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SILVER SPRING, MD-Tower Cos. has begun a rehab of one of its oldest assets in its portfolio; the eight-building Blairs apartment complex in Silver Spring, MD The company plans to spend between $80 million and $100 million over the next five years upgrading the buildings so they can become LEED-certified–hopefully to the Gold classification, Marnie Abramson, a principal with the Tower Cos., tells GlobeSt.com.

The company is funding the initial phases of the rehab using the apartment complex’s strong cash flow; developed in the early 1960s and held in the Towers Cos.’ portfolio ever since, the Blairs carry a minimal amount of debt. Later renovations will be funded via the credit markets when they return. “Currently we are 93%-occupied and the thinking behind the renovation is not so much to improve the occupancy, although it will help.” Abramson says.

Rather the point is to keep the product relevant, she says. “There are probably 1,000 new units that have come online within one block of the property within the last five years.” Because Tower Cos. tends to be a buy and hold investor it doesn’t invest in green with a specific ROI in mind–its hold period is too long, she says. “What we do is ask ourselves, ‘how can we keep that asset relevant in terms of technology and aesthetics.’”

Last month the company’s East End office at 1050 K St. was certified Gold Core & Shell. The 11-story, 136,000-square-foot building is 66% occupied. Tower Cos. has also received preliminary Platinum certification for 2000 Tower Oak Blvd in Rockville, MD.

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