First timber-made building going up since Great Chicago Fire of 1871

All along the Chicago Skyline you can see towering steel and glass structures. 

But soon, the city will add a building with an old school material, used in a new way.

"I'm thrilled to talk about it. Nine story, mass timber construction. For the city of Chicago as well as for the country, frankly, this is a new product type," said Peter Gudonis, Project Manager, Sterling Bay.

Sterling Bay is developing the nine-story, multifamily building for 2100 North Southport.

The developer says it will be the tallest timber-made building to be constructed since before the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.


"Yeah, it's hard to avoid that topic in this town. But a lot has changed in 150 years. Material science, or at least science or engineering. I mean, there's whole industries that have evolved since then. So not only is the science chained to it, the testing process has become far more stringent," explained Gudonis.

Gudonis says they hope to start construction on the building in Lincoln Park next year, and the mass timber will mean faster, more efficient construction.

And unlike the wood structures that burned so fast and furious in the Great Chicago Fire, this kind of timber can withstand the heat.

"You can calculate the rate of it burns, and it's safely kind of chars from the outside so that the interior core is structurally sound," said Gudonis.

He hopes this kind of construction will take off across North America, so timber could be part of Chicago's future, as well as our history.