Durst won’t try for LEED certification at West Side pyramid condos

Decision could alter how builders evaluate ‘green’ practices

A rendering of the Durst project, on West 57th Street
A rendering of the Durst project, on West 57th Street

Updated at 4:07 p.m.: The Durst Organization will not seek LEED certification for its pyramid-shaped Condominium Project On West 57th Street — opting instead to use its own criteria to assess the environmental impact of the building.

The decision, from a developer known for its embrace of “green” building practices, could alter the way other builders evaluate the sustainability of their developments, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The 750-unit development on the corner of the West Side Highway, designed by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, is expected to be completed in early 2015.

Community Board 4 voted unanimously against the project yesterday, the New York Observer reported.

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“My own feeling, and the feeling of board, is that we’d like this project to succeed,” J.D. Nolan, chair of Community Board 4′s land-use committee, told the Observer. “The Dursts are great developers, and they have worked very well with us in the past. Nevertheless, this is a rezoning, and the public should benefit as well as the developer,” he said.

Durst Chairman Douglas Durst told the Journal that he found the LEED certification criteria “confining” and costly. “There are things we want to do that don’t give us a benefit under LEED,” such as recycled water in the toilets, he said.

Rick Fedrizzi, president of the U.S. Green Building Council, which administers LEED, said he was “a little bit confused” about the developer’s move, but he added that the group is updating its standards.

Durst’s One Bryant Park office tower, where the firm is headquartered, was the first skyscraper in the world to earn the highest LEED platinum designation. [WSJ] [NYO]– Leigh Kamping-Carder