Montclair project’s ‘green’ features target millennials

Joshua Burd//April 14, 2015//

Montclair project’s ‘green’ features target millennials

Joshua Burd//April 14, 2015//

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For the development firm LCOR, it’s not enough for one of its latest projects to be in the rail-connected, walkable setting you’ll find in downtown Montclair.The company hopes to build on that amenity — largely by taking extra steps that focus on both wellness and sustainability — as it develops its mixed-use site known as Valley & Bloom.

That means adding everything from electric vehicle charging stations and a car-sharing program to solar panels and bicycle racks. And it’s all part of an effort to help distinguish the property’s nearly 260 residential units and 42,000 square feet of commercial space.

“(We) know that the millennial generation, who’s obviously a large part of the renter cohort today, is looking for those types of sustainable and wellness features as part of a project that they not only live in, but also work in,” LCOR Senior Vice President James Driscoll said. “On both the retail side and the office side, I think there’s a propensity for people to want to ensure that their workers have those features available to them because it is a competitive environment to get the best and the brightest.”

RELATED: LCOR, Pinnacle unveil new details for mixed-use project in Montclair

LCOR is developing the property with the Montclair-based Pinnacle Cos, and tenants will begin to see those features later this year as the project starts to take shape at the edge of the town’s main business district. The office portion, which includes about 20,000 square feet at the base of one of the apartment buildings on Bloomfield Avenue, could see fit-outs as soon as the end of 2015.

The 22,000-square-foot retail portion could ready for commercial tenants by early 2016.

Driscoll said the project includes some wellness and sustainability features seen in other LCOR projects, such as a fitness center and a car-sharing program. But the electric car charging station is a first for the Berwyn, Pennsylvania-based developer.

The property will also feature “green” roofs with plantings that reduce energy costs, assist in rainwater collection and reduce air pollution; a non-smoking building policy; and shuttle access to Montclair’s public transportation options.

Aside from appealing to tenants, Driscoll said the focus helps it achieve certification on the system known as LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. He noted that “LEED projects are traditionally a little bit more expensive,” but building in a downtown transit hub such as Montclair can help lead to an easier, less expensive path toward certification.

“You obviously wouldn’t have that ability if you were in a traditional suburban green field location,” he said. “There you’d have to do so much on the construction side because you weren’t getting any LEED points because of the site or the site location, that you’d probably have difficult in making the numbers work.”

A feature such as a charging station is not expensive to install, nor is it especially expensive to operate. That could change in the future as it gets more use, but that’s something LCOR would welcome.

“It’s still an emerging trend, so we’re not expecting a lot of people to have electric cars,” Driscoll said. “If they do, great, but it’s not our expectation, so we don’t think it’s going to be a cost driver; we think it’s going to be a feature that is going to be attractive to people.”


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