New Haven, CT - The Connecticut/ Western Massachusetts chapter of SIOR recently held their first quarterly meeting for 2015 in The Study at Yale University. Prior to the meeting, members and guests had an opportunity to tour 100 College Street, hosted by the property's developer, Carter Winstanley.
100 College Street is a landmark development in downtown New Haven; soon to be the world headquarters of Alexion Pharmaceuticals. The fourteen story 495,000 square foot office, lab, and pharmaceutical production facility is slated to be completed by early 2016. The $220,000,000 development project is envisioned to add continued vibrancy in the heart of New Haven, also known as The New Haven Downtown Crossing. It will connect the downtown business, cultural, entertainment, and educational centers with Yale University's Medical District and Hill neighborhoods.
Following the facility tour, members and guests convened in The Study at Yale University for a Chapter Meeting, networking, and dinner at Heirloom Restaurant. David Hickey and Greg Lux, of Hickey & Associates, provided an interesting presentation highlighting their firm's strategic partnership with SIOR. Their talk focused on Hickey & Associates' services including site selection, public incentive initiatives, and workforce solutions. Hickey & Associates is a global organization with offices situated throughout the United States and beyond.
SIOR is the leading professional commercial and industrial real estate association. With more than 3,000 members in 580 cities in 26 countries, SIOR represents today's most knowledgeable, experienced, and successful commercial real estate brokerage specialists.
BRATTLEBORO - Southeastern Vermont's largest commercial solar array is producing power, and when the sun is at its strongest about 40 percent of the town's electricity will be produced by the sun.
The 2.0 megawatt solar project along Interstate 91 has been completed and Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, state Rep. Mollie Burke, and developers and engineers involved in the project met out on the site Wednesday to officially mark the project's completion.
Winstanley Enterprises, the development company that owns the 12-acre parcel off of Technology Drive in North Brattleboro, broke ground on the solar project five months ago and there are now more than 8,000 ground mounted photovoltaic panels producing electricity for Brattleboro.
"It's rewarding to realize that this project represents a significant step in Vermont's bigger picture initiative to deliver clean renewable energy sources across the state," said Adam Winstanley, a principal of Winstanley Enterprises. "We are proud of our entire team's efforts on this project and applaud the state of Vermont for their unwavering commitment to the environment."
The solar project was included in Vermont's Sustainability Priced Energy Development, or SPEED, program which ensures that Green Mountain Power will purchase all of the electricity produced by the array.
Vermont wants to meet 20 percent of its energy needs through the SPEED program by 2017, 75 percent of its energy needs by 2032 and 90 percent of its energy needs by 2050 through sustainable power sources.
"Renewable energy projects like this solar installation are a boon for our environment and our economy," Scott said. "When we invest in projects that reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we grow opportunities for our skilled local workforce, and plant the seeds for Vermont to sustain itself, independent from outside influences."
Integrated Solar of Brattleboro and REC Solar, a national solar provider for commercial customers constructed the project. REC Solar was the lead contractor and Integrated Solar installed the system.
Since work started on the site in May, more than 18,000 labor hours for about 75 people were created for the installation.
Integrated Solar president Andy Cay said it was his company's priority from the start to involve as many local workers as possible in the work.
"This project has driven home the significance of solar power to Brattleboro's energy future through its visibility and local business involvement," Cay said. "We are pleased to have been part in this successful collaborative effort with many local businesses and individuals together with a leading national solar company."
BRATTLEBORO - Work is under way on Brattleboro's new 2 megawatt solar array and
the project could be generating electricity by the end of the summer.
Winstanley Enterprises LLC, the development company that owns the land off of
Technology Drive and along Interstate 91, has crews on the site. They are putting posts in
the ground and they have started to install some of the more than 8,000 solar panels,
which, when they are in place, will generate enough power on a very sunny day to
provide about 40 percent of the town's energy needs.
The Vermont Public Service Board in February issued a certificate of public good for the project, which is privately owned and will generate electricity that is fed into the grid. Winstanley Enterprises Vice President Eric Nelson said the company wanted to use the
site for a solar project and applied to Vermont's Sustainably Priced Energy Development,
or SPEED, program. The SPEED program guarantees that the developers of sustainable
energy projects of up to 2.2 megawatts will have a customer for the power produced and
the program also helps with the permitting and development of the project. Nelson said
Winstanley was put on a waiting list for the SPEED program, and after five other
developers dropped their applications for other projects in the state, Winstanley was
given the green light for the Brattleboro project.
