The seventh annual Earth Hour took place on Saturday, March 23. An environmental movement that now spans 7,001 cities and 152 countries, Earth Hour encourages commercial buildings and private residences to turn off all non-essential lighting for one hour to demonstrate their concern for the environment, starting at 8:30 p.m. local time. The movement is an annual global call to action to every government, business, community, school and individual to demonstrate publically the importance of sustainability.

The inaugural Earth Hour was held in Sydney, Australia in 2007, with 2.2 million Sydneysiders and 2,100 local businesses participating. Although Earth Hour’s founding organizers, Australia’s World Wildlife Fund, originally planned only to take the event national in Australia, international interest was high, with cities around the world signing up immediately for the 2008 Earth Hour campaign.

Earth Hour 2013 included several members of the U.S. real estate industry.

Building Owners and Managers Association International (BOMA) strongly encouraged its members to participate for the fourth year in a row. BOMA has demonstrated a commitment to finding solutions that minimize negative human impact on the earth through several initiatives. These include its 7-Point Challenge, launched in 2007, which asked members to reduce energy consumption by 2013; producing the commercial real estate industry’s first green lease guide; partnering with the Clinton Climate Initiative to release the BOMA Energy Performance Contract model; and launching the BOMA Stars program in 2011 to promote the importance of benchmarking energy consumption in commercial buildings through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Portfolio Manager and sharing that data with the BOMA Master Account. Since its launch, more than 3,400 buildings representing 861 million sq. ft. have participated.

Columbia Property Trust took part in Earth Hour for the sixth year in a row. Overall, Columbia Property Trust's portfolio encompasses a total of 82 operational buildings in 19 states and Washington, D.C., and one international property, collectively covering approximately 21 million sq. ft. Columbia’s participating properties included Market Square in Washington, D.C.; Key Center in Cleveland; and 5 Houston Center in Houston. In addition, Columbia Property Trust recently was named a 2013 Energy Star Partner of the Year by the U.S. EPA for its commitment to energy-efficiency. The firm’s portfolio currently includes 50 Energy Star-certified buildings, 20 LEED-certified buildings and one Green Globe-certified building.

Several other full-service commercial real estate firms, including CBRE Group and Newmark Grubb Knight Frank Property Management Services, also joined in Earth Hour.

Fort Lauderdale’s LEED Gold 110 Tower Signs Three New-to-Market Firms

Transwestern’s 110 Tower, a LEED Gold-certified class-A office building located in Fort Lauderdale’s Central Business District, is welcoming three new tenants, collectively leasing 12,200 sq. ft.

“These leases signify growth and an absorption trend in the downtown Fort Lauderdale market, primarily by new-to-market tenants,” Laurel Oswald, senior vice president of Transwestern, said in a statement. “Sustainable office buildings that offer cost-saving amenities and the prestige of LEED Gold certification are popular among growing businesses. As a result of 110 Tower’s on-site amenities and convenient location … tenants can enjoy not only economic efficiencies, but time efficiencies as well, resulting in higher productivity.”

Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A., has entered into a long-term lease at 110 Tower and will occupy in excess of 6,500 sq. ft. on the building’s 18th floor. The law firm, headquartered in Miami, also maintains a presence in West Palm Beach, Orlando, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Tampa, Bonita Springs and Key West. Freedland Harwin PL has leased approximately 3,000 sq. ft. on the building’s 23rd floor. With offices in Fort Lauderdale and Weston, Freedland Harwin is a medical malpractice and personal injury law firm representing consumers nationwide. Both law firms cite the advantage of the building’s downtown location and convenient access to the area’s county and federal courthouses as determining factors in their moves. 

EVault, a Seagate company headquartered in San Francisco, has leased approximately 3,000 sq. ft. of office space on the 21st floor. As a technology firm, EVault provided a strategic diversification in tenant mix, and opted for a modern design and open floor plan, thereby maximizing the views of downtown Fort Lauderdale and the Intracoastal Waterway.

110 Tower has built a reputation for pioneering efforts in energy efficiency within Fort Lauderdale’s downtown district, and the building was the first option for tenants seeking a LEED Gold-certified building within a multi-tenant high-rise office tower. The building subsequently received the U.S. Green Building Council of South Florida’s coveted GalaVerde Award as Florida’s Best in LEED for Existing Buildings as well as BOMA Fort Lauderdale/Palm Beach’s TOBY Award for Renovated Building of the Year.

110 Tower is completing a comprehensive $15 million interior and exterior renovation program which includes upgrades to the lobby, new ground-floor retail, upgraded upper-floor common areas and other interior spaces, replacement and improvement of all building primary mechanical systems and a unique exterior lighting system. 

Located in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale, directly across from the Broward County Courthouse, this iconic tower, constructed in 1988 provides a combination of upscale office space, easy access and stunning views. The building’s tenants have access to many new and existing amenities, which currently include 110 Fitness, Sabadell United Bank, a wrap-around outdoor terrace and conference centers.