Katerra opens high-volume CLT manufacturing facility

Katerra, the technology-driven off-site construction company, has opened North America’s highest volume cross-laminated timber (CLT) factory in Spokane Valley, Wash.

The 270,000-square-foot facility will “dramatically increase supplies of CLT,” the company said. CLT is a fully renewable structural building material that sequesters carbon for a building’s life and can be used in place of steel and concrete in buildings up to 18 stories.

CLT is a pre-fabricated, engineered wood panel with unique and often superior building, aesthetic, environmental, and cost attributes. As a transformative structural building product, CLT allows for more efficient, factory built, and sustainable approaches to design and construction.

In 2018, the International Code Council (ICC) adopted tall wood building codes for up to 18 stories.

“CLT perfectly embodies Katerra’s guiding principles for product development – it is technologically advanced, sustainable, and offers meaningful cost and time reductions,” said Michael Marks, CEO and co-founder of Katerra. “We have invested in creating the largest capacity CLT factory in North America because we believe deeply in the potential of CLT and want to see this great material advance to the mainstream.”

Katerra’s new CLT factory, which hosted an opening event and tour on Sept. 20, occupies 29 acres with easy access to rail lines and interstate highways. At full operation, the factory will employ 105 people with an annual manufacturing capacity to provide thousands of apartments, student housing units, and more than 11 million square feet of floors and roofs.

According to Katerra, CLT enables faster construction with less on-site labor while its strength, lightweight nature, and dimensional stability offer performance, schedule, and constructability advantages over steel or concrete. The company also says that its CLT product line is cost-competitive with concrete and steel, and when efficiently designed, more affordable than other building material options.

Additionally, Katerra points to CLT as a safe, inherently fire-resistant material which has undergone comprehensive review and fire-performance testing.

Leadership moves

Just days before opening the new facility, the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company also announced a series of leadership changes.

Matthew Marsh has been appointed as chief financial officer. Marsh brings more than two decades of international financial management to his role, including a 16-year career at General Electric Company. Prior to Katerra, Marsh was CFO and executive vice president for James Hardie Industries.

Marsh replaces Joanne Solomon, who is leaving the company to pursue new opportunities, Kattera said.

Other moves include Lisa Picard joining as a director of Katerra’s board, and Mollie Fadule has joined as head of affordable housing. Picard is president and CEO of EQ Office and leads a 20 million square foot portfolio of assets for Blackstone Group.

As head of affordable housing at Katerra, Mollie Fadule will lead Katerra’s affordable housing product offering in the U.S. and advise on the company’s commercial strategy. Fadule comes to Katerra with a broad range of experience in real estate and private equity having led acquisitions, development, and management of complex real estate transactions both domestically and internationally.

Fadule is a co-founder and partner of Cephas Partners, a private equity firm specializing in alternative investments with a primary focus on real estate related opportunities.

“These three new appointments further strengthen Katerra’s leadership team as the company focuses on executing its vision of smarter building, better communities, for everyone,” said Michael Marks, co-founder and CEO of Katerra. “Matthew, Lisa, and Mollie add important, diverse expertise to Katerra’s management team. Their combined experience positions the company well for its growth in domestic and international markets.”