- A New York developer has deserted plans to build a 10-story mass timber condominium building in New York City's Chelsea neighborhood, according to Architect.
- The SHoP Architects-designed building was one of the winners of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture-sponsored Tall Wood Building Competition in 2015. A team from Portland, OR, also shared top honors, with both groups earning $1.5 million toward project development.
- Developer Sy Ghassemi told The Real Deal that lenders had shown little interest in funding the project and that there had been a downturn in the market since planning began.
The USDA competition aimed to draw attention to the potential of wood and its viability as a safe, practical and sustainable building material for large-scale projects in addition to small builds.
Since the time of the contest, there has been growing interest in building wood skyscrapers, although many plans are still in their conceptual stages, like the all-wood skyscraper proposed by architecture firm Perkins+Will for a Chicago waterfront site. If built, the 80-story project, dubbed River Beech Tower, would be the tallest wood building in the world.
That title currently belongs to the $39 million Brock Commons residence hall at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada. The 18-story building can accommodate 400 students.
Back in the U.S., the largest mass-timber building thus far is the T3 (Timber, Technology, Transit) building in Minneapolis, a 220,000-square-foot office building constructed almost entirely out of Pacific Northwest trees killed by the mountain pine beetle. Developer Hines Interests is now planning another similar building in Chicago.
One factor that has held back more cross-laminated timber and nail-laminated timber wood construction is the issue of building codes and safety. There is also the hurdle of overcoming public perception around the safety of working or living in an all-wood high-rise, although the success of the T3 might help change that perception.