MINNEAPOLIS, MN - The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) announced a $29.8 million investment in the substantial renovation of two, high rise apartment buildings in Minneapolis, Seward Towers East and West. The project will rehabilitate 640 multi-family rental units, 98% of which are affordable to low income families.
The project will create an estimated 270 union construction jobs, with a total of 615 jobs produced amongst local business and service sectors. Originally constructed in 1969 and 1970, the total development cost for renovating the towers is $99.2 million. Other sources of financing include Minnesota and Hennepin County funds.
"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," said HIT Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer Stephanie H. Wiggins. "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."
Dan McConnell, Business Manager, 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," said McConnell. "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."
The Seward community is one of the city's older neighborhoods and is fully developed with residential and commercial property.
In each 21-story tower, the project amenities include a large community room, a playground area, a common laundry facility, and a unique resource for residents – an Advantage Center. These two-story centers next to each tower have meeting rooms and classrooms, computer access, and a serving kitchen, and provide various programs, which include English classes; early childhood education; youth development programs; homework help and tutoring; and employment and financial coaching/support.
The towers are located close to transit and bus stops, and an outlet for HourCar, a car sharing service for those without a personal vehicle. Furthermore, existing resources, including retail, hotel, educational, entertainment, theater and museum opportunities, are within walking distance.
Seward Towers East and West is the HIT's 16th project in Minneapolis. The HIT has invested $223.2 million to leverage $439.2 million in financing for these projects, creating 3,417 housing units, an estimated 2,330 union construction jobs, and more than 5,400 total jobs across industries in the community. These projects have generated an estimated $790 million in total economic benefits, and nearly $300 million in personal income, including salaries and benefits.