Landmark Mass Timber Project Tops Out in Seattle

The community will be the tallest mass timber building in the city.

Heartwood. Image courtesy of Swinerton

Swinerton has topped out on its construction of Heartwood, a 134-unit middle-income affordable housing community located at the intersections of Union and 14th Street in Seattle. The development is the first middle income housing community in the nation to be constructed entirely of mass timber, built following a $250,000 Wood Innovation Grant from the U.S. Forest Service. Construction is expected to finish in the spring of 2023.

For the development of Heartwood, Swinterton partnered with atelierjones for architectural design. DCI Engineers provided layout and engineering consultations. Timberlab, a close affiliate of Swinerton, is overseeing the project’s construction, procuring and assembling the building’s parts and materials, which consist of an eco-friendly cross-laminated timber composite free of traditional steel bearings and supports. The project will be Built Green Certified and will be one of the tallest CLT buildings in the state.

Topping out on Heartwood. Image courtesy of Swinerton

After its construction finishes, Heartwood will total 67,000-square-feet, sectioned off into studio and one-bedroom living arrangements. Community-wide, residents will have access to a shared courtyard, fire pit, grilling area, bike storage and in-house retail space. The community will be situated along the city’s commercial corridor near public transportation, large employers and numerous public services.

Mass timber’s mass appeal

In a time of inflated construction costs, supply chain slowdowns and environmental degradation, mass timber construction has presented itself as an affordable, reliable and sustainable building material. Densely forested regions around the Northwest and Southeastern that are abundant in the specific softwood that makes up CLT have provided much of the supply for construction, and are hosting a number of high-profile multifamily and commercial projects. One such project is the recently-approved development of 330 Distel Circle, a 90-unit affordable community in Los Altos, Calif that will begin construction in 2024.

Many clients are motivated by the environmental benefits of mass timber, but others are motivated by the cost and significant schedule savings,” William P. Silva, director of Preconstruction at Swinerton told Multi-Housing News. “The ability to construct and deliver 126 units of affordable housing to the market in just over 12 months is a game changer for addressing critical housing shortages.” 

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