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How Ascent Is Pushing Mass Timber to New Heights

Partnerships, planning and perseverance are all critical components of a unique project in Milwaukee.

The footings are in. The foundation is coming together. And hundreds of wood beams await assembly into a new $125 million luxury residential building. 

In downtown Milwaukee, Ascent is finally on the rise.

But this new mass timber composite tower, which will be the tallest of its kind in the world when completed in Summer 2022, has had a long climb just to get to this point. The three years of planning and legwork it’s taken thus far are a testament to what it takes to build bigger and bolder in a commercial real estate market like Milwaukee, which has remained stubbornly conservative for years.

“The story with almost every innovative project is that no one knows exactly what the impediments are going to be when they’re starting. But that’s innovation, right?” said Tim Gokhman, managing director of New Land Enterprises, the developer of Ascent. “You take a risk, you’re faced with challenges, and you figure out how to do it.”

In solving the challenges thus far, Ascent has benefitted from close collaboration among the multiple firms working to move the project forward. New Land and Wiechmann Enterprises are the developers, with design led by Korb + Associates Architects, structural engineering by Thornton Tomasetti, timber sourcing by Timberlab, a Swinerton Company, and a joint venture of Catalyst Construction and C.D. Smith as general contractors.