Houston-based international developer Hines will bring East Austin the city’s first example of a modern office and residential building constructed from sustainably-sourced heavy timber at 1201 East Fourth Street in a project known as T3 Eastside — that’s “timber, transit, and technology,” a brand Hines calls its prototype for the use of engineered wood in contemporary office developments, with other buildings under the T3 name currently completed in Minneapolis and Atlanta with more on the way.
A current view of the future T3 site at 1201 East Fourth Street.
Austin’s T3 project, which has nothing to do with the local ad agency of the same name, will be the first timber structure under this branding developed by Hines with a residential component, containing 15 loft-style units alongside 92,000 square feet of Class A office space in a three-story building at the southeast corner of East Fourth and Waller Streets, directly south of the 10-acre Saltillo development now anchoring many smaller office and residential projects planned in the immediate area.
Though other recent buildings in town including the offices at 901 East Sixth Street by Endeavor Real Estate Group and the Hotel Magdalena designed by Texas timber pioneers Lake Flato have used these materials, also known as mass timber, to varying degrees in their construction, the T3 Eastside project represents the first application of this product in the region’s multifamily residential market, and its most substantial structural use in an Austin office building thus far. It’s also the first office project developed by Hines here in over 40 years, its most notable previous local work dating back to 1975 at downtown’s Bank of America Center — just one of the striking towers raised under the tenure of its architecturally-minded founder, the late Gerald D. Hines.
While still relatively uncommon compared with concrete, steel, and traditional “stick” framed structures, mass timber is increasingly popular for design-forward commercial projects interested in timber’s practical and marketing potential as a more sustainable alternative to other building materials — the manufacture of engineered wood generates fewer carbon emissions than either concrete or steel, and the comparable strength of timber products in structural applications allows for surprisingly tall construction, with several European projects currently leading the pack.
More directly, the use of wood as such a prominent structural and cosmetic element has a strong curb appeal. John Mooz, senior managing director at Hines overseeing the firm’s current expansion into the regional market, says walking into a T3 building is a “biophilic experience” — the sensory aspects of timber, including its forest-like scent and warm visual presence, create an interior that feels notably different from most built environments. Engineered wood products could possibly even reduce stress and increase productivity according to some studies, handy for potential tenants hoping to coax employees back to the office in a post-pandemic context.
T3 is a Hines proprietary mass timber creative product, developed in response to evolving tenant requirements. Timber is not only 100% renewable, recyclable and non-toxic, it is also known to have productivity and wellness benefits. Upon completion, the building will provide best-inclass office and residential space that is fully future-proofed for modern teams and residents.
Common amenities will include social work and collaboration spaces; a rooftop patio with incredible views; private tenant outdoor balconies; shared conference space; a premium fitness center with a yoga studio, secured bike storage and end-of-trip facilities; and enhanced Wi-Fi connectivity throughout.
Additionally, the building’s systems are technology-rich, minimizing physical building touch points and complete with the latest HVAC systems for superior indoor air quality and air filtration systems, all aimed at elevating the standards for space in a post-COVID world.
— Hines, T3 Eastside Announcement
The construction timeline for the T3 project is currently unknown, with the first city permit filings related to the development entering the review process earlier this summer. Hines also hasn’t yet announced the design firms associated with the building, but indicates in its announcement of T3 Eastside that “several” additional projects in the Austin metro will be announced in the coming months.