Riverfront Square, a proposed 11.8-acre mixed-use development in Newark, N.J., hit headlines recently as Michael Green Architecture - the architectural firm behind the ambitious project working alongside New York-based real estate development/investment firm Lotus Equity Group - revealed that the development will be anchored by the largest timber office building ever constructed in the United States, incorporating 500,000sq ft. of workspace.

Img: Michael Green Architecture/Lotus Equity Group
Though wood may seem like an odd choice of building material for an office block it is not without precedent, and carries with it some inherent environmental benefits. Traditional building materials such as manufactured steel and concrete take their toll on the environment, accounting for an estimated 10% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Wood, if sustainably sourced, proves a much more eco-friendly alternative, which the developers have long-cited as a priority.

“The vision we share with Michael Green is to design the most environmentally sustainable office tower that enhances the health of tenants and the surrounding communities through efficient planning and green design,” said Ben Korman, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Lotus Equity Group, in a press release concerning the development.

In a recent interview with BD+C, Korman again reiterated his commitment to an environmentally-friendly approach as he told the publication of how his firm “wanted [the building] to be a project of the future: affordable and sustainable, with a lower carbon footprint.”

Once completed, the larger Riverfront Square project is expected to provide up to 2,000 residential units, retail space, cultural and public open areas, a hotel, and a total of 2million sq ft. of office space, complete with dedicated on-site parking. As for the flagship timber office block itself, this will consist of three interconnected sections at heights of six, eight, and eleven stories respectively, and will provide 500,000sq ft. of grade-A workspace.

Amenities will reportedly include open spaces on the roof and ground floor of the building. In fact, five of Riverfront Square’s 11.8 acres would become open public space which would serve to connect the new development with the city’s existing parks.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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