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Nation's Largest Mass-Timber Office Building Slated for Chicago

Six-story warehouse style structure to locate on Goose Island

November 14, 2017
Six-story warehouse style structure to locate on Goose Island

Curbed Chicago reports Houston-based commercial real estate developer Hines is planning a six-story, 270,000-square-foot “mass timber” structure at 1017 W. Division Street—ironically the former site of the Big Bay Lumber Yard owned by the Ciral family.

Image: Hines

Hines recently completed a similar wooden office building in Minneapolis and is considering building more of what it calls T3 - timber, technology, and transit - buildings in Atlanta and other cities. Amazon is one of the Minneapolis building's tenants.

The project still needs city approval, but a sweeping re-zone of the North Branch Corridor has cleared a path for denser, non-industrial projects in the area.

For those who feel a bit  anxious about constructing an all-wood commercial building in Chicago, given the city's history, Hines says improved technology and manufacturing methods allow today’s developers to work with large, densely engineered pieces of mass timber that are fire-resistant and can be quickly pieced together to form an entire building. The building process is much faster and more environmentally friendly than traditional steel-and-concrete construction, according to Hines.

Chicago's building code allows wood construction if the structure is less than 80-feet tall and is made of mass timber. Hines senior managing director Steve Luthman, who oversaw the Minneapolis project, says timber buildings are outfitted with an exterior of Coreten steel.

 “People think about wood and the natural question is about fire,” Luthman said in a Chicago Tribune article. “But with mass timber, if there was a fire the wood would char rather than burn. There’s been a lot of research done, and it’s as safe or safer than building with steel and concrete.”

Read the Curbed Chicago story here.


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