In recent years, mass-timber construction in the United States has gone through a rapid growth spurt. Wood's surge in popularity is in part due to its low embodied energy. As expected, this appreciation has initiated an all-too-familiar race of who can built it taller and larger first. Today, New York–based developer Lotus Equity Group announced that it would be building the largest mass timber office structure in the U.S., set to be designed by the Vancouver, British Columbia firm Michael Green Architecture (MGA). The 500,000-square-foot office building will be part of a 11.8-acre mixed-use development project called Riverfront Square and located in downtown Newark, N.J.
The structure will comprise three interconnected buildings that ascend by height from six stories tall to eight, and then 11. MGA also designed, with DLR Group, the nation's largest mass-timber building to date, the seven-story, 220,000-square-foot T3 North Loop M office building in Minneapolis. Now, the firm is primed to best itself with the Riverfront Square trio of mass-timber buildings, which together will contain more than twice the square footage of T3.
Overall, the Riverfront Square development will include 2 million square feet of office space, 2,000 residential units, a hotel, a parking garage, as well as small- and large-scale retail spaces. Three other design firms involved in the larger project development are TEN Arquitectos, Practice for Architecture and Urbanism, and Minno & Wasako Architects and Planners.
“To build the nation’s largest timber building in Newark speaks to the confidence and belief we have in the city and Riverfront Square as a world-class location that can compete with any great city around the world,” said Ben Korman, CEO and founder of Lotus Equity Group. “The vision we share with Michael Green is to design the most environmentally sustainable office tower that enhances the health of tenants and the surrounding communities through efficient planning and green design.”
Once a tenant has signed on, the construction of the building is expected to take 20 months.