"The SPEED program is a great program to participate in. It was so popular that there
was a waiting list at first," Nelson said. "Anytime you have a parcel of land you can let it remain fallow or you can try to do something with it. The folks who looked at this said it was a great place for a solar development. It seemed like a good fit for us for a lot of reasons."
Winstanley has owned the approximately 13 acres of land for a number of years, and
there have been a few projects eyed for the site.
In 2006 Meeting Waters YMCA wanted to build a new facility on the Winstanley land
but the deal fell through.
"A lot of projects and property transactions take twists and turns, and we are always
trying to find the best use for any property," Nelson said. "Over time we have looked at
different uses and for a variety of reasons those deals were not completed."
Annually, the solar array will provide enough energy for about 600 households
Dan Ingold, of Powersmith Farm, is the project technical director. He helped design the
massive solar array and has been on hand to watch as the first solar panels were attached
to the posts.
Ingold explained that while the electricity generated at the site is going to be fed directly into the grid, the power itself will seek the shortest distance and will be used directly by businesses along Putney Road. Taking into account times when the solar cells are not making electricity at night and on cloudy days, the array will provide Brattleboro with about 9 percent of its total energy needs over the course of a year.
"The state of Vermont has certain renewable power goals they're trying to meet and this
is one way to try to meet them," Ingold said. "When people are coming into Vermont on
the Interstate, and they see this project, they will know we have our priorities right."
Integrated Solar, a Brattleboro company, is working with REC Solar, a commercial solar
installation company from California.
Integrated Solar President and owner Andy Cay said the Brattleboro project is by far the largest project his company has ever taken on, and he said it was especially important for the company to be leading such a large installation so close to the company's
"It means a lot to be a part of a project of this size," Cay said. "It's good for our
experience, it's good for our resume. It's good for our relationships. It's challenging us
and it is a rewarding process."
BRATTLEBORO - The state has given the green light to a 2-megawatt solar project along Interstate 91 in Brattleboro, clearing the way for construction of one of Vermont's largest photovoltaic facilities.
In issuing a certificate of public good to WE 90 Technology Drive LLC, state Public Service Board officials said the project "will not have an undue adverse effect on aesthetics, historic sites, air and water purity, the natural environment, the use of natural resources and the public health and safety."
In short, officials wrote that the solar array will "promote the general good of the state."
The project was proposed last year by Winstanley Enterprises LLC, based in Concord, Mass. Company representatives could not be reached for comment on Monday.
Reportedly, the project could include as many as 8,300 solar panels, though the Public Service Board says the array's "exact wattage, number of panels and panel configuration will be determined at the time of final design and procurement ... by the contractor."
The project site at 90 Technology Drive, according to state documents, is a vacant, 15-acre parcel "wedged between Interstate 91 and an industrialized area north of Brattleboro." The Holiday Inn Express sits immediately to the north.
There will be approximately 1,050 poles, buried electric lines, associated electrical equipment and a 600-foot-long access drive.
There were no major objections to the project. From the state's perspective, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets got involved in the permitting process, as did the Department of Public Service and the Agency of Natural Resources.
Locally, Windham Regional Commission reviewed the proposed solar facility and "concluded that the project was consistent with the goals and policies of the regional plan and proposed that the project take steps to mitigate the impacts to the viewshed of travelers on Interstate 91 and the potential loss of prime agricultural soils."
And at the town level, the Public Service Board notes that Brattleboro Planning Commission sought public comment on the solar facility.
"Comments were received from the Conservation Commission, the Agricultural Advisory Committee, the Town Energy Coordinator and some members of the public," board members wrote. "The majority of the comments were positive, though there were specific concerns about the potential for negative visual impact, glare and future use of agricultural soils at the project site."
Upon hearing of the state's approval of the project on Monday, Brattleboro Selectboard Chairman David Gartenstein noted that there had been aesthetic concerns.
"The town of Brattleboro is in favor of green energy projects and production of energy through renewable sources. Concerns have been expressed about the visual impact of a large solar array placed in a very visible location directly along I-91 in Brattleboro," Gartenstein said.
