January 20, 2020
ESG at Work in Nashville: Building Healthier Communities and Returning Value to Shareholders
The first thing visitors notice upon entering the lobby at the Physicians Realty Trust (NYSE: DOC) 8 C1TY Blvd property in Nashville, Tennessee, is a striking staircase. Made from reclaimed Douglas fir, the floating entry stairs are one of many nods to the massive lumber warehouse that once occupied the site. This marriage of form and function is a not-so-subtle reminder that the entire oneC1TY development is built on the ESG mantra of health and wellness, and if you need to get upstairs, well, this is the preferred way to do it.
“Health is at the forefront of every decision we make at oneC1TY,” said Ryan Doyle, General Manager of the oneC1TY Nashville development, and Vice President of Development for Cambridge Holdings, the company that developed and manages oneC1TY. “In particular, the 8 C1TY Blvd facility was created to showcase a holistic approach to designing public spaces in tandem with green infrastructure elements, ultimately promoting a collaborative, more sustainable lifestyle.”
As the proud property owner of 8 C1TY, DOC’s involvement with the development dates back to the project’s inception. DOC’s commitment serves as a prime example of our dedication to creating a portfolio of high-quality assets that contribute to healthy and vibrant communities.
“We recognize that the theme of health, and in particular, a commitment to ESG (environmental, social, and governance) principles is critical to our society and to improving the delivery of health care,” Mark Theine, DOC Executive Vice President, Asset Management, said. “The fact that we have been able to acquire and finance the development of facilities that promote the well-being of the whole person is better for us and better for our providers, their patients, and their families.”
The 8 C1TY property is unique as elements of sustainability practices are found everywhere. It begins with the plot of land itself, where over $15 million was invested in infrastructure improvements, planting both literal and figurative seeds of life into a long-underutilized portion of the city. Underground parking, which includes bike racks and electric vehicle charging stations, minimizes the vehicular heat island effect while maximizing land use, contributing to more pedestrian-friendly streets and corridors above. A reflective roof design creates significant energy savings for the property and its tenants.
As 8 C1TY was built, 82 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills. By cost, 26 percent of the project utilized recycled content, while 45 percent of the materials were manufactured, sourced, or harvested within 500 miles of the project site. In addition to the entry staircase, reclaimed wood was used in a variety of both interior and exterior elements for the property, including ceilings, planters, and feature walls.
Inside the property, ESG plumbing features contribute to 38 percent less water usage than alternative designs, while recycled rainwater furnishes all of the water necessary for outdoor landscaping irrigation. Energy-efficient HVAC, air handling, and lighting features result in reduced energy use, equating to approximately $85,000 per year in savings for the property’s tenants than using alternative products.
Taken together, these features helped contribute to the asset’s LEED gold certification in 2016, an honor that recognizes the transformative vision of all who have worked to make this property and surrounding neighborhood so unique.
“These ESG features have a direct financial impact for both our tenants and our company,” Theine added. “Financially, these lower operating expenses are direct savings for our health care partners. Socially, a host of complementary educational efforts, onsite programming, and a farm-to-table restaurant creates a strong sense of community. That’s attractive to our partners, and, over time, contributes to long-term partnerships and tenant retention.”
Just as the oneC1TY Nashville development continues to grow, with the construction of the Element Nashville West End by Westin hotel currently underway to join the existing 8 C1TY medical office building, retail space, and numerous outdoor community amenities in preparation for LEED Neighborhood Development certification, DOC’s commitment to building healthier communities, attracting tenants, and returning value to shareholders is actively developing as well.
“We’re always working to strengthen the quality of our portfolio by fulfilling our ‘Invest in Better’ mission through larger, state-of-the-art assets and incorporating sustainability features goes hand-in-hand with that strategy,” Theine added. “When we talk about ESG, the cost and benefits have to make sense. It has to make sense from a ‘green’ environmental perspective and a fiscal perspective. It’s also particularly attractive to DOC when we’re investing not only in better properties, but also in creating better communities. We want to see the positive effects of that commitment ripple throughout the neighborhood, the property’s health care professionals, patients, and ultimately, our shareholders. 8 C1TY is the perfect example of this philosophy in action.”
"Health is at the forefront of every decision we make at oneC1TY. In particular, the 8 C1TY Blvd facility was created to showcase a holistic approach to designing public spaces in tandem with green infrastructure elements, ultimately promoting a collaborative, more sustainable lifestyle."
— Ryan Doyle | General Manager of oneC1TY Nashville & Vice President of Development for Cambridge Holdings