Pearl District Development Wins USDA Award For Proposed Tall Wood Building

Dated: September 17 2015

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A Pearl District development that will mix retail, office space and affordable housing where the Albina Bank sits has won an award from the United State Department of Agriculture.


The proposed building will be made of cross-laminated timber, a 20-year-old wood construction material that is just now making its way into the U.S. Federal authorities, as well as Oregon, are making investments in getting CLT projects in motion. The Pearl District project from Beneficial Bank -- which owns a majority stake in Albina Bank -- could be the first tall CLT building, which means it faces regulatory hurdles posed by a new construction material.


The USDA held the Tall Wood Building Prize Competition to help allay those costs, and encourage developers to start seeing CLT as a real possibility. A development in New York called 475 West 18th, also won $1.5 million.


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, with industry groups Softwood Lumber Board and Binational Softwood Lumber Council, announced the winners Wednesday morning in New York.


"By embracing the benefits of wood as a sustainable building material, these demonstration projects have the ability to help change the face of our communities, mitigate climate change and support jobs in rural America," Vilsack said. "I look forward to seeing how these two buildings help lead the way in furthering the industry."


Cross-laminated timber is touted as a sustainable building material, because wood traps carbon, whereas steel and other traditional materials do not. Supporters also say that because Oregon has abundant forests, and trees can be replanted, that the extraction wood to be made into boards and then compressed into the super-strong CLT panels is less stress on the environment.


The first lumber mill to produce CLT, with certification to sell in the U.S., is in Riddle. D.R. Johnson is a family-owned mill that, with help from state and federal authorities, converted to produce CLT panels.


Oregon State University and the University of Oregon have also made investments in testing, researching and encouraging the growth of the CLT industry.


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Mark Ross

For Mark Ross, founder of Ross NW Real Estate and professional real estate broker, real estate has always been the career of choice. During his 25+ years in the industry, Mark has gained experience in....

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