Dec. 30, 2013
By Penelope Taylor
As a devoted yoga practitioner, Ariel Nessel understands the importance of balance. As a green developer, the Dallas-real estate mogul has found a way to apply that balance to his professional life as well.
His journey began after after he became involved in the multi-family sector in 1997. When he worked on expanding a mobile home park, the need to tear down trees and impact the environment fostered a belief that his work needed to become congruent with his values. That belief led him to the practices, which now drive Nessel Development.
Instead of resorting to demolition, the company now finds apartment buildings that have become run down and are no longer being used. Then they go to work.
“Prevailing policies were, and often still are, to tear down buildings that are
more than 20 years or so old. People feel they have outlived their usefulness” said Nessel. “We don’t believe that at Nessel Development.”
Above, The Solaris apartments in northeast Dallas.
The project that started Nessel on this path was in the Dallas area. He was notified of a property that he felt could be renovated and given a new life. He saw restoration as the key to sustainable development.
“By increasing the efficiency of our properties and extending their useful lives, we help create housing, which is much more environmentally sustainable,” he said.
Today, there are seven renovated Nessel Development complexes in Texas, including five in Dallas: The Solaris, Cityscape, The Alista, La Vita and The Lex, formerly Shadow Ridge Villas in Lake Highlands. Nessel Development currently has developments in Waco and Austin as they continue to look for additional properties to renovate.
Living room at The Alista apartments in Dallas.
Earth friendliness and sustainability are paramount when the firm renovates mature apartment complexes.
The company uses low-E windows and energy efficient appliances in individual units as well as in common areas like laundry facilities and fitness areas. Bamboo or stained concrete floors are earth friendly options that Nessel Development uses in many of their apartments. They are water conserving sinks and newer low flow toilets, which use only .8 gallons per flush. As for the old toilets, Nessel has found a company in Austin that will take them to be recycled.
The company also strives to create friendly and eminently livable for residents. At different Nessel properties, there are on-site yoga classes and after school programs for children.
Many of the apartment units include off-leash dog parks, play areas, bicycle rentals and relaxation areas to help relieve stress and instill harmony in residents’ surroundings.
Gym at The Solaris.
Sustainability efforts have grown along with the company. In 2013, Nessel hired a full time sustainability advocate who works with management companies and residents to support recycling programs and earth friendly cleaning services.
The company also makes significant donations to charities that promote living that is compassionate, peaceful and environmentally sustainable. And in keeping with his desire to balance his for-profit work, Nessel foundedthe Pollination Project, a nonprofit which doles out $1,000 micro-seed grants, every day of the year, for worthy projects.
Left, Dog park at La Vita apartments.
Through Nessel Development and The Pollination Project, Nessel is sowing seeds of change.
“For some years, I led two separate ethical lives in making business decisions and personal decisions,” said Nessel. “In time, I have come to realize that my business efforts can in fact be used to further the values I wish to manifest in society.”