Union trusts have invested more than $600 million on area projects
As the busy summer construction season gets under way, PRIDE Labor-Management is priming the pump of investment in local building projects.
The nation's oldest construction labor-management organization hosted its fifth annual “Investment Summit” May 16, in St. Louis, allowing labor-management pension trustees and construction industry leaders to meet with representatives from three national real estate investment trusts:
• AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT)
• Multi-Employer Property Trust (MEPT)
• Union Labor Life Insurance Co., Inc. (ULLICO).
PRIDE Executive Director Jim LaMantia said the three trusts are well known to labor and construction leaders for their investment of union pension funds in 100 percent union-built projects in St. Louis.
“The summit is an opportunity to further their investment in the growth of our city and region,” LaMantia said.
The three trusts are all based in Washington.
Collectively, they have invested more than $600 million to launch construction projects in the St. Louis area.
In its nearly 50-year history, AFL-CIO HIT has invested more than $500 million in 27 St. Louis area projects with total development costs of more than $840 million. The projects represent more than 4,400 housing units and approximately 6,150 union construction jobs.
Under its Construction Jobs Initiative begun in early 2009, the HIT has invested $180 million to support six projects in the St. Louis metro area that represent approximately 2,630 jobs for members of the local building and construction trades unions.
“The AFL-CIO did not create the Housing Investment Trust because we thought the world needed another government backed fund,” said Ted Chandler, chief operating officer (COO) of the HIT. “We created the Housing Investment Trust to create jobs.”
Besides providing a major boost to the local economy, these projects also represent 1,270 new or rehabilitated housing units for local residents.
Its most recent projects are Park Pacific and The Laurel in Downtown St. Louis; Council Towers Senior Apartments in Midtown St. Louis; Holy Infant and St. Joseph Apartments in Shrewsbury, Mo.; the Parkway Lakeside Apartments in O’Fallon, Ill. and the Villas at Crystal Lake in Swansea, Ill.
To learn more about the HIT, visit www.aflcio-hit.com.
The Multi Employer Property Trust (MEPT) has invested $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 $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.
To learn more about the MEPT, visit www.mept.com.
ULLICO has invested approximately $127.5 million in Missouri through its “J for Jobs” fund since it was formed in 1977.
The formula is simple, Griffin Goetz, director of institutional sales for ULLICO said: “If our union contractors don’t go to work every day, our union members don’t go to work every day.”
Currently, ULLICO is investing $37.5 million to create the Central West End Apartments Phase II on Union Boulevard.
To learn more about ULLICO, visit www.ullico.com.
The AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust (BIT), was unable to send a representative to the summit, but has invested more than $150 million in Missouri projects, including the $42 million Cortona Apartments at Forest Park, which are scheduled for completion this summer.
Other projects include the Veterans Administration, IRS Building, and FBI Building in St. Louis and various projects at Fountain Lakes Commerce Center in St. Charles.
To learn more about the BIT, visit www.aflcio-bit.com.
Founded in 1972, PRIDE is an acronym for Productivity and Responsibility Increase Development & Employment.
PRIDE works to maintain harmony and build cooperation among the key players in the St. Louis building industry.
The organization promotes construction productivity, cost-effective construction, safe and drug-free job sites and work force training and development.
Find out more at www.prideconstruction.org.