SOURCE: Wachovia Financial Center

January 13, 2010 13:10 ET

Wachovia Financial Center Earns Miami's First and Only LEED Gold Certification From U.S. Green Building Council

MIAMI, FL--(Marketwire - January 13, 2010) - The U.S. Green Building Council has recognized Wachovia Financial Center as Miami's first and only office tower to be certified for the prestigious LEED Gold award. The award will be presented at a January 14th ceremony on the building's top floor, featuring Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating Systems is the nation's preeminent benchmark for the design, continuation and operation of high performance green buildings.

"Wachovia Financial Center's LEED Gold certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership," said Rick Fedrizzi, U.S. Green Building Council president. "Building operations are 40% of the solution to the global climate challenge, and innovative properties like Wachovia Financial Center are meeting it through local solutions."

"We have been downtown Miami's tallest office tower and most recognized icon for over 25 years," noted Tim Keable, the building's General Manager, "and the Wall Street Journal named us one of the top 10 towers in America. But this award, which puts a single building ahead of everything the city has built over two decades, underscores the excellence of our original design, and the enduring quality that enables us to match and exceed 21st century standards. As Mayor Alvarez noted in his most recent State of the County message, 'We are going green in ways some have never imagined.' And today, as downtown Miami's first and only tower to be certified LEED Gold, Wachovia Financial Center once again raises the bar to which every other office tower can now aspire."

Designed by Skidmore, Ownings and Merrill, the 55-story Wachovia Financial Center (WFC) is the tallest building in downtown Miami, and at just over 1.2 million square feet it is by far the largest. It is owned by institutional investors advised by J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

"Miami-Dade County is focused on making sure our green efforts stretch beyond the confines of county government, and properties like the Wachovia Financial Center are helping us succeed in this effort," said Mayor Carlos Alvarez. "The Gold certification is a milestone achievement and an example for other local businesses and industries to follow."

Virtually a city within a city, with nearly 4,000 occupants on an average day, the tower has its own newsstand, banks, restaurants, dry cleaner, salon -- even a U.S. Post Office. And the iconic 30,000 sq.ft. outdoor plaza -- now undergoing renovation -- may be downtown's most popular urban park. The tower is also home to the Downtown Athletic Club, the city's finest full-service fitness center and the exclusive Miami City Club, the penthouse level sanctuary for business dining.

A pro-active philosophy of investing in energy-saving upgrades, combined with an on-going commitment to optimizing building operations, has enabled WFC to meet the rigorous LEED certification standards. While several new downtown buildings under construction have applied for and begun the process, WFC's LEED Gold certification is based on actual, proven operations in an occupied, functioning building, and takes a long period of success to achieve. To date WFC is one of only two existing buildings in Florida to reach the Gold level.

For more information about USGBC LEED Gold certification, and Wachovia Financial Center leasing opportunities, contact exclusive leasing agents Cushman & Wakefield of Florida and director of leasing Don Cartwright at 305.347.5260.

Cushman & Wakefield is the world's largest privately-held commercial real estate services firm. Founded in 1917, it has 230 offices in 58 countries and 15,000 employees. The firm represents a diverse customer base ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. It offers a complete range of services within four primary disciplines: Transaction Services, including tenant and landlord representation in office, industrial and retail real estate; Capital Markets, including property sales, investment management, valuation services, investment banking, debt and equity financing; Client Solutions, including integrated real estate strategies for large corporations and property owners including asset and property management, and Consulting Services, including business and real estate consulting. A recognized leader in global real estate research, the firm publishes a broad array of proprietary reports available on its online Knowledge Center at www.cushmanwakefield.com.

The U.S. Green Building Council is a nonprofit membership organization whose vision is a sustainable built environment within a generation. Its membership includes corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and other nonprofit organizations. Since UGSBC's founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 17,000 member companies and organizations, a comprehensive family of LEED® green building rating systems, an expansive educational offering, the industry's popular Greenbuild International Conference and Expo (www.greenbuildexpo.org), and a network of 78 local chapters, affiliates, and organizing groups. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.

The LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™ is a feature-oriented rating system that awards buildings points for satisfying specified green building criteria. The six major environmental categories of review include: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality and Innovation and Design. Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels of LEED green building certification are awarded based on the total number of points earned within each LEED category. LEED can be applied to all building types including new construction, commercial interiors, core & shell developments, existing buildings, homes, neighborhood developments, schools and retail facilities. LEED for Healthcare was released in early 2008.

Incentives for LEED are available at the state and local level and LEED has also been adopted nationwide by federal agencies, state and local governments, and interested private companies. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org/LEED.

About J.P. Morgan Asset Management

J.P. Morgan Asset Management - Global Real Assets has approximately $43.2 billion in real estate and infrastructure assets, as of September 30, 2009. With a 39-year history of successful investing and a staff of 359 professionals, J.P. Morgan Asset Management - Global Real Assets identifies, analyzes, negotiates, acquires, develops, redevelops, renovates, operates, maintains, finances and sells assets, on behalf of its clients. J.P. Morgan Asset Management's broad investment capabilities and framework for analyzing opportunities in today's complex real estate and infrastructure markets provide critical insights for its institutional clients in both the public and private markets.

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