Construction has begun on the Beam on Farmer, a 5-story, 184,000-square-foot speculative office building in Tempe, which is the first office building in the state to use cross-laminated timber as its primary structural system.
The construction project was delayed about a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the developer, Mortenson, said the building will likely be a place tenants seek after the pandemic is over for its healthy building attributes.
The building was already planned to include an under-floor air distribution system, which has turned out to be a major benefit, George Foristall, director of real estate development for Mortenson said. The system outputs clean, filtered air through the floor, rather than the ceiling, then it moves upward as it warms, so air only travels in one direction.
The pandemic also gave Mortenson the chance to incorporate touchless features, such as fob access to the elevators and doors, or app access through a phone, so a person should be able to go from their car to their desk without having to touch a shared surface.
The method of building, cross-laminated timber, uses young trees that are cut and layered, which is an overall more sustainable way of building, Foristall said.
“I think the CLT is going to be very desirable, we have seen it in other parts of the country and tenants have been very drawn to it,” Foristall said. Corporate mandates for office sustainability have led tenants to seek buildings that have sustainable construction and other environmentally friendly attributes.
The wood pieces come already cut to size and designed to fit together, so when they arrive at the construction site, they fit together like Lincoln Logs, he said. Once the wood pieces begin construction, it will take about 12 weeks to put them together. Mortenson is also developing a 6-story parking garage adjacent to the office building.
Mortenson plans to move its office into the building once it’s complete, and the firm hired Ryan Timpani and Mark Gustin of JLL as leasing brokers.
“The Beam on Farmer sits in the most sought-after office submarket in the Valley,” Timpani said in a statement. “The project’s cross-laminated timber construction profile will be the first of its kind in the Valley, creating a delivered product that is certain to draw employers from a wide range of industries looking to attract and retain the best talent.”
The building is scheduled to complete construction in May 2022. RSP Architects is the project architect. The building is being built in a former parking lot near Fifth Street and Farmer Avenue.“Throughout the past year, the Tempe market has demonstrated great resilience through the Covid pandemic, and we could not be happier to be bringing a unique product like The Beam on Farmer to our community,” Tempe Mayor Corey Woods said in a statement. “As businesses navigate what the future of the workplace environment may look like, the Beam on Farmer will play a key role in welcoming new businesses to our city, while establishing a foundation for a healthy workplace environment.