Moving toward efficiency

April 23, 2006|BY A SUN REPORTER

Manekin LLC, the large commercial real estate firm, broke ground Friday for a new corporate headquarters in Columbia.

The two-story building will have 52,000 square feet and be a "green" facility, meaning it will have many features to reduce energy use.

It will be built on Robert Fulton Drive in Columbia Gateway, the office park just off Route 175 and Interstate 95. The building will be two-tenths of mile from Manekin's current headquarters.

The company moved into its current headquarters less than seven years ago but has outgrown the space.

"The need for new space signifies that the economy is good and that business is good," said Louis C. LaPenna, chief financial officer.

Construction of the $9.4 million structure is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The building will feature two main entrances with a glass canopy above the front entrance, the company said in a statement. It will have seven conference rooms, upgraded communications software, a lunch area and a fitness room.

More important, company executives said, the building will be environmentally responsible. It will feature an efficient heating and cooling system, automatic light dimming during the day and motion sensors to assure office lights are on only while the building is occupied.

The roof will be built with materials to reduce heat absorption, and a water-saving system will be employed. In all, the company said, it expects to reduce energy consumption by 35 percent.

County Executive James N. Robey said he "hopes [Manekin] will be an example for others in the county" to build energy-efficient buildings.

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