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With Solera, David Zucker may expand his green building empire

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Local developer David Zucker is making a strong case to be crowned Denver's earth-friendly answer to Donald Trump.

In May 2008, Zucker's company, Zocolo Development, completed RiverClay in Jefferson Park -- a sixty-unit development that was the first residential condominium building in the state to get a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED designation for its environmentally sustainable building practices and design. Now, Zocolo's unveiled Solera, a 110-unit, eleven-story high-rise rental property planned for 20th and Lawrence Streets that's aiming for an even more ambitious goal: It hopes to achieve the highly exacting gold-level LEED certification, possibly becoming the first building of its kind to do so in the region. To hit that bar by the time it's scheduled to be complete in June 2010, Solera will feature recycled quartz counter tops, dual-flush toilets and roof-mounted solar panels. But judging from a Solera concept design first reported on the DenverInfill blog, Zucker hasn't sacrificed much in the way of creativity or pizazz to make his building as green as possible.

When I chatted with Zucker a few years ago, he told me his progressive building concepts would not only be good for the environment, but also help his units stand out in the stagnant market. That doesn't mean Zocolo has been immune from real-estate woes, however: 2020 Lawrence, another potential LEED-certified development Zocolo announced in 2007, has apparently been put on hold. Here's hoping that Solera, which will go up just a block away, doesn't suffer the same, not very earth-friendly fate.

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