The Winthrop Club: Reaching New Heights for Eco-Conscious Residents

By Adam Busch, Co-Publisher and Owner, Green Space Today

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Co-owners and Principals Bob Horner (left) and Ibrahim Shihadeh (right) pose at the Winthrop Club (under construction) in Evanston, IL. Gorgeous views of Lake Michigan will be present in several of the Club’s condominiums.
Courtesy of Winthrop Properties

Before the City of Evanston (IL) recently mandated all new buildings over 25 thousand square feet to be LEED certified, Winthrop Properties, co-owned and managed by co-principals Bob Horner and Ibrahim Shihadeh, decided to develop a green, residential high rise-the Winthrop Club. In June 2009, the Winthrop Club will be completed. This 15 story building aims to be the greenest residential high-rise in the Midwest and is slated to attain LEED Gold certification. By incorporating sustainable components, the Winthrop Club is meeting a contemporary demand for eco-friendly living.

It is truly a buyers’ market and home and condo owners are increasingly demanding sustainable living. Last year, only 650 condominiums sold in downtown Chicago. The Winthrop Club, residing in Evanston, a community neighboring Lake Michigan and Chicago’s northern border, has already sold 38 of its 96 units. According to Bob Horner, co-principal and owner/founder of Winthrop Properties, “From a business perspective, when we (Winthrop Properties) acquired the land, we looked at the market in Evanston and the way we wanted to compete was to create a green building for people moving out of Chicago that expect higher standards of living.” This standard will be promoted by the building’s sustainable design. Designed by FitzGerald Associates Architects (Chicago), the Winthrop Club’s architectural features will promote comfort for its residents, which is a key fundamental of sustainability. With relatively superior indoor air quality, 9’ft-10’ ft. ceilings, outdoor terraces, breathtaking views of Lake Michigan, Northwestern University, the famed Baha'i House of Worship, and the beautiful Chicago skyline, comfort will be enhanced at the Club.

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Rendering of the Winthrop Club
Courtesy of Winthrop Properties

Mike De Rouin, AIA, CSI, AIA, CSI, Principal, FitzGerald Associates Architects, told Green Space Today, “We got a chance to test the multi-family housing market as to how it responds to sustainable design. We found that multi-family and sustainable design goes hand and hand. The Winthrop Club will have green roofs that will collect storm-water, a covered parking garage to reduce the urban heat island effect, and there will be a 30% reduction in water-usage through 2-stage water closets and low flow plumbing fixtures being installed in all showers and sinks.” In addition to the sustainable design, the Winthrop Club is being built on a site that is in walking distance (1 block) to the Davis Street Transit Station, where residents can take convenient public transportation into Chicago and decrease their individual carbon-footprints. Horner told Green Space Today, “Making the Winthrop Club a green building started out with choosing the right site.”

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This photo was taken at the construction site of the Winthrop Club, showcasing the site’s close proximity to the Davis Street Transit Station.

The Winthrop Club is being constructed by Bovis Lend Lease, an international firm with vast experience in green building. During construction, Bovis is using materials and products such as 100% recycled steel rebar, low-VOC paint, and windows with low-E glass (manufactured by TRACO) throughout the facility. Bamboo veneer paneling will be applied to the lobby of the Club, offering residents with environmentally-friendly, beautiful aesthetics upon entering the space. While building the space, Bovis is utilizing 100% green power. Purchased by Bovis for construction of properties such as the Winthrop Club, green power is electricity generated from renewable resources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, biogas, biomass and low-impact hydro. As a result, produced electricity has net zero increase in carbon dioxide emissions. Christopher Hume, Senior Project Manager, Bovis Lend Lease, told Green Space Today, “The Winthrop Club is very progressive for a multi-family development. There are very few multi-family LEED projects in America, and it was an honor for Bovis Lend Lease to be a part of it.”

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This model showroom replicates the interior (living and dining areas) of the Winthrop Club's upcoming condominiums. Many condo owners will have views of the Chicago skyline.
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Scheduled for completion in June 2009, the Winthrop Club aims to be the first LEED Gold certified residential high-rise in the Midwest.
Courtesy of Winthrop Properties

Rebecca Franke, LEED AP, Manager of the Sustainability Department, Sieben Energy Associates, was the LEED project coordinator for the Winthrop Club. In an interview with Franke, Franke said “In residential, compared to the past, developers are savvier about LEED and residents are savvier as well.

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Mike De Rouin, AIA, CSI, AIA, CSI, Principal, FitzGerald Associates Architects
Courtesy of FitzGerald Associates Architects

Winthrop Properties is taking sustainability a step further by supplying residents with necessities and amenities that give people a greater opportunity to maintain environmentally-friendly lifestyles. All rooms will be equipped with ENERGY STAR® qualified GE appliances (including a refrigerator; microwave; dishwasher; oven range; and washer/dryer) and low-VOC carpeting by Karastan. Also, every waste room will have both a trash receptacle as well as a recycling receptacle. On top of it all, Winthrop Properties is leaving the Club’s residents with green cleaning supplies (for one year) as well.
 
The Winthrop Club will also be an educational source for the community. The lobby will have a plasma-TV that will inform residents, guests, and other visitors about the importance of green building (LEED points are given for this too). With the building still under construction, the Winthrop Club has already served as a learning resource for students at Northwestern University. On Tuesday, March 3, 2009, 13 students and a course instructor from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University toured the Winthrop Club. These students are a part of Kellogg’s Sustainable Real Estate Development class. After the tour, course Instructor, Denise Akason, said, “I would say Winthrop Club is a very nice development that does fit into the Evanston market. This is not based on any sort of detailed market analysis, just based on other properties I have seen in the past in the Evanston market. I think the tour was beneficial to my students.”

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Rendering of the Winthrop Club’s future lobby.
Courtesy of Winthrop Properties
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Christopher Hume, Senior Project Manager, Bovis Lend Lease
Courtesy of Bovis Lend Lease

Ibrahim Shihadeh, co-owner/founder and co-principal, Winthrop Properties, told Green Space Today, “In Evanston, people continue to appear to be environmentally aware. We all have to do our part to make environmental contributions.” Certainly, Winthrop Properties is doing its part. With current economic conditions, people are increasingly becoming more attentive to finances as well. Through the Winthrop Club’s green building system, residents are expected to use 20 percent less electricity, helping condo owners save money in the long-run. Through sustainable design & construction processes, its premier site, the implementation of green products, and the economic and environmental consciousness of its developer, the Winthrop Club will reach new heights for people looking to lead environmentally-friendly lifestyles and for a community (with top tier academic institution) in the midst of a significant rejuvenation.

 

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The Winthrop Club’s condominiums will be equipped with Energy Star qualified GE appliances.

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Students of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University toured the Winthrop Club.
Courtesy of Winthrop Properties