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Development Hits a Green Note


Open-air shopping, dining and entertainment destination Legacy Place in Dedham, Mass., was one of the very few major shopping centers to open in 2009. It also knows a thing or two about how to save energy and resources by going green.

The 675,000-sq.-ft. mixed-use (retail and office) center developed by Chestnut Hill, Mass.-based WS Development and National Amusements, Dedham, Mass., embraced sustainability when it launched last August. Legacy Place—which is packed with powerful anchors, including a 60,000-sq.-ft. Whole Foods Market and a 30,000-sq.-ft., two-level L.L. Bean store—was built with specific eco-friendly features in mind, with the help of architecture firm Prellwitz Chilinski Associates/PCA, Cambridge, Mass., which assisted in the early-planning stages.

“We were really influenced by the sustainable efforts of our anchors, who have embraced green in the core of their brand,” said David Fleming, corporate marketing director for WS Development. “We thought it was important to carry out a similar message in the site’s development.”

Legacy Place’s Whole Foods Market is the first supermarket in Massachusetts to generate 90% of its power and 100% of its hot water on site via a clean fuel cell. Meanwhile, L.L. Bean recently applied for LEED certification for its eco-friendly store design.

“Building a sustainable center was also important to the town of Dedham,” Fleming said.

Conserving water was one of the top areas of interest during development. Three underground water cisterns were installed to collect up to 280,000 gallons of rainwater from building rooftops and parking lots. The water is used for landscape irrigation, and no potable water is required. Legacy Place also installed stormwater catch basins throughout the property where water is treated by a water/oil separator that cleans water prior to it re-entering the groundwater system.

The center is also using white roofs to reduce heat island effect.

“We knew it would take more electricity to cool the buildings especially during the summer months, so we wanted an option that would divert the sun’s energy and ultimately decrease the greenhouse gases emitted into the air,” Fleming said.

Recycled materials, certified wood and low volatile organic compounds (VOC) materials were also used for construction.

In addition, revitalizing the area surrounding Legacy Place was a critical part of its sustainable effort plans. More than 2,000 new trees, plants and bushes were installed, and as a result, wildlife habitat increased and its nearby wetland areas improved.

“We received a great community response,” Fleming said. “We even cleaned up a nearby pond and built paths to it, allowing public access to that natural resource for the first time in decades.”

In fact, L.L. Bean now uses the pond to offer kayaking and fly fishing lessons to the community through its Outdoor Discovery School program.

Legacy Place also created new pedestrian access to 580 adjacent apartment units and its local MBTA commuter rail station. To further encourage shoppers to use alternative forms of transportation, six bike racks were installed.

“We were able to embrace so many eco-initiatives because there were many options available to us when the center was built in 2009,” Fleming said. “We see more developments incorporating similar efforts partially because the time is right and also because more cities and towns are starting to require eco-driven development plans.”

Legacy Place has created sustainability guidelines for tenants to follow. “We required tenants to use energy-efficient lighting in stores, as well as using energy-efficient heating and cooling systems,” Fleming said.

Tenants are required to use low-water usage toilets and efficient fixtures in the bathroom.

“It’s too soon to gauge the return-on-investment just yet, but we expect to save money in some areas over time,” Fleming said.

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