(502b) Designing A Green Community\Getting Started | AIChE

(502b) Designing A Green Community\Getting Started

Authors 

Soler, S. - Presenter, Georgetown Land Development Company, LLC
Zumwalt-Hathaway, A. - Presenter, Steven Winter Associates, Inc


In 2003 the Town of Redding, CT and a developer collaborated on a plan to revitalize a wire mill factory plant that had sat abandoned for 13 years and turn it into a model of sustainable development. Already the recipient of the EPA's prestigious Smart Growth Award in 2005, the Georgetown Land Development project is one of four developments nationally to earn the designation of ?Green Building and Sustainable Design Project?(awarded by the US Department of Treasury in consultation with the US EPA).

This session will focus on the development process to date for this project. The Georgetown Project serves as a valuable case study providing useful information to AIChE Annual Meeting attendees regarding the processes followed in the planning of the project. Additionally, this case study will profile the incentives necessary for complex sustainable developments and specifically what is needed to create a LEED Neighborhood Development.

The session would focus on the following: ? Community involvement in the planning process ? Sustainable attributes of the site plan ? LEED Protocol ? Financial incentives

It is our intention that this could be either a 30 minute partial session or a Complete Session with Stephen Soler, President of Georgetown Land Development Company, and Andrew Zumwalt-Hathaway from Steven Winter Associates presenting. For a Complete Session, we would also invite a representative from the Town of Redding and the EPA Smart Growth Program to present.

Project Description:

In 1998, after 150 years of manufacturing wire cloth, netting, fencing and other goods, the Gilbert & Bennett Company closed its 55-acre Georgetown wire mill facility in the town of Redding, CT, and filed for bankruptcy.

The Town of Redding (population 8,500), located at the nexus of three affluent Fairfield County communities, immediately began seeking a partner who would purchase the million dollars' worth of tax liens and revitalize the blighted property known as a "Brownfield" site.

The right partner materialized in 2002: Georgetown Land Development Company (GLDC), headed by Stephen Soler, a local developer with proven expertise in Brownfield reclamation projects and a fervent belief in the anti-suburban-sprawl principles of Smart Growth.

In October 2003, GLDC hosted a week-long "charrette" at the Redding firehouse, a series of public meetings where everyone-government officials, business and civic leaders, the public-was invited to share their ideas and concerns for developing the Gilbert & Bennett (G&B) property. Over 1,000 people attended. An on-site team of architects and designers working 12-to-18-hour days analyzed and fleshed out all suggestions. Every idea received a full hearing and assessment.

Out of this intense collaboration came a master plan for a mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly, environmentally responsible new village center.

It would include 416 units of diverse housing (loft-style apartments, townhouses, single-family homes), over 300,000 square feet of commercial space (offices, restaurants and shops as well as light manufacturing), a performing arts center, a health club, a bed and breakfast, a reopened Metro North railroad station with added parking garage-all connected by pedestrian trails (no one would be more than a ten-minute walk from the train).

And the newly "daylighted" Norwalk River would run through it!

Within a year, the plan was unanimously approved by the town's zoning commission.

It was estimated the development would add almost $5 million to Redding's tax rolls, raise property values by more than $300 million and create 1,500 jobs.

The Wire Mill Redevelopment will be designed, constructed and renovated using the latest in "green technology."

All our buildings, new or renovated, will incorporate state-of-the-art technology and design, as well as energy-efficient systems such as photovoltaics (which capture heat from the sun and turn it into electricity) and green roofs where applicable.

The project will reinstall the turbine (low-impact hydro) on the site's 18-foot waterfall that powered the wire mill for many years. The resulting hydroelectric dam will provide electricity for one of the commercial buildings.

A fuel cell system (which relies on chemistry, not combustion, and results in fewer emissions than even the cleanest combustion process) will generate clean electric power. The heat from the fuel cell's generation of electricity will be utilized for other buildings-for example, to heat the pool at the health club facility.

The project has applied for designation as one of the first developments to be LEED-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council as an entire community through their pilot Neighborhood Development Rating System.

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system for buildings was established by the U.S. Green Building Council to evaluate a building's efforts to use renewable resources, conserve energy and water consumption, and enhance indoor air quality. It is a nationally accepted standard.

The council is preparing to launch its first national standard for neighborhood design, called LEED-ND, which will integrate the principles of Smart Growth as well as important green building practices. The standard will be guided in part by the 10 Principles of Smart Growth.

Because the Georgetown project meets strict criteria, including the developing of LEED-certified buildings, the Georgetown Special Taxing District (established by a special act of the state legislature in 2005) was designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as a qualified Green Building and Sustainable Design Project in January 2006-one of the first in the country to receive that designation-making it eligible to issue $72 million in tax-exempt bonds.

Awards and Incentive (received to date)

October 2003 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's New England office presents the Town of Redding with a $100,000 Brownfield Targeted Site Assessment Grant to assist in the characterization of the "lagoon" property.

April 2004 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's New England office presents Town of Redding First Selectman Natalie Ketcham with an Environmental Merit Award for her "tireless effort to transform a neglected area of the town's Georgetown neighborhood."

May 2005 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awards a $200,000 Brownfield Cleanup Grant to the Georgetown Redevelopment Company.

November 2005 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presents the Town of Redding with its prestigious National Award for Smart Growth Achievement/Small Communities.

December 2005 The U.S. Treasury Department awards the Green Building and Sustainable Design Designation to the Georgetown Special Taxing District.

January 2006 The State of Connecticut awards a $600,000 Community Development Block Grant to the Town of Redding for demolition at the former Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill.

February 2006 The U.S. Internal Revenue Service allocates $72,225,000 in tax- exempt, private activity "green" bonds to the Georgetown Special Taxing District.

April 2006 The U.S. Department of Agriculture awards the Georgetown Special Taxing District $5 million for the construction and expansion of the Waste Water Treatment Facility.

June 2006 The State of Connecticut awards a $500,000 STEAP (Small Town Economic Assistance Program) Grant to the Town of Redding for renovations and relocation of the Redding Police Department from its current location to the former Gilbert & Bennett Wire Mill.

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