B12 Solipsism

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Green Merchandise Mart

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Green Exchange
Cool1. I’ve always meant to take a photo of this building. Now I have more reason to – I think this is a great idea.

Green light goes on at old Cooper lamp factory | Crain’s Chicago Business :

A Chicago real estate developer aims to turn the former Frederick Cooper Lamp Co. factory in Logan Square into a green Merchandise Mart, with showrooms featuring eco-friendly products and services.
After churning out lamps for 35 years, the 250,000-square-foot building alongside the Kennedy Expressway would become the Green Exchange, housing a building supply business, a furniture maker, a printing company and other environmentally conscious businesses, says developer David Baum, who bought the property with his brother Douglas last year. The companies will have greater marketing power under one roof than they would apart, he says.
“If you’re a customer that wants to buy paint that has no toxins, you may also have interest in using a green architect and investing in a socially responsible mutual fund,” David Baum says. “I think we’re hitting a tipping point in environmentalism and it’s becoming mainstream.”

He says he won’t seek city subsidies for the project. Several businesses have signed non-binding “letters of interest” to lease space in the building, including Consolidated Printing Co., which uses an environmentally sustainable printing process, and Greenmaker Supply, which sells eco-friendly building supplies.


Website www.greenexchange.com

and another repost2 : We wrote about this previously, the Tribune has more details.

Going green: Project envisions eco-friendly shopping center :

When David Baum decided last year to convert the old Cooper Lamp factory in Logan Square into a one-stop shopping center of green businesses, he knew it would be a risky and expensive proposition.

“Wind turbines don’t necessarily make economic sense today, but we want to engage the imagination,” said Baum, who plans to spend more than $30 million renovating the sprawling yellow brick structure where craftsmen once turned out custom-made lamps. “We do still plan to make a profit, albeit a small one.”

Baum is aiming to tap into the growing consumer demand for eco-conscious merchandise and services. Dubbed the Green Exchange, he wants his project to become one of the first places in the nation to offer an entirely green space for entirely green work.

Baum envisions places like an organic restaurant, an environmentally friendly building supply store, green-friendly architects and eco-design firms. There could even be a sustainable clothing store, a bicycle shop and a car showroom, he said.

The project would be three times larger than The Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center in Portland, Ore., where roughly 20 tenants, including Patagonia, offer sustainable goods and services in a 70,000-square-foot facility.


So far, two businesses have signed non-binding agreements with Baum. His leasing company, Baum Realty, is negotiating with more than 50 prospective tenants. The 250,000-square-foot building could house twice that many.

Joe Silver, co-owner of Greenmaker, a sustainable building supply store, maintains there are plenty of socially conscious consumers who will support the Green Exchange, even if prices are higher than conventional counterparts.

Silver has tentatively agreed to open a second store in the Green Exchange. The flagship store has done well, despite its offbeat location at 2500 N. Pulaski Rd., he said.

“Our first year, we basically cracked a million dollars in sales, and we’ll probably hit $1.5 to $2 [million] this year,” he said. “Traffic flow has tripled, which means that maybe not this year but next year business will really be booming.”

Higher prices haven’t been an issue, he said.

“The only time we run into added cost is if you get recycled products. We’re finding that most of the recycled products like recycled glass counters or cotton insulation are going to cost you more,” he said. “Half of my store is already comparably priced with normal stuff in the market.”

A gallon of mid- to high-end flat white paint at Home Depot ranges from $16.95 to $25.98. That compares with a gallon of low-toxin paint, which reduces odors and toxins that regular paint can carry, priced from $27.95 to $33.95 at Greenmaker.

For a double-flush toilet, which saves water by offering the option of a half or full flush, consumers can expect to pay around $300. A toilet at Home Depot can run anywhere from $70 to $400.

“It’s now moved into the lifestyle realm,” said Charles Shaw, editor of Conscious Choice, an environmental magazine. “You have different value systems converging into the consumer market and it has become literally like a brand. Everywhere you look now, people are trying to commodify this clean-product movement.”

Over the past five years, the ethical-products business has experienced double-digit annual growth compared with low-single-digit growth in conventional products, according to Packaged Facts, a research group.

As global warming has become a hot topic, people are becoming more aware of the effect their purchases can have on the environment. Carbon emissions are no longer a foreign concept. Organic foods and hybrid cars no longer appeal only to people wearing burlap sacks and Birkenstocks.

