Portland’s Pearl District is home to the first LEED Gold-certified historic renovation in the US

An estimated 98% of construction debris was reclaimed and recycled during the renovation of the Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center at 721 NW Ninth Avenue, setting a city record.

A partial wall made of brick and stone stands at the corner of an urban intersection.

One of the original building walls seen in a 1925 photo still stands at the corner of Northwest 10th Avenue and Johnson Street.

Photo by Cambrie Juarez, PDXtoday

City Editor Cambrie here. Earlier this week, a friend of mine pointed to the Jean Vollum Natural Capital Center in the Pearl District and asked if I knew its history. Admittedly, I did not — so I did a little digging.

The structure was originally built as a warehouse in 1895 for building supplies distributor J. McCracken Company. Portland-based environmental nonprofit Ecotrust bought the 70,000-sqft building in 1998 with a donation from philanthropist and board member Jean Vollum.

The property’s renovation marked a dramatic win for urban renewal: developers used recycled and reclaimed materials from the original structure and also created an ecoroof to filter rainwater and capture solar energy.

Completed in 2001, the Natural Capital Center was the first historic redevelopment in the country to receive a Gold-level LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Portland’s “most iconic green building” is now a mixed-use hub for private events, shopping, and dining, and serves as Ecotrust’s headquarters.

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