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329 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York's first mass timber home (Compass) 329 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York's first mass timber home (Compass)
In loft buildings dating back to the mid-19th century, exposed timber columns, joists, and ceiling beams add a note of historic charm to a converted home. But between new building techniques, a rise in popularity, and revised building codes, a number of 21st century buildings are coming to embrace timber construction anew.
The most commonly known techniques are cross-laminated timber (CLT) construction and glue-laminated timber (glulam), which bind prefabricated timber panels, making it stronger than steel. It is also more environmentally friendly than steel, as it does not require the burning of fossil fuels during production; moreover, if sourced from timber growing in sustainably managed forests and harvested responsibly, it is a renewable resource. Another plus is a shorter construction timeline, bringing new housing units to the market more quickly at a time when vacancy is at an all-time low.

In this article:

81 Walker Street
81 Walker Street Tribeca
The Armory, 529 West 42nd Street
The Armory, 529 West 42nd Street Midtown West
34 East 10th Street
34 East 10th Street Greenwich Village
100 West 15th Street
100 West 15th Street Chelsea
362 West Broadway
362 West Broadway SoHo
Other countries and states have come around to the benefits of CLT and other timber construction methods, but New York is somewhat late to the party, having banned timber towers following a series of fires in the 19th century. However, in fall 2021, the New York City Council approved the use of mass timber for buildings. This allowed architect Aaron Schiller to update his Clinton Hill home, a former carriage house dating back to the 1870s, with timber floors, stairs, and roof, all components that contributed to its environmental friendliness, not to mention recycled wood beams and materials sourced from Brooklyn Navy Yard. The New York Post announced that it has just sold for $7 million.
329 Vanderbilt Avenue
Living room with timber ceilings

“I was looking to prove a point with something developers said you couldn’t do in New York. I was confident it could be done” – Aaron Schiller on his mass timber townhouse

Mass timber stairs
Mr. Schiller’s house was hailed as the city’s first mass timber home, but it is not the last – the recently passed law allows for mass timber construction of buildings up to 85 feet high. This means we won’t see CLT supertalls any time soon, but it is right in line with the boutique condominiums that are getting snatched up quickly in Brooklyn. The New York City Mass Timber Studio, a technical assistance program to support timber development projects, launched in September 2023, easing the way for more buildings of this type. In the meantime, we look at new buildings that have incorporated timber construction, as well as prewar listings with exposed wood elements.

Timber House, 670 Union Street, Park Slope
Developed by The Brooklyn Home Company | Design by Mesh Architectures
6 stories | 14 units
No current availabilities

670-Union-Street Timber House (Douglas Elliman)
At six stories and 23,593 square feet, Timber House is the largest mass timber building in New York City. While not technically CLT construction, Mesh Architectures principal Eric Liftin's alternative suggestion of glue-laminated timber won out and let the building take shape. In addition to the more energy-efficient construction method, environmentally friendly features include triple-glazed windows, solar panels, multi-zone heat pump heating and cooling, and an energy-recovery air filtration system. The interiors have been described as modern-day treehouses, and the vast majority of units have entered contract.

Umbrella Factory, 710 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg
Developed by SL Development | Design by Rawlings Architects
7 stories | 69 units
4 availabilities from $1.125M

710-Metropolitan-Avenue-01 Umberella Factory (MNS)
As part of Williamsburg's industrial-to-residential transformation, the former Embee Sunshade Company factory has been converted to a condominium with industrially inspired interiors with exposed heavy timber beams. Large quantities of structural timber were sourced for the conversion of the existing building, and a glass and metal addition adds a contemporary touch.

Umbrella Factory, #PHB (MNS)

360 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg
Developed and designed by Flank Architecture & Development
5 stories | 28 units
1 availability for $8,600/month

360-Wythe-Avenue-01 360 Wythe Avenue (MNS)
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When the brick-and-beam 360 Wythe Avenue and its sister project, an office building at 320 Wythe Avenue, were approved in 2017, they were the first of their kind to be approved in nearly a century. Flank co-founder Mick Waldorf told 6sqft that he didn't want to bring "hyper-contemporary glass boxes" to the neighborhood, and he has succeeded on that count: The brick facade was inspired by Williamsburg's historic factories and warehouses, and interiors feature exposed wood beams and columns.

Corner living room with timber ceiling 360 Wythe Avenue, #501 (Greystar)
Kitchen with timber ceiling
Corner bedroom with timber ceiling
From the Listing: Apartment 501 is a beautiful 3-Bedroom featuring a private terrace. 12' ceilings clad in beautiful exposed Black Spruce timber, central heating and cooling, and a luxury appliance package from SMEG and Bosch round out the offering. See floor plan and full details here.

Frame 283, 283 Greene Avenue, Clinton Hill
Developed by Frame Home | Design by LoadingDock5
5 stories | 10 units
No current availabilities

283-Greene-Avenue-01 Frame 283 (Frame)
Frame 283 was an early adopter of CLT, having received an exception to the building code so its construction could take place. Between its eco-friendly construction, solar panels, energy-efficient appliances and HVAC systems, dedicated compost bin in the trash room, and bike room, it is little surprise that the building achieved Passive House certification. It has proven wildly popular: The building is fully leased and has a waiting list.

NYC Listings with Exposed Beams

The Armory, #2K (Corcoran Group)

100 West 15th Street, #1A (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

The Mill Building, #308 (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

16 Greene Street, #6S (Compass)

34 East 10th Street, #3E (Brown Harris Stevens Residential Sales LLC)

145 Sixth Avenue, #4C (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

81 Walker Street, #2 (Corcoran Group)

31 Washington Street, #11 (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

362 West Broadway, #2 (Serhant LLC)

XOCO 325, #2 (Serhant LLC)
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Or call us at (212) 755-5544
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