Merritt 7 in Norwalk, Fairfield County’s largest office park, has received the Award of Excellence — Silver from the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), in recognition of the property’s exemplary landscape and enhancement of the environment.
Entrants were reviewed by a jury of professional peers and evaluated on their ability to meet stringent aesthetic and technical requirements, demonstrate forward-thinking approaches, vision and problem solving, and exhibit a high level of knowledge and skill that contributes to exceptional plant health and performance.
The property won in the Exterior Category — Commercial Landscape Maintenance category, competing against other offices and corporate campuses, retail, hotels and resorts nationwide.
Bruce Moore Jr., president of the property’s landscape management firm Eastern Land Management, accepted the award on behalf of Merritt 7 at NALP’s annual green industry expo and professional conference in Louisville, Kentucky.
“This project sets a new standard for sustainable landscape integration,” Moore said, “and celebrates having a strategic landscape maintenance plan that links green goals and corporate stewardship to profitability.”
The six-building, 1.4 million-square-foot property, owned by an institutional client of Clarion Partners LLC and managed by Marcus Partners, features an outdoor sculpture garden, Laws of Nature, created by architect and Norwalk resident Charles O. Perry. The installation is highlighted by high-impact, sustainable landscaping across the 22-acre park.
ELM strategically incorporated a number of shade plants and trees to protect the sculptural finish from exposure. To further protect the sculptural material, a granular, direct-to-soil, organic fertilizer was applied, preventing drift and overspray and no nitrogen, iron compounds or corrosive materials are used.
“By adhering to environmentally responsible best practices, ELM has created and executed an approach at Merritt 7 that eliminates pollutant runoff, protecting groundwater and the nearby Norwalk River watershed and surrounding habitat,” said Marcus Partners Principal David Fiore. “Furthermore, the use of smart controllers and low-impact, high-quality alternative irrigation delivery systems help to achieve our water conservation and drought management goals at the property.”
NALP is the national trade association representing nearly 100,000 landscape industry professionals in the U.S., with additional members in Canada and overseas. Member companies specialize in lawn care, landscape design and installation, landscape maintenance, tree care, irrigation and water management, and interior plantscaping. Members also include students, consultants, industry suppliers, state associations and affiliate members.
Merritt 7 is LEED-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council and is Energy Star-rated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Recently completed improvements include renovated lobbies and public spaces, dining facilities and cafés, and fitness and conference centers.
Merritt 7 is 97 percent leased and will have a large block of availability in 2019.
Earlier this year, Hearst Connecticut Media Group relocated to 301 Merritt 7 Corporate Park, where its offices — occupying the building’s entire first floor — houses its senior management and staff along with its finance, human resources and circulation departments.
Soft drink manufacturer Reed’s Inc. — whose all-natural beverages include Reed’s Ginger Beer and Virgil’s Root Beer — is also taking space at Merritt 7, as it moves its headquarters to Norwalk from Los Angeles. Reed’s has signed a sublease on about 5,000 square feet of space at 201 Merritt 7 from General Electric, the space’s previous tenant.
In 2021, Reed’s will take over another 4,000 square feet at the building, whose other tenants include Xerox, which moved its headquarters there last year, and a regional office for Aon.
Other occupants at the Merritt 7 complex include Frontier Communications, whose headquarters are at 401 Merritt 7; the Financial Accounting Foundation in the same building; and data backup and security company Datto at 101 Merritt 7.