NEW YORK CITY-Greenhouse 26 is expected to be Manhattan’s first green boutique hotel when it comes online in the Spring of 2008. The project, which is being developed by Flatiron Real Estate Advisors LLC and will begin to rise in the next two months, should qualify for LEED gold status.

The 20,000-sf hotel is going up at 132 W. 26th St. in Chelsea where a four-story mixed-use building was located. Demolition of the site started two months ago. Greenhouse 26 will contain 28 rooms in the 19-story building and will use geothermal energy as the heating and cooling system. Cost savings with this product, which requires a 1,500-foot deep underground well for every 6 to 10 stories, is estimated to be 40%.

“There is a misconception that a development must be large to be environmentally and economically viable,” says architect Arpad Baksa, of Arpad Baksa Architect PC, in a statement. “Green is about working with the space you have and customizing every inch to be efficient. Size only impacts the methods by which you achieve your goal.” Baksa designed the project.

Beyond the use of geothermal energy, Greenhouse will utilize thermal breaks on the room terraces as a way of maximizing insulation in the areas directly exposed to the outdoors. There will also be occupancy sensors in rooms that will activate dimming the lights when a room is empty. The sensors will also be able to indicate to the hotel staff when a room can be cleaned.

“Going green is about reducing environmental impact during development and investing upfront to conserve in the future, without sacrificing the luxuries we associate with hospitality,” says Steve Ancona, Flatiron president. “In many cases the hotel experience will be improved by sustainable design.” He hopes for Greenhouse to serve as a model for future hotel developers. “Greenhouse 26 is a revolutionary concept for a mid-sized hotel and we hope to set a trend for others to follow suit.”

The total construction costs are still being determined by Ancona tells that it is in the range of $6 milllion to $8 million. Also he is in the “process of searching for an experienced manager” for the property.

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