Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Double Bottom Line: Doing Good and Doing Well by Peter Pike

Real Estate Cares... "Yes!", readers responded to August 8th's Dispatch, Socially Responsible Real Estate. Who Knew?. Real estate investors are doing good AND doing well.

David Keiran of the New Boston Fund in Boston writes that his firm's Urban Strategy America Fund (USF) offers institutional investors a "socially responsible" real estate vehicle. USF "seeks a double (and often triple) bottom line return and provides our investors with strong financial returns and measurable socio-economic impacts in the areas in which we invest. The triple bottom line return comes in the form of sustainable green development, which is part of our overall fund development strategy."

USF closed on its first property, Olmsted Green in Mattapan, MA, ten months ago. With a projected IRR of 19%, this 552,190 square foot mixed-use development "will include 287 workforce housing condominiums, 153 affordable rental units, 83 units of senior housing and a 123-bed skilled nursing care facility."

Skip Case at Case Industrial Partners in Columbia, MD, must be one of the few brokers who has taken "both of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) courses. ... Having rubbed elbows with some very hotshot LEED people, it is interesting for me to note that their biggest push is towards commercial and public office buildings where creature comforts are of paramount importance. Being the industrial guy and USGBC member that I am, I look at the billions of square feet of roofs on warehouses and distribution centers nationwide (not to mention the retail big boxes) and think, 'Wow, if only we could do living roofs on these…' [Pike: Check out Ford's new 454,000-square foot living roof at their Dearborn Truck Plant.]

Dan Winters at Evolution Partners in Washington, DC, writes that his firm "only represents developers building or rehabbing LEED / Energy Star buildings. "To us, it’s a sign of both a quality real estate developer and a quality firm. Frankly, they make for inspiring clients. ... With nearly 20 federal government agencies and three branches of the military signing an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) on green building in January 2006, coupled with nine states and 40-plus municipalities adopting green building legislation, it makes for a compelling story."
Reprinted with permission from


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