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Smart Shopping

October 12th, 2012
Katherine Field Boccaccio, Chain Store Age

Ohio development sets standard with a different kind of green

As more and more shopping center developers jump on the environmental band wagon, it’s not as rare to see centers in varying formats built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards – or even certified as such by the U.S. Green Building Council.

But LEED for Neighborhoods, first piloted by the U.S.G.B.C. in 2009 to promote principles of smart growth and new urbanism on a broader, neighborhood scale, isn’t as pervasive in the retail real estate world.

Columbus, Ohio-based Nationwide Realty Investors (NRI), the real estate development arm of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., is perhaps more familiar with LEED for Neighborhoods than most of its industry peers. The company has made it a practice to conceptualize and build large, walkable mixed-use projects, so taking the next step toward meeting LEED-ND requirements wasn’t a huge stretch. “Many of our existing projects exhibit the characteristics outlined on the LEED-ND scorecard,” said NRI president and COO Brian J. Ellis. “And because our development philosophy fits so well with the ideas behind LEED-ND, we knew that this would soon be an opportunity for us.”

When the LEED-ND program was announced, NRI was just beginning construction on Grandview Yard, a $500-million mixed-use project located on the reclaimed Big Bear Grocery warehouse site just outside of Columbus Ohio. The project blends neighborhoods, retail districts, office and residential space, and connects them to the historic community of Grandview Heights, The Ohio State University and Columbus’ business districts, sports arenas and entertainment venues.


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