Going Green, Saving Green

Many people feel going green is a moral duty. For the University of Florida, it may be a bit of a financial duty as well. To date, UF has saved more than $135,000 in taxes by utilizing a deduction allowed by the 2005 Energy Policy Act. This act was designed to incentivize energy efficiency in both new construction and retrofits through tax breaks on qualifying property. 

In UF's case, the process is a bit complicated. Government entities do not pay taxes. Instead, UF is allowed to designate a tax paying designer or architect to receive the credit. Through this method, the designee gives UF a break on the fees, and in turn they receive the tax benefit. Currently, only buildings constructed or retrofitted between 2010 and 2013 are eligible for the tax break. However, there is talk of extending the period through 2015. Hough Hall (pictured) is one of UF’s certified green buildings.


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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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