Emerging Faces in Sustainable Development Designer and Developer

New Yorkers are obsessed with real estate development. We all pause to stare at the listings in our local real estate office window, and everybody knows the average price of an apartment in Manhattan (currently $1.7 million). Citywide, massive building and construction proposals like the World Trade Center, Brooklyn’s Atlantic Yards and Manhattan’s West Side Rail Yards dominate the news.

For all that attention, development in the city remains an opaque, complicated and oftentimes confusing process. With increasing awareness of building’s environmental impact, green building has emerged as an important aspect of all new construction, which adds another level of expertise to an already involved undertaking. Below, two New York-based designers provide some insight into the role of designer and developer by sharing their own sustainable projects.


Mark Helder, principal of Brooklyn-based Helder Design, LLC, is currently constructing one of the area’s first LEED-registered buildings. The property, at 439 Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg, will comprise two residential duplex condominiums, and Helder Design’s architectural studio space.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), provides a specific set of standards for environmentally sustainable construction. Buildings can be Certified LEED or Silver, Gold or Platinum-rated.

Brooklyn’s 439 Metropolitan brings several unique elements to New York City’s architectural landscape: Helder is aiming for a Platinum rating, the highest in the LEED system, and, unlike typical new constructions, Helder not only designed but also developed the building.


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