Riparian Restoration & Environmental Achievement
In what marks the largest environmental restoration project in Southern Arizona history, Vestar has rejuvenated a riparian area that has for decades been anything but a wildlife respite. It opens to the public in September.
The 77 acres that is adjacent to our site was originally a riparian sanctuary, but in the 1950s, was converted into a farm field, then neglected. Vestar has transformed it back into its original condition as a true wildlife habitat, making the area a haven for hikers, bikers and native animals.
The 77 acres will be filled with a diverse mix of native vegetation and will be contoured to collect storm water from the nearby Oro Valley Marketplace. It will include stream channels, stream banks and upland areas that will reflect the lush desert of the Oro Valley area.
In addition, Oro Valley Marketplace has employed the best technologies for the environment. The development features a water-harvesting system that captures and reuses more than 4 million gallons of water annually.
Planting The Seeds
Major retail developer initiates top sustainable building program aimed at usgbc’s leed certification
Vestar’s Commitment to the Environment Labeled GreenStar
PHOENIX, ARIZ. April 15, 2008 – In what marks one of the largest and most aggressive environmental commitments from any of the United States’ major retail developers, Vestar has launched GreenStar, a vow to certified sustainable development for millions of square feet of retail space on tap in the Southwest.
Vestar’s GreenStar initiative marks the Southwest’s first large-scale commitment to sustainable shopping center building techniques with the goal to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the company’s new development projects. LEED is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings granted by the US Green Building Council. LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building project is environmentally responsible, sustainable and provides a healthy place to live and work.
What makes Vestar’s GreenStar initiative particularly revolutionary is that the US Green Building Council currently does not have an approved LEED program for retail projects. Vestar is on the forefront of the development and testing of LEED guidelines being drafted by the US Green Building Council for retail. Guidelines were drafted in September 2007 and are currently in the pilot stage, but adoption is not expected until early 2009.
“GreenStar is an extension of our corporate commitment to create projects that have a positive impact on the surrounding community,” said Vestar Executive Vice President David Larcher. “Vestar has had a 20-year commitment to responsible development and with advancements in green building materials and the availability for retail applications, we are eager to blaze a new trail for responsible retail development.”
This announcement comes just before Earth Day, and while Vestar has several million square-feet of development in planning and development. The first Vestar project to be part of the new initiative will be Oro Valley Marketplace, a 900,000-square-foot center just north of Tucson. Projects throughout the Phoenix, Tucson, Las Vegas, San Diego and Los Angeles metro areas will be developed to the new standards which will reduce water use, cut CO2 emissions, reduce waste and lower electricity consumption.
Tangibles include indoor air-quality management plans, construction waste recycling, reflective roofing, water harvesting, energy performance testing, incorporation of regional transportation routes, preferred parking for hybrid vehicles, among others.
Beyond the social responsibility, Vestar expects tenants, cities, buyers, partners and lenders to embrace the green approach. More than a dozen of Vestar’s current tenants are members of the USGBC, and scores are expected to follow.
Though the commitment to sustainable development is new for Vestar, the commitment to the environment is not.
Vestar is credited with Arizona’s largest environmental cleanup by way of its marquee development Tempe Marketplace. A Brownfield and former Superfund site, the 130-acre Tempe Marketplace is now the state’s largest and most successful outdoor retail, entertainment and dining destination, and the venue in which countless green construction techniques and materials were pioneered and tested. The project celebrated its Grand Opening in September 2007 near Arizona State University and has earned top environmental and development honors from Valley Forward and Arizona Business Magazine.
Current Vestar projects are being evaluated for potential green retro-fitting.
As one of the leading privately held real estate companies in the western United States, Vestar develops and manages retail and entertainment destinations of varying size and scale that serve as community focal points. Since its inception in 1977, Vestar has earned a reputation for integrity and responsibility in the fields of commercial development and property management. In the past 36 months, it has opened or entitled approximately 11 million square feet of retail.