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DENVER-Opus Northwest recently broke ground on the $90 million regional headquarters for the Environmental Protection Agency. As earlier reported by GlobeSt.com, Opus beat out several other large development teams for the sought after contract to construct the 292,000-sf building the former US Post Office Annex site.

The building, at 1595 Wynkoop St. in Lower Downtown, will be completedin the fall of 2006. Opus Northwest will own the building and the EPA will lease it through the US General Services Administration.

The new building will use an estimated 30% less energy than a modern, fairly energy-efficient building. The new building will be “an environmentally responsible addition to the LoDo neighborhood,” says Marshall Burton, vice president of real estate development for Opus Northwest. “Further, this building will be bridging the gap between the historic nature of LoDo and today’s cutting edge design technologies.”

The design for the building is based on the EPA mission to “protect the public’s health and safeguard the natural environment in which we live, learn and work.” The design also recognizes that the building isinextricably intertwined with its historic neighborhood. It will include retail space on the ground levels along 16th & Wynkoop streets with the EPA fully occupying the nine-story office space.

“EPA and GSA are actively working with the Opus development team to ensure a building that LoDo will welcome, and be proud to call its newest, greenest neighbor,” says EPA Regional Administrator Robert E. Roberts.

Based on the US Green Building Council’s standards, the building isdesigned to achieve a Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, rating. Special environmental features of the building include a “green roof” that will use native vegetation to manage and clean rain water and a two-story landmark lobby with a full height nine-story atrium to increase natural day lighting and reduce light energy loads.

The building has also been designed to support the use of photovoltaicpanels and wind turbines. The building design takes advantage of the natural downtown Denver street grid, providing windward and sunward orientations that facilitate greater natural resource use.

The Opus Team was selected by GSA and EPA through a source selection design competition last August. Core members of the Opus Team include Zimmer Gunsul Frasca, design architects based in Portland, OR; Syska Hennessy Group, MEP firm based in Los Angeles; Hinman Consulting Engineers, security engineers based in Los Angeles; and Opus Northwest LLC., owner and design-builder in Denver.

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