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Vertical Construction on Georgia-Timber Built Office Building Begins in Atlanta

Wed March 08, 2023 - Southeast Edition
What Now Atlanta

Located next to the famous Ponce City Market in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, 619 Ponce is a new four-story project with three levels of office space as well as ground floor retail. (Rendering courtesy of Handel Architects LLP)
Located next to the famous Ponce City Market in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, 619 Ponce is a new four-story project with three levels of office space as well as ground floor retail. (Rendering courtesy of Handel Architects LLP)

Jamestown, a real estate investment and management firm, with offices in the United States and overseas, announced Feb. 27 that vertical construction had begun on 619 Ponce, a four-story mass timber loft office building at Ponce City Market in Atlanta.

When finished, the structure will be a mix of 85,000 sq. ft. of office space and 25,000 sq. ft. of retail volume. Additionally, it is being constructed with local, Georgia-grown timber, according to a Jamestown press release sent to What Now Atlanta, an online news source.

Most timber used for this type of construction is typically sourced from Canada, Austria or Germany.

Jamestown's use of Georgia-grown timber and a regional supply chain — a "first" for mass timber construction in the state — reduces the Ponce City Market project's transportation emissions and the overall environmental impact of construction, maximizing the sustainability benefits of mass timber, the development company explained in its release.

"Mass timber is the future of sustainable development, and the future of mass timber is locally sourced," said Jamestown President Michael Phillips. "619 Ponce will help redefine sustainable mass timber construction in the Southeast, providing developers and architects with a clear path forward for using local timber."

Georgia An Ideal Home for Mass Timber Harvesting

According to the Georgia Forestry Foundation (GFF), Georgia is particularly well positioned as a leader in wood product manufacturing and sustainable forest management with two-thirds of the state's land area covered in thick forests.

"Ponce City Market has been a beacon of sustainable redevelopment for Atlanta and the state of Georgia," added Andres Villegas, president and CEO of GFF. "Jamestown is leading the way again with our state's first Georgia-grown mass timber project, showcasing the ability of [the state's] working forests to capture carbon and sustainably support the needs of a growing state."

The columns, beams and floor slabs at 619 Ponce are made of local southern yellow pine sawtimber harvested from Peach State forests, including from timberland Jamestown owns and manages near Columbus.

The sawtimber was transported to the Georgia-Pacific (GP) mill in Albany, where it was converted into lumber. From there, the wood product was transported to SmartLam's mass timber facility in Dothan, Ala., where it was manufactured into cross laminated timber (CLT) panels.

Once delivered to the Ponce City Market, the CLT panels will be erected onsite by StructureCraft Construction, a New York State company, and Kansas City, Mo.-based J.E. Dunn.

Handel Architects is the designer of the 619 Ponce project.

Envisioned as Healthy Living Space

Designed with a focus on "sustainability and wellness," 619 Ponce is seeking net neutral operational carbon, LEED Core & Shell certification, and Fitwel certification, a real estate environmental designation platform committed to building healthy living spaces.

Additionally, the project aims to use best practices for material specification, prioritizing human health by "minimizing chemicals of concern in building materials with special focus on interior high touch elements."

The completion of 619 Ponce's construction is slated to occur sometime in 2024, Jamestown noted in its press release.

The new structure's amenities will include onsite daycare and medical facilities, direct access to the Atlanta BeltLine, bike storage, and complimentary access to The Roof at Ponce City Market. In addition to outdoor space on every level, the building's biophilic design will feature natural wood columns and ceilings as well as floor-to-ceiling windows with operable panels.

619 Ponce is part of Ponce City Market's next phase, which also includes a flexible-stay hospitality living building featuring 405 furnished units with short-term and long-term stay options; and Signal House, a multi-family rental building designed for active adults and the 55-years and older community.

Including its Georgia timberlands, Jamestown owns and sustainably manages more than 100,000 acres across Alabama, South Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania and Indiana. The lands are managed under the 2022 SFI Forest Management Standard, which provides third-party verification of sustainable forestry management based on several factors, including measures to protect water quality, biodiversity, wildlife habitat and threatened and endangered species.

"Since starting as a small lumber manufacturer in 1927, Georgia-Pacific has a rich history of innovation in the building products industry," said Fritz Mason, president of lumber at GP. "As pioneers in the use of southern yellow pine, we're proud to support Jamestown and SmartLam as they work to usher in the evolution of southern yellow pine in mass timber construction."

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