What has evolved into one of the premier apartment development companies today began at the University of Michigan in the early 1960s. Back then, Sam Zell and Bob Lurie started managing student apartment buildings. Over the next five decades, they would progress to larger buildings, but their vision has remained the same.
As the nation’s largest publicly traded owner and operator of apartments, their firm, Equity Residential, now boasts a portfolio of nearly 79,000 units in high-growth markets, including New York City, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, and more. Equity Residential still buys, builds, rehabs, and manages apartment buildings, but the company is also focused on sustainability and social responsibility in order to create “the best apartment communities for people to live, work, and play,” according to its website.
In addition to being an owner and operator, Equity Residential is spearheading several development initiatives. As of September 2016, the company has recorded roughly $2.4 billion worth of projects under construction or recently completed, comprising about 5,000 apartments. And each new development also shines as a blueprint for environmentally friendly real estate.
455 I Street
Location: Washington, DC
As a mixed-use, multifamily residential building, 455 I Street is set to be located in the Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood of Washington, DC.
The property will feature 174 residential apartments, about 2,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, and 80 parking spaces in a four-level, below-grade garage. The 11-story project also includes adaptive reuse of existing historical structures.
Energy efficiency is also going to be essential for the development. The location will feature Energy Star kitchen appliances and exhaust fans, HVAC systems designed using energy modeling, central HVAC systems, LED or fluorescent lighting in all apartments and common areas, programmable thermostats, separate electric and gas meters for each apartment, and more.
As of press time, 455 I Street was set to be completed in the third quarter of 2017.
Equity Residential’s mixed-use project Cascade is set to consist of 477 residential apartments in two, seven-story buildings divided by a pedestrian mews in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle.
According to Equity Residential’s website, each building will have its own subterranean parking garage. There will also be more than 14,000 square feet of retail space.
When completed, Cascade is expected to receive LEED Silver certification and will include numerous sustainability elements, including LED or fluorescent lighting in all common areas, HVAC systems designed using energy modeling, occupancy sensors for low-occupancy spaces, solar panels, programmable thermostats, and more.
At press time, construction on Cascade was also expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2017.
One Henry Adams
Location: San Francisco
A five-story structure, One Henry Adams was completed in 2016. Situated over one level of above-ground parking in the Showplace Square neighborhood of San Francisco’s South of Market district, the project features 241 apartments and 161 parking spaces, plus a little more than 8,000 square feet of retail space.
Similar to Cascade and 455 I, sustainability is at the forefront of One Henry Adams. The property features central HVAC systems, LED lighting in common areas and apartments, programmable thermostats, and separate electric and gas meters for each apartment.
For years, Equity Residential has been making strides in managing energy. As the company continues to invest in more energy-efficient technology, it has also made aggressive investments in clean and renewable on-site generation at 71 properties, with more planned for the future.
These investments are in the realm of solar power, cogeneration, and even battery storage. Everything from appliances to air quality has been rethought for sustainability at Equity Residential properties. In terms of lighting, properties incorporate thousands of efficient LED lights, and certain properties also incorporate energy-generating solar panels. Water conservation is also crucial, as properties have now been installed with dual-flush toilets in bathrooms, and smart watering systems have been installed on property grounds.
In addition, Equity Residential properties also incorporate low-emission paint and window glass that meets the highest air-quality standards in the United States. And Equity Residential’s Pretty Smart program has been initiated to save energy with Energy Star appliances such as refrigerators and dishwashers. The company is also donating its used appliances to Habitat for Humanity, according to its website.
From Equity Residential’s humble beginnings to its innovation in development and sustainability, the vision for the company has remained clear: find new ways of incorporating sustainable prices and social responsibility into all aspects of the business. In fact, what started as a concept from the ground up can now be viewed as a new mantra: the sky is the limit.
“Serving Equity Residential for over a decade in a true partnership has been our privilege. From development to property management, we’ve worked to specify the exact products and create supportive programs to help Equity achieve its goals for profitable and sustainable communities.” —Renee Morris-CAS Moen Strategic Account Manager
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