ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–Faced with a stubborn recession, and high unemployment among construction workers — organized labor is using its own pension funds to build a major apartment building here and create some 200 union construction jobs.
The AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust (BIT) is investing $42 million in the construction of the Cortona at Forest Park Apartments at the old Arena site.
“My job, in addition to getting a good safe return for the pension funds, is job creation,” said Kevin McCarthy, President of PNC Realty Investors. “So, all the work done here will be done by skilled men and women who are union members.”
Construction-related ground breakings have become rare in recent years here, as the unemployment rate among construction trades now hovers around 25-to-30 percent.
“Hopefully, this is the opening of the door into the future,” said Jim LaMantia , Executive Director of Pride Labor Management, “and if we wouldn’t have companies like AFL-CIO BIT working in this area and providing these projects, the unemployment rate would be much higher than that twenty-five to thirty-percent.”
The 278 unit, five-story apartment building will feature a club house with a multi -level saltwater swimming pool, gardens, and a central pavilion with a fire ring. Single bedroom apartments will rent for $1,000 a month, organizer said.