Starwood Capital Group construction company, Harmony Development, will build a research and development education centre in Florida after signing a memorandum of understanding with Florida State University.
The centre will be located in the Florida Energy Research Park, part of the green community of Harmony – one of only 10 eco-friendly communities in Florida and located 30 miles south of Orlando in Southeast Osceola County.
The facility will focus on research into sustainable-energy technologies, including solar, wind, hydrogen and biomass as well as improving energy efficiency in homes, Harmony said in a statement.
Another Starwood affiliate, Starwood Energy Group Global, is building a utility-scale concentrator thermal solar generation plant at Harmony. Starwood Energy also is working with Lockheed Martin to develop utility-scale solar generation projects across North America.
Starwood Capital, led by Barry Sternlicht, has been expanding its green investments over the past year, with plans to also develop a $200 million environmentally-friendly condo-hotel at the Wyndansea Oceanfront Golf Resort, in Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
The hotel is part of Starwood’s 1 Hotel brand, and is being developed to the US green LEED certification. Completion has been delayed until 2011, according to press reports. The hotel, on the Ucluelet Peninsula, is expected to use renewable energy systems such as seawater geo-thermal exchange, tidal power and photo-voltaic energy.
The 1 Hotel brand was launched in 2006 in a bid to show that green principles could “coexist” with luxury hospitality projects, according to Starwood, which has also developed the W Hotel and St. Regis Hotel brands.