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Old Posted Dec 11, 2019, 5:40 PM
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Brookfield crafts largest mass timber office building on the West Coast in S.F.
By Blanca Torres – Reporter, San Francisco Business Times
Dec 10, 2019, 6:06pm EST

San Francisco could soon be home to the biggest office building made of wood on the West Coast.

Brookfield Properties plans to use mass timber to construct a 310,000-square-foot, six-story building at the corner of 20th and Maryland streets in Pier 70, a $3.5 billion mega project along the city's southern waterfront.

Mass timber is a type of fortified wood that is used to build taller buildings than conventional wood. Some developers have started using mass timber instead of concrete or steel for high-rises, but use of the material is still rare.

“By applying emerging technologies and innovative designs to the structures we’re building here, we are reinforcing that Pier 70 will be a thriving place for creative industries in San Francisco,” said Cutter MacLeod, Brookfield Properties senior manager of development, in a statement Tuesday . . . .

Brookfield expects to start construction next spring on the new buildings, including the mass timber office building, which is still going through the city’s approval process. Development costs for the building were not disclosed.

Construction will take about two years . . . .

The design incorporates cross-laminated timber floor slabs, glue-laminated timber columns and beams, steel lateral seismic framing, and metal cladding.

Those materials have been popular for some time in Europe and Canada, but are still relatively new to the U.S. building industry. WoodWorks, a trade organization, says there are 664 multifamily, commercial or institutional projects in the design process or built with mass timber in the United States.

New York developer Lotus Equity Group plans to build a 500,000-square-foot commercial building using mass timber in Newark, New Jersey.

Washington and Oregon already allow up to 14-story buildings using mass timber. California is looking at increasing height limits above 85 feet, which is the height of Brookfield’s building.

Mass timber can cost more than steel, but there are some advantages. Mass timber buildings weigh less than concrete or steel buildings, allowing developers to spend less on the foundation. Also, the material is produced ahead of time in a factory, which can shave off four to six months in construction time compared with a concrete building of similar size.

Mass timber also comes with a fire resistant layer that traditional wood constructions don’t have. That makes mass timber less susceptible to construction fires, which have ravaged several under-construction apartment buildings in the Bay Area . . . .
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