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Novus Innovation Corridor receives LEED-ND Gold certification

Partnership between ASU, Catellus achieves national sustainability recognition from US Green Building Council


Aerial rendering of the Novus Innovation Corridor at future completion, looking northwest from University and Rural

Artist rendering of the Novus Innovation Corridor, looking northwest from the intersection of University Drive and Rural Road in Tempe. Image courtesy of Novus

May 25, 2021

In a first for Arizona, the Novus Innovation Corridor earned LEED-ND Gold certification last month from the U.S. Green Building Council. The 355-acre mixed-use, public-private partnership between Arizona State University and Catellus Development Corporation is adjacent to the ASU Tempe campus.

Novus is the first LEED-ND (Neighborhood Development) community certified at any level in Arizona. The Gold certification is the second-highest certification awarded by USGBC on its scale of Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum designations. The 62 points awarded to Novus qualifies it nationally among the top 10 best-scoring LEED-ND projects of all time. The LEED-ND program is designed to combat urban sprawl by inspiring and helping to create better, more sustainable, well-connected communities.

“This is a remarkable achievement to earn certification at this level so early into a long-term development,” said Brian Kearney, first vice president of Catellus, master developer of the multiphased Novus community. “Our company is committed to creating sustainable mixed-use communities that integrate energy-efficient design with cutting-edge technology.”

Certified green buildings, compact development, walkable streets and proximity to transit facilities are key sustainable components of the development. Located in the heart of the Phoenix metropolitan area alongside Tempe Town Lake, the Novus Innovation Corridor on the campus of the nation’s most innovative university is less than 2 miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and easily accessible from Valley Metro light rail and the regional highway system. All were important factors in gaining the Gold certification.

This announcement follows recent news that the first Class-A commercial office building in Novus’ Phase III also earned a LEED Gold certification as an individual project.

“We have set an early high bar within Novus both at the community and project levels, an appropriate step that is important to our partner, ASU,” Kearney said.

Novus’ first phase was the development of the 2.1 million-square-foot Marina Heights regional hub for State Farm, followed shortly by the $307 million reinvention of Sun Devil Stadium. Novus is currently in Phase III of development, a 19-acre area at the northwest corner of University Drive and Rural Road. In addition to the 777 Tower’s completion in June 2020, the Hyatt Place/Hyatt House hotel opened its doors in August 2020, while the 318-unit Piedmont, Novus’ first multifamily residential project, is scheduled to welcome its first residents in July.

Additionally, the Novus Place Parking Structure has been completed and will serve office, hotel and retail uses. More office, residential and retail projects, including the Novus Place Retail District, are following close behind. Reflecting the development’s strong momentum, the first project in Novus’ Phase IV will be announced shortly. When fully developed, Novus will contain more than 10 million square feet of offices, residences, hotels, retail and entertainment uses.

ASU has a long history of focusing on sustainability under the guidance of its president, Michael M. Crow. ASU is currently rated ninth in the world and first in the U.S. by the Times Higher Education Impact Ratings, the only global performance measures that assess universities against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Sustainability is embedded into departmental goals and operational practices across ASU. Currently under construction at the intersection of ASU’s research facilities and Novus’ commercial development, the new Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 7 (ISTB7) will achieve at least LEED Gold certification.

“The evolution of the Novus Innovation Corridor as an exemplar of what can be accomplished through a strong partnership between an innovative global research university and the private sector is truly exciting,” said Morgan R. Olsen, ASU executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer. “Receiving LEED-ND Gold status underscores our shared commitment with Catellus to sustainable building; our collaboration continues to produce outstanding accomplishments.”

Novus is one of the largest urban commercial developments in the country, incorporating a theme of live, work, learn and play by integrating retail districts, residential spaces, high-rise office space, shaded sidewalks, bike paths and urban parks into a fully “walkable” community.

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