Tuesday, October 30, 2007

To LEED or not to LEED, demand is the question

As I mentioned previously, one of my clients is working on a building that is expects to receive LEED certification. There are sometimes certain land use or other reasons behind such a certification (including getting City money or receive permit expediting or density bonuses here in Chicago), but let's face it: developers will probably build LEED-certified buildings when tenants demand it. According to this CPN story, corporations want sustainabilty and are willing to pay a premium for it. But tenants are having a hard time finding sustainable real estate solutions.

Will that change? You would think. After all supply...demand. The amazing building at 111 South Wacker received a Gold certification and is hugely profitable. Yet, according to this interesting piece by the incomparable Blair Kamin, there are only 27 LEED-certified buildings in town and 1,100 around the country (albeit with many under development).

While programs such as Chicago's helps, tenants can play a major role in driving this bus. If they demand that future buildings be green and that existing buildings adopt green-friendly, it will happen. This is a reverse Field of Dreams: if you come, they will build it.