REAL ESTATE

TD Bank building nation’s first net-zero energy bank

BY CSA STAFF

Cherry Hill, N.J. — TD Bank announced it is building a net-zero energy bank location, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, defines a net-zero energy building as a building that produces and exports in a year at least as much renewable power as the total energy it uses.)

The new facility, scheduled to open this spring, will be connected to the local utility grid. It will require approximately 97,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity a year to operate, but it will produce a minimum of 100,000 kWh a year on site. To date, only eight buildings in the nation are registered as net zero energy buildings with the DOE, and TD Bank will be the first to register a net-zero energy bank.

"The nation’s first net-zero energy bank is a continuation of TD Bank’s ongoing efforts to reduce our environmental footprint," said Jacquelynn Henke, real estate green strategy officer, TD Bank, which is one of the 10 largest banks in the United States. "In 2010 we became the largest U.S.-based bank to be carbon neutral by building LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) -certified stores and offices, and making continuous significant investments in renewable energy. With our new net-zero energy store, we are taking another step to become as green as our logo."

The new TD Bank will also target the highest level of LEED certification, LEED Platinum. It is being built according to TD Bank’s green-store design standards, which make all of its locations almost 50% more energy efficient than the bank’s previous design. Features include a solar drive-thru canopy that produces nearly 20% of the buildings’ annual energy needs and design elements that make them more energy efficient to help them achieve LEED certification. The Ft. Lauderdale location, however, will also generate energy through solar panels mounted on the store’s roof and a field of solar panels on the building’s surrounding property.

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FINANCE

BJ’s Wholesale to explore sale of company

BY CSA STAFF

Natick, Mass. — BJ’s Wholesale Club confirmed on Thursday that it will potentially put it up for sale.

According to a report by the New York Times, the discounter said it will “explore and evaluate strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company,” confirming ongoing market rumors that BJ’s was a buyout candidate.

The report said that BJ’s has hired Morgan Stanley to run the sales process.

Private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners acquired a 9.5% stake in the retailer last July. In January, BJ’s announced it would close five underperforming stores.

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News

BJ’s Wholesale placed on sales block

BY CSA STAFF

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — After months of speculation, BJ’s Wholesale Club early Thursday morning confirmed the company has decided to explore and evaluate strategic alternatives. Coupled with that announcement was a positive sales story for the year.

BJ’s stock was up by more than $5 to $48.66 in early morning trading on Thursday. Over the last year, the company’s shares have risen about 30%, fueled in part by takeover speculation. Rumors that BJ’s may be a takeover target have circulated since the summer, when Leonard Green & Partners bought a 9.5% stake.

An independent committee of BJ’s has engaged Morgan Stanley as its financial adviser to assist in this process.

BJ’s also reported positive January sales results despite the number of cold-weather storms that recently have swept the country. Sales were up 6.5% to $779.8 million. Comparable sales also were up 2.7%, including a contribution from sales of gasoline of 2.4%.

Excluding the impact of gasoline, merchandise comparable-club sales increased by approximately 0.3%. Severe snow storms affecting the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions had a negative impact on merchandise comparable club sales of approximately 2.5%, the club retailer estimated.

BJ’s competitor Costco Wholesale reported net sales of $6.30 billion for the month of January, the four weeks ended Jan. 30, an increase of 12% from $5.62 billion during the similar period last year. Total U.S. same-store sales for the month were up 6%. Excluding fuel, U.S. comps rose 4%.

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