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Mar
2016
4

Minneapolis Again the Beneficiary of Massive Union Pension Investment in Affordable Housing

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The AFL-CIO’s Housing Investment Trust (HIT) has announced a $29.8 million union pension fund investment in the renovation of the Seward Towers East and West in Minneapolis.  The 21-story towers reside in one of the city’s older neighborhoods and were built in 1968 and 1970, respectively.  In total, 640 multi-family units will be renovated as part of the project. 98 percent of those will be affordable housing units.

Next to each tower is a two-story “advantage center” which provides computer access, serving kitchens, and classrooms to host events. Classes assist residents in learning about a wide array of subjects from English to financial support.  The total cost of the project is $99.2 million, with the rest of the money coming from Minnesota and Hennepin County.

According to HIT’s Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer, Stephanie H. Wiggins:

“The HIT is investing union pension funds to help gain a competitive return for investors while increasing affordable housing and creating jobs in the Minneapolis area, as well as in communities across the country.  Our investment dollars are often the critical funding that makes a project viable and the units more affordable for working families. We are proud of our role in projects like this.”

The project is expected to create 270 union construction jobs and a grand total of 615 jobs for local business and service sectors.  The project is the the HIT’s 16th investment in Minneapolis bringing the total investment in the area to $223.2 million. These projects have generated an estimated $790 million in total economic benefits and nearly $300 million in personal income.

Dan McConnell, Business Manager of the Minneapolis Building and Construction Trades Council, said the community appreciates the positive economic impact of the project, including the union construction jobs it will provide:

“The HIT is an unheralded economic development engine.  Union pension funds are being invested to create jobs and provide affordable housing for working families.  It’s not easy to do either in today’s economy. But the HIT has a formula that is working in Minneapolis and in other communities.”

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