Stay in the Loop

A pioneering timber office building nears completion

By SARAH MCKENZIE : The Journal : AUGUST 29, 2016

An innovative modern timber office building — the country’s first — is on track to open in October in the North Loop.

The seven-story building at 323 Washington Ave. N. is called T3 for timber, transit and technology.

The project is a development of Texas-based Hines and was designed by Michael Green Architecture of Vancouver and Minneapolis-based DLR Group. The general contractor is Kraus Anderson Construction. Vancouver-based StructureCraft built the timber structure supporting the tower.

The structure features sustainable Austrian Spruce and Douglas Fir wood, said Hines director Bob Pfefferle during a recent tour of the 220,000-square-foot building.

Pfefferle described T3 as a “modern, vintage office building.”

“It’s designed to evoke what people love about these old buildings,” he said. “No one has done anything like this.”

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The tower consists of 1,100 nail laminated timber (NLT) panels — about the equivalent square footage of nine hockey rinks, according to StructureCraft. About 3,600 cubic meters of wood was used for the building, which will sequester about 3,200 tons of carbon over the life of the building.

The mass timber construction method is a new approach to the post-and-beam timber structures common 100 years ago. It also takes fewer workers and can be built faster than a typical concrete and steel structure. The T3 structure went up in 9 and a half weeks.

The building’s bottom level is concrete and the top six floors are comprised of wood.

The development, which Hines plans to use as a template for other projects across the country, takes inspiration from the historic buildings in the neighborhood for its aesthetics, but offers new amenities lacking in many older properties, such as robust WiFi, a workout center, collaborative working spaces, rooftop patio, bike storage and a bike repair station.

There are also plans for a new restaurant and a fitness studio called The Bar Method, which specializes in a combination of isometric training and dance conditioning.

Pfefferle declined to disclose tenants lined up for the project, but said it has attracted interest from tech companies, creative firms and larger companies looking to attract a workforce that appreciates the modern amenities that T3 will feature.

The project is also expected to be LEED-Gold certified, he said.

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The office building’s location is also a strong selling point for Hines. It’s a short walk to the skyway system, close to Target Field, near major freeways and the Cedar Lake Bike trail runs right past it.

Hines’ apartment development Dock Street Flats, which is 99 percent leased, is also next to the office building.

The developer also has long-term plans for a larger mixed-use development on a lot between Target Field and the T3 building, Pfefferle said.

The North Loop has become a hot market for office space. T3 is near the recently renovated Ford Center and Be The Match’s new seven-story headquarters. Schafer Richardson also has plans for a 11-story office building at the Weather-Rite site, 616 N. 5th St., and United Properties has proposed a 10-story office building near Target Field Station.

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At a glance: T3 (timber, technology and transit)

Where: 323 Washington Ave. N.

What: The first modern timber office building of its size in the country. The seven-story, 220,000-square-foot office building is on track to open in October.

Amenities: The office building will feature a barre fitness studio, restaurant, exercise center, bike facilities, a rooftop patio and collaborative working spaces for office tenants.


Opening in October in the North Loop is T3, which stands for timber, transit and technology. Submitted images

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