Apr. 2, 2009
One of Sarasota’s biggest green construction projects yet will be the Greentech Office Park underway at the southeast corner of U.S. 301 and Tallevast Road. The plans for the 27-acre complex include 180,000 square feet of office space, 20,000 square feet of retail space and an 86-room hotel.
The principle developer, Sperry Van Ness/Blackpoint Realty, first came up with the idea in 2004 and finally got approval to build in 2008. The commercial real estate brokerage company hired an LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) consultant and will have the project certified by the U.S. Green Building Council as meeting the LEED Gold standard.
The managing director of the company, Anthony Mazzucca (pictured above), coined the term “greentech office park” and wants to create a technologically advanced complex that encourages environmental awareness. “We always had the wetlands preservation in mind,” says Mazzucca. “We could have mitigated some stuff and maybe gotten a better yield out of the project, but we thought it would be interesting to have wetlands on the site.”
The buildings will be surrounded in a park-like setting that will feature wireless Internet and secure power poles to allow business employees to work outside on their computers. “We’ll have tables and a little conference area outside,” says Mazzucca. “The idea is to get people to become part of the hope that the whole park is an office.”
The construction of the buildings is only part of what will make the complex green. The company is in the process of attracting businesses that want to jump on the concept. “Right now this is just the base,” he says. “What we have to do is get people signed up and start to go vertical. We have to work with the people that move in so we can provide the right kind of carpeting and paint and air-conditioning systems that bring in fresh air and filters out pollutants, and the right kind of lighting fixtures, and wire it so all their equipment goes off over night.”
The developers are concerned just as much with the local economy as they are with conservation and efficiency. They have been working with local contractors and trying to use local materials whenever possible. They believe the area between Sarasota and Bradenton is a perfect place to spark business innovation. “We think it’s important that this area becomes a good business corridor,” says Mazzuca, “and it’s important to create areas where businesses will migrate to.”
Of course they would like to see professionals like doctors, lawyers and accountants sign on, but they are also seeking younger, “smart” industries. “We think that what we’re doing with the level of Internet connectivity should be able to attract bio-sciences and life-sciences people,” says Mazzucca. “And because of Ringling College, we would like to see people who are in digital animation and industrial design. That’s what we’re trying to focus on is to keep those people.”
Mazzucca believes Sarasota has the potential to lead the way in environmental innovation. “We have some good colleges here. We’ve got to create more businesses that will keep kids here, and create more things for them to do when they’re here. And the buildings we build have to be more interesting, not just architecturally, but they have to have environment around them. We have to make it conducive for people to ride bikes to work and to walk around the facility while they’re here. Get people to get out.”