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AFL-CIO’s Building Investment Trust Breaks Ground on Another Union-Paid-For Development

Ground has been broken in Hoboken, NJ on the $131 million Park Place development which will be paid for and developed by union workers.

Park Place will house 212 rental units as well as retail and educational space. Using environmentally-friendly design it will become the second Hoboken building to achieve LEED-certified Gold status. The educational space will be used to house the Elysian Charter School whose parents advocated for the project throughout its zoning and permitting process. It is estimated that the project will create 655 jobs for New Jersey union workers.

The project will be funded by the AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust (BIT) a union pension investment program which funds projects to create good-paying jobs. At the groundbreaking ceremony, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer praised the project:

“This project is a great example of the kind of positive development we can have when the community and developers work together to listen to each other,” said Zimmer. “This development makes a positive contribution to our community.”

The project is a win-win for local unions who will see a return on their pension fund investment and heightened employment for union workers. Several other projects of this sort have been accomplished, some through the BIT and others through the Housing Investment Trust (HIT) which is similar except for its focus on affordable housing. Charles Wowkanech, President of the AFL-CIO’s New Jersey chapter, applauded the collaboration between labor and the city:

We’re happy that we can use our own money to put our brothers and sisters in the union to work,” he said. “But the union investing in the community will not only create jobs, it will create jobs that will build a state-of-the-art environmentally-friendly building that will be a good thing for the community.”

Mayor Zimmer suggests that because the project will be all union the process will be streamlined and avoid many of the roadblocks facing Hoboken developers in the past:

“I know [the union workers] are highly skilled and that this project will get done right and on time,” she said. “I know you’ll be very careful with our water mains.”

For the BIT this is yet another positive project that both helps union members and the community. According to the Hudson Reporter,

In its 25-year existence, the BIT has invested just over $2 billion in almost 30 construction projects in New Jersey and New York. It’s currently involved in 10 projects with a combined development cost of $1.4 billion. Together, the projects have created around 7,000 union jobs.

The major goal of making Hoboken environmentally progressive is alsobeing achieved:

“We are encouraging Hoboken to be more and more bike-friendly,” Zimmer said. “I think it’s a great design as we go through the green process, recylcing and reusing as much as we can. … The design is great for the residents and great for the community.”

The project is expected to be finished in 2015.


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