St. Louis – The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) is providing $6.6 million of union pension capital to carry out a major rehabilitation of the Holy Infant and the St. Joseph apartments, two developments for low-income seniors in Shrewsbury. Work on the $13 million project is expected to generate 75 union construction jobs.
HIT Chief Operating Officer Ted S. Chandler announced the investment at the PRIDE of St. Louis, Inc. “Investment Summit” April 17 in downtown St. Louis.
The construction labor-management group invited AFL-CIO HIT and three other national financiers to St. Louis to connect with civic, business and labor leadership and energize investment in St. Louis union-built projects.
“We very much appreciate the support and the cooperation that the Housing Investment Trust has had with the St. Louis building trades over the years,” Chandler said. “St. Louis has always been a good market for us, with good solid projects that are all built 100 percent union.”
Chanlder’s announcement was well received by the labor leaders in attendance at the summit.
“Union members need good jobs in this economy, but they also appreciate having a chance to give back to the community,” said Jeff Aboussie, executive secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council. “We are proud that the HIT is using union pension dollars to put union members to work on projects that will improve the quality of life for some of our community’s neediest older residents.”
By refinancing existing debt on the Holy Infant and St. Joseph properties, Chandler said the project will keep the 157 housing units affordable for low-income seniors.
Built more than 20 years ago, Chandler said the apartments are in need of substantial rehabilitation to improve their livability and marketability and to make them more energy efficient. The rehabilitation work financed by the HIT will convert most of the existing efficiency apartments into one-bedroom units as well as renovate kitchens and bathrooms to make them more accessible and expand community spaces.
To implement the plan, apartment residents will be temporarily relocated to newly-renovated units as they become available.
CREATING UNION JOBS
Under its Construction Jobs Initiative begun in early 2009, the HIT has invested $174 million to support five projects in the St. Louis area, creating 2,550 construction jobs.
“Last year, the largest projects in downtown St. Louis, The Laurel and Park Pacific, debuted thanks to a $108 million investment by AFL-CIO HIT,” said Jim LaMantia, executive director of PRIDE. “It plowed union pension funds back into our community to advance economic development at a time when credit was extremely tight.”
The Construction Jobs Initiative is a national effort to get union construction workers back on the job through investments in housing projects. Since establishing the initiative in 2009, the HIT has invested nearly $1 billion of union pension capital to generate more than 12,000 union construction jobs across the country, including projects in and around St. Louis.
In addition to Park Pacific and The Laurel, they include Council Tower Senior Apartments in downtown St. Louis; Parkway Lakeside Apartment s in O’Fallon, Ill.; and the Villas at Crystal Lake in Swansea, Ill.
“The HIT’s investments in the St. Louis metro area in the last four years have helped leverage $400 million of total development and created nearly 2,700 jobs for members of the building and construction trades unions,” Chandler said. “These investments are helping the HIT achieve competitive returns for our investors in addition to bringing jobs and economic development to this community.”
The HIT is a fixed-income investment company and manages over $4 billion in assets for approximately 350 investors, which include union and public employee pension plans.
Since 1995, the HIT has provided over $460 million in financing for St. Louis area projects representing more than $800 million of development activity, 3,936 units of housing and approximately 5,750 union construction jobs. More information on the HIT can be found online at www.aflcio-hit.com.
In addition to the HIT, other national investment trusts that attended the PRIDE “Investment Summit” include:
- AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust (BIT), a $2.9 billion commercial real estate fund that has invested $110 million in St. Louis area projects, including the FBI building and the Veterans Administration building downtown and the Internal Revenue Service Regional Support Center in Chesterfield; West Park II in Creve Coeur, Richardson Corporate Center in Arnold; and five projects at Fountain Lakes Commerce Center in St. Charles. More information on BIT can be found online at www.aflcio-bit.com.
- Multi Employer Property Trust (MEPT) a $5.42 billion fund that has invested more than $169.3 million in St. Louis-area projects including Gateway Commerce Center in Madison County, Ill.; Shaw Park Plaza in Clayton; and West 70 Commerce Center in St. Charles. Since its inception in 1982, MEPT has generated more than $518.5 million in total economic impact in the ST. Louis market and has created nearly 2.7 million job hours for the union construction industry. More information on MEPT can be found online at www.mept.com.
- Union Labor Life Insurance Co. (ULLICO), whose $3 billion J for Jobs fund has invested approximately $90 million in projects in and around St. Louis. ULLICO also has a Work America Fund, started in 2009, with about $130 million in assets, and a ULLICO Infrastructure fund, launched last year, with close to $60 million in assets. ULLICO is currently looking for projects for both funds. More information on ULLICO can be found online at www.ullico.com.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, PRIDE is the nation’s first and oldest voluntary construction labor-management organization, uniting labor, management and the buyers of construction services to advance local economic development.
PRIDE works to build cooperation among the key players in the St. Louis building industry by promoting construction productivity, cost-effective construction, safe and drug-free job sites and workforce training and development. Find out more at www.prideconstruction.org.