Granger Group Pinpoints LEED
Options For Metro

August 17, 2007
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WYOMING — As new buildings arise from the fields at MetroHealthVillage at M-6 and

Byron Center Avenue
, a variety of tenants are learning what it means to be LEED-certified.

The Granger Group, which is developing and marketing the buildings, has created a synopsis of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards to help prospective tenants understand how LEED would impact them.

"We put together an informational piece on 'What is LEED?' The retail sector is the latest to catch on to the whole wave of LEED certification," said President & CEO Gary Granger. "Only 1.5 percent of those (LEED) projects are retail or related to retail."

Granger is casting the LEED net over a variety of uses, not just the 581,000-square-foot MetroHealthHospital that anchors the middle 28 acres of the 170-acre development. Every building in MetroHealthVillage will be constructed for LEED certification. That includes stores, restaurants, hotels, an ITT Training Institute, the planned Spartan Stores YMCA, medical offices and residential condominiums.

"Whether it's a national or local retail tenant, there's not been a lot of exposure to LEED," Granger said. "We kind of have to hold their hand and talk them through it."

For example, while MetroHealthVillage is poised to become home to a national hotel chain, just 31 hotels in the country currently hold LEED certification. He declined to reveal the name of the chain.

"Even in the negotiating process, we kind of had to walk them through it," Granger said. "It's not the first hotel (to be built for LEED certification), but it is going to be among the leaders."

Even though environmental awareness has value as a marketing tool, as MetroHealthVillage's currently lone retail tenant, Starbucks, has shown, business is all about the bottom line, Granger said.

"Most of these folks get down to the bottom line," he said. "No. 1, what's it going to cost me as a tenant? No. 2, is there any payback?"

The answers are about $1.50 per square foot, and yes, primarily in energy savings, within two to three years, he said.

The Spartan Stores YMCA to be located in MetroHealthVillage, expected to open in fall 2009, will be the local organization's second LEED-certified facility. Vice President of Development Deb Minton said, thanks to backing from environmentally sensitive donors Peter Wege and John Hunting, the David B. Hunting YMCA in downtown Grand Rapids is LEED certified. She said the building has drawn a stream of visitors from as far away as Japan who want to see how LEED standards were interpreted for such a facility.

Now the local YMCA board has committed to LEED certification for all its new buildings, Minton said. "That was really significant for us as an association," Minton said.

Blueprints for the Spartan Stores YMCA have not yet been completed, but Minton said she expects that lessons learned from the downtown LEED project will be applied in Wyoming

"It's something that has really caught fire here," Minton said. "We do know there is an undercurrent and a movement for this to catch on."

Granger said his company has just been awarded a contract for a new Michigan State Police headquarters in Lansing, and he promises it will be a state building unlike any other Michigan has ever seen.

"We've turned it (LEED certification) into a sales point rather than a marketing objection," he said. "It's been a challenge on our part to take a lot of information and make it understandable."    

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