Historic Building at 330 North Wabash is Among Chicago’s Most Sustainable
A Chicago Landmark building and an icon to modern architecture, 330 North Wabash (also now known as AMA Plaza) is the largest, and last, American building designed by world renowned architect Mies van der Rohe. A bust of Mies, by sculptor Marino Marini, is housed in the lobby, a tribute to the forward thinking designer, whose architecture moves forward in step with evolving technology.
The AMA Plaza/330 North Wabash is fifty two stories and at 695 feet (211.8 meters), the skyscraper is the second-tallest building by Mies van der Rohe, (the tallest being the Toronto-Dominion Bank Tower).
The structure of AMA Plaza is steel frame with a concrete core. The exterior features a curtain wall of bronze anodized aluminum and tinted glass. The large floor-to-ceiling windows offer spectacular, panoramic views of the City, the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.
Its location, at a turn in the Chicago River, offers visibility from all directions – from Michigan Avenue, along the river, and from the major expressways. The property is bordered by State Street on the west, and Wabash Avenue on the east, Kinzie Street on the north and the Chicago River on the south.
Entry plazas around the perimeter of the building provide easy access from all points for pedestrians, vehicles, public transportation, and even marine vessels. As part of the Riverwalk, the building’s river frontage adjacent to the continuous Riverwalk winding its way through the heart of Chicago – a walk where tourists and business people alike can enjoy nature and Chicago’s renowned architectural skyline.
Additional amenities include a hotel, cafeteria, fitness center, messenger center, building conference rooms, and courier services. AMA Plaza features a state of the art fire & life safety system and is fully sprinklered. The HVAC system is a modernized energy efficient variable air volume system with unlimited zone control. The building is served by thirty-two (32) high-speed elevator cabs in three (4) zones in addition to two (2) freight elevators and one (1) shuttle elevator. The hotel utilizes eight (8) of the elevators for their use.
Building Security features a security desk that is staffed 24 hours, 7 days per week as well as video monitoring of all entries into the building by CCTV including, but not limited to, the interior and exterior of the Plaza Level, loading dock, and freight areas and elevator cars.
An 890 stall parking structure is located across the north end of the Plaza area at 401 North State Street and can be entered from State Street or Wabash Avenue.
The original developer and owner of the building was IBM Corporation, when the building was known as One IBM Plaza. IBM sold the building to the Blackstone Group in 1996. IBM all but completed its move out of IBM Plaza as of early 2006. Blackstone Group sold the building to the predecessor company of Riverview Realty Partners in 1999. In 2011, Riverview Realty Partners brought an affiliate of Five Mile Capital Partners into the ownership structure of the building as a joint venture partner.
AMA Plaza has several design features that are rare in an office building but understandable given its original owner. The building’s electrical system, environmental system, floor strength, and ceiling height (on certain floors) can support large “raised floor” computing centers. Also, the “banked” newly modernized and intelligent elevator system is a model of efficiency and rarely keeps anyone waiting for service.
In 2007, plans were announced to convert floors two through thirteen of the fifty-two story building into a high-end hotel. The Langham Chicago was opened in 2013, occupying floors two through thirteen. The building was declared a Chicago Landmark on February 6, 2008 and added to the National Register of Historic Places on March 26, 2010. It is the newest building in Chicago in terms of age on both lists.
On December 9, 2011, the American Medical Association announced it would move its headquarters and entire workforce to 330 N. Wabash from its previous headquarters on State Street. The move occurred in September 2013 and the building was renamed AMA Plaza.
AMA Plaza/330 North Wabash is managed by Riverview Realty Partners. Riverview is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois and is a fully integrated real estate operating and development company, providing its own property management, leasing, marketing and development functions. Riverview is a wholly-owned affiliate of Five Mile Capital Partners LLC (“Five Mile”), a Connecticut-based commercial real estate and alternative investment firm. Riverview currently owns one office property containing 167,756 net rentable square feet and a joint venture interest in the AMA Plaza office building in Chicago, Illinois, comprising approximately 1.14 million net rentable square feet. Riverview leases and manages its properties, and also oversees (i) the asset management, leasing and management of various other properties for affiliates of Five Mile, including a portfolio of five properties containing 648,757 rentable square feet in the Cleveland, Ohio metropolitan area, a 30-story office tower containing 693,126 rentable square feet in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and a 20-story office tower containing 439,645 rentable square feet in Houston, Texas, and (ii) the asset management and property management of a 32-story office tower in Atlanta, Georgia containing 625,424 rentable square feet.
“Riverview Realty Partners is proud to align itself with the best in 21st century environmental practices and policies. From reducing our emissions, to cutting excess lighting to installing state-of-the-art ventilation — to switching to HEPA-compliant vacuum cleaners — we know a clean environment is more than good business. It’s the key to a viable future for us all,” says Susan Hammer, General Manager of AMA Plaza for Riverview Realty Partners.
