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Marking eco-milestone, first owners move in to 'greenest' residential tower in the Midwest

Mayor Richard M. Daley's vision to make Chicago the most environmentally-friendly city in the world hits another milestone this summer as 340 on the Park, the tallest all-residential tower in Chicago, nears completion as the first residential high-rise in the Midwest scheduled to meet the rigorous Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED(r)) Silver certification standards of the United States Green Building Council.

The 62-story 340 on the Park, at 340 E. Randolph, overlooks Grant and Millennium Parks on the South and The Park at Lake Shore East on the North. Related Midwest has taken a leadership stand on sustainability in the city, with 340 on the Park planned since 2002 to be LEED certified, years before sustainable development became a buzz word, and with its next two residential towers, on the market this summer, also planned for the certification. Canyon Ranch Living - Chicago, a 67-story luxury condominium and mixed-use joint venture with the world's most renowned wellness lifestyle company, Canyon Ranch, is currently on the market with full-size kitchen and bath vignettes in the sales center in the John Hancock Building.

The Peshtigo, a 57-story condominium along Lake Shore Drive at Grand Avenue will be released for sales shortly. Both projects are slated to begin construction just after the first of the year. The first of 340 on the Park's new condominium owners - all of whom have lake, skyline and park views from floor-to-ceiling windows — began moving in to their homes in late June. Its signature view of Chicago, and fabulous location at the city's cultural epicenter — the premier site of the 28-acre, $2.5 billion Lake Shore East planned community — drove many design choices. Seeking to create an extraordinary building was key to the design team's early commitment to the environmental certification, well before the City of Chicago offered substantial "green" incentives, including grants and expedited permits, to encourage sustainable design. The commitment was significant for a building of this size.

"The views from all sides of the building are extraordinary. In addition, the heart of the City of Chicago - Grant and Millennium Parks — is at your doorstep," said Kerry Dickson, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Related Midwest.

A panorama of the city is a key design element of a breathtaking amenities level utilizing the entire 25th floor - an unusual use of prime high-rise space. On the south, the building's exterior curtain-wall of low-e tinted glass and aluminum panels is peeled back to provide a 2-story landscaped winter garden, conceived to provide residents with a common outdoor terrace, to enjoy the music and sounds of the city below. The floor also includes a fitness room in the sky, 25-yard lap pool, clubroom lounge for gathering or entertaining, and Wi-Fi access. The structure's distinctive prow-shaped eastern profile, designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz and Associates' architect Martin Wolf, also maximizes visibility without obscuring the views of nearby structures.

"We are happy to honor really innovative projects like 340 on the Park," noted Commissioner Johnston. "Sustainable design is extremely important to the city. It's a huge priority for us. The benefits of sustainable design are endless. They result in better buildings."

LEED certification involves a point system with required prerequisites and affects many aspects of building design, construction and operation, such as energy efficiency, water use, interior air quality, site selection and materials. Designing and building the first LEED-certified residential tower in the Midwest had its challenges, since it required pioneering new ways of thinking and working for the area, according to Don Biernacki, Senior Vice President for Construction at Related Midwest.

For example, the firm initially set a conservative goal of 50% for the percentage of the building's construction waste that could be diverted from the waste stream toward recycling. But over time, the firm's scavenger service developed a market for recycling construction waste, so 340 on the Park was ultimately able to divert 82% of its construction waste - over 2800 tons -- from landfills to be used in projects such as road beds.

"The commitment of our contractors was essential to what we were able to accomplish," said Biernacki. "It's a new day. We as developers and builders have a responsibility to do what makes sense for the environment. It's the right thing to do. Sustainable building practices may seem complicated, but with a committed team and thoughtful planning and design, challenges can be overcome."

Green construction practices at 340 on the Park included using locally produced and recycled building materials, an indoor air quality management plan to keep mechanical systems clean during construction so dust is not trapped in air ducts, and the implementation of an erosion and sediment control program to minimize impact on storm water systems. LEED certification credits and prerequisites are divided into six categories, addressing different components of building design, construction and final use, including sustainable site selection, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in design. Each credit and prerequisite has specified criteria and corresponding required submittal material that must be met in order for the credit to be earned.

"Green design means energy efficiency," notes Environmental Commissioner Johnston. "Sustainable buildings put less storm water in the city's storm water system. Less energy is used, so energy costs are lower.

They provide better indoor air quality that's healthier for occupants." 98.5% sold out, 340 on the Park's 343 residences include one-, two- and three-bedroom and penthouse homes. Related Midwest is a progressive leader in the development of award-winning real estate properties and the preservation of landmark buildings, known for their top quality, innovation, beauty, architectural significance and enduring value to the communities they enrich. Recognized for developing such iconic buildings as Park Tower at 800 N. Michigan Avenue, featuring luxury condominiums and penthouses,

Related Midwest also develops commercial, mixed-use and affordable housing projects throughout the Midwest and United States. It is located at 350 W. Hubbard St., Chicago. For additional information please visit relatedmidwest.com.

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