Minority union contractor awarded demolition of Brown Shoe building at NGA West site

COMING DOWN: The Buster Brown Blue Ribbon Shoe Factory building, located at 1516 N. Jefferson Ave. – Maria Altman/St. Louis Public Radio photo

Community Workforce Agreement ensuring nearly 40% minority participation key in securing project

When the federal government was selecting the new location for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s Next NGA West facility, a Community Workforce Agreement with the St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council, ensuring nearly 40 percent of all labor hours on construction of the new facility would go to minorities, was a lynchpin in securing the site location at N. Jefferson and Cass Avenues in North St. Louis.

It recently was announced that Premier Demolition, a minority business and signatory contractor with Operating Engineers Local 513, had been awarded a $311,000 demolition contract to take down the old Buster Brown Blue Ribbon Shoe Factory building, one of 137 structures that stood within the 97-acre site where the new Next NGA West facility is to be located. One-hundred-thirty-two buildings have already been demolished, and one was relocated.

The Buster Brown shoe factory building was constructed around 1900 when St. Louis was one of the nation’s largest shoe manufacturing cities. Its history has been documented in the Shoe Industry of St. Louis report.

As part of the demolition process, Premier will salvage some of the building materials, such as bricks and wood. Some of the brick will be used in part of the construction of the Next NGA West campus. Other salvageable bricks will be hauled to a recycling facility.

The Community Workforce Agreement provides for at least 37.81 percent of all labor hours on the NGA project to go to minorities – more than double the 17 percent inclusion goals set forth in federal guidelines. Of those hours, at least 23.28 percent will go to St. Louis city residents, and 6.9 percent will go to women.

The Building Trades Council also committed to an expansion of its Building Union Diversity (BUD) program, which was launched in 2014 to bring more minority and female workers into the union trades. The program represents a unique partnership of the Building & Construction Trades Council, the Eastern Missouri Laborers District Council and St. Louis-Kansas City Regional Carpenters Council, with funding help from the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE) and the Missouri Division of Workforce Development.

The BUD program’s tenth class session started July 10.

Individuals interested in signing up for future BUD classes may contact SLATE at 314-657-3545.

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