Developer set to build first fully eco-friendly office space in Tempe

Minnesota-based developer Mortenson is developing a completely sustainable office space in Tempe within the next year. The space will be the first of its kind in Arizona.

Mortenson utilizes what’s known as cross-laminated timber to construct the flooring and structural beams to build the 182,000 square-foot office space. The developers take five panels of wood and glue them together to make a sturdy floor, and they then use rigid wood to make durable, steadfast beams. 

“What’s unique about CLT is twofold: the wood is new-growth wood,” said Mortenson real estate director George Forristall. “So, it’s a very renewable source that you can utilize, and because it’s a renewable source — you basically grow a young tree and cut it down to make the system – all of the CO2 that the tree harnesses is encapsulated into the building, so it’s a CO2 sequestering method. There’s no waste in that process — sawdust becomes other types of lumber or becomes biomass which is used for fuel pellets or other types of materials. It’s a completely closed-loop cycle for all of the materials.”

This construction method has been around in Europe for about twenty years – particularly in Austria – but it has just recently been introduced in the United States. In fact, Mortenson is acting as somewhat of a harbinger for this fully eco-friendly office space model. Forristall believes that as more people see the space and as the local codes understand the kind of structures they’re dealing with, the more prevalent they’ll be within the market. 

When deciding where to launch this office space, Forristall and his team highlighted Tempe’s urban makeup as the deciding factor for the city.  

“We felt that the urban fabric of the Tempe area fit really well to this product type and this density,” Forristall said. “We’re doing a five-story building, which fits the density level within Tempe. The tenant mix that wants to be in Tempe matches well, so it was a good spot for us to do the first one. But we are definitely looking to do additional ones throughout Arizona after this project.”

Forristall was not able to reveal the companies or kinds of companies that will be occupying the space, but he noted that future spaces are optimized for organizations and corporations of all sizes and industries. 

Ben Norman

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