IOWA CITY, Iowa – Accompanied by representatives of local, state and federal governments, developers of the Moss Green Urban Village today broke ground on the nation’s first macro green business park.
The business park will feature 170 acres of green development at Highway 1 and Interstate 80 will rise on the site of the former Moss Dairy Farm. The land has been owned by three generations of the Moss family. Due to interstate construction projects and other extenuating factors, access and overall efficiency for use of the land as farm ground has become difficult.
The family hired ECO4 Partners, LLC, of Des Moines in March 2009 as experts in the green technology field. The firm has participated in several similar projects on various levels.
“It is Moss family’s desire to use the land for a good and unique purpose realizing the need for new green technology development,” said Voldemars Pelds, a Des Moines civil engineering consultant with ECO-4 Partners. “Our concepts present new ways to engineer and construct this kind of park using proven build-out techniques combined with new and innovative technologies and funding strategies.”
Pelds described the macro-green concept as “the encompassing employment of green development, utilizing strategy, technique and product at all stages to minimize environmental impact while maximizing project potential.”
The development will encourage collaboration in managing environment and energy issues among property and buildings owners. The United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Bronze Level certification will be recommended, although if newer models, metrics or measures become available, development will not be limited to that metric. Green infrastructure will integrate functions and make life-giving processes both visible and meaningful within the development. Parks, trails, greenways, and other open spaces will be designed to link communities within a regional landscape matrix, preserving open space as an integral part of the new development and allowing strategic design of storm-water and sewage management.
The business park will be marketed by CBRE/Hubbell Commercial, the state’s largest commercial real estate broker. CB Richard Ellis is the world’s leading commercial real estate services firm for office, retail, industrial, land, multi-family and investment real estate properties for sale or lease.
“CBRE/Hubbell Commercial is tremendously excited to be the marketing team for such a cutting-edge project. We look forward to partnering with each of the partners on the overall team and the greater Iowa City development community to make this project a reality,” said Bob Stewart, vice president of CB Richard Ellis/Hubbell Commercial who is co-brokering the property with Arny Engman.
Daniel Pettit, an ECO4 Partners principal, said the company and Moss Green Development Corp. will work together with the City of Iowa City and Johnson County to construct the initial 0.75 miles of Oakdale Boulevard, and the 0.75 mile local collector. Jared Vincent, another ECO4 Partner principal, said other infrastructure needs including utility, sanitary sewer and communication lines will also be installed during initial phases of construction per city specifications.
“All infrastructure will be built using minimum-impact strategies and the latest in ‘green technology’ to provide a truly unique development product,” Vincent said.
Pelds, Pettit and Vincent were drawn together by their mutual interest in the green movement. “We realized that no commercial development had ever properly achieved the strategic application of cutting-edge green technology on multiple levels. That’s why we set out to find a like-minded land-owner/developer willing to take a chance on doing the right thing,” Pettit said.
That goal connected them with Barry Crist, who introduced them to one of his life-long friends, Stephen Moss. “My family has a long history of community involvement and loyalty to the Iowa City area,” Moss said. “When presented with the opportunity to be involved in an extraordinary project of this nature, it just seemed like a natural next chapter in the life of our family’s property.”
Iowa City Mayor Matt Hayek noted that city officials continue the process of reviewing the business park plan details for approval but expressed excitement about the project’s immediate boost to the local economy and its long-term potential.
“The Iowa City economy is both diverse and prosperous. We believe the Moss Green Urban Village project will enhance our commitment to the environment, high technology and responsible growth,” Hayek said. “That’s the promise of this project and one reason it is generating so much excitement.”
Congressman David Loebsack, who was represented by chief of staff Eric Witte, noted the project reflects his priority to combine economic development with eco-friendly technology to create quality jobs.
“I congratulate Moss Green Urban Village and the contractors, engineers, architects, and community members involved in building a truly unique project,” said Loebsack. “Iowa leads the nation when it comes to renewable technology and manufacturing, and Moss Green Urban Village is yet another shining example of the economic development and cost savings that go hand in hand with high-performance building. As we work to move our economy forward, we must continue to foster development that creates Made-in-America energy and technology, reinvigorates our domestic manufacturing base, and creates jobs that cannot be shipped overseas.”
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