News Article | 7/22/2009

1.2M SF Project on Former Brownfield Site in California Earns LEED Certification

A 1.2-million-square-foot industrial park touted as the largest speculative industrial project in the U.S. became one of the largest overall projects in California to receive LEED certification. Developed by Dallas-based Hillwood, the project was sold to CB Richard Ellis Investors a year ago, but Hillwood staff recently completed the Silver LEED certification process on behalf of the new buyer.The five speculative buildings at Interchange Business Center in San Bernardino, Calif., were completed in 2008. They range in size from 94,100 to 448,100 square feet. The buildings were constructed over an 18-month period. The project is the second in San Bernardino to receive LEED certification.“We finished the project about a year ago, but the LEED certification process takes a long time,” John Magness, senior vice president for Hillwood, told CPN. “We’ve been working through the final throes of getting certification and earning all the points we’re eligible for to earn the Silver certification.Magness said seeking the LEED certification on a speculative project is becoming a key component in searching for tenants and buyers, especially in the current era of sluggish tenant demand.“We are forecasting that [LEED certification] is becoming more and more important for people looking for properties,” he said. “The economy has slowed down, but the green initiative is the buzz word in industry. More companies are indicating that if they are going to sign a 10- to 15-year lease or buy a building, they would like to have a site with a reduced carbon footprint and be green. That is why we built the projects like this on Interchange Business Center.”Located in the State College Redevelopment Project Area, InterChange Business Center is the result of a public-private partnership between the city of San Bernardino’s Economic Development Agency and Hillwood to redevelop the blighted property to a productive use.Prior to its extensive remediation, the 144-acre site was defined as a brownfield. The location dates back to before World War II, when it housed a facility to manufacture silica gel. During the war, the site was used for the storage, packing and testing of six-pound incendiary bombs for the military. Later it was used for zeolite production of mineral based composites used in water softening.“Interchange Business Park’s LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO & founding chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council, in a prepared statement. “The urgency of USGBC’s mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and Interchange Business Park serves as a prime example with just how much we can accomplish.”