Portland Breaks Ground On LEED Platinum ‘Eco-District’

As urban neighborhoods brace for an influx of new inhabitants, a few cities are taking the opportunity to rethink their development strategies. Instead of letting things fall where they may, and dealing with the details at a later date, cities like Portland and San Francisco are collaborating with architects, builders, and residents to plan resilient neighborhoods–called Eco-Districts–built around green design ideals.

In Portland, one such Eco-District is finally underway. This week, American Assets Trust and GBD Architects broke ground on Hassalo on Eighth, a project that will bring 657 apartments and 58,000 square feet of retail space to the white-collar Lloyd District. According to GBD Architects, the entire development “will be LEED Platinum certified, and includes a number of innovative green technologies, including recycling and re-using all of the building’s water, which is extremely rare in residential developments.”

Hassalo On Eigth GBD Architects

Image via GBD Architects

Like other Eco-District being planned or built around the country, Hassalo on Eighth is mean to provide everything one needs to live comfortably inside the neighborhood.

“There is a gap in the urban grid of this neighborhood where mid-century planning principals called for surface parking lots in lieu of dense, walkable communities,” explain the architects on their website. “We are repairing this urban fabric by introducing mixed-use, dense development that creates a 24-hour neighborhood.”

The ideas is that residents, presumably young professionals, will be able to work, shop, and access entertainment services all within a small areas, eliminating the need for motorized transportation and rebuilding a sense of face-to-face community.

“We’re very excited about what we’re going to accomplish for our community, because this is our community now,” American Assets Trust chairman Ernest Rady, told Oregon live. “This will make our total investment in the Portland area almost half a billion dollars, and that’s real money.”

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

    • gscrilla

      That’s great in principle. But, the buildings in the rendering all look like they were designed in 1955 or so. Can’t the architects bring the design of the buildings more up to date?

    • troutscale

      Gee whiz, can you at least read through the article for typos before publishing it? I’m kind of embarrassed to forward it to anyone.

    • Rob Krebs

      Great article, Beth Buczynski – thanks for sharing! These eco-districts sound great, but I’d be curious to know if they are using any methods or systems outside of LEED to substantiate these green claims. While LEED seems to be the most well known certification program, the checklist approach it takes when looking at a structure can sometimes miss the bigger picture. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), on the other hand, tends to be more holistic in its approach, providing building professionals with a comprehensive, balanced, quantified look at significant building product environmental impacts throughout their lifecycle. Considered one of the most effective methods for demonstrating the environmental attributes of all products used in a building, LCA could potentially provide significant value to the creators of these eco-districts.

      For more on green building solutions & Life Cycle Assessment, visit: http://www.facebook.com/lifecycleassessment & http://www.greenbuildingsolutions.org/Main-Menu/Single-Attribute-Only-Small-Part-of-LCA.pdf

      Rob Krebs, Market Innovations, American Chemistry Council