Feb 1, 2020

Fitwel Certification Awarded to Green Cities Fund Properties

5 MLK is the first property in the country to achieve Fitwel certification under a new pilot mixed-use standard which combines requirements for the commercial and multifamily spaces.

As leaders in real estate investment with an extensive track record in developing and managing highly sustainable office and multifamily properties, Gerding Edlen is pleased to announce the firm recently earned recognition as a Fitwel Champion. Fitwel Champions are companies committed to applying Fitwel’s health and wellness standard across their property portfolios.

Three of Green Cities Fund III ‘s ground-up development properties have earned Fitwel certification including ZO, a LEED Gold certified multifamily property located in Oakland, California which opened in Q2 2019; 5 MLK, a 300 unit mixed-use, multifamily, office and retail property located in Portland, Oregon; and Bower, a two-tower, multifamily development in Boston, Massachusetts. Both 5 MLK and Bower are on track to earn LEED Gold certification and are scheduled to open in Q2 2020.

Fitwel is a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the General Services Administration and the Center for Active Design (CfAD). Fitwel measures the property’s design and operational strategies that positively impact the health and well-being of tenants in key categories such as occupant safety, access to physical activity and healthy food. Each strategy is weighed according to its relative benefit and earn a one, two or three- star Fitwel rating based on total points earned. More information about Gerding Edlen’s Fitwel Champion status can be found here.

5 MLK is currently under construction and is designed to operate 31% more efficiently than a standard building.

We are also excited to announce that 5 MLK is the first property in the country to achieve Fitwel certification under a new pilot for mixed-use properties, which combines requirements for both the commercial and multifamily spaces. Health and wellness features in 5 MLK include over 300 bicycle parking spaces, proximity to a 1.5 mile multipurpose trail along the Willamette River, a shared fitness room and yoga studio with classes available for residents, private rooms for meditation or nursing mothers, and a delivery service that features organic and locally-sourced produce. A healthy indoor environment is supported by the careful selection of materials and finishes used throughout the building and operational policies. This includes Gerding Edlen’s green cleaning policy for all cleaning products – helping to ensure optimal indoor air quality for all occupants.

The theme at both 5 MLK and Bower is “biophilic design” which uses nature as a guide including natural materials and patterns, daylight and air movement, a variety of intimate and open spaces, and sounds from nature such as running water. The goal is to create positive physiological responses in people. Over the past decade, numerous studies have shown the benefit of these physiological responses; humans are happier and healthier when they live and work in spaces that resemble the natural environment.1

At 5 MLK, residents will enjoy interior amenity spaces including a variety of natural materials, operable windows providing outdoor views and fresh air and sliding doors on amenity floors leading to inviting outdoor spaces. The building’s shared lobby features a large skylight that introduces an abundance of natural light into the lobby space. A 40-50- foot-tall Hazel Smith Sequoia tree, grown specifically for the building, will be planted at the southwest corner of the property to connect tenants with nature in an otherwise urban setting.

A rendering of the rooftop pool and terrace on the 17th Floor of 5 MLK.

Following that theme, 35% of the property’s outdoor decks are planted with greenery including a series of cascading terraces planted with drought-tolerant species that mirror the Pacific Northwest landscape. These terraces not only provide amenities for occupants, but also filter stormwater runoff and reduce the overall volume of stormwater leaving the property. With practices such as enhanced erosion control during construction, the property earned a Salmon Safe certification for its innovative stormwater management design. Due to the building’s proximity to the Willamette River, it is significant that 5 MLK became the first Salmon Safe-certified urban project to successfully recreate pre-development conditions, meaning the impact to the river is as if no building was ever built.

Highlighting the ways in which our buildings support personal health and wellness is a central focus of the firm. Fitwel provides credibility in the marketplace with clear standards as to how specific strategies support health and wellness. Gerding Edlen is excited to partner with Fitwel as we design, build and manage vibrant, healthy communities where our tenants can thrive.

1 Grahn, Patrik, “The relation between perceived sensory dimensions of urban green space and stress restoration”, 2009 https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S016920460900231X?token=33FB576772ECDA9B745F00F41D8DA86E48DE0F373ED13A7F6D9845B13C4AB4A9132C06464E371BB3901B6A8CCC0ADA58 and Taylor, Richard, 2017: https://theconversation.com/fractal-patterns-in-nature-and-art-are-aesthetically-pleasing-and-stress-reducing-73255?xid=PS_smithsonian.