ShermanHillGuy wrote:The ground (or snow) has been marked at 1614 Woodland to show where the row house will sit. Very exciting! Also, the two white apartment buildings across the street on Woodland have changed hands and 1611 Woodland will be sold as a single family property. The price is $125k and the house contains approx 2500 square feet. There's some restoration needed but some of the original features remain intact such as the staircase and fireplace. Woodland could really be taking off!
Better Life dude wrote:FYI: The Sherman Hill neighborhood has a new, updated web site. The nieghborhood has also adopted a new descritive branding message: "Sherman Hill - A Distinctive Downtown Neighborhood". Like all good brands, it works on several levels.
The link to the site is:
Abandoned market building to set green standard
BY SARAH BZDEGA
Chaden Halfhill doesn't think small. He shoots for the highest possible goal.
That's why his first project as a developer is not just renovating the former grocery market at 800 19th Street in Sherman Hill. He's going for the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum rating - the highest possible rating - and hopes the project will serve as a model for reviving other old buildings.
"The Green & Main pilot renovation is a demonstration project at its core," he said. "Unlike pursuing an established market and designing for an existing outcome, this initiative is trying to stretch market capacity, defining or exemplifying what needs to be considered integral to existing building renovation."
As developer and general contractor, Halfhill has assembled a 14-member design team. The group is backed by partners that include Barker Lemar and Associates, the Iowa Department of Economic Development and MidAmerican Energy Co.; the list keeps growing. The group is raising money to begin construction and is identified by the brand Green & Main, which Halfhill hopes will be expanded to similar initiatives in the future.
Still, his project faces huge hurdles, especially in raising enough money to reconstruct the building to a premium level. Much of its success relies on grants, such as from the Iowa Power Fund, which he recently applied for.
Halfhill is not new to such lofty projects. He was involved in the Sherman Hill Association's Hillside condominium project, where he renovated the third floor of a 1910 building into a penthouse valued at more than $400,000. The condo never sold, and it became his residence.
"The project excelled well beyond everyone's expectation to showcase a creative penthouse conversion when it received substantial national recognition throughout the remodeling industry," he said. "Unfortunately, it didn't sell."
Halfhill compares development to art. You take an idea and figure out how to make it real. But Green & Main is more than one project. He calls it an initiative, with the objective of studying how to renovate Iowa's current buildings to achieve a higher energy and environmental standard statewide.
The mixed-use building he bought in October 2006 for $94,775 is similar to many small downtown Iowa buildings, he said. He hopes that a LEED platinum renovation of this building - which has sat empty for several years, is partially demolished inside and has lost its zoning rights - will prove that others can do the same. And by putting several green practices into one site, he also hopes to generate a pattern book of most effective options, which others could implement in their own buildings.
"We are planning to apply a diverse array of best practices from building science to site management and holistically integrate these solutions so that we can evaluate how effective the applications were at meeting financial as well as performance guidelines," Halfhill said.
But the goal comes with obstacles.
It will be one of the first projects to strive for a LEED platinum rating for a major renovation, which means more time and money into research. Plus, rennovation to a smaller building is more expensive; for example, a sprinkler system costs the same in a 6,000 square-foot-building as in a 20,000-square-foot-structure, he said.
"In a small development, cost premiums cannot be diffused over large square footage, so individual square foot costs increase substantially," he said. "This market is untested whether or not we can charge higher rents for high performance renovation."
Also, because the building is a historic structure, the design team has had to incorporate green features without changing the building's character. Rather than moving windows to maximize sunlight, the designers have had to look at how the sun relates to the building throughout the day and find ways to enhance it.
Because it is an old building, it also has many surprises, such as having to remove large amounts of asbestos. (Still, Halfhill prefers to call it "weathered" rather than "rundown.")
Ups and downs
Some choices, such as the site being located in an urban area near public transportation and reusing an existing structure, are pluses for LEED certification. The building also will have geothermal heating, a vegetated wall and roof, sun shading and efficient lighting, among other features.
"We have woven through every possible criteria to prove this building's effectiveness," Halfhill said. He is working to restore its zoning rights with the hope that he can rent it out for its intended use - commercial on the first floor and residential above.
Halfhill hopes to start construction in the next month, and expects it will take a year. The renovated building will serve as a demonstration site for four years, and by then the technology will have evolved, he said.
But so far, he is stuck in the fundraising and planning stages. Though Halfhill has received some donations in time and supplies, the modeling and study of the building has cost more than usual, most of which has come out of his pocket. He also spends 25 to 40 hours a week on the project apart from working at his design/build firm Silent Rivers Inc.
Construction estimates based on the building's design came in higher than expected, and the design team is deciding whether to raise enough funds to implement everything or to cut back and learn from that process.
Marketing has become a key component. Halfhill developed a Green & Main logo and will launch a Web site (http://www.greenandmain.org).
When Halfhill decided to buy the building only a block away from his home, he planned on doing a green building, but nothing to this level. He was most attracted to the building's size, especially because Silent Rivers is not set up to take on large projects.
"The project has a manageable scale and is located in a residential neighborhood, which allows visitors a more intimate experience with the building. This smaller scale also helps people to identify how design decisions and individual behavior can impact a building's performance in a way they might not glean from a larger corporate office complex," said Halfhill, who is developing it under the name Indigo Dawn.
His ideas kept evolving until "I decided I wanted the building to be exemplary in its process of design and construction," he said. And in order to do that, he needed a diverse team.
"I think for the first time we really delved into what it means to be holistic about energy, materials, water, the whole package," said Tony Holub, LEED consultant on the project. Though Holub has since left RDG Planning and Design and moved to Chicago, he has stayed involved.
"It's a unique project and I have to give a lot of that credit to Chaden, who is really open to new ideas and reexamining conventional solutions in order to make real progress toward sustainability," Holub said.
Linda Appelgate, coordinator of Iowa Heartland Resource Conservation & Development (IHRCD), said her group is interested in this project for its look at urban storm water management.
"It's really difficult to find a demonstration site that's in an already built area. The beauty of this one is partly because Chaden has such a broad grasp of the educational opportunities with this site to help the general public, decision makers and leaders learn how to take a dilapidated urban building that is everywhere and turn it into an asset and environmental benefit," she said.
IHRCD is donating $9,800 to help build the green roof, bioswales and paving system for the parking lot, designed to absorb storm water.
"I think it's really come together," Applegate said. "Obviously Chaden's a big thinker, but on the other hand, I think it's totally realistic. It's what we should be doing."
The Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED) has been connecting Halfhill to potential resources. Jeff Geerts, who is working on a program that would establish green building requirements for projects that receive affordable housing or Main Street Iowa grants, also is interested because of its training and educational opportunities.
"It's a lofty goal," Geerts said. "Iowa does not have any LEED certified platinum buildings yet at this point, but all indications are that Chaden and his team have assembled a very skilled and diverse team of designers, partners, planners and so forth. So I think they'll get the resources and knowledge in place to make it a very successful project."
"A local resident once said, 'You will know our revitalization efforts were successful when families start moving back into the neighborhood,' " says Sherman Hill Neighborhood Association president Donna Hallstrom. That day has arrived, with young families and couples making their way from the 'burbs into this historic neighborhood in recent years.
WesternIaGuy wrote:Well I defiantly think a coffee shop is WAY better then a gas station, too bad they didnt use the Church instead.
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