Construction industry is booming
By TIM ROWDEN
A 26-story luxury apartment building planned for downtown Clayton is the latest venture by Union Labor Life Insurance Co. (Ullico) into the market for modern high-rise living in the St. Louis area.
Griffin Goetz, director of institutional sales for Ullico said after financing the Village Green in the Central West End in 2013, Ullico is now lending $54,685,000 for the $90 million Clayton project, through its “J for Jobs” program. The contract requires that all construction work be done with union labor.
Goetz briefed members of the St. Louis Building Trades Council on the project last week, saying ULLICO had closed on financing for the project Oct. 30.
Ullico is the only labor-owned insurance and investment company and invests union pension funds primarily in apartments close to places of work in urban areas.
Among its various projects, Ullico recently invested $37.5 million to finance renovation and new construction of the West End City Apartments, a collection of three historic high-rises with 318 apartments at 275 Union Blvd in the Central West End, all built with union labor.
The Clayton project, a 26-story tower at 212 South Meramec Avenue, will include 250 apartments, ground-floor retail space and garage parking for residents. HDA Architects, of Chesterfield, designed the building. Patrick Holleran, HDA’s vice president, said the project will “bring energy” to the area.
Paric Construction is the general contractor on the project and has already contacted the St. Louis Building Trades Council to develop a project labor agreement (PLA) for the project.
The development is owned CA Ventures, of Chicago, and White Oak Realty Partners, of Rosemont, Ill.
‘J’ FOR JOBS
J for Jobs program has created numerous projects since its inception in 1977, funding more than 430 real estate projects nationwide, totaling more than $12.5 billion in investments.
Jeff Aboussie, executive secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council, said Ullico’s investment in the Clayton project is more than just a smart loan – using union pension funds to finance an all union construction project, “It speaks to how they view our market here.
“It’s not just a loan, it’s a good loan that talks about training and being able to bring a job in on budget and having the quality, trained workforce that can get the job done,” Aboussie said.
After the long, slow recovery from the 2008 recession, the Greater St. Louis metro area is in the midst of a building boom.
In addition to new high-rise apartment complexes and multi-use residential and retail developments, the CityArchRiver project, BJC expansion, Cortex Commons technology center, plans for a new SLU Hospital and a new Mercy hospital facility in Jefferson County are all under way.
Add to that projects in the offing like the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency facility and growth in the housing market and it all adds up to good news for the building and construction trades.
“We’re starting to hit on all cylinders and that’s great news for all the trades,” Aboussie said.