Construction will start in the fall of 2019 on a 21-story residential building in Milwaukee that will be called “The Ascent.” The building will be constructed mostly of mass timber and will be the tallest modern building in the Western Hemisphere made of wood.
Construction has been held up by various councils and organizations who needed to approve some aspects of the construction. For instance, the Department of Neighborhood Services is currently consulting with local fire department officials about the safety issues of using a massive amount of timber.
The Developer, New Land Enterprises, has offered to make safety upgrades. If this project is successful New Land has plans to build other tall wooden structures in the Milwaukee area.
Mass Timber Construction Catches On
Not to be outdone, an 8,500 square foot bank building is being constructed in Fredericksburg, Texas. This will be the first full mass timber construction in the state of Texas. Southern Yellow Pine will be used because it is native to Texas and abundantly available. The First United Bank building is being designed by Gensler.
Special Fire Extinguishing Needs
The Ascent residential building in Milwaukee, Wisconsin has already passed through many of the common obstacles like rezoning and local neighborhood development committees. The tower will be a mixed-use 21-story structure that utilizes concrete shafts from top to bottom and cast-in-place concrete for the first five floors. Special testing will be done to verify the building’s fire rating. Equipment designed to self-extinguish in case of fire will also be used.
The Ascent will have 205 residential units on 15 floors and about 8,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor. There will also be a roof-top garden and gym area, along with four floors of enclosed parking.
If this mass timber project is successful, developers believe it will spawn construction of other tall buildings made of mass timber.