"The (Public Service Board), however, concluded that public hearings on the project were not necessary," Gartenstein said. "We wish Winstanley the best of success in construction of the project."
In defense of the decision to not hold a public hearing, Public Service Board members pointed to memorandums of understanding that the solar project's developers reached with the state agencies.
"We appreciate the efforts of all concerned to address these issues and prepare appropriate mitigation requirements," board members wrote.
Because of those memorandums, the Winstanley solar petition "no longer raised substantial issues requiring a hearing, and therefore no hearing was needed," the board's certificate says.
The document addresses aesthetic and environmental concerns as well as a variety of other details:
The Public Service Board's order says the project "will not violate a clear, written community standard intended to preserve the aesthetics or scenic beauty of the area."
The solar array will be visible from both I-91 and Technology Drive. In reference to the latter road, "this area has an industrial character and views will be most possible during times that deciduous vegetation is defoliated," board members wrote.
For the highway, "views will be limited to an approximate 1,000-foot stretch of interstate closest to the project and will be possible when traveling both northbound and southbound," the board's order says.
"Views will be intermittent, broken by clumps of existing vegetation," officials added. "Visibility will be under 15 seconds when traveling this portion of the interstate."
The board also addresses glare concerns, saying that will not be an issue for I-91 drivers.
"To reduce any possibility of glare, all the solar panels will utilize an anti-reflective coating with less than 2 percent reflectivity, like those often required for use at solar fields adjacent to airports," PSB documents say.
The state Agency of Agriculture had expressed concerns about topsoil at the project site, though developers have said they had not found evidence of high-quality agricultural soil there.
An order accompanying the certificate of public good says "topsoil disturbed during construction and stockpiled on site shall be seeded and mulched and stabilized" in accordance with state standards.
"The solar arrays will be installed to conform with the natural slope of the land with minimal ground alteration," board members added.
Soil conservation also figures into the project's decommissioning.
"At the end of the useful life of the project, the project infrastructure will be removed, including the arrays, mounting poles, buildings, fence and concrete supports, and the site will be restored including the agricultural capability of the soils," the state's certificate says.
The certificate of public good calls for establishment of a decommissioning plan and fund. The costs of decommissioning the solar array were estimated at $129,900 in 2013 dollars; that cost "will be adjusted annually to account for inflation using the Consumer Price Index."
While noting short-term noise impacts, the state's order says construction can take place only within certain hours -- from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. No construction could happen on Sundays or on federal or state holidays.
An anticipated construction schedule was not available Monday. But the Public Service Board's order says "construction of the project will begin once all (certificate of public good) conditions have been fulfilled and is anticipated to take approximately 90 days."
BRATTLEBORO - A local company has been chosen to lead the construction of the 2-megawatt solar array that developers hope to install off of Technology Drive in Brattleboro.
Integrated Solar will partner with REC Solar, a national alternative energy financing and wholesale company, on the solar photovoltaic project slated for land along Interstate 91.
Winstanley Enterprises owns the land and is leading the project.
"This system will provide enough power to bring clean electricity to meet 9 percent of Brattleboro's annual energy needs and 40 percent during peak hours, while fueling local construction jobs," said Integrated Solar president and owner Andy Cay.
REC will help with the bonding and also help purchase the panels. The company has helped build more than 11,000 residential and commercial solar systems across the country.
"This project will play a critical role in helping Vermont reach its ambitious renewable energy goals," said Cary Hayes, director of business development for REC Solar. "We're honored to have been selected to develop the system, and we're looking forward to working with a strong and experienced local partner, Integrated Solar, to get it done."
Dan Ingold, the project's senior technical director, said Winstanley hopes to hold at least one public information meeting before workers begin installing the solar array in the spring. Winstanley wants to install about 8,300 solar panels on 1,040 posts on the parcel of land along the Interstate.
If the project is built it will be one of the largest solar installations in the state.
Winstanley asked the Public Service Board for a Certificate of Public Good under the state's expedited 248(j) permitting process because the company wanted to take advantage of a federal accelerated depreciation schedule that expires at the end of this year.
Winstanley's request to proceed under the accelerated permitting process, which is generally used to consider smaller projects, ended up taking more time to process. Last week the PSB agreed to consider the petition under the 248 (j) schedule, which does not require any public or technical hearings. The PSB still has to rule on the project and issue a Certificate of Public Good before construction can begin.