Hammer leads a management team that consists of Property Manager Courtney Stern, RPA, Tenant Services Coordinator Yordanos Ghdey, Property Management Assistant Valerie Batts, Engineering Manager John Witkowski, Chief Engineer Jim Kyler, and Security Director Carl Reyes.
Community Action & Involvement is also an important part of Riverview Realty Partners’ management philosophy. “Just as each one of our properties takes a signature stand in its community, our commitment to serve the surrounding community, as well as the Chicago real estate community, continues to stand strong,” says Jeffrey Patterson, President and CEO.
“Similarly, Riverview Realty Partners feels that their efforts to promote public health are also an important part of their role in the community. “As our donations to the American Heart Association, the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the Alzheimer’s Society attest, we believe our good fortune is meaningful only to the extent we can share it with others,” Patterson adds.
LEED Gold Certification
AMA Plaza has earned the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED Gold Certification for Existing Buildings (EB) Operations & Maintenance (O&M). LEED is USGBC’s leading rating system for designing and constructing the world’s greenest, most energy efficient and high-performing buildings. To achieve the LEED-EB O&M designation, buildings are evaluated on exterior site maintenance, waste stream management, energy savings, water efficiency, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction, indoor environmental quality, cleaning maintenance, stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. According to USGBC, the largest buildings account for nearly 72 percent of electricity consumption and 30 percent of waste output nationally.
AMA Plaza applies a holistic approach to environmental sustainability by successfully integrating green practices into all facets of the building management including tenant relations and operations. As part of RRP’s ongoing commitment to greening AMA Plaza, building management implemented a comprehensive sustainability program focused on the following core elements:
• A recycling program that enables AMA Plaza to recycle 96 percent of all office paper waste, 98 percent of newspaper waste and 95 percent of all cardboard waste, totaling more than 300 pounds of recycled material per person per year.
• Initiating a sustainable purchasing policy that focuses exclusively on utilizing low-volatility organic cleaning supplies and an assortment of recycled products to help improve the indoor air quality and reduce AMA Plaza’s carbon footprint.
• Deploying automation technology and energy efficient lighting throughout the building, as well as a state-of-the-art HVAC system on redeveloped floors to curtail energy consumption and improve overall efficiency.
• Promoting the utilization of public transportation with daily shuttle service to and from Chicago’s commuter rail stations. The shuttle, which operates during rush hour, is used by several hundred of AMA Plaza’s building tenants each day, thereby reducing auto emissions and traffic congestion in the Central Business District.
• To ensure the success of its sustainability initiatives, RRP placed a priority emphasis on engaging and empowering AMA Plaza’s tenants to green their respective operations, as well. To date, three tenants, Latham & Watkins, Perkins + Will and Thornton Tomasetti, have received LEED for commercial interiors (CI) designation for their office space. Additionally, 100 percent of the building’s tenants are actively participating in AMA Plaza’s recycling program.
• AMA Plaza’s General Manager, Susan Hammer and Property Manager, Courtney Farella are LEED® Accredited Professionals Operations & Maintenance. The LEED® Accreditation distinguishes building professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to participate in the design process, to support and encourage integrated design, and to streamline the application and certification process for buildings wishing to achieve a LEED® Certification. By achieving a passing score on a rigorous and comprehensive examination, LEED® AP’s have demonstrated a thorough understanding of green building practices and principles and comprehensive knowledge of the LEED® Rating System.
AMA Plaza was awarded the 2014 Illinois Governor’s Sustainability Award. This award is given to companies and organizations that implement techniques or technologies that reduce or eliminate pollutants, toxicity and other environmental impacts, including the amount of and/or toxicity of pollutants that would have otherwise been released into the environment. The Governor’s award looks to recognize sustainability programs and processes such as raw material and solvent substitution, preventive maintenance programs, beneficial reuse of by-products, waste reduction and recycling, employee engagement efforts, and comprehensive environmental management systems or governing policies.
AMA Plaza was awarded the 2014 Challenge Building Leader Award for having the most building tenants participating in the Chicago Green Office Challenge. Hammer also received the Excellence in Property Manager Engagement award for the 2014 Chicago Green Office Challenge. They continue to support and participate in the 2015 challenge and encourage other buildings and managers to participate as well.
AMA Plaza holds the IREM Certified Sustainable Building Certification and was the first Chicago building to earn this designation (2nd in the nation). This certification is a mark of distinction for high performing, sustainable buildings recognized by IREM’s internal community of over 19,000 real estate professionals who set the standard for best practices in real estate management.
