World’s tallest wood building rising in Milwaukee
September 24, 2020 | 11:08 am CDT

MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Construction of Ascent, a 25-story mass timber building, is underway in downtown Milwaukee. When completed the 284-foot residential complex will be the tallest wood tower in the world, rising 4 feet higher than a mix-used structure built in Brumunddal, Norway last year.

The $125 million building will feature a hybrid timber and concrete frame is being developed by New Land Enterpirses and Wiechman Enterprises. Laminated timber panels for the project are being manufactured in Austria and procured and managed by Swinerton Mass Timber of Portland, Ore. The building, designed by Korb + Associates Architects, will have 259 luxury apartments. Its interior will display the wooden columns and floor decks.

Tim Gorkman, managing director of New Land Enterprises noted that the project attracted the attention from investors from across the country in spite of challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. “The interest in this project is proof that the aesthetic, construction and sustainability benefits of mass timber have captured the attention and imagination of a broad spectrum of people.”

New Land Enterprises said it opened pre-leasing a few months ago has already secured a number of reservations, including tenants for three penthouses. The project is scheduled for completion in summer 2022.

The Ascent project received a federal grant from the US Forest Service to assist with the testing needed to prove mass timber’s ability to perform as well as traditional building materials like concrete and steel to meet U.S. building codes. According to the developers, the publicly-available data shows that mass timber performs as well or even better than traditional materials in fire, earthquake and wind conditions. The developers added that the laminated timber beams, slabs and columns that will be used in the structure will offset the equivalent of CO2 produced by 2,500 cars or enough energy to power 1,200 homes per year.

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Rich Christianson | President/Owner/C-Level

Rich Christianson is the owner of Richson Media LLC, a Chicago-based communications firm focused on the industrial woodworking sector. Rich is the former long-time editorial director and associate publisher of Woodworking Network. During his nearly 35-year career, Rich has toured more than 250 woodworking operations throughout North America, Europe and Asia and has written extensively on woodworking technology, design and supply trends. He has also directed and promoted dozens of woodworking trade shows, conferences and seminars including the Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo and the Woodworking Machinery & Supply Conference & Expo, Canada’s largest woodworking show.