Columbus-based Nationwide Realty Investors (NRI) announced today that its Grandview Yard project is one of the first developments in the Midwest to be awarded Silver LEED for Neighborhood Development Pre-Certification. NRI President and COO Brian J. Ellis made the announcement.

Developed by the United States Green Building Counsel (USGBC), LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) is a program that integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism and green building into a national certification system for sustainable neighborhood design.

“The exciting thing about LEED-ND is that it acknowledges the realities of complex communities,” Ellis said. “Creating a neighborhood isn’t just about the construction of individual buildings. It’s about generating a vision that brings complementary elements together where the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.”

A large part of Grandview Yard’s LEED-ND designation stemmed from planning and development decisions about location and linkage, neighborhood patterns and grids, green infrastructure and innovative design. The 2009 announcement of the new LEED-ND program coincided with the development of the $500 million mixed-use Grandview Yard project located on the reclaimed Big Bear Grocery warehouse site in Grandview Heights, Ohio.

From the beginning, a focus on community was the driving factor in the project’s design. The master plan for the site boasts pedestrian-friendly walkways, bike paths, shopping, dining and entertainment. When complete, Grandview Yard will have 1.5 million square feet of commercial space and more than 600 residential units conveniently located close to amenities such as coffee shops, restaurants, retail stores and useable green space.

Construction began on Grandview Yard’s $40 million first phase in September 2009. The extensive warehouse demolition was both a challenge and an opportunity for NRI, as the developer worked to transform the location from a manufacturing and light industrial site to a mixed-use urban landscape. The process included a comprehensive and ambitious on-site reuse and recycling plan:

A crushing operation produced approximately 300 tons of recycled and useable stone from the foundation and ground floor slabs of demolished buildings.
All of the recycled concrete stayed on-site, and was ultimately redeployed under parking lots, building pads, foundations and sidewalks, or to stabilize and backfill access roads, utility trenches and retaining walls.
Salvaged and reclaimed building structural steel was recycled for local and regional manufacturers’ reuse.
Warehouse machinery was sold or scrapped.
Plastics and copper wiring were recycled.
Wood products were pulped and processed as mulch.

All told, NRI estimates that approximately 80 percent of the pre-existing building structure was either salvaged or recycled; and close to 60 percent of all recycled concrete materials were reused on site.

“Our plans for reclamation and redevelopment of this site aligned very closely with the LEED-ND criteria which gave us confidence in applying for the certification,” said Ellis. “We are pleased to receive the LEED-ND certification, as well as a LEED Silver Certification for our first office building at 775 Yard Street.”

The LEED-ND certification process is inclusive of whole neighborhoods, portions of neighborhoods and multiple neighborhoods. There is no minimum or maximum size for a LEED-ND project.