Newark, New Jersey, mixed-use project will include 11-story wood skyscraper
- Developers of the $1.7 billion Riverfront Square mixed-use project in Newark, N.J., are planning to include three mass timber buildings as part of the development, NJ Advance Media reported. The tallest of the three will be an 11-story office tower and one of the largest mass timber buildings in the U.S.
- Construction on the 500,000-square-foot skyscraper will begin after developer Lotus Equity Group finds an anchor tenant. The building's base will be concrete, but the rest of the structure will use mass timber panels to achieve a smaller carbon footprint and to provide enhanced lighting and acoustics within the building's interior. The timber will be treated to be fire resistant, according to The Real Deal, and the exterior is likely to feature either brick or metal.
- Building out of wood is also expected to win favor among the tech companies moving into the area. According to Curbed New York, the wood tower could help curry favor with Amazon, which selected Newark and New York City as finalists in its search for a second North American headquarters location.
Mass timber is one areas of U.S. construction that is increasingly producing new record-breaking projects.
The current tallest mass timber building in the world is Brock Commons, an 18-story-tall residence hall at the University of British Columbia. However, the 232-foot-tall, 19-story condominium high rise Terrace House in Vancouver is expected to take the top spot once construction is complete.
Before the Riverfront Square announcement, real estate developer Hines' planned mass timber office building on Chicago's Goose Island was going to be the largest all-wood office building at six stories and 270,000 square feet. Until construction is complete on the Goose Island and Newark towers, another of Hines' properties is the largest mass-timber office building in the U.S., and that is the T3 in Minneapolis. The building opened in 2016 and, at the time, was also the tallest mass timber building in the U.S.
In December, the Architect's Newspaper reported that construction was complete on the 85-foot-tall Carbon12, which is, for now, the tallest mass timber building in the U.S.
There has been a consistent push for more mass-timber buildings, but concerns around fire have been one of the primary obstacles to seeing more growth in that segment. Proponents of mass timber, however, maintain that the sort of heavy timber used in these structures will char when exposed to fire, which creates a protective layer that is flame resistant and retains up to 90% of the wood's strength.
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