CONWAY, Ark. -- Mass timber manufacturer Structurlam Mass Timber Corp. has announced today it will expand its operations into the United States, with a plant in Conway set to open in mid-2021. The Canadian-based company, in which Walmart has made an investment, will spend $90 million to purchase, retrofit and equip a former steel plant and create 130 new jobs, and will source softwood lumber from Arkansas-grown Southern Pine trees.
Mass timber is a category of building construction featuring structural laminated wood components for walls, roofs, floors, beams and columns. A key economic benefit of mass timber is the ability to design, model and prefabricate the structural elements of a project offsite, accelerating on-site production schedules by up to 25 percent compared to traditional onsite building with steel and concrete
Structurlam is reported to be the first manufacturer to bring mass timber to the North American market and the first to introduce CLT in the production of industrial ground protection matting products used in the energy and power transmission sectors.
The new U.S. location will answer the demand for mass timber building products and industrial matting products in the southern, central and eastern United States, and will complement British Columbia operation serving the Canadian, Pacific Northwest, California and Intermountain markets, said Hardy Wentzel, CEO of Structurlam.
Agriculture is Arkansas's leading industry with timber making up a third of the overall income. The state has a strong stewardship program in place to protect timber as a renewable resource, planting 1.6 trees for every tree that is harvested.
Walmart will be the first customer of Structurlam's Conway facility. The world's largest retailer plans to use more than 1.1 million cubic feet of Arkansas-grown and Arkansas-produced mass timber in its new Home Office campus in Bentonville, Arkansas, making it the largest campus project in the U.S. using mass timber.
Structurlam selected Conway for its proximity to 19 million acres of sustainable forestland that covers more than half of the state's total land area. The new plant is located close to transportation corridors that reach large southern and eastern markets. Other considerations included a site-ready location and available workforce. See structurlam.com.
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