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The Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project Award

For years, prospective businesses gave the long-vacant 13-acre brownfield site in Back of the Yards a wide berth. But where others saw a problem, Testa Properties recognized a solution for its business and the community – a sleek, white, three-story building that houses Testa’s corporate offices and an enormous warehouse space.

The 91,299-square-foot LEED Platinum Certified Produce Distribution Facility sets a standard for green commercial design. A soaring 238-foot, 750 kilowatt wind turbine meets 30 percent of the building’s annual energy needs—cutting costs and carbon. A 45,650-square-foot sloping green vegetated roof, solar water heaters, and LED lighting complete the thoughtfully designed building. Plug-in charging stations for electric vehicles and a high-tech forest of pole-mounted solar panel “trees” surround the modern, energy efficient building.

Construction on Testa's new produce distribution facility - the land at South Racine and 27th Street was purchased from the city for $1 - began at a time when many firms were postponing new projects. That construction, in the midst of a deep recession, brought hundreds of temporary and 120 permanent jobs to the neighborhood, with the potential for future growth.

For its innovation and its contributions to the environment and the city, Testa Properties is the winner of this year’s Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project Award.