The historic Lebowsky Theatre in Owosso, MI is getting a fresh new green start, under the direction of Grand Rapids green building and design specialists, Bazzani Associates. Built in 1926, as a vaudeville house, the Capitol Theatre (later renamed the Lebowsky Theatre) was severely damaged by fire in 2007. The restored historic landmark will reopen in 2011 as the Lebowsky Center. It will become the home of the Owosso Community Players, who own the building. When completed the center will be LEED certified.
For the Bazzani group, green building is not just a sideline, it is what their business is all about.
“We specialize in commercial and mixed use building,” said Guy Bazzani, President/CEO during a recent interview, “Mixed use is defined as either retail or office on the first floor or office and residential on the second. It’s all about bringing density to the places where people work. There is less environmental damage if everybody walks to work.”
In business since 1983, Bazzani Associates, is headquartered in the historic Helmus Building at 959 Wealthy Street SE in Grand Rapids. Renovation of the Helmus Building, which was built in 1918, was completed in 2003 by Bazzani’s team, making it the first building in Grand Rapids to earn LEED certification. It is a mixed-use facility housing the Bazzani offices and commercial tenants on the lower level, and Bazzani residence, complete with a green roof, on the upper level. In addition to being insulated to exceed the ASHRAE 90.1-1999 standard by 30%, notable features of the Helmus Building include xeriscaping and Low-E windows.
“When we did this building the Secretary of the Interior did not allow any coatings on glass for historic buildings, so we commissioned their agency to allow a LEED glass. We found a better glass that would lower our energy consumption. This later became a national standard.”
One of Bazzani’s most notable projects is the East Hills Center. Built on a vacant Grand Rapids site where Diamond Avenue, Cherry Street and Lake Drive intersect, the area was often referred to by area residents as The Center of The Universe. The East Hills Center has since become a lively hub of activity. Commercial tenants include a mix of retail, offices and a restaurant. The center has a rain garden and green roof. One of the key tenants in the center is the West Michigan Environmental Council.
“Our new space in the East Hills Center building couldn’t be more appropriate for us.” said Rachel Hood, Executive Director of the West Michigan Environmental Action Council. “The green-built space, the rain gardens and the environmental philosophy behind this building make it the perfect location for WMEAC.”
“The. East Hills Center goes beyond the zero storm water discharge. said Bazzani, “That site captures all the rain water and ground water. Green roofs are exceptional in the way they perform for a building. It manages storm water and keeps the building cool in the summer and warmer in winter. Roof temperatures in the summer time can peak at 150-180 degrees. A green roof peaks at 70 degrees. The roof membrane is not exposed to UV light, which causes contraction. We don’t know how long the roof is going to last. We think it could last as long as 50 years.”
Upon completion of the East Hills Center in 2006, Rapid Growth Media reported, “Bazzani Associates recently received the nation’s first Double Gold LEED Certification for The East Hills Center (Of the Universe) building, corner of Lake Drive and Diamond. Gold certifications were awarded for both LEED-CS and LEED-CI.”
Bazzani Associates, are champions of the LEED building process, making a difference, one green building at a time in West Michigan.
Grand Rapids was recognized by U.S. Greeen Building Council (USGBC) as having the most LEED certified structures per capita of all cities in the nation in 2006.
LEED designates Leadership In Energy & Environmental Design and is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. USGBC
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