USAA, Seefried Raise the Bar for Sustainable Warehouse Construction

The joint venture’s groundbreaking Dallas project incorporates materials that cut its carbon impact in half.

USAA Real Estate and Seefried Industrial Properties are using sustainable materials for the construction of an industrial project within Southfield Park 35 in Dallas.

Interior rendering of warehouse project using sustainable materials at Southfield Park 35. Image courtesy of USAA Real Estate

USAA Real Estate and Seefried Industrial Properties are nearing completion of a 161,000-square-foot industrial building in the 157-acre Southfield Park 35 in Dallas that will be one of the first industrial warehouses constructed with sustainable building materials to reduce its carbon impact by more than 45 percent.

Set for delivery in June, the building is being constructed with cross-laminated timber, a precision designed wood product that replaces the concrete tilt-wall panels of typical industrial warehouse. Conventional construction methods use concrete, which produces 8 percent of global carbon emissions annually. By using CLT instead of steel and concrete, the carbon intensive construction process is mitigated almost by half. The developers said the 60-foot CLT panels originate from a forest in British Columbia, Canada, which is closely regulated by federal authorities who allow only 1 percent of available timber to be cultivated and mandate that two trees be planted for each one that is harvested.

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The cost of CLT comes at a slight premium to concrete. But according to Lange Allen, managing director at USAA Real Estate, the use of CLT in the warehouse project is consistent with the company’s ambition to be more imaginative about limiting the environmental impact of its developments and leveraging renewable resources harvested in a sustainable manner. In addition to the dramatically reduced carbon footprint of the CLT, Allen said in prepared remarks that tenants will also recognize the material as aesthetically superior to the standard steel and concrete design of the tilt-up walls and the operational benefits from related energy efficiency.

Growing use

Josh Hullum, USAA Real Estate’s construction manager, noted that the property has the potential to set a new precedent for sustainable warehouse construction. Numerous developers including Hines and SKS Partners, which is building a 133,427-square-foot office building at 1 De Haro St. in San Francisco’s SoMa submarket with CLT as a main building material, have focused on sustainable building materials in office buildings. In late February, Hines broke ground on its most recent mass timber project—T3 Eastside, a mixed-use development in Austin, Texas, that will use sustainably sourced wood to build 93,000 square feet of Class A office space and a 9,200-square residential property with 15 lofts.

Developers are increasingly becoming more interested in using sustainable wood products and Hullum stated warehouse tenants also have a growing appetite for building solutions with these environmental attributes.

According to Jonathan Stites, a Seefried senior vice president, being part of a groundbreaking project focused strictly on using sustainably harvested timber and eco-friendly materials is monumental in the market and has promising room for future growth. Stites added that the building will also be supplemented with MEGASLAB concrete systems, a proprietary admixture for the building’s slab and site paving that relies on reduced cement but maintains durability and strength. By using the combination CLT and MEGASLAB, Stites said they are ensuring structural integrity, workplace wellbeing and the reduction of greenhouse gases.

USAA Real Estate plans to actively pursue use of CLT in other industrial projects in California and Texas.

Chris Teesdale and Tom Pearson with Colliers International will be marketing the CLT warehouse at Southfield Park 35.

Longtime partners

USAA Real Estate and Seefried announced the development of Southfield Park 35 in February 2014. With more than 2 million square feet of industrial space planned, it was the largest speculative project in North Texas at the time. The industrial park is located just south of I-20 near Danieldale and Old Hickory roads in south Dallas and DeSoto, Texas.

USAA and Seefried are frequent partners on industrial properties throughout the U.S. In March, the companies broke ground on the first building at I-4 Logistics Park in Deltona, Fla., a 1.8 million-square-foot complex that will be one of Central Florida’s largest speculative industrial developments. It will be constructed in two phases and include four buildings, with the first 984,960-square-foot building expected to deliver by January 2023.

In December, the companies announced they were developing East Gate Logistics Center, a nearly 1.3 million-square-foot facility in Forney, Texas, that will be the largest speculative industrial project to date in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.

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