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Work Begins on Virginia’s Tallest Timber Building

10.17.19 | News

by Gail Kalinoski | Originally featured in Commercial Property Executive

Apex Clean Energy, a developer and operator of wind energy and solar power facilities across North America, will be the anchor tenant of a new eight-story office building in downtown Charlottesville, Va. The property will feature sustainable features including a mass timber structure and integrated renewable energy. When it is completed in mid-2021, it will be Virginia’s tallest timber building.

The facility will also be the headquarters of Riverbend Development, Hourigan Development and William McDonough + Partners, the architecture firm that designed the project. The 187,000-square-foot development located on Garrett Street in the city’s Strategic Investment Area will enable Apex to consolidate its 170 local employees in one site. The company’s current operations are spread across three offices. Apex will be taking 84,000 square feet—equal to the building’s top three floors—as its corporate headquarters.

Riverbend Development is the developer and Hourigan serves as the general contractor for the project. John Pritzlaff, senior vice president at Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer, represented Apex throughout the process, including identifying the Garrett Street infill site. In addition to the office space, Riverbend is planning on offering about 10,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor.

Sustainability at the Forefront

The property will produce 364 MWh of energy per year from 875 roof- and canopy-mounted solar panels to offset power usage resulting in zero net energy use. The sustainably harvested mass timber structure will realize a total potential carbon benefit of approximately 3,000 metric tons compared to a traditional concrete and steel structure.

Cross-laminated timber (CLT), known for its high-efficiency strength and fire resistance, will be used. The building will also have an extensive green roof terrace, high-efficiency mechanical systems, electric vehicle charging stations and indoor bicycle storage. WM+P, which has designed environmentally conscious projects around the world including YouTube’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, uses Cradle to Cradle Design ™, a concept that incorporates safe and healthy materials and takes its cues from living systems.

Founded 10 years ago, Apex has about $2 billion of operating renewable energy assets under management on behalf of utility, financial and corporate owners, and has created $7 billion worth of clean energy investments. Last month, Apex and Ares Management Corp. announced that Aviator Wind East, a 200 MW portion of the 525 MW Aviator Wind project in Coke County, Texas, had executed a renewable power purchase agreement with Facebook. Aviator Wind, which is being developed by Apex and owned by funds managed by Ares Infrastructure and Power, will be the largest single-phase, single-site wind project in the U.S.

In July, the Michigan Public Service Commission provided conditional approval for DTE Energy to buy three new wind parks, including two that will be built by Apex this year in Isabella County, Mich., totaling 383 MW. And in January, Apex expanded its solar power portfolio by 442.5 MW with the acquisition of four projects from SolUnesco located throughout Virginia—Carvers Creek, Moody Creek, Red Brick and Rivanna.

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