Taking the LEED -- Maybe

Holy environmental building, Batman!

Miami remains one of the last places on earth to disdain pretty much any form of

environmentalism. There seems to be an unspoken equation here that goes something like this: alternative energy + recycling = Fidel.

The equation may be changing. Plans are underway to build the city's first LEED residential highrise (LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a designation for building that meets environmental guidelines of the U.S. Green Building Council). The Design District condo tower, envisioned by famed thirty-something local architect Chad Oppenheim, is supposed to feature wind turbines, photovoltaic panels, and solar-heated water.

As with many things in the subtropics, the hype may outweigh the final product, according to scuttlebutt among architecture geeks. It's unclear if the project's developer, Jeremy Green of Nexus Development Group, will allow all the expensive enviro-details, according to national design magazine Metropolis. The project's manager couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.

What is clear is that the 25-story COR building, set to break ground in July, will look like a futuristic block of Swiss cheese. And, it won't be cheap. Apartments reportedly will start at $400,000. --Rob Jordan

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Frank Houston