Why I’m Pursuing My WELL AP Credential: Andrew Browning
This past week, IWBI announced a milestone achievement in the growth of its WELL APTM program as it surpassed 5000 enrollments. To celebrate this growth and spotlight the impact of the people who have committed to making the spaces where we spend our time work for our health, not against it, we asked the 5,000th person to pursue the WELL AP about the decision to start his journey.
As an Associate in the Development division of Forum Real Estate Group, a full-service, private equity and real estate investment firm based in Denver, Col., I understand the importance of spaces that are created to fit the needs of the people inside of them. Forum has a diverse portfolio of 49 properties (nearly 11,000 units), including signature ground-up developments that include office, mixed-use, retail, industrial, and multifamily. The amount of time people spend in each of these spaces provides an immense opportunity to positively impact their lives.
Our development philosophy is focused on delivering a one-of-a-kind experience for our residents or tenants, by understanding who we are building for; what they need, want and desire; and, why they should choose to live, work and spend time in our properties over any other. That could mean adding a signature piece of equipment to a fitness studio like a rock-climbing wall or including distinctive amenities like a lazy river pool or speakeasy – key features found in past Forum projects. Our experience shows that designing these unique resident experiences leads to better resident retention, quicker lease-ups, higher rents, and ultimately, higher property values.
As a LEED AP, I have always been interested in and aware of the different construction and building management strategies that can contribute to a more healthful and sustainable built environment. However, those strategies put into practice are often viewed to be an altruistic endeavor rather than a direct, marketable benefit to the occupant. Building on LEED certification through health and wellness features addresses occupant satisfaction and happiness in a way that leads to value creation.
What interests us in the WELL Building Standard is the potential for conspicuous, qualitative benefits to our residents and end users. Never before has there been such a strong, cultural focus on health and wellness – from the proliferation of organic foods to the focus on reducing chemicals and pesticides in our environment to ever-increasing interest in activity, exercise and wellbeing. We at Forum Real Estate Group are recognizing people’s growing interest in the connection between wellness and our environments and believe that the WELL Building Standard has the potential to be a key differentiator in our development projects moving forward. This is the reason I’ve begun the journey to becoming a WELL AP.