Living Wall at University of Michigan Wins Award

Sourced from Journal Sentinel

Dean Larkin and his partners had to find a new use for their obsolete Wauwatosa office building.

Built in 1966, it was looking as tired as you'd expect — especially compared with newer, better-designed buildings. Meanwhile, the building's direct access to North Mayfair Road was eliminated when a neighboring Highway 45 off-ramp was redesigned.

"It was functionally obsolete," Larkin said.

The building's owners could have tried to land a call center as a possible tenant. They instead chose a more drastic approach: The two-story building was demolished and replaced by a five-story, 97-unit apartment development.

Known as The 2100, it recently landed gold certification — the second-highest level — from the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

Larkin said the $18 million development, at 2100 N. Mayfair Road, is the only suburban Milwaukee apartment building to receive such a high LEED rating.

A search of the building council's LEED database finds two Milwaukee-area market-rate apartment developments with platinum certification, and none with the gold rating. The two platinum-rated buildings, Sage on Jackson and Sage on Prospect, were both developed on Milwaukee's east side by Dominion Properties.

The 2100's gold rating shows that the green building trend "has the ability to get some legs" and spread from traditional urban strongholds to communities like Wauwatosa, Larkin said.

"I think it's very exciting that other developers are getting on the bandwagon," said Mike O'Connor, Dominion principal. "It really does lead to a better product."

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