Hines Bets Big on Mass Timber to Grow its T3 Global Portfolio

Through it's T3 Global portolio, Hines is now eying new mass timber projects in Sydney and Brisbane.

Wed 20 Mar 24


One of the world’s largest real estate developers, Hines Global Real Estate, is looking to mass timber-based green buildings” to fuel the next generation of commercial office and build-to-rent residential construction projects.

That is according to Fast Company, which today included the developer in its list of the world’s most innovative companies (as well as ZGF – for the Portland International Airport and NBBJ – the developer of futuristic modified timber hybrid systems).

Last year, the firm expanded its series of T3 mass timber projects, which started with a 2016 project in Minneapolis, the first new multistory wood office in the U.S. in more than a century.

Now, Hines has 26 projects built or in the pipeline, including T3 RiNo, which is planned to be one of Denver’s most sustainable buildings, and T3 Collingwood, which last year became Australia’s first all-timber high rise.

Featured at last year’s Timber Offsite Construction Conference (now rebranded as Timber Construct), Andrew Dunn, conference organiser, said the Hines development, the first in Australia, is the start of a timber-led revolution.

T3’s choice of mass timber elevates the very essence of collaborative workspaces. By seamlessly blending cutting-edge design with ecological mindfulness, T3 stands tall as a testament to responsible construction. Footage courtesy of @victoria_wood.

“Developed by Jackson Clements Burrows, it used more than 2,358 cubic meters of cross-laminated timber (CLT) from XLam Australia and an additional 874 cubic meters of glue-laminated timber (GLT) from Australian sustainable hardwood (ASH),” Mr Dunn said, adding that it was the first project delivered as part of the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation’s Mass Timber Program.

“The CEFC program, announced in late 2022, is a $300m mass timber incubator program, encouraging the take-up of timber construction materials to absorb carbon and reduce the emissions of new buildings,” with the T3 Collingwood building taking up $70m of that spend. 

According to David Warneford, the CEO of Hines’ Australia and New Zealand business, the Australian real estate market is primed for what he describes as magnet buildings.

“These ‘magnet buildings’ are sustainability-driven, well-located, technologically efficient, and adjacent to transit,” Mr Warneford told the Australian last year.

Significantly, timber plays a role in driving demand for these magnet assets, not just for the obvious embodied carbon benefits.

image 77
Hines is a major player in both commercial and residential real estate development. In March 2022, it secured a site in North Melbourne, close to its newest commercial development, T3 Collingwood, which it will convert into a 220-unit build-to-rent development. (Photo Credit: Real Estate Source)

“The first thing people do is they go over and touch a column, and they rub it, smell it,” he said before continuing, “and I think it creates a very warm, feeling office environment.”

“I think we often walk onto more conventional floors, and they just don’t offer the same depth of character.”

More about Hines Global T3 Portfolio

The Hines’s innovative Timber, Transit, Technology (T3) approach replaces traditional structural systems with prefabricated solid wood systems.

Hines’s commitment to mass timber is part of a growing shift towards low-carbon construction materials to meet climate commitments. Footage courtesy of @PBSNewsHour

Hines, which has more than 200 projects under construction worldwide, has developed, redeveloped, or acquired 1,639 properties and is using mass timber construction systems to drive net-zero operational carbon across its building portfolio by 2040.

To date, Hines has 26 T3 assets in various stages of development across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Spain, including:

  • T3 Bayside in Toronto
  • T3 FAT Village in Fort Lauderdale
  • T3 RiNo in Denver
  • T3 West Midtown in Atlanta
  • T3 North Loop in Minneapolis
  • T3 Sterling Road in Toronto
  • T3 Diagonal Mar in Barcelona
  • T3 Wedgewood Houston in Nashville
  • T3 American Tabacco Campus in Durham

Mr Warneford is now looking to increase Hine’s T3 stake in the Australian marketplace. Australia, which has emerged as a leader in the push to use mass timber construction in high-rise construction, is a lucrative market for Hines, with Mr Warneford eying “a few” potential sites in Sydney, as well as a site in Brisbane.

Australia’s role in using mass timber to decarbonise construction

Last year, Wood Central reported that timber-based Green Star buildings are surging amid the push by developers to embrace embodied carbon.

“Of all the timber buildings registered with the Green Building Council over history, we’ve done more than 50% in the last three years alone,” said Davina Rooney, CEO of the Green Building Council of Australia, who spoke at Transform last week.

The pivot towards timber is part of a shifting focus from operational carbon to reducing emissions connected to the construction process.

“Developers know the pathway to net-zero in operations,” Ms Rooney said, which includes removing gas from buildings, securing renewable electricity, and better using ventilation.”

St Lukes in Launceston is Tasmania's first, but certainly not last mass timber building under construction. (Photo Credit: Fairbrother Construction)
St. Luke in Launceston is Tasmania’s first, but certainly not last, mass timber building under construction. (Photo Credit: Fairbrother Construction)

Next week, Mr Dunn will travel to Portland, where he will participate in the International Mass Timber Conference – which, along with Timber Construct, is one of the top conferences focused on mass timber.

“When it comes to mid-rise and tall timber hybrid buildings, whether it’s T3 in Collingwood, St Lukes in Launceston, Atlassian Central Tower and the Milligan Tower in Sydney or even C6 in Perth, developers are looking at mass timber and hybrid solutions more than ever before,” he said.

“That’s why we can’t wait to dive into some of these projects as part of Timber Construct later this year.”

The program, now available to download from the Timber Construct website, is one of three dedicated mass timber conferences – and will occur on August 12 and 13 in Melbourne.

“Whilst we haven’t opened up tickets yet, we are taking registrations of interest for those that want to “stake their claim” early,” Mr Dunn said.


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