Developed with input from health experts and industry leaders, Fitwel’s VRM certification demonstrates Unico’s commitment to promote health and wellness within its portfolio
PORTLAND, Ore. (June 2, 2021) – Unico Properties LLC, a real estate investment and operating company, today announced that together with its partners, it has achieved Fitwel® Viral Response Module (VRM) certification at the entity level. Unico and its partners have also received approval from Fitwel at the asset level for implementing its VRM policies across more than nine million square feet of its 18-million-square-foot commercial office portfolio across the United States.
Fitwel is the world’s leading certification system committed to “Building Health for All ®.” Originally created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and U.S. General Services Administration, Fitwel is a rigorous, third-party healthy building certification that sets the industry standard for evidence-based strategies to promote positive health outcomes for building occupants and communities. Cultivated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fitwel’s VRM certification was developed with input from a diverse group of public health experts and industry leaders to establish best practices for mitigating the spread of contagious diseases across the built environment, promoting methods such as increasing ventilation, providing personal hygiene materials, employing robust cleaning protocols, maintaining optimal humidity and filtering indoor air.
Pursuing, and ultimately achieving, the distinguished Fitwel VRM certification ensures that our portfolio is aligned with the latest research on viral mitigation and that we are empowered to implement effective strategies to ensure the healthiest possible work environment for our tenants, employees, and visitors.
— Brian Pearce, Unico EVP of Real Estate Services
Unico is among the first to secure asset-level approval at scale, with 30 of its buildings in six of its markets having implemented the company’s viral response policies. While the VRM was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, its strategies are not exclusive to COVID-19. Its methods and practices can help minimize the spread of other infectious respiratory diseases, including influenza and Legionnaires’ disease.
“Long before the onset of the global pandemic, we were committed to curating environments that foster the well-being of people and communities, and for almost 70 years, we have created places where people want to be,” said Brian Pearce, Unico Executive Vice President, Real Estate Services. “Pursuing, and ultimately achieving, the distinguished Fitwel VRM certification ensures that our portfolio is aligned with the latest research on viral mitigation and that we are empowered to implement effective strategies to ensure the healthiest possible work environment for our tenants, employees, and visitors.”
A selection of the properties in Unico’s portfolio that are Fitwel VRM certified and approved include:
- U.S. Bancorp Tower – 111 SW 5th Ave. Portland, Oregon
- Montgomery Park – 2701 NW Vaughn St. Portland, Oregon
- Moda Tower – 601 SW 2nd Portland, Oregon
- 1111 Third – 1111 Third Ave. Seattle, Washington
- Civica Office Commons – 205 – 225 108th NE Bellevue, Washington
- Viewpoint Building – 2401 Elliot Ave. Seattle, Washington
- The DC Building – 518 17th Denver, Colorado
- The Circa Building – 1615 Platte St. Denver, Colorado
- 1875 Lawrence – 1875 Lawrence St. Denver, Colorado
- One Nashville – 150 4th N. Nashville, Tennessee
- Lavaca Plaza – 504 Lavaca St. Austin, Texas
- 250 Tower – 250 East 200 South, Salt Lake City, Utah
- City Centre I – 175 East 400 South, Salt Lake City, Utah
“Investing in Fitwel VRM certification at the entity level, and approval at the asset level offers yet another layer of trust for our tenants—trust in a nationally-recognized, third-party certification that aligns with our efforts to prioritize health and safety in the workplace,” said Keren Eichen, Unico Director, Real Estate Services. “The VRM’s data-driven strategies to reduce viral transmission, maximize trust and create healthy environments bolster our ability to deliver a first-class tenant experience to our buildings.”
Fitwel VRM certification has three primary objectives: to enhance the indoor environment, encourage behavior change and build occupant trust. Some of the strategies, plans and policies implemented in Unico’s buildings include:
- Enhanced Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Policy and Enhanced IAQ Testing & Monitoring Protocols – These policies and practices outline strategies to achieve enhanced indoor air quality.
- Guidelines for Surface Hygiene Stations, Hand Hygiene and Personal Protective Equipment – These standards ensure buildings have a clear strategy for ensuring occupants have what they need to reduce disease transmission.
- Health Promotional Signage and Communication Plans – These plans strengthen pandemic response and ensure awareness of protocols, minimizing uncertainty and supporting sustained occupant trust.
“Unico Properties has made significant progress in certifying its viral response policies and rapidly implementing them across more than half of its 18 million-square-foot commercial office portfolio – this achievement underscores the company’s commitment to ensure its portfolio is optimized for health and wellness,” said Joanna Frank, President and CEO of the Center for Active Design, which establishes and maintains the Fitwel standard, including its Viral Response Module. “By adopting the VRM’s evidence-based strategies at scale, Unico Properties is proactively creating healthier, safer spaces for building occupants and employees that mitigate the risk of viral transmission.”
Since 1953, Unico has created places where people want to be and that elevate the occupancy experience for its tenants. Within its building environments across its portfolio, Unico delivers access to world-class amenities, next-generation technology, and health and safety protocols, which includes Fitwel’s best-in-class viral response strategies.
About Unico Properties LLC
Unico Properties LLC, a subsidiary of Unico Investment Group LLC, is a commercial real estate investor, developer, and full-service operator focused on office and multifamily assets in emerging markets throughout the United States. Founded in 1953, Unico has been transforming the built environment by creating innovative, people-focused building experiences through a cadre of subsidiary companies that deliver boutique expertise and institutional execution for its own accounts and select third-party clients. The private equity real estate investment firm currently owns and operates 18 million square feet of commercial properties across the United States and continues to grow. For more information about Unico, please visit the firm’s website at https://unicoprop.com.
Fitwel is the world’s leading certification system committed to building health for all®. Generated by expert analysis of 5,600+ academic research studies, Fitwel is implementing a vision for a healthier future where all buildings and communities are enhanced to strengthen health and well-being. Fitwel was originally created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention and U.S. General Services Administration. The CDC remains the research and evaluation partner for Fitwel. To learn more about Fitwel, please visit: www.fitwel.org.
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