Ford Center in the North Loop has been awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

The rating system was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council and is intended for buildings designed, constructed, maintained and operated for "improved environmental and human health performance."

The Ford Center's designation sets it among only a few of the historically designated buildings in the nation to achieve the honor.

"Achieving LEED Gold certification was always one of our goals with the renovation of Ford Center, so we're very pleased to have achieved gold certification on this historic building," said Bill Katter, United Properties' executive vice president, in a statement. United Properties owns the building.

The Ford Center, of course, was built in 1912 and was one of the first of the automaker's plants in Minnesota. It featured a vertical assembly plant and showroom, a system of manufacturing that was later rendered obsolete in favor of sprawling operations such as the now-shuttered Ford plant in St. Paul.

United Properties spent more than $40 million to rehab the structure, which is across the street from Target Field at 420 5th St., Minneapolis.

The LEED certification mentions several improvements, including high-efficiency mechanical systems that use a state-of-the-art under-floor air-delivery system, heavy doses of daylight due to the large, fully restored windows, proximity to mass transit and the use of sustainable remodeling materials.

The 265,000-square-foot building is about 99.5 percent leased -- major tenants include HGA Architects and Engineers; Olson, the branding agency; Atomic Playpen and others

Janet Moore covers commercial real estate for the Star Tribune.