The market isn’t small: $230 billion a year is spent on goods considered sustainable products and services, according to MarketResearch.com. Research shows 36 million consumers, or 12 percent of the U.S. population, happily embrace the green market, though 21 percent aren’t interested.

But living and working environmentally friendly isn’t cheap.

After buying the lamp factory for $7.5 million, Baum plans to invest roughly four times that amount to make it green.

Though Baum and his brother, Doug, began developing real estate in 1989, this is their first big step into green development. Their development company, Baum Development, does about $50 million in projects annually. Baum, with silvery gray hair and a radio voice, focuses on marketing, while his brother handles the majority of the contracting.

The factory, built in the early 1900s, today sits in disrepair. Large swathes of tan paint peel back from the facade and windows have spiderweb-like cracks.

Inside, worn wooden floors echo as Baum, dressed in jeans and a green jacket, and his brother walk among the massive concrete columns, evenly spaced throughout the building’s four levels.

Their goal is to score a silver medal from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. That accreditation, based on a rigorous rating of the building’s environmental friendliness, is key to its marketing strategy.

“I think that if we wanted to do it simply to meet LEED standards … you’re talking about 3 percent to 5 percent more in costs than conventional construction,” said Baum. “The way we’re planning to do it, it will probably cost more than 10 percent across the board.”

The building is divided into two wings, connected in a U-shape with a courtyard between them. The brothers plan to convert that courtyard into parking spaces, complete with electrical outlets for hybrid cars.

A new courtyard will be erected off the second floor. During a quick tour of the building, Baum pointed to a brick wall and said it will become mostly glass and open to a cafe.

“A 9,000-square-foot sky garden will be … [part] of the courtyard,” he said. Rain, collected in a cistern beneath the building, will be used to water the garden.

Along the raw ceilings, light sensors will be installed. They will cut off building lights to take advantage of natural light during the day, he said.

The rooftop, which enjoys unadulterated views of downtown Chicago, will also change, said Baum. He plans to install solar panels and a rooftop garden that will cover an entire wing of the building.

“We’re not actually that green,” he said. “We grew up recycling as kids, but we’re not environmentalists.”

His brother, Doug, who wears his head shaved and sports a leather jacket, agreed. “But we do really want to help be a catalyst for the green movement in Chicago,” he said.The brothers say the building will also act as a construction laboratory. They intend to apply lessons learned from this project to future ones, and for good reason. By some estimates, the market for non-residential green buildings in the United States is $43 billion a year.

While the extras will cost more than conventional construction, some experts estimate that going green can eventually save as much as 20 percent of the total construction costs through reduced heating, cooling, lighting and water bills.

We’re planning on installing a green roof, if we can ever get our act together before our permit expires.

In Chicago, roughly 250 buildings, including City Hall, have–or will have–a “green roof,” where a garden will help reduce the heat on a rooftop, thereby reducing summer cooling costs. The city also boasts 21 governmental facilities with solar-thermal technology, which uses the sun’s energy to heat water.

“We’re saving about 25 percent of our energy costs on our buildings that are green and about $4 million a year just from lighting retrofits we’ve done,” said Sadhu Johnston, commissioner for the city’s environmental department.

Chicago, which many view as an incubator for green building, is known for expediting building permits for green construction and offering grant funds for solar panels and green roofs. Baum plans to take advantage of the city’s help.

He expects construction to be completed by early 2008. His company estimates the average price for leasing space will be $20 to $30 per square foot, a relatively high rent for that area, particularly for office space, said Jim Kutill, vice president at Appraisal Research Counselors.

  1. Reposted from my old blog to house a new photo []
  2. combining two entries into one []

Written by Seth Anderson

July 7th, 2008 at 8:50 am

3 Responses to 'Green Merchandise Mart'

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  1. I have a beautiful old Frederick Cooper lamp with a large horse head on it. Any interest in buying it?


    25 Jun 10 at 8:33 am

  2. The green roof you proposed in 2007 was an idea whose time has come. Have you been able to build it? Are Chicago zoning and code changes accommodating your innovations?

    Lisa Marini Finerty

    Your Garden Show

    12 Aug 10 at 8:59 am

  3. Do you regularly give tours of the facility? If so, how do we sign up?

    Your Garden Show

    12 Aug 10 at 8:59 am

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