The Tallest Mass Timber Building in the Americas: Mass Timber as a Sales, Marketing & Financing Tool

Tim Gokhman
New Land Enterprises LLP, Milwaukee

At 21 stories, Ascent - a proposed multi-family development in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, US - will become the tallest mass timber building in the western hemisphere. What drove a boutique development firm in the Midwestern United States to use this technology and reach for this height? What has been the reaction so far? Without argument, sustainability and eco-consciousness continue to make their way into the mainstream of real estate construction and design. As with all progress, however, getting all interested parties – in this case architects, builders, investors, lenders and end-users – to agree on the design elements, costs and benefits can be a challenge. For architects and engineers, form and function require the right combination of beauty, practicality, and feasibility. Investors and lenders, while sometimes motivated to do the “right thing”, are ultimately bound by returns and fiduciary responsibilities. Consumers are driven by design, end user experience, and affordability.

This presentation focuses on whether mass timber can be the solution to satisfy all parties. Is it possible to build sustainably, without compromise on aesthetics, while still satisfying the pricing demands of investors and consumers? And is there an added value argument in favor of mass timber? Tesla has shown that an eco-conscious, high-performing and aesthetically pleasing product, at a slight premium to existing pricing, can be a huge success. Can mass timber bring the “Tesla effect” to the construction industry?

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation