Union Park, a $6 billion, 11-million-square-foot, mixed-use project under development in the heart of downtown Las Vegas on land owned by the City of Las Vegas, has been awarded Gold certification status under stage 2 by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), through their LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building rating system.
The only project in the state of Nevada to be accepted into the LEED for Neighborhood Development national pilot program, Union Park has completed Stage 2 of certification reflecting documented and approved points corresponding to the Gold certification level under the pilot program. Based on feedback gathered during the pilot, the rating system is being revised to improve its effectiveness and applicability to the marketplace.
“LEED certification identifies Union Park as a pioneering example of sustainable design and demonstrates its leadership in transforming the development industry,” said S. Richard Fedrizzi, president, CEO, and founding chairman of the USGBC. “Union Park has earned this recognition for excellence in the built environment and a place among the finest developments incorporating the principles of smart growth, urbanism and green design.”
According to Rita Brandin, senior vice president and development director for Newland Communities, development manager for Union Park since 2005, the mixed-use project is creating an in-town culture, entertainment, working and living environment on currently unused railroad lands. “Not only is Union Park embracing environmentally sensitive development practices going forward, it embodies the very essence of land recycling by transforming a fallow brownfield site into a vibrant community.”
“This is an historic milestone in the development of Las Vegas and its transition toward long-term sustainability,” said Steve Rypka, communications chair for the USGBC – Nevada Chapter. “As Las Vegas takes these important steps, the world is watching. Not everything that happens here stays here, and when it comes to the significance of Union Park’s LEED for Neighborhood Development Gold certification, that’s a very good thing.”
Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman added, "Not only is Union Park playing a central role in the revitalization of our city but it also underscores Las Vegas' leadership when it comes to using environmentally sound development practices. It is my hope that other organizations will follow our lead and use more "green" development throughout the valley."
The LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system evaluates communities on criteria related to smart location and linkage to the community at large; neighborhood pattern and design; green construction and technology; and water and energy conservation. It is a tool to help planners and developers create communities that not only protect the environment, but also address important public health issues such as physical activity, traffic accidents, respiratory illnesses, and affordable housing. The LEED certification process includes independent, third-party verification that a development's design, construction and performance meet accepted high standards for environmentally responsible, sustainable, development.
About Union Park
Union Park is a 61-acre mixed-use master-planned urban center located in the heart of downtown Las Vegas on land owned by the City of Las Vegas. Newland Communities, the largest private developer of planned communities in the US with nearly 40 communities underway in 14 states, was retained in 2005 by the City of Las Vegas as development manager to oversee day-to-day development of Union Park. Considered the single most important element of the revitalization of downtown Las Vegas, Union Park is anchored by key public facilities: the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute designed by famed architect, Frank Gehry; and The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, designed by architect David M. Schwarz; World Jewelry Center, a 1-million-square-foot exhibition tower for the international and domestic jewelry industry; and The Charlie Palmer, a 400-room boutique hotel named for celebrity chef, Charlie Palmer. Planned to encompass more than 11 million square feet of office, medical, residential, retail, civic and hotel/hospitality space, Union Park has an estimated value of more than $6 billion. http://www.unionparkvegas.com/ .
The LEED® Green Building Rating System is a voluntary third party rating system where credits are earned for satisfying specified green building criteria. Projects are evaluated within six environmental categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality. Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels of green building certification are awarded based on the total credits earned. The LEED standard has been adopted nationwide by federal agencies, state and local governments, and interested private companies as the industry standard of measurement for green building.
About the U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a non-profit composed of leaders from every sector of the building industry including corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and non-profit organizations, all working together to transform the way buildings are designed, built and operated. Green buildings are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. Since its founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 16,000 member companies and organizations, a 150-person professional staff, and a broad portfolio of LEED® green building products and services. USGBC produces the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building, the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (www.greenbuildexpo.org). The USGBC’s network of over 75 local chapters, affiliates and organizing groups are united to advance their mission of transforming the built environment within a generation..