Cross Laminated Timber

NYC has pushed back on building new buildings out of cross-laminated timber for years. From the countless cranes and construction throughout the city, one would think we would be pretty cutting-edge regarding new construction.

The opposite is true; NY is very conservative. Very little has changed in building buildings in the past hundred years. However, timber has been used in Europe for the last few decades, which is not the case in the States.

Randomly, Fred and I built the first CLT apartment building in NY, located at 283 Greene in Brooklyn. There was a lot of back and forth on this project with the city, but ultimately, our timing was perfect, and we prevailed. We are in the process of building another CLT building at 122 Waverly Avenue in Brooklyn. Both are beautiful buildings, at least we think so, that feel European, and based on our zero tenant turnover, it appears that our tenants agree. These buildings have been a labor of love, and we call the buildings Frame.

In classic American governance, we eventually wake up, and things move forward quite quickly when we do. Last week, I read this: The New York City Economic Development Corporation has launched the New York City Mass Timber Studio, a program aimed at supporting the early stages of mass timber construction. The studio will offer $25,000 grants for design and feasibility assessments and aims to make New York a global leader in eco-friendly mass timber buildings. Victoria Cerullo, acting executive director of the Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice, stated that the initiative aligns with the city’s goal to halve the construction industry’s carbon footprint by 2033. Partners on the venture include the USDA Forest Service, the American Institute of Architects New York, and the NYC Department of Buildings.

I hope that more developers begin to build for the future. It would be a serious bonus if developers also cared about the community they are building in and the appearance of the buildings. I still am ranting about Hudson Yards, one of the biggest busts of real estate, and there is no reason why it could not have been a positive addition to the city’s landscape. Every building should be a positive addition to the ever-growing city landscape. It is just not that hard.