Friday, October 28, 2011

LEED Gold Destiny for Syracuse Mall

After years of funding problems, legal issues, and construction delays, the Carosel Center shopping mall expansion in Syracuse, NY, dubbed "Destiny USA", made some GREEN news this month. The developer announced the huge 850,000 sq ft. new space will in fact seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification including the over 100 new retail tenant spaces.

If other American cities absolutely have to build or expand shopping malls, which is certain to occur under our current economic growth paradigm, then Syracuse's green mall could be an example for others to follow (certainly not the multiple stoppages of construction due to bank loan refusals, layoffs, legal battles, bad press, doubts about how good going green is, etc. but the actual energy and water savings/ recycled materials stuff, yes). Wonder if going green will get any easier?

~Mark Bremer, Green Explored Contributor

Destiny USA in Syracuse Aims to be America's Largest LEED® Gold Certified Commercial Retail Project; More than 100 Tenant Retail Spaces to Also be Certified


At 2.4 million square feet Destiny USA will be the country's 6th largest shopping destination

SYRACUSE, N.Y., Oct. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Destiny USA is pleased to announce the successful implementation of the Master Site feature from the 2010 LEED Application Guide for Multiple Buildings and On-Campus, which could permanently alter the way developers approach the construction of large-scale shopping and entertainment venues. The Master Site feature in the 2010 AGMBC allows for the inclusion of the mall master plan that will seek to certify its entire 850,000 square foot expansion project with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ("LEED") designation, as well as more than 100 individual tenant spaces within the expansion.

Destiny USA has successfully achieved pre-approval for a number of site-wide LEED credits and prerequisites that are common to all the mall tenants. This effort is the first time a Master Site has been applied to a large mall property, and is a perfect match for the 25-year commitment of Destiny USA founder Bob Congel to cleaning up the Syracuse lakefront area.

Destiny USA's application for LEED certification, with the goal of LEED Gold, includes a variety of cutting edge sustainable features. The project's rainwater harvesting system, in combination with low flow toilet fixtures will conserve more than 4 million gallons of water annually and re-use the gray water in non-potable uses such as toilet flushing. The building's focus on energy efficiency includes daylight harvesting, LED lighting, and a cool roof to reflect heat from the sun. The building's roof already hosts an urban wind demonstration project. Over 90% of all building materials have been recycled, and 7,000 tons of used material has been kept from local landfills. All of the recycled marble, for example, went to Habitat for Humanity. 23,000 tons of 95% recycled steel was used for the project's structure. The vehicles operating during the construction of the expansion have been powered by bio-diesel fuel; with Destiny itself purchasing over 270,000 gallons of bio-diesel that has been consumed.

"I began my career as a contractor working on clean water projects, and I always had a passion to merge economic development with environmental protection," said Mr. Congel, adding that he has been very enthused by the efforts of the U.S. Green Building Council(USGBC), and has closely followed their progress the past few years. "We knew from our first interaction that Destiny was going to be a ground-breaking green project. The history of this site set the perfect foundation for us to seize the opportunity to apply that commitment to sustainability, conservation, and efficiency."

USGBC has been involved with Destiny since 2002. Rick Fedrizzi, the founding chair of USGBC, is a Syracuse native and has worked with the Destiny team to encourage them to maximize their green efforts. Fedrizzi has championed LEED, turning it into an internationally-recognized green building certification system. LEED buildings lower operating costs through efficiency, reduce waste sent to landfills, conserve energy and water, and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

"This project is important to me and to USGBC," said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. "Not only is it in my backyard but it will also be a showcase in the community for what can be done with green building and LEED. The visitors who walk through the Destiny USA doors every day will learn about the importance of green building and be able to see today's latest green building strategies in action."

The Destiny USA team also thinks that this commitment to the environment and sustainability is a vital marketing tool when working to attract global retail and entertainment brands. "I've had the chance to get to know and work with leading CEO's of these brands and a major part of their interest in Syracuse, particularly our counterparts from Europe, is the work we have done through the years to revitalize an old oil wasteland into a premier retail destination," said Mr. Congel.

One of the national brands that has already committed to the process to be a LEED certified tenant is modern Mexican food restaurant Cantina Laredo.

"We at Cantina Laredo have been moving closer and closer to LEED over the years by utilizing LED lighting, high efficiency hot water heaters, high efficiency HVAC and energy star kitchen equipment," said Rocky Vanover, VP of Design and Construction. "It is now time to move to the next step, which we are excited that it will be through partnering with Destiny USA."

Mr. Congel grew up just a few blocks from the project, and he vividly recalls the history of the area. Over the past two decades, he and his team have invested over $1 billion in the Syracuse, NY lakefront area. This money and future investment also includes the clean-up of 150 acres of land once dubbed "Oil City" because of the proliferation of petroleum storage tanks that dotted the Onondaga lakefront.

"Our development work goes against the traditional model, from working in an urban setting to the site we chose, with its environmental challenges, when other easier options have always been available," added Mr. Congel

When work is completed on the current phase in spring 2012, the 2.4 million square foot complex will include upwards of 264 different businesses, including new luxury outlets, national restaurants, company stores, off price retail and regional entertainment venues.

Destiny USA is a new 2.4 million square foot destination that includes Carousel Center, a dominant super regional shopping center already attracting 20 million annual visits. The new construction will mix all types of retail including; luxury outlet tenants, restaurants and entertainment. A stunning three-story glass atrium will provide perfect weather year round. This exciting destination is designed to attract tourists, Canadians, destination shoppers and extend the draw of regional visitors well beyond a typical trade area. Oxford Economics has projected an annual visitation of over 29 million. Further development plans incorporate more than 120 acres of adjoining property, including hotels.


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