Greenbuild Special Report: Inside the Nation’s First CLT Hotel

Innovations in the real estate industry were certainly on display at the 2016 Greenbuild Conference in Los Angeles. One exhibitor leading the way was multinational property and infrastructure company Lendlease, which recently built the first hotel in the U.S. made out of cross laminated timber (CLT). As part of the firm’s 50-year privatization agreement with the U.S. army to manage its hotels and guest properties across the nation totaling about 12,000 hotel rooms, Lendlease started going down the path of using CLT to build and renovate some of the properties, realizing that they could develop them faster and with fewer people by utilizing this material. But then benefits don’t end there, Lendlease Project Manager Jeff Morrow told CPE.

“The fact that the mass timber is a renewable resource, it sequesters carbon, and it’s faster and safer than what we’ve done before, we think this is a good way of building moving forward on future projects for us and for the army, ” Morrow said.

While this wood construction technology originated in Austria and Germany in the 1990s, it’s relatively new to the U.S. As of the spring of 2016, Lendlease has completed construction of four CLT projects around the world, including the four-story Candlewood Suites at the former troop barracks on Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. The 92-room hotel’s structure was erected in December 2015 and opened in March 2016. Lendlease hopes to make building with CLT a more common practice in the U.S., and believes the material is especially beneficial for multifamily projects.

“We see (CLT) working very well in the multifamily sector, especially in tight urban environments where the density requires you to go up because of the real estate costs,” Morrow said. “You have the opportunity to increase your density and you can use the wood as a structural material as well as an aesthetic material.”

For more on the variety of benefits building with CLT has for the commercial and multifamily real estate industry, check out MHN‘s exclusive video interview with Morrow above or on the MHN YouTube channel.