Lucien Jamey grew up in France and Switzerland surrounded by a family of engineers and entrepreneurs. It turned out to be the ideal background for the president and CEO of San Francisco-based Sunmoor Properties, a management firm that helps clients increase property values with comprehensive green retrofits of existing buildings.
“Our team has achieved impressive results in energy efficiency, water conservation, and waste reduction,” says Jamey. Perhaps nowhere is that success better showcased than in Sebastopol’s lively and hip Gravenstein Station, the mixed-use, multibuilding facility that brought Sunmoor into New Resource Bank’s orbit.
New Resource sees value in energy upgrades
In early 2009, Sunmoor applied to the Sonoma County Energy Independence Program for help with energy-saving infrastructure upgrades at Gravenstein Station, whose tenants include small businesses, shops and cafes. The county program offers low-interest loans for improving energy and water efficiency and installing renewable energy sources in existing buildings. But the loans involve special assessment liens requiring lender consent, and large national banks restrict the valuation of certain types of properties, like Gravenstein Station, Jamey says.
“Based on their blanket guidelines, our previous lender considered Gravenstein Station to be worth 20 percent less than the established local appraiser used by New Resource Bank,” he says. “Basically, our previous lender was unsupportive and blocked a major improvement project. New Resource embraced our approach and recognized it as a strong move to raise the value of the property.”
Upgrades create competitive edge
The energy upgrades, along with measures such as commercial composting and recycling, gave Gravenstein Station a competitive edge in progressive Sebastopol, says Jamey, and the project is helping to develop a community around the theme of sustainability. Gravenstein Station’s success, he says, shows that “there are great opportunities to participate in the energy revolution.”
Jamey credits his bank with helping him and many others realize those opportunities: “New Resource has a strong sense of purpose, a customer-oriented approach, and a genuine interest in their client’s business.”