Get Shower-Fresh at Staples

The thought of sudsing up next to the guy lurking behind the paper stacks may make one a bit squeamish. But at least the dude scanning your ballpoint pens will smell fresh as a daisy.

As part of a pitch to become Miami’s first retail building stamped with a U.S. Green Building Council seal, plans for a Staples at 2121 Biscayne Boulevard call for bike racks and showers. Don’t get nervous, Mayor Jim Naugle. The showers won’t be open to the public.

“The customers of course could use the bike racks but showers themselves would be for the employees,” says Mike Black, a Staples spokesman, chuckling. “As far as I know.”

The idea behind the showers is to encourage employees to pedal to work by giving them a place to rinse the sweat that follows the Miami heat. Presently, cycling to the downtown spot could be a treacherous. (Building for the 20,000-square-foot store began in late September and is set to open in 2008.) But Robert Ruano, the city’s director of grants and sustainable initiatives, expects access to bike paths and lanes to improve in a few years or so. It’s good to be prepared.

“People aren’t going to use the bike paths to get work if they get to their jobs and they’re not going to have a shower and they will be all sweaty,” he says. “You make it as easy as possible to take that mode of transportation.”

Future plans call for bike paths linking the river to Bayside to a 19th Street park, he says. Ruano and Mayor Manny Diaz along with 20-some city employees are currently studying to become accredited with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) to try (among other things) and convince more businesses to be like Staples and lead their employees onto a bike, and into the shower. –Janine Zeitlin

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