Mortenson JV Marks a First With Phoenix Office Building

The development will feature the Arizona debut of a cross-laminated timber structure.

Mortenson, in partnership with PGIM Real Estate and Urban Development Partners, has broken ground on The Beam on Farmer, a 184,000-square-foot office building in downtown Tempe, Ariz. The Beam is Arizona’s first development to feature a cross-laminated timber (CLT) primary structural system. Delivery is stated for May 2022.

Mortenson serves as developer and general contractor of the project, teaming up with PK Associates and Collectiv Landscape Architects. The joint venture initially announced the innovative project in 2019, aiming for a 2020 completion, but construction work was postponed due to COVID-19-related difficulties.

Why cross-laminated timber?

Considered by some “the concrete of the future”, CLT is a sustainable building material made of layered natural timber, characterized by high-efficiency strength and fire resistance. The eco-friendly material creates zero waste and can capture 3.5 tons of carbon dioxide. In addition, scrap material from CLT production is used to create other products or biofuel.

In recent years, developers have started to use both mass timber and CLT to build their projects. Note-worthy examples include a 180,000-square-foot creative office development Hines is building in partnership with Urban Street Development in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Virginia’s tallest timber building.

Future healthy building

The Beam on Farmer is taking shape on a 3-acre parcel at 401 S. Farmer Ave., in an opportunity zone. Designed by RSP Architects to become a healthy workplace environment, the five-story building will feature a mix of solid timber, concrete, steel and glass, with 13-foot exposed wood ceilings and 40,000-square-foot open floorplates.

The property will also include a multi-level parking garage with a ratio of 4 spaces per 1,000 square feet and 20,500 square feet of retail, CommercialEdge data shows. A JLL team was appointed as the building’s exclusive leasing broker.

Other Tempe office developments

The site is roughly 10 miles from downtown Phoenix, within the Tempe-Mill submarket, just west of the Arizona State University campus. The location is within walking distance of one of the metro’s largest office developments underway, according to CommercialEdge information. The 287,000-square-foot project of Cousins and Hines is where Amazon leased 95,000 square feet as part of its Phoenix Tech Hub expansion.

Another sizeable office project is coming online some 2 miles northwest of The Beam, at the intersection of North Priest Drive and West Washington Street. Developed by Lincoln Property Co., the 238,000-square-foot Grand 3 is one of the eight office components of the 3.2 million-square-foot The Grand at Papago Park mixed-use development.

A recent CommercialEdge report shows there was roughly 2.5 million square feet of office space underway across Phoenix as of March, representing 1.9 percent of total stock.

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