Photographs by Caitlin Abrams
1. It’s the first modern tall wood building in the United States.
While the production of the timber structure has made construction history, it’s the inside of T3 where the attention to detail shines. Historical photos are laser-printed onto nail laminated timber panels, while wood-themed photos from Minneapolis fill the lobby. Architect Michael Green poured concrete on the first floor to establish a foundation, but he used real cedar planks to mold the concrete and mimic the texture of wood. “It’s a warm aesthetic, but it’s industrial and authentic, too,” says Bob Pfefferle, director of Hines.
2. The name T3 stands for Timber Transit and Technology.
“The timber part is pretty straightforward,” says Pfefferle. Transit stems from the building’s location, which sits at a major transportation hub. The Cedar Lake Trail is outside the front door; there’s easy freeway, commuter rail, and Light Rail access; and the skyway is just steps away in the adjacent C Ramp. As for technology, it’s the first building in Minneapolis to receive a preliminary Wired Certification, which ensures that tenants have access to a well-planned technological infrastructure that promotes seamless connectivity from the moment they sign the lease.
3. Even though it’s made from wood, it’s not a fire hazard.
Contrary to what you might think, T3’s wood composition actually makes it safer than many of its older—less structurally sound—North Loop neighbors. “If you think about when a tree burns, the exterior of the tree chars, but the inside remains intact,” says Pfefferle. The same goes for T3. “The structural integrity of the building is insulated by the exterior of the wood.”
4. Timber construction is surprisingly environmentally friendly.
Pfefferle makes the case that using timber helps thin overgrown forests susceptible to forest fires, and is more sustainable than steel and concrete. “Wood is the only structural material that comes from a renewable resource,” says Pfefferle. Additionally, substantial amounts of the lumber used for T3 were from trees killed by the mountain pine beetle. “The slight variation in color of the mountain pine beetle wood only adds to the warmth and character of the new space,” says Candice Nichol, the project lead from Michael Green Architecture.
5. The building was designed to draw heavy-hitting tenants, and it has.
The first tenant to open in the space was well-known fitness franchise, The Bar Method. Amazon is rumored to be working on a lease for the top two floors, and a new restaurant is opening soon. “There’s a growing demand for office space in that neighborhood,” says Pfefferle. “The uniqueness of this building really resonates with our tenants, but it’s not just mimicking an old warehouse. It’s putting a modern spin on an old idea.”