--This story originally appeared on August 13, 2009
In Midtown Detroit, a group of people have joined together in an ambitious project that is part business incubator
and part green building model. Green Garage
, as it is dubbed, recently received approval to move forward with
the city's Historic District Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals.
The next step is approval from the Buildings and Safety Department;
then construction will begin in earnest.
Green Garage is an 11,000-square-foot building located on Second Ave.
between Canfield and Prentis. It was built in 1920 and was used for a
number of auto-related businesses, including a Model T showroom. Most
recently a warehouse, it was purchased in December of 2007 by Peggy and
Tom Brennan for use as a sustainable business center.
last 18 months, brainstorming and work sessions have developed an
extensive vision for the property based on a foundation of the triple
bottom line, which rests on economic, social, and environmental equity.
To that end, the building will work to support the community while
incorporating the latest in green building techniques with a goal of
zero carbon emissions.
The building's exterior will be returned
to its original configuration and will add fencing and native trees and
landscaping. The existing loading dock will be transformed into an
indoor/outdoor space with a kitchenette. The bulk of the interior space
will house three green businesses, but there will be room for
"rent-a-desk" enterprises and micro-businesses as well as an
information center for the public and conference and meeting space.
There will be indoor and outdoor bike parking and bathroom facilities
that include lockers and showers.
Most of the interior ceiling
will be removed to showcase the building's bow tresses. Two mezzanines
will look onto the main floor. The one along the rear of the building
will have an "imagination room" for relaxation and room for
rent-a-desks, while the one that fronts Second will house a library and
a patio deck and garden.
An annex located in an
addition built in the 1960s will have workshop space and room for
equipment storage. A greenhouse will lead to the adjoining Green Alley
Garage plans to take energy efficiency to a whole new level, with a
comprehensive passive energy design that reduces energy needs by 90% right
off the bat. Remaining energy needs will come from solar, wind, and
geothermal sources. Look for more detailed information on the project's
innovative energy design in future Metromode
volunteers from various professional worlds including architecture,
engineering, accounting, and business are involved in the various
aspects of the complex project. Two interns are also currently working
on energy modeling and design.
In the two week interim before
hammers start swinging, Green Garagers are focusing their attention on
materials sourcing. Their goal is for 90 percent of construction
materials to be reused from within the building -- for example, pipes
that will be used to fabricate the stairs leading to the
mezzanine that faces Second Ave. -- and for 50 percent of the
remaining needed materials to be pulled from within the current waste
stream.Sources: Peggy and Tom Brennan, Green GarageWriter: Kelli B. Kavanaugh
(Please note: A version of this story appeared in the August 11 issue of Model D, Metromode's sister publication.)