IREM 2014 President Joseph Greenblatt, CPM commented, “We applaud the efforts of AMA Plaza’s management to secure our certification, knowing that it aligns with their commitment to adopt the best in 21st century environmental practices and policies. Clearly, we have a common goal, which is to ensure the long-term viability of the precious and increasingly threatened environment that we all share.”
“This certification is important to all stakeholders of the building and to the entire Chicago office marketplace,” offered Hammer. “Earning the IREM® Certified Sustainable Property designation demonstrates our continued development of the building’s sustainability profile.”
Riverview Realty Partners’ solid commitment to energy savings the past few years has resulted in some very impressive results that were noted in the IREM Sustainability Certification:
» Reduced energy consumption, normalizing for occupancy and degree days by 47% between 2012 and 2014. This led to savings of 7,400,000 kwh and $633,347 annually.
» Through installation of smart meters, engineers can monitor energy consumption in real time in order to benchmark usage and monitor deviations in equipment.
» A robust composting program involves eight tenants and the hotel and results in diverting approximately 5,000 pounds of food waste monthly.
» More than 80%, or 11 tons of demolished tenant finishes were re-used during the renovation.
Hammer said keeping up to date on energy saving technologies and innovations is a big challenge for commercial property managers today. “It’s important that managers constantly research sustainable options in order to present the right improvement to owners at the right time,” she said. “And, we must continue to communicate with and engage our stakeholders on the value behind these programs.”
The AMA Plaza team incorporated education contests and employs social media and media screens to engage both office tenants and the hotel in its sustainability efforts.
ENERGY STAR Designation
In addition to the LEED Gold Certification, the Governor’s Sustainability Award, the IREM Sustainability Certification, and the Green Office Challenge awards, AMA Plaza also holds the ENERGY STAR designation.
ENERGY STAR certified buildings save energy, save money, and help protect the environment by generating fewer greenhouse gas emissions than typical buildings. To be certified as ENERGY STAR, a building must meet strict energy performance standards set by EPA.
Specifically, to be eligible for ENERGY STAR certification, a building must earn an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher, indicating that it performs better than at least 75 percent of similar buildings nationwide. Through Portfolio Manager, EPA delivers 1 – 100 ENERGY STAR scores for many types of buildings. The ENERGY STAR score accounts for differences in operating conditions, regional weather data, and other important considerations.
Certification is given on an annual basis, so a building must maintain its high performance to be certified year to year. And the information submitted in the certification application must be verified by a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) or Registered Architect (RA) to be eligible for approval.
More on Green Cleaning & Recycling
AMA Plaza uses 100% post-consumer recycled content paper products in the building’s washrooms. AMA Plaza’s recycling contractor ships paper recycled at the building to a mill in Wisconsin which then turns the recycled paper into paper products for the washrooms resulting in a 100% Closed Loop Recycling program. AMA Plaza provides posters for more information on the closed loop recycling process and recycling facts for tenants to post in their office.
Its extensive use of Low Volatile Organic cleaning products and equipment have reduced the building’s carbon emissions by approximately 40,000 pounds per year. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are organic (carbon based) chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary, room-temperature conditions. “When they evaporate or easily get into the air, they can be harmful,” Hammer adds.
The previously mentioned exclusive shuttle service provided by AMA Plaza to and from the commuter train stations is not the only environmentally friendly transportation the building supports. Scooter parking is allowed on the northeast section of the plaza. Signs are posted on the rails east of the planters indicating the area where scooters can be parked. Bicycle racks are also stationed on the north plaza. A secured enclosure, consisting of 35 bicycle parking spaces, is available at the 401 North State Street parking garage. The AMA Plaza parking garage has several Zip Cars (that can rented by the hour) available.
A vegetative roof was installed on the 52nd floor roof of the building. The green roof covers 50% of the available roof space, and consists of 6,400 square feet of sedum mix plants which can withstand the harsh conditions. An automatic control irrigation station equipped with wind and rain sensors regulates the water quantity and duration for the on-going health and stability of the plants while conserving water usage at the same time. The rooftop garden is maintained by an outside green roof specialist who also designed and installed the system at AMA Plaza.
Hammer and AMA Plaza have become widely known for their leadership in the Chicago business community and among professionals involved with green buildings in the city. When asked how she became interested and passionate about sustainability efforts, Hammer responded, “I was in the (building management) business when even recycling in commercial properties was in its infancy. I managed one of the first buildings which initiated a tenant recycling program in Chicago, and that started an obsession with providing means to increase recycling rates and to educate tenants. As the sustainability/energy conservation movement evolved, I moved along with it increasing my own knowledge – not only in the many different components of sustainability – but also in understanding how to be creative in communicating and educating tenants as well as others in property management to drive results.”