By CARL GREEN
St. Louis – When St. Louis professionals go looking for the finest apartments in the city in coming years, they will find themselves in a group of new and renovated buildings being built with union money using union workers.
Village Green, a building and management company out of Michigan, held a groundbreaking last week for a new six-story apartment building just off Union Boulevard.
The 82-unit building, scheduled for completion late next year, will be part of the Central West End City Apartments on Union north of Forest Park in the DeBalivier Place neighborhood.
Combined, the four building will have 400 apartments. Inlcuded in the complex are the St. Louis Workout gym and new restaurants Kitchen Sink and 2Schae.
While the new building is under construction, renovations to the older buildings will include expansion of the swimming pool and a new community entrance.
Union Labor Life Insurance Co., or Ullico, is lending $37.5 million for the project, through its “J for Jobs” program. The contract requires that all construction work be done with union labor.
The three existing buildings line the west side of Union Boulevard just north of Forest Park, between Lindell Boulevard on the south and Pershing Street on the north. The new building is going up behind Village Green's Westmoreland apartment building, at 245 Union, on what had been a parking lot.
The contractor is Brinkman Constructors. Architects are BKV Group, Damon Farber Associates and Stock & Associates.
Ullico Chairman Joe Hunt said the J for Jobs program has created numerous projects since its inception in 1977.
“During my early career as an ironworker, I worked on projects financed by J for Jobs,” Hunt said. “Now as chairman of the company, I am pleased to see this investment in my hometown of St. Louis supporting the next generation of union workers and pension funds.”
J for Jobs has funded more than 430 real estate projects nationwide, totaling $12.5 billion in investments.
Ullico President and CEO Edward Smith said the project would add jobs to the local economy.
“We’re so proud to be investing in this great city and adding union jobs to the local economy,” Smith said. “Having worked most of my career in Southern Illinois and St. Louis, this project has special significance for me.”
‘A BIG BOOST’
Labor leaders and city politicians held a groundbreaking ceremony for the project on Dec. 16.
Ernest Angelbeck, a business representative for Sheet Metal Workers Local 36, attended the event to represent his local.
“This is great news for us,” he said, noting that the apartments will provide jobs for years to come. “This will be a big boost. The green systems they’re bringing in here will require people to look after them.”
‘A WONDERFUL COMBINATION’
Village Green President and CEO Jonathan Holtzman said the apartments will have all the latest finishes and amenities.
The development includes shops, restaurants, a workout gym, a pool area and a courtyard with recreational and entertainment amenities.
Holtzman said typical renters might include doctors and nurses from nearby Barnes-Jewish Health Center and other professionals looking for carefree, resort-style living.
“The plan will be to have a wonderful combination of things,” he said. “And you walk right next door and there’s beautiful Forest Park.
“Central West End City Apartments will be the best apartment community in St. Louis.”