B.C. mass timber manufacturer Structurlam has announced it will expand its operations into the United States. The company will spend $90 million to purchase, retrofit and equip a former steel plant in Conway, Ark.. The new facility is set to open in mid-2021.
“The commercial and residential building industry is experiencing a revolution brought on by the rise of mass timber building solutions,” said Hardy Wentzel, CEO of Structurlam. “At Structurlam, we’re transforming wood, one of nature’s most renewable resources, into a greener, more cost-effective, and aesthetically-pleasing alternative to concrete and steel.”
Structurlam is the first manufacturer to bring mass timber to the North American market and the first to introduce CLT in the production of industrial ground protection matting products used in the energy and power transmission sectors.
“Our new U.S. location will answer the demand for mass timber building products and industrial matting products in the southern, central and eastern United States, and will complement our British Columbia operation serving the Canadian, Pacific Northwest, California and Intermountain markets,” added Wentzel.
Agriculture is Arkansas’s leading industry with timber making up a third of the overall income. The state has a strong stewardship program in place to protect timber as a renewable resource, planting 1.6 trees for every tree that is harvested.
Walmart will be the first customer of Structurlam’s Conway facility. The retailer plans to use more than 1.1 million cubic feet of Arkansas-grown and Arkansas-produced mass timber in its new home office campus in Bentonville, Ark., making it the largest campus project in the U.S. using mass timber.
Structurlam selected Conway for its proximity to 19 million acres of sustainable forestland that covers more than half of the state’s total land area. The new plant is located close to transportation corridors that reach large southern and eastern markets. Other considerations included a site-ready location and available workforce.
The company currently has three manufacturing facilities in B.C.