Retail Traffic

Q: How is the rise of green building affecting retail architecture?

DFD Cornoyer Hedrick

Leo Mendez, Director of Retail Design: Time will tell. The latest publications, documentaries, etc., have all begun to pose very strong questions as to how we can better serve ourselves in responsible development and design. The areas of large manufacturing facilities and redevelopment of brownfield site locations have already been responsibly affecting change in the area of green building design. Our clients are expressing an interest in consideration of green building design. The long-term effect will be good for retail design as we in the design profession will be enabled to design with longevity in mind. That was not as important a focus within the last 10 to 15 years.


Bruce Barteldt Jr., National Retail Studio Principal: Mixed-use, by its very nature, is a sustainable approach to development and since green building actually starts with the site and location, many factors of site design have to be re-thought relative to previous rules. At Little, the majority of our leaders and designers are LEED accredited professionals and are experts at implementing the most cost effective means of assuring long-term operational efficiencies. These practices also enhance the communities in which we build and improve the customer's experience.


Bob Tindall, President: In retail architecture, green used to be the exception and now it's becoming the rule, which is due in large part to a growing demand from the public. But the question is, “How can the developer get the benefit of developing a green building, when the retailer reaps the operating benefit?” We anticipate there will be changes to retail lease structures to provide more incentives for developers to be greener in their process.

BL Companies

Andrew E. Graves, Principal, Director of Building Design & Engineering: There is still trepidation around the upfront investment required before the significant long-term benefits are realized, so changes have been slow. As larger retailers start to make investments and energy prices rise, interest is increasing. We are seeing interest in higher efficiency mechanical equipment and lighting fixtures. Interest in day lighting is also increasing due to the energy savings but also because of the enhancement that natural light brings to the retail environment.

JPRA Architects

James P. Ryan, Chairman: We have discussed this question with our retail developer clients and are cautioned that to accomplish budget goals there may have to be design or amenity trade offs. They are socially conscious of their development's legacy but a lack of accurate information on retail costs to achieve LEED ratings makes them consider going green only if it doesn't affect the pro forma. However, the opportunity to go green on two mixed-use projects for Simon Property Group is allowing us to pursue sustainable retail design.

HKW Architects

Fred Keith, President: The majority of retail developers still look at the green building trend as an unwelcome cost item on their pro forma. While that perception is generally wrong, perception is reality. But that perception is rapidly changing as developers realize the many benefits of incorporating sustainable design practices into their centers. As more local governments make sustainable design a prerequisite to zoning approvals or public funding of infrastructure and as the consumer becomes increasingly aware of this issue, designers will see additional impetus being placed on green design by their developer clients — and that is a good thing for everyone.

CMH Architects

Everett Hatcher, Executive Vice President: CMH is currently working on our first several retail projects that will be submitted for certification by the U.S. Green Building Council under their LEED program. It will most likely be a small window of opportunity for the developer. The developers who now invest in the usually very modest costs associated with LEED certified green design are publicly making a statement of principle about their concern for the environment. With present energy costs and concerns about global warming, the public will applaud those entrepreneurs and the resulting goodwill should make dealings with local communities much easier. The green design principles that are now voluntary will in the near future become mandatory and eliminate the opportunity for companies to establish themselves as leaders in this worthy cause.

Beame Architectural Partnership

David Herbert, Principal: We designed one of the first LEED certified buildings in Florida, a Whole Foods store. Whole Foods includes the green concept as part of their corporate philosophy and image. We have proposed green design for many of our current projects, but most developers are not motivated to incur the cost and effort required for certification. The current impact is to incorporate the technology used in green buildings to make retail buildings more efficient.

MCG Architecture

Jeff Gill, Managing Principal: Retail design is a direct response to the public's needs. By incorporating the demands of green design, we create better environments for shoppers and workers. Going green creates retail design situations that need resolution, as quite often they do not meet the standards we have accepted as good retail design. However, the outcome is based on a progressive design process of protecting our environment, and quite often facilitates design techniques that surpass previous acceptable practice.

Brown Craig Turner

Bryce Turner, President and CEO: We are locating projects within existing growth areas and near mass transit, and also revitalizing obsolete shopping centers and other brownfields. We're concentrating greater density on the site. Mixed-use with retail creates a greater opportunity for landlords to supply conditioned air and water to retail clients, whereas there's little incentive to do that in a single use building.


Stephen J. Winslow, Principal: The way people want to live and to connect with other people on a daily basis are one of the biggest changes. People can live in a mixed-use town center and walk to a park and ride in the suburbs to go to work without a car. Hotels, office and residential integrated with retail is the first big step to changing our cities.

ka architecture

Ken Sizemore, Studio Leader/Design Architect: As the impact of green building design has been much stronger in our residential and corporate markets, our retail market is beginning to gain interest in sustainable design initiatives. Despite our clients' desire for good corporate citizenry, many are in the learning stages of how sustainable design will actually bring a return to their investment. The key for commercial clients, particularly with a retail focus, will be in increased avenues of benefit for the investment made. Much of this is currently emerging and our current role often is to provide an advocacy and educational benefit to our clients.

O'Brien & Associates

Jack O'Brien, CEO: More developers are becoming aware of sustainable design and making a commitment towards it. We met with a large REIT in Las Vegas and were told all of their projects would be LEED certified from that point on. That's a very bold statement.

Perkowitz + Ruth

Sy Perkowitz, President and CEO: The rise in green building has influenced us tremendously. We are very committed to creating environmentally responsible buildings and incorporating sustainability into all of our projects, and we believe that we can do this and still meet a client's financial and schedule requirements. Sustainable building design ensures the long-term viability of our communities and cities, and the marketplace is starting to realize this. Today, there is an increasing demand for projects that meet those standards.

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