Q&A: 40TEN Developer Scott Slosson Weighs In on Heavy Timber

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The use of heavy timber in developments around the U.S. has been gaining in popularity, as developers find that it not only offers a unique look to a property, but is also much more environmentally friendly than building with steel or concrete.

28 Walker Development is currently working on 40TEN, Baltimore’s first heavy timber office building, which will be part of The Collective master-planned, mixed-use development in the Canton neighborhood of Baltimore.

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Scheduled to open in 2022, the building will feature an exposed timber structure, expansive glass lines, 15-foot ceilings, plus common area amenity space and a roof deck.

Scott Slosson, 28 Walker Development’s COO, talked with Commercial Observer about the appeal of the new building and why heavy timber was chosen for the project. 

Commercial Observer: What will be the appeal of 40TEN?

Scott Slosson: 40TEN will be Baltimore’s first heavy timber office building. 40TEN offers tenants a beautiful, progressive, sustainable alternative to standard offices with drop ceilings, cubicles and painted drywall.

I understand this is the first commercial office property in Baltimore to use heavy timber wood. Where did the idea to use this material come from?

We have seen heavy timber as a growing trend for office space across the U.S. It’s something that resonated with us based upon our recent leasing success in our Phillips Seafood office conversion project. That project, which saw the conversion of the former Phillips Seafood production facility into approximately 170,000 square feet of Class A office space, was really well received because of the building’s unique character and charm. Heavy timber provides a unique character and creates a warm and inviting work space.

What are the benefits?

It’s sustainable and environmentally friendly. It’s a significantly lower carbon footprint when compared to buildings constructed with steel or concrete. It creates a really unique office environment that sets itself apart from a traditional office building with drop ceilings and 2×4 fluorescent lighting. And it represents a faster construction timeline with quick erection times as materials are prefabricated off-site and come ready to erect. 

Why was this project selected for this?

We wanted to create a statement office building that represents what companies are looking for today. They want a unique environment, one that is exciting to come to work to and that helps with talent attraction and recruitment. They want a highly amenitized building that allows them to reduce their office footprint while enjoying perks like rooftop decks and free co-working space. They want to be in a mixed-use environment that enhances the experience of being at work, with restaurants, residential options, convenient free parking, access to child care, fitness and outdoor amenities, all right outside the front door. They want to be able to make a statement about who their company is and where they are going through their office environment.

How has COVID changed the office market landscape and impacted your company’s strategy?

COVID has certainly changed the office market landscape and we believe our project is representative of a post-pandemic workspace. We believe COVID has accelerated a decade’s worth of behavioral change and innovation in the way people and companies work.

We don’t believe that companies will do away with office space altogether, but will reevaluate how much they need and how they will use it. And as companies reevaluate their space, they will focus on improving the in-office experience for their workers. 

What sort of tenants are you targeting at this property and what do you feel they will be attracted to?

Our building has had interest from a wide variety of users, including architecture and engineering firms, design and marketing, financial services, consulting and several other fields. The interest has been driven by firms that are reevaluating space needs, and those that want to emphasize creating a better work environment for their employees.

Do you see the firm utilizing timber wood in other projects in the future? 

We do. We have spent a lot of time researching and better understanding the ins and outs of timber construction to be in a position to be able to deliver more of this product in the future.  

Any other notable projects you are working on around the D.C./Baltimore landscape?

We’re currently working on completing the balance of The Collective at Canton, which represents the transformation of 16 acres of a former Exxon refinery into a thriving mixed-use project in the Canton neighborhood of Baltimore.