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High-tech Lincoln Logs turn heads in Texas
High-tech Lincoln Logs turn heads in Texas

Trees are almost as old as dirt in the construction industry, but they’re new to Texas in the form of the state’s first mass timber office building. The Texas project generating the buzz is The Soto, which opened last week at Eighth and Broadway streets in San Antonio. The six-story building, which will anchor the Cavender neighborhood, has 140,000 square feet of leasable office space and 6,000 square feet of retail on the first floor. The cost of the project was not released, and BOKA Powell partner Don Powell said “mass timber is not an inexpensive way to build an office building.” Proponents of mass timber construction say it’s an attractive new way to build because it uses a renewable resource that allows developers to reduce their carbon footprint. The most common form is cross-laminated timber that allows for faster construction and is more resistant to fire. “The Soto’s beauty offers a striking alternative to mundane office buildings, and it takes my breath away when I see it,” Powell wrote for D CEO Real Estate. Walmart also sees the potential for growth in mass timber. The retail giant wants to build its new headquarters using Arkansas pine trees, so it recruited Structurlam to invest $90 million in the country’s first mass timber manufacturing plant. The operation is scheduled to open in 2021 in Conway, Arkansas. The new construction also may be seen in Fredericksburg, where First United Bank recently opened the state’s first full mass timber building. The bank features southern yellow pine, a native Texas species. New growth for Wichita Falls A General Motors’ Delphi assembly plant that closed 14 years ago in Wichita Falls will spring back to life as the country’s largest hemp processing center. Panda Biotech of Dallas announced that it had contracted for the 500,000-square-foot plant and 97-acre campus to create the Panda Texas Plains Hemp Gin. After opening in 2021, the plant will be the country’s first to cottonize hemp fiber on a commercial scale, the company said in a news release. In a recent post, Levi’s touted cottonized hemp for its jeans because the plant grows faster, uses less water and leaves behind cleaner, healthier soils. “Something you’ll see a lot of this season (and beyond) is cottonized hemp,” the jeans company predicted. Panda Biotech’s move brings a capital investment of about $110 million, a possible $30 million investment in local farming and 50 jobs to Wichita Falls. Loving that salary Texans may see how much ...

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