With two primary exhibits housed within a 17,000-square-foot building, the Kansas City Zoo’s new Helzberg Penguin Plaza is designed to provide an environment ideal for a variety of penguin species. The exhibits—a 100,000-gallon cold-water exhibit housing King, Gentoo, and Southern Rockhopper penguins, and a more temperate indoor-outdoor exhibit housing Humboldt penguins—are combined with three aquaria (ranging in size from 1,200 to 3,000 gallons) that contain schooling fish, moon jellyfish, and coral reef.
The $15 million project was made possible in part by Kansas City real estate firm Newmark Grubb Zimmer, which served as the owner’s development manager for the project and helped raise funds to support it.
Certified LEED Gold, the building is 28 percent more energy efficient than the LEED baseline, says Michael Gillaspie, director of sustainability for Newmark Grubb Zimmer, which also oversaw another project—a nearby penguin-themed eatery, the Tuxedo Grill—which is seeking at minimum LEED Silver certification.
In addition to serving as the owner’s development manager for the penguin exhibit, Newmark Grubb Zimmer supported the exhibit with a generous donation from its annual Zimmer Cares initiative. Each year, the initiative selects a philanthropic organization to support and involves employees in the planning of events to raise money and awareness for the causes.
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