Katerra, a high-tech construction firm, has secured $865 million in funding from SoftBank Vision Fund. That money will go toward ongoing projects in the US, like the company’s planned cross-laminated timber plant in Washington, as well as research & development activities.
Katerra says its upcoming 250,000-square-foot Washington plant will help scale up U.S. production of CLT so that the material can be more broadly adopted across the construction industry. Katerra’s manufacturing presence in the region will provide hundreds of jobs and stimulate additional jobs through the larger supply chain and associated industries, including design, engineering, and construction. More than 150 construction-specific jobs will be created to build the CLT factory.
Cross-laminated timber, or CLT, is a key ingredient in the so-called timber towers – multi-story high rises built of wood, some reaching 18 stories or higher. Katerra says CLT is valued due to its low carbon footprint and strength.
“CLT is a material that creates beautiful spaces, is designed for manufacturing, and is sustainable all at the same time,” said Michael Marks, chairman and co-founder of Katerra. “This material represents a great opportunity to create new value within the construction industry and will be central to many of the projects we’ll be designing and building.” “We feel very comfortable and excited, particularly with the knowledgeable team we have, to make the jump into manufacturing mass timber. We are ready to help bring mass timber to the mainstream of US construction.”
Katerra is already applying its high-tech construction techniques to manufacture building sections in an existing Phoenix factory, in processes similar to auto plants. The Phoenix plant uses CR Onsrud and Laguna machinery, and fabricates rooms and building sections, including cabinetry, plumbing and wiring.