Construction on Omaha’s first known mass timber commercial building begins

When complete, the building will be at least 50% timber.
Omaha's first mass-timber office building is taking shape in the city's Builders' District.
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 4:39 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Construction is underway on Omaha’s first known mass timber commercial building.

It’s promoted as being more environmentally friendly than most newer commercial buildings in downtown Omaha.

The project is located at 1501 Mike Fahey Street in Omaha’s Builder’s District.

Plans call for a four-story building that houses mainly offices, with street-level stores and restaurants.

Mass timber is an engineered wood product that’s said to be strong like concrete but kinder to the environment.

“It’s unique. It’s a really fun element. It’s nice to be part of something that is new and different. He said, “I think the main attraction is the sustainable elements. It’s a renewable resource. It’s environmentally friendly to reproduce,” said Zac Gemar, the Vice President of Construction with the project’s developer, Noddle Companies.

Gemar said when finished, the building is expected to be 50% mass timber.

A mass timber building is in the works in Omaha

David Corbin, the Energy Committee Chairperson with the Nebraska Sierra Club, is hopeful.

“I appreciate anybody that tries to use innovative practices to be environmentally friendly.”

However, Corbin is also cautious. The Sierra Club says the claimed benefits of mass timber can be misleading when the impact of logging on forests and forest carbon is left out of the emissions equation.

“The main thing that is of concern is how they source the wood, where it comes from.”

Corbin says the concern is whether the forests are properly managed.

Gemar says the trees are sourced mainly in the Pacific Northwest.

“I think these trees are grown with the intention of being used for this purpose,” he said. “They’re producing more trees as they’re taking these down and using them for building products.”

Corbin says the Sierra Club recommends using products that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

The building is expected to be completed in the spring of 2024.