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 Testa Properties, LLC Receives Prestigious Award for Outstanding
For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project

Green produce distribution facility valuable for both environment and local economy

For high resolution photos please visit: http://bit.ly/zwYhg8
For video clips please visit: http://clients.anglepark.com/cnda/

CHICAGO (February 28, 2012) – Testa Produce, whose bright blue fruit and vegetable trucks are recognizable throughout the city, has a striking new entity on which to hang its corporate identity – a distribution facility that sets a new standard for green commercial design. In recognition of its newly opened produce distribution facility, Testa Properties was awarded the Outstanding For-Profit Neighborhood Real Estate Project Award at the 18th annual Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards (CNDA), managed by Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago (LISC Chicago).

While vacant property is often viewed as a problem, to Testa an empty 13-acre brownfield site in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood was an opportunity that would serve its business plan and the community as well. Testa erected a sleek, white, three-story building that houses its corporate offices and an enormous refrigerated warehouse space. The 91,299-square-foot building is LEED Platinum Certified – the first food service distribution facility in the nation to receive such distinction.

A soaring 238-foot, 750 kilowatt wind turbine provides 30 percent of the building’s annual energy needs—cutting costs and carbon. A 45,650-square-foot sloping 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 of the building – on land purchased from the City of Chicago for $1 and funded through Recovery Zone Bonds, New Market Tax Credits, and loans from MB Financial Bank – began at a time when many firms were postponing new projects. It brought hundreds of temporary jobs to a community in financial distress. Now completed, the distribution facility brought 120 permanent new jobs to the neighborhood, with the potential for additional growth. 

By keeping its operations in the city, Testa is helping to transform a struggling neighborhood and is raising the standard for sustainable operations in the industry.

“I have always had an interest in green and sustainable building and I am so pleased to see this facility—once just a dream—recognized by this year’s CNDA,” said Peter Testa, president of Testa Produce. “My grandfather began this company almost 100 years ago with a basket of celery that he sold door to door in the neighborhood. I think he would be proud to see how far we’ve come in our business and in positive community development.” 

About CNDA

This year’s ceremony, held at the Chicago Hilton & Towers, attracted more than 1400 people, including CNDA chair Wim Elfrink, executive vice president and chief globalization officer of Cisco, and leaders of Chicago’s non-profit, corporate and philanthropic sectors.  A forum, following a fast-paced presentation style, was held prior to the award ceremony. Four city leaders from varying fields presented their five big ideas for making the 21st century city.

Established in 1995, CNDA recognizes outstanding achievements in neighborhood real estate development and community building, especially the achievements of community development corporations, other community-based organizations, and for-profit developers working to build healthier neighborhoods in the Chicago metropolitan area.  Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago (LISC Chicago) manages the awards, in keeping with its mission to combine corporate, government and philanthropic resources to help nonprofit community development corporations revitalize city neighborhoods. LISC Chicago has invested $179 million in local comprehensive development programs, leveraging an additional $4.7 billion in community investment from other sources. The result is 29,000 units of affordable housing, over 5 million square feet of commercial space, and a variety of social and economic development programs.

“Community development is a complicated business and requires the participation of many people and institutions – from neighborhood residents to government officials, corporate leaders, developers and architects,” said Susana L. Vasquez, LISC Chicago’s executive director. “Our purpose at the Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards is to acknowledge and celebrate those individuals and organizations whose ingenuity and creativity make Chicago such a great city.”
This year’s awards are generously underwritten by:

Allstate; Bank of America; BMO Harris Bank; Charter One; Chase; The Chicago Community Trust; Cisco; Citi; LISC/Chicago; Northern Trust; PNC; Polk Bros. Foundation; The Private Bank; The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; State Farm; US Bank; Applegate & Thorne-Thomsen, PC; Brinshore Development; Camiros, Ltd.; Chicago Bears; Chicago Community Loan Fund; Cole Taylor Bank; Community Reinvestment Fund; Enterprise Community Investment, Inc.; Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago; Fifth Third Bank ; FirstMerit Bank; The Habitat Company; Holsten Real Estate Development; Illinois Housing Development Authority; MB Financial Bank; Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP; Matanky Realty; Miner, Barnhill & Galland, P.C.; National Equity Fund; Reznick Group; Teska Associates, Inc.; Urban Development Fund, LLC; Urban Partnership Bank; and The Walsh Group.

For more information, visit www.lisc-cnda.org.

For high resolution photos please visit: http://bit.ly/zwYhg8
For video clips please visit: http://clients.anglepark.com/cnda/