Forcing The Ellington development to adhere to a minimum LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design] certification is the correct course of action.
There are costs to building in Asheville that far exceed any monetary investment [for] such a massive structure. Those costs include impacts on our air quality, traffic and new development pressure attracted to this new high-profile building.
The Ellington’s ROI [return on investment] will come in time and survive the additional costs associated with keeping the same construction standards the city of Asheville holds for itself. Most federal new-construction must meet these same standards [in order to] produce a reduction in energy consumption, toxic materials and waste.
The People elected City Council to be the stewards of our town’s infrastructure and future. Our international reputation now includes being a green city. Ironically, The Ellington’s developers have built many LEED-certified projects. We must hold their feet to the fire.
If they want to profit in Asheville, they must respect our natural resources and deliver what will become another exceptional architectural landmark in WNC—a green luxury hotel. In the end, if the mayor and Council mature to be staunch advocates of the conservative principles of conservation, The Ellington’s developer will have another green feather in their cap. It’s a triple win when the triple bottom line is respected (social, environmental and financial profit).
The most recent McGraw-Hill report on national construction shows that green commercial buildings are appraising 20 percent higher over costs than their counterparts. Let’s not let such a potential boon to our town’s tourist reputation get stymied by the developer’s accountants. Will the bean counters determine how green we are? They are trying to get in on the cheap. That’s their job and the old model of doing business. The game is called sustainable community development. If Asheville is to retain its glory as “the Paris of the South” and a “green capital,” let the carpetbaggers pay our price for sharing our spotlight.
Votes for Council were based on a green commitment. Council [members] must keep their promises, and not be distracted by the detractors of the LEED standard whose titles and credentials do little to improve their reasoning.
— Joseph B. Malki
Business Development/Seven-Star, Inc.