Sustainability 101

New, multi-use Avant

A new, popular development in Buffalo is also an example of sustainability

Avant building
The repurposed, successful Avant has high efficiency lighting, recyled materials, and access to public transit.

A striking new structure on Delaware Avenue in downtown Buffalo is demonstrating that successful developments can also be sustainable. Sustainability in Action MAP

Uniland Development Company created Avant by stripping the gray, dull concrete off the former Dulski Federal Building and renovating everything but its bones. The result is the impressive, blue, glass Avant that is sustainable in several respects.

The fact that Avant is a repurposed building makes it sustainable. Uniland could have built Avant from scratch, which would have avoided the challenge of converting a drab 1970s building into a stunning, modern structure. But developing Avant from the ground up would have wasted the energy embedded in the existing structure, not to mention the underground parking garage, which would have been expensive to replicate.

Avant’s transformation was also sustainable because 7,200 tons of concrete, aluminum, glass, and other materials were recycled in the process. In fact, Avant’s construction is recognized as the largest recycling project of clean materials in Western New York history.

Other sustainable features of Avant include efficient lighting, high efficiency heat pumps, recycled materials, and use of natural light for interior spaces. It is also within walking distance of bus and Metro Rail service and popular areas such as the Theater District, Allentown Historic Preservation District and Chippewa Entertainment District.

Avant’s multiuse component is another reason why it is considered sustainable. Avant includes a 182-room Embassy Suites Hotel on the first seven floors, premium office space on floors 8 through 12, and 30 luxury condos on the top three floors.

Avant also features the Northern Italian restaurant Della Terra, a salon, and corporate meeting and banquets spaces. These multiple purposes limit the number of trips people need to make and in turn the emissions produced by those trips. It also limits urban sprawl and contributes to the economic growth of this resurging section of downtown Buffalo.

Avant’s sustainable aspects were one of the reasons that the law firm of Jaeckle Fleischmann & Mugel, LLP, a member of One Region Forward’s Steering Committee, relocated to the building in the Fall of 2011. Partner Steve Ricca has said that the firm is proud to promote sustainability through moving to Avant, as well as by using a computerized energy management system, recycling, and decreasing printing.

Ricca and his colleagues are not the only individuals attracted to Avant. Avant’s condos sold between $380K and $1.6M. Soon after it first opened on July 8, 2009, the hotel’s weekends were sold out for weeks and it continues to be one of Hilton’s highest performing properties.

Avant has been successful in terms of popularity as well as recognition. It received the Building Owner’s and Management Association Building of the Year in 2009, the Business First Golden Brick award winner for Building of the Year in 2010, and Hilton Worldwide’s Best Conversion also in 2010. Clearly, success and sustainability can correlate.