Ingold said the developers still want to encourage public input as contractors lay out the plans for the solar array.
"We can't have a hearing, because that's the Public Service Board's purview," Ingold said Tuesday. "But we are open to having a meeting and presenting to the public, especially the planning and town officials, anything they want to go over with us. We want this to be as transparent as possible."
Ingold is going to work with the Windham Regional Commission and the town to try to set up a public meeting probably some time in the new month or two.
He said construction could start in April and probably go into August.
With the PSB's decision to proceed under the expedited process, Ingold said developers are meeting with state agencies, including the Agency of Natural Resources, Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets and the Department of Public Service to address any concerns that the state might have with the project.
Ingold said Winstanley wants to get memorandums of understanding with the state agencies which will become a part of the final petition for the certificate of public good.
The Agency of Agriculture is concerned about the top soil on the site, though Ingold said recent tests show that the land there is not high quality agricultural soil.
The land there was a farm, according to Ingold, but when the parcel was sold in the 1980s topsoil was removed and sold.
There have also been issues raised about adverse aesthetic impacts, and Ingold said the company is still figuring out how it wants to shield and protect the solar panels. A fence will have to go up for security reasons, Ingold said, but options range from a chain link fence to an agricultural fence. There are also split opinions on if the solar panels should be hidden from view, or promoted as a welcome to the state and to Vermont's commitment to alternative energy.
Ingold said that is one of the issues that could be addressed at a public meeting.
"If we had an inordinate amount of public comment, we would probably deliver that to the Public Service Board when they put together their final conditions," Ingold said.
Two tenants have been announced at the what will be known as Chelmsford Town Center. It's scheduled to open next July.
Winstanley Enterprises, re-developers of the plaza at what once was the Stop & Shop Plaza on Boston Road, provided two major announcements on Tuesday relating to the rebirth of what once was a major shopping center in the heart of town.
A contract was signed on Tuesday morning awarding renovation of the old Stop & Shop Plaza, now known as Chelmsford Town Center, to Pinnacle Construction of Tewksbury, with work to begin immediately.
Construction was expected to begin on Nov. 15, but a small design delay related to the facade of the building pushed back finalization on the beginning of construction according to Adam Winstanley, founder of Winstanley Enterprises.
Winstanley also announced lease agreements with two tenants: Choice Fitness and Nobo Modern Japanese and Bar.
Choice Fitness will take up the 17,000 sq. ft flagship portion of the plaza closest to Summer Street, with Nobo occupying one of the two 5,000 sq. ft restaurant slots. A third tenant, SportsClips Haircuts, was announced on 12/11.
Construction is expected to be concluded on July 24, 2014.
Developers presented modifications Wednesday night to the building plan for a retail center that will be known as "Chelmsford Commons" at the old Stop and Shop plaza across from the Adams Library on Boston Road.
"There's a building you see there with the faded metal, but everything will get ripped off, and everything will be all new," said Adam Winstanley, principal of Winstanley Enterprises, the plaza's new ownership group, of his plans for the retail center during the Planning Board meeting.
Construction will start as early as Sept. 1.
About a third of the current structure will be torn down because of asbestos, mold and water leakage in the former Stop and Shop, but the building that once housed Marshall's will be maintained and heavily renovated.
Developers plan to include a glass windowpane across the top of the building, adding natural light. The roof will be copper-colored metal, much more expensive than asphalt shingles, but worth it for its aesthetics and durability, Winstanley said.
"Adding color into retail is very important," he said. "There needs to be some vibrancy."
The space designated for a restaurant will have accordion-folding glass windows to create an open-space feel, developers said.
The Planning Board was unanimously behind the design concepts.
Although Winstanley was not prepared to announce which retailers might be coming to the plaza, he said he's received a lot of response from the market.
"We are getting a lot of interest in coming to this site," he said. "We're certainly headed in the right direction."
Winstanley's attorney Phil Eliopoulos said Winstanley has filed for a special health club permit in case that's something the plaza wants to include in the future.
A followup hearing is scheduled for July 10. The Planning Board expects to hear more about lighting fixtures, landscaping, parking lot traffic flow and signage lighting before moving forward.