The quest to make The Portico condominium project energy-friendly started with a box of paper clips. Jon Hornig, vice president of Minneapolis-based Hornig Cos. was given one box of paper clips when he started at a large Wall Street firm several years ago.

"To have such a well-oiled, money-making machine be so concerned about paper clips showed they were always watching the bottom line," Hornig says. He took that principle to the next level when he returned to the family business, finding he could save money in natural gas bills by investing in energy efficiency.

Opera Place

With The Portico, a 30-unit, 1920s-style brick building set to open in Minneapolis in fall 2007, Hornig decided to take it even further by making the structure LEED-certified.

Roger Howley, project manager for Miller Hanson Partners in Minneapolis, says the extra effort naturally took more time, planning, and attention to detail to make it work.

"We have a higher level of care of systems in green building," he says. "But it is a good investment in time and energy. It makes better places to live that are more energy-efficient and better for the environment."

Beyond good intentions, Hornig says it was a leap of faith to go green at the Portico, but he has sold 60 percent of presales so far.

"The LEED part at this stage is new, so you really have to have your entire team behind it," Hornig says. "You know you are getting extra work and extra cost. You just have to jump in and cross your fingers and hope the market will respond."

–Erin Massey

Baldwin Park

Brack Capital Real Estate, COALCO International, and Continental Ventures Realty are developing ELEMENT, a 193-unit luxury condominium community in Manhattan's Columbus Circle West neighborhood. Designed by SLCE Architects, the project's one-, two-, three-, and four-bedroom units will feature curved floor-to-ceiling window walls, glass-wrapped terraces, and Bosch and Sub-Zero kitchen appliances. The community will include 12,000 square feet of landscaped outdoor space, a lap pool and whirlpool, and indoor half-court basketball and regulation-size squash courts.

Courtesy Mostue & Associates

Metro Homes, in partnership with The Trump Organization, is developing Trump Plaza Jersey City, a luxury condo community in New Jersey. The studios and one-, two-, and three-bedroom units range from 750 square feet to 2,050 square feet and are priced from $425,000 to more than $2 million. The units–located in two towers with 55 and 50 stories, respectively–will feature views of the New York City skyline and the Statue of Liberty, plus hardwood floors, granite countertops, and master baths clad in Italian porcelain and limestone. Amenities will include a Roman-style spa, entertainment lounge, children's playroom, and 3,000-square-foot fitness center.

The Crescent

AvalonBay Communities has opened Avalon at Mission Bay II, a 313-unit luxury rental community in San Francisco. The community, which is phase two of the company's Mission Bay project, features a basketball court, rock climbing wall, rec room with billiards, shuffleboard, and a ping pong table, plus a private garden courtyard. The building's common areas feature artwork from Creativity Explored, a nonprofit visual arts center for artists with developmental disabilities.

Beacon Communities is turning the historic Haverhill Board of Trade Building in Haverhill, Mass., into The Cordovan at Haverhill Station, a mixed-income rental community. The building will include 146 units; 15 are designed as live/work units for small business owners. Built between 1906 and 1908, the structure most recently served as the headquarters and showroom for Cabot House Furniture. Both interior and exterior historical elements will be preserved.

Berkshire Capital is converting the former Verizon Building in downtown Brooklyn into BellTel Lofts, a 219-unit lofty condo community. The classic 1931 building, which served as the headquarters for the New York Telephone Co., will retain its Art Deco façade. The 27-story community will feature studios and one-, two-, and three-bedroom units ranging in size from 600 square feet to 2,700 square feet. Amenities will include a fitness center, screening room, business center, and 4,500-square-foot roof terrace. Prudential Douglas Elliman Development Marketing Group is serving as the sales and marketing agent.

Post Properties, Skyrise Properties, and Greenway Investment Co. have broken ground on a mixed-use community that will transform a prime office corridor in Richardson, Texas, into a live-work-play development called Eastside. The project will include 435 apartment units in four buildings, retail stores, restaurants, and office space. These components will be anchored around a landscaped one-acre park and green space with an interactive fountain and amphitheater.

–Listings compiled by Rachel Z. Azoff