By SHERI GASSAWAY
The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) recently hosted a labor appreciation luncheon for the tradesmen and women working on the new The Heights at Manhassett project.
The $54-million Richmond Heights development will include a unique four-story building, which will house 281 apartments. It will also feature indoor and outdoor parking, a courtyard, a pool and a barbecue area.
The HIT is providing $42 million in financing for the project through the purchase of Ginnie Mae construction and permanent loan certificates. The source of HIT’s monies is local union pension funds, and to receive the financing, project developers must commit to building totally union.
About 150 union construction workers were honored last week with a catered luncheon at the development, which is currently under construction. The project, now in its first phase, is expected to create 265 union jobs.
The construction workers were joined at the celebration by HIT staff members, building trades representatives and business managers, representatives from the project’s general contractor Holland Construction and city officials.
Prior to lunch being served, Ted Chandler, HIT’s chief operating officer, and Jeff Aboussie, secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council, applauded the efforts of the workers.
“The Housing Investment Trust is proud to partner with the men and women of the St. Louis building trades to invest union pension capital to build the Heights at Manhassett,” Chandler said. “Your investment in the trust is an investment in yourselves, and together we finance and build needed rental housing in the community and build retirement security.”
Aboussie added: “We thank you for your investment. By providing financing, you create a snowball effect which results in more work for our union brothers and sisters and higher quality union-built developments for our community. HIT’s numerous projects in the St. Louis metro area have put union members to work for nearly 30 years.”
The Heights at Manhassett is the most recent of 27 projects financed by the HIT in the St. Louis area since 1987. This area is a strong market for the HIT, which has invested nearly $550 million in projects with total development investment of close to $900 million. These projects have built or preserved 4,660 housing units and created an estimated 6,530 union construction jobs and approximately 7,900 jobs across other industries. Total economic benefit to the area is estimated at approximately $2 billion.