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ALTERNATIVES

Northstar makes an impact on society, too

Northstar’s project in Aurora, Colo., will be a place with military veterans first and foremost in mind.

Northstar Commercial Partners has interests that extend beyond environmental concerns, to investments that will have a positive social impact.

The Denver-based firm has purchased vacant or blighted properties and redeveloped them to create jobs, both in the construction and at the companies that rent the space, said Brian Watson, chairman and CEO.

The firm is building a project in Aurora, Colo., that ultimately will house, train and employ veterans. The idea was brought to the firm by a veteran a year ago who was distressed by the high rate of suicide among his peers.

Northstar staff found and purchased vacant land to house the project, which will not only have veteran housing, but also include retail tenants that will be asked to train and employ the veteran residents, Mr. Watson said.

What's more, all of the buildings will have energy saving features.

That veteran, Matt Runyon, now works for Northstar and is in charge of the project, which was initially funded by the firm's balance sheet assets. Northstar soon will be seeking $35 million to $40 million from institutional investors to help finance the $120 million project on a stand-alone basis.

It frequently funds projects that require construction on a project-by-project basis, Mr. Watson explained.