On warm­ing, build­ing might be a cut above

Wood for Soto seen as better for en­vi­ron­ment

San Antonio Express-News - - FRONT PAGE - By Josh Baugh STAFF WRITER

Walk onto the Soto con­struc­tion site at the for­mer Caven­der Cadil­lac deal­er­ship on Broad­way down­town, and you’ll be struck by the un­mis­tak­able fra­grance of freshly cut wood.

“That’s a com­mon com­ment,” said Hunter King­man, de­vel­op­ment man­ager for Hixon Prop­er­ties.

What’s un­com­mon is that much of the 140,600-square­foot, six-story of­fice build­ing is be­ing con­structed of wood — and less of con­crete and steel. Pro­po­nents of what is called mass tim­ber con­struc­tion see it as an in­no­va­tive way to off­set green­house gases that con­trib­ute to cli­mate change. Not ev­ery­one is con­vinced of its en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fit, while much is still un­known about the pro­duc­tion meth­ods.

The Soto is the first largescale mass tim­ber project in Texas and the fourth in the U.S., said John Beauchamp, chief in­vest­ment of­fi­cer for Hixon. It’s more com­mon in Europe.

The build­ing will have about 640 cu­bic me­ters of wood that can se­quester, or hold, more than 540 tons of car­bon diox­ide.

“It’s the equiv­a­lent of taking 290 cars off the road for a year or enough en­ergy to op­er­ate 129 homes for a year,” Beauchamp said.

Hixon is aim­ing to be at the fore­front of us­ing mass tim­ber for com­mer­cial-scale build­ings. It has part­nered with the Caven­der fam­ily on re­de­vel­op­ment of 8½ acres along both sides of Broad­way near Eighth.

The Soto, named for the Span­ish word for “grove of trees” or “small for­est,” is the lat­est build­ing to use un­con­ven­tional meth­ods here. An­other, the Credit Human head­quar­ters, far­ther north on Broad­way, will be the first com­mer­cial build­ing to tap geo­ther­mal en­ergy in San An­to­nio.

The wood for the Soto comes from trees farmed

Photos by Rebecca Slezak / Staff pho­tog­ra­pher

A con­struc­tion crew works on the Soto at Broad­way and Eighth down­town this month. The six-story of­fice build­ing is the first large-scale mass tim­ber project in Texas.

The build­ing’s wood, from trees grown in Canada and Aus­tria, can se­quester over 540 tons of car­bon diox­ide.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.