Union Investment Brings New Development and Jobs to Seattle

Seattle, WA – With steady unemployment both nationally and in the Seattle region, the Youngstown Flats development, funded by the AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust (BIT), is bringing a much needed boost to the local economy. The $48 million project is expected to create hundreds of union construction jobs, while bringing 193 rental units to the neighborhood of North Delridge.


Youngstown Flats is being constructed using environmentally friendly methods and sustainably sourced materials. Unique eco-conscious amenities also set this building apart, including live/work lofts available for home-based businesses and artist residents, a community garden, and a bike room with repair facilities. The ground floor of the building will be home to a variety of businesses that will offer services to residents and the community. The project is located within walking distance of the Seattle waterfront and cycling/hiking trails.


Over 150 workers, all members of unions affiliated with the Seattle Building and Construction Trades Council, were in attendance. Guests were also joined by national and local labor leaders who recognized the BIT for its commitment to job creation in Seattle and praised the workers for their skill and professionalism.


“This is the kind of project that will make a significant impact on the local economy," said Lee Newgent, President of the Seattle Building & Construction Trades Council, co-host of the luncheon. "The new building creates jobs which will invite new residents to our community. They, in turn, will patron neighborhood businesses. We are proud to support this project and cohost this event to thank the workers on site.  We look forward to partnering with the BIT to bring more development and jobs to Seattle in the near future.”


This sentiment was echoed by Lynne Dodson, Secretary-Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council. “The unemployment rate for the state of Washington is higher than the national average.  The Youngstown Flats will provide hundreds of jobs for local workers during construction, and further down the road in the maintenance of the completed building. Projects like these are exactly what we need to reduce unemployment in our state."


The BIT is a commercial real estate fund that provides competitive returns for its union pension plan investors. The BIT has been helping America's cities carry out their urban development and revitalization plans for over 24 years.  During this time, the BIT has participated in nearly $4.3 billion in real estate projects nationwide, with a focus on supply-constrained urban markets.  


“This luncheon is being held in honor of the hard-working men and women of the construction industry who have dedicated their time and skills to making this building project a reality,” said Mike Stotz, President of the AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corporation, which provides marketing and investor services for the BIT. “But I also think it is important to express our gratitude to the BIT, union pension funds that have chosen to support development across America through their investments.”


The BIT operates with one of the most comprehensive labor policies in the real estate industry to assure that its investments generate good union jobs in construction and related industries. Since inception, the BIT labor policies have enabled the Trust to generate an estimated 54 million hours of construction work,  as well as thousands of permanent union jobs in the service, maintenance, and operation of properties owned by the BIT.  As of March 1, 2012, the 74 BIT-owned properties maintained 228 ongoing service contracts with 141 local unions across the country.


“Good jobs that provide fair wages and benefits, are getting fewer and harder to find in today’s economic climate,” said David Freiboth, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the M.L. King Jr. County Labor Council. “The BIT empowers union members to devote their assets toward building projects that enable the creation of jobs we can be proud of.”


“We are grateful to our brothers and sisters in the labor movement who have invested in the BIT,” said Virgil Hamilton, President of the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council. “The fruits of your investment are represented here today in the jobs you have created for your fellow workers. Together we are creating a new sustainable labor economy.”