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Green Building News

Timber High Rise in New York Is Canceled

The developer blames a softer market and a loss of interest among potential lenders

T3, a seven-story office building in Minneapolis, was built with heavy timber panels. A 10-story project in New York City made from the same type of panel has been canceled by the developer.
Image Credit: StructureCraft Builders

The developer of a 10-story mass timber tower in New York City has abandoned the project, citing a lukewarm response from lenders and a weaker real estate market.

According to an article posted at The Real Deal, a real estate magazine, the tower in the city’s Chelsea district would have been the tallest wood condominium tower in the city. It also would have been and one of the tallest timber buildings in the U.S.

Designed by SHoP Architects, the building was one of two projects that won $1.5 million in a 2015 competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Plans for the other, a 12-story building in Portland, Oregon, are moving forward, Architect said.

Both projects represent a surge of interest in using cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels as a substitute for concrete and steel in tall commercial buildings. Advocates say that timber panels cause fewer greenhouse gas emissions, are less expensive, and more aesthetically pleasing. Taller timber buildings have been constructed elsewhere, including an 18-story residence hall at the University of British Columbia.

CLT panels also can be used in residential projects, such as the Wolfe Island Passive House in Ontario, the subject of a continuing blog series at GBA.

Developer Sy Ghassemi told The Real Deal that the condo high-rise “just wasn’t feasible” in New York. He said there’s been a downturn in the market since the project was first announced, and lenders seemed less interested in the project. Plus, the use of wood components would have required a change in New York City laws, which currently do not allow wood towers to be taller than six stories.

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