Monday, March 22, 2010

Commerce Station: A Sustainable Office Park

Image: James Ray Polk, Architect

Too often, office parks are characterized by an ocean of parking, many times without a tree in sight. Not only does that offer up a brutal visual environment for users and passers-by, it's also not very kind to natural earth systems.

In this scheme, the building footprints have been scaled down (allowing for a wide variety of tenant spaces) with natural indigenous landscaping interspersed throughout the site. The green buffers offers a softer, more pleasant work environment while simultaneously creating a more temperate micro-climate, mitigating stormwater run-off, and controlling erosion.

Some people are eager to promote the myth that green design is not business-friendly. Here, the developer - Hub Development LLC of Hattiesburg, Mississippi - frees up capital by building the structure along with adjacent infrastructure when a lease or sale agreement is made with a tenant rather than constructing the entire project at once and servicing the note until spaces are full, or just as bad, putting committed tenants in limbo until a certain percentage of the project is leased. It also allows for maximum flexibility and responsiveness as each space can be custom designed to meet the particular tenant's needs. That gives Hub Development an advantage over their competitors in today's tight commercial leasing environment.

The building on the corner is currently under construction and will be fully complete and ready for its new occupant - ironically, the James Insurance Agency - in a few weeks; stay tuned for photos of the finished building!

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