Green Building & Sustainable Development
Portland's Aerial Tram Provides Catalyst for Nation's Largest Sustainable Development
An aerial tram has now officially opened to the public in Portland, connecting the city's new River Blocks neighborhood in the South Waterfront District to the main campus of Oregon Health & Science University -- the state's major research university. With its striking design and unique urban setting, the tram is the linchpin in an extensive sustainable development project that's setting records in a city already known as a capital of green. The 38 acres of former industrial wasteland on the banks of the Willamette River is being transformed into a dense neighborhood of urban homes, retail space, parks and an extension of the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) campus. Underlying it all is a distinctly Portland vibe -- diverse transportation options like the tram, an earth-friendly twist on urban livability and a dramatic riverside setting.
As the largest sustainable urban redevelopment project in the nation, South Waterfront represents a growing national trend toward green developments. All buildings in the district are being designed for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The 400,000-square-foot OHSU Center for Health & Healing is targeting LEED Platinum and would be the largest health care facility in the country to achieve that rating. The first two residential buildings are targeting LEED Gold.
"The size, scale and quality of South Waterfront, as a district designed from the ground up with sustainable building strategies, is unprecedented," said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chairman of the U.S. Green Building Council.
Residents began moving into the district last spring, and OHSU employees saw their first patients at the Center for Health & Healing in October. By the end of 2007, the River Blocks will be home to more than 570 residents and 1,500 workers, and have hundreds of daily visitors. It is projected that this growth will continue, with 500 residential units added annually, and a total of 10,000 jobs in the district within 10 years.
The district will have more than 100,000 square feet of retail space and six acres of planned public green spaces. It is minutes away from Portland's downtown core by streetcar, bus or walking/biking trails. The River Blocks have been very popular with residents, with the first of four residential projects, The Meriwether, selling 90 percent of its 242 units more than nine months before completion. Three other residential projects are under construction, with the John Ross slated to open this spring.
The South Waterfront District is the largest economic development project in Portland's history. The project is a collaboration between OHSU and developers Williams & Dame and Gerding Edlen, recognized for creating Portland's landmark Pearl District and Brewery Blocks neighborhoods, respectively. For more information on South Waterfront, contact Realty Trust at 503-222-7788, visit the Discovery Center at 0680 SW Bancroft, in Portland, or go to http://www.thesouthwaterfront.com
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