A booming Greater Los Angeles real estate market includes numerous redevelopment and retrofitting projects in which old buildings are updated or transformed into something new.
The setting for Bisnow’s “Los Angeles State of the Market” on May 29 is a perfect example. The Trust Building, an 11-story office building in downtown Los Angeles’ Old Bank District, was retrofitted to create more than 300,000 square feet of office, retail, and restaurant space, along with what is described as “an exclusive rooftop experience.”
The 91-year-old building at 433 Spring St. will play host to property managers, real estate investors, developers and other dealmakers as they discuss the trends and market conditions of a region in which nearly 4 million square feet of office and retail projects are under construction, according to Bisnow.
Topics include the unique challenges faced by the growing market in Los Angeles, along with discussion of major projects and “game-changing trends.”
Renovation as Part of a Smart Growth Approach
A promising trend around “smart growth” involves the renovation of existing buildings rather than building new ones. In addition to its cultural contribution, historical renovation can also play a role in achieving greater energy efficiency.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a new, energy-efficient building that includes 40% recycled materials would still take approximately 65 years to recover the energy lost in the process of demolishing an existing building.
Older buildings can also be an attractive option for developers because they’re often found in prime locations, or they have the potential to anchor the beginning of a prime redevelopment area.
Environmental Assessment for Renovation Projects
But older buildings also come with added environmental challenges. Buildings constructed before the dangers of lead and asbestos were fully understood must be carefully assessed. Pre-1980 construction often includes asbestos in fireproofing, pipe insulation and floor tiles. Renovations involving demolition of asbestos-containing materials can cause exposure to airborne asbestos fibers, which has severe human health impacts. Lead-based paint and mold can also be present in older buildings and pose health risks to the building’s occupants. Indoor air quality can be adversely affected by old chemical leaks, and aging, faulty or poorly located ventilation systems.
An environmental assessment is your best defense against costly surprises or job-stopping regulatory hurdles. Undetected or unmitigated environmental issues can leave projects vulnerable to spreading effects and increasing liability. That’s why it is a good business practice to have an experienced environmental partner perform a thorough site assessment before work is started, or even as part of your pre-purchase due diligence.
At Omega Environmental Services Inc., we have deep expertise and broad experience in environmental assessment and remediation for renovation projects, including historical landmarks. We partner with developers, engineers, architects and building owners to ensure that budget-busting surprises, health and safety concerns or compliance issues do not leave a project stalled.
We have decades of experience in the assessment and remediation of hazardous materials found in building materials, groundwater, indoor air and soil, including asbestos, lead, PCBs, mold and chemical contaminants. We have thorough, reliable and cost effective practices for assessment and remediation that can save you money and protect your investment.
Stop by our booth at the Bisnow conference to learn more about how an experienced environmental partner can help you move forward safely and cost-efficiently.