the portfolio,
some individual buildings will be more efficient, others less. Each
new TIAA-CREF building will be LEED-certified.
“If we can operate more efficiently and reduce tenants’ operating expenses, they will be more motivated to rent in our buildings,” Stolatis says.
The green features at the 8200 tower range from the readily
obvious to those less visible, says building architect Edward Farr,
principal of Eden Prairie, MN-based Edward Farr Architects.