Hines Interests aims to rebalance the lopsided residential growth in Minneapolis’ North Loop with an office and retail building designed to capture the historic essence of the neighborhood but with a modern edge.
The seven-story, 210,000-square-foot building, unveiled Wednesday, is called T3 for its emphasis on timber, transit and technology. The speculative building, meaning it has no tenants lined up, will occupy one of several adjacent parcels that the Houston-based firm purchased next to Target Field in 2012.
The T3 site borders two existing Hines properties — the Dock Street Flats and Union Plaza, an office building. To the south is a surface parking lot where Hines two years ago proposed building a 20-story glass tower. That project remains uncertain.
T3 will be the first commercial property in the U.S. to use an engineered wood material for its structure and interior. The material is essentially created by melding together smaller timbers from younger trees to emulate the look of heavy, old-growth lumber.
“It’s marrying the coolness of the old with the modern through this technology,” said Steve Luthman, Hines senior director.
Corrugated weathering steel will give the exterior a wooden color, but with an industrial feel. As the building ages and is exposed to nature’s elements, it will change color, adding the look of patina.
“It provides an authentic building that is respectful of the neighborhood,” Hines director Bob Pfefferle said. “This will have the ambience of the old warehouses with timber beams that everyone wants, but solves all the problems of energy efficiency and light.”
To handle T3’s design, Hines turned to one of the world’s foremost experts on heavy timber construction, Michael Green Architecture of Vancouver, the firm responsible for the world’s tallest modern all-timber structure, the Wood Innovation Design Centre in British Columbia.
Wood was the right choice, Pfefferle said, for their environmental focus. A carbon negative, wood also has better thermal dynamics than steel and concrete, he said.
And Luthman said that the 100,000 cubic feet of wood used for the interior is regenerated by North America’s forests every eight minutes.
The Hines executives are confident they will break ground on the building in June despite not having any tenants. They said the project’s location, environmental focus and use of cutting-edge technologies will catch the eye of a variety of companies.
“The natural fit would be the creatives, but we’ve heard a lot from the traditional big companies and large consulting and law firms,” Luthman said.
About 15,000 square feet in the building will be retail.
T3 joins the ranks of Be the Match and the Ford Center as the only new, Class A office space in the North Loop, said David Frank, president of the North Loop Neighborhood Association.
“Having people there during the day is everything that we like,” Frank said. “It’s more people on the streets, which is great from a safety and livability standpoint. It’s more people spending money and it makes North Loop a 24-hour-a-day place where things are happening.”