A building that grows on you

Freeman Webb makes it look easy being green [From the September/October issue of Nashville Post magazine]

When it comes to green development, Freeman Webb is not just talking the talk. They are building the building.

It would be news enough that the Freeman Webb Building leased at 90 percent just 10 months after it opened in Green Hills – any new office development with that kind of early success merits praise in 2010. But for Freeman to do it by focusing on the building’s sustainability features is a testament to the new reality: green is gold.

“There was a need in Nashville for sustainable office space,” says Freeman Webb president Kent Burns. “We’re thrilled that the Freeman Webb Building has reached a stabilized occupancy, which is a testament to our leasing team and to the growing interest in green design from Nashville businesses.”

The 60,000-square-foot, Hastings Architecture-designed and Wieck Construction-built building includes a green roof with more than 1,100 plants that reduces cooling costs; retractable glass walls to provide open-air access; occupant detection sensors to automatically turn lights on or off; an energy-efficient HVAC system and air quality monitoring system; high-efficiency elevators; and interior and exterior constructed from recycled content.

That’s all your green bells and whistles – the headquarters is the first in Tennessee to receive LEED Gold certification – and all at $30 per square foot, a completely reasonable rate for any new office space, traditional or sexy and green.

It was enough to attract nameplates like Vanderbilt’s Ingram Cancer Center, Baptist Sports Medicine and RBC Capital Markets – not a slouch among them.

The largest private owner/manager of apartments in Nashville, Freeman Webb received the “Industrial Conservationist of the Year” award from the Tennessee Wildlife Federation. But the company’s work is not just being recognized here at home. Freeman Webb was the only U.S. company to be honored at the “Green Apple Awards” given out by The Green Organization, a United Kingdom-based nonprofit environmental group dedicated to promoting environmental best practices around the world. The company will attend a ceremony in November at the House of Commons, the lower house of parliament in the United Kingdom, to receive acknowledgement.