Redevelopment of Chicago Landmark to Generate Almost 700 Union Construction Jobs
CHICAGO, March 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) announced today that it has invested $20 million to help finance the conversion of an historic office building in Chicago's western Loop into a multifamily development to be known as Randolph Tower City Apartments. The project will create approximately 690 construction jobs, and all work on the site will be performed by union workers.
In making the announcement, the HIT said it had purchased $20 million of taxable bonds as part of the financing package for the $148.2 million, 45-story project.
A landmark in Chicago's famed Loop for more than 80 years, the Gothic Revival-style skyscraper will undergo massive rehabilitation. The completed project will include 310 loft-style rental units, 20% of which will be affordable to low-income households, as well as more than 20,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and office space. Extensive exterior work on the building will preserve the historic terra cotta facade and other ornamental details.
"This investment means a lot to the members of Chicago's building trades unions," said Tom Villanova, President of the Chicago & Cook County Building & Construction Trades Council. "The Randolph Tower project will put our members back to work at a time when unemployment is at record levels for Chicago's construction industry."
Stephanie Wiggins, HIT's Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer, said, "The HIT is pleased to participate in the financing of this project that will benefit the City of Chicago and its residents. We are helping preserve an architectural landmark, and bringing new mixed-income housing and jobs to the community."
Ms. Wiggins noted that the union jobs created by the project "help put the HIT on track to achieve its goal of generating 10,000 union construction jobs across the country by this spring through the investment of union pension capital." The HIT's Construction Jobs Initiative is now 90% of the way to its 10,000-job goal.
Under the Construction Jobs Initiative, the HIT has provided $45 million in financing for four Chicago projects, including Randolph Tower, with total development costs of $240 million. Together the projects represent 1,040 housing units and are expected to generate more than 1,200 much-needed union construction jobs.
The HIT has been helping Chicago meet its housing and community development needs for 45 years, having invested $363 million in 36 projects that represent over $800 million in development and more than 8,800 housing units. These investments have generated approximately 5,000 union construction jobs in Chicago.
Randolph Tower City Apartments is the latest project to be financed under the HIT's Chicago Community Investment Plan, which was launched in 2005 to help meet the City's growing need for affordable housing. To date, the HIT has committed more than $117 million under this plan for the construction or rehabilitation of 2,337 units in the Chicago area. Over 93% of these housing units are affordable to low- and moderate-income residents. These projects represent approximately 2,480 union construction jobs in the Chicago area since 2005.
Randolph Tower City Apartments is also the ninth project that the HIT has financed in cooperation with the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) since 2005, creating housing and jobs across the state. During this time, the HIT and IHDA have successfully worked together to produce over 1,000 units of housing in Illinois, with more than $65 million in HIT financing. These HIT-IHDA projects have generated approximately 1,500 union construction jobs in Illinois.
About the HIT
The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust is a fixed-income investment company registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It manages nearly $3.9 billion in assets for approximately 350 investors, which include union and public employee pension plans. The HIT invests primarily in government and agency insured and guaranteed multifamily and single family mortgage-backed securities. The HIT is one of the earliest and most successful practitioners of socially responsible, economically targeted investing, with a track record that demonstrates the added value derived from union-friendly investments. The investment objective of the HIT is to provide competitive returns for its investors and to promote the collateral objectives of constructing affordable housing and generating employment for union members in the construction trades and related industries. Since its inception, the HIT has invested $6 billion to finance more than 97,000 units of housing nationwide, generating over 66,000 union jobs.
Michael K. Frisby
SOURCE AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust