Ashland Center in Geneva wins historic preservation, energy efficiency awards

GENEVA – Ashland Center, 25 N. Third St., Geneva, has won several awards for its energy efficiency and historic preservation efforts, owner Paul Kawalek said.

The 20,000 square-foot space – 10,000 of which was recently vacated by former anchor tenant 25N Coworking – is now available for rent, Kawalek said.

The building won the 2016 Geneva Historic Preservation Award, the Fox Valley Preservation Partners Award in 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star Award and the Institute for Real Estate Management Certified Sustainable Property certification, both for 2016.

“There’s only six buildings in Illinois that get this award, and this is the first one in Geneva,” Kawalek said of the certified sustainable property certification.

“Usually it goes to new buildings because of green construction. It’s harder for older buildings to meet the qualifications. They did a thorough on-site audit, and for what we accomplished, we became a certified sustainable building. This one is incredibly special,” Kawalek said. “It’s not just for what we did, but how we manage it.”

To qualify for the Energy Star award, Kawalek said a building has to meet a score of 75 out of 100 points. His building scored 81 points, he said.

“Very few buildings become Energy Star buildings,” Kawalek said. “It’s not only given for energy conservation, but the way we manage the building on an ongoing basis. From electricity to gas to water to lighting – to the sustainable pavers, even the recycling – everything goes into this.”

The office building was first built in 1960 as a grocery store and then a bank in 1969. Ashland Ventures, LLC, Kawalek’s company, bought it in 2014 and put the structure through a major renovation.

The energy efficient and environmentally friendly renovation included:

• Sprinklers throughout the building with fully monitored fire detection systems.

• New energy efficient heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems with individual tenant temperature controls.

• Sustainable pavers for the patio and eco-friendly permeable pavers in the parking lot to eliminate stormwater runoff.

• State-of-the-art LED interior and exterior lighting installed throughout.

• Seven Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible restrooms.

In addition to the sustainable additions, the renovation included installing a gigabit fiber optic-managed network for Ethernet and Wi-Fi services, according to the real state management certification.

Kawalek credited support from the city in facilitating its awards.

“This was not possible without the support we got and receive every day from the operating departments of the city of Geneva,” Kawalek said. “They set the framework for this to be done.”