AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust Gives $41 Million for New St. Paul Mixed-Use Development

The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust has committed $41 million of union pension capital to help finance the Penfield, a $62 million mixed-use development in downtown St. Paul.

St. Paul, Minn.—The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust has committed $41 million of union pension capital to help finance the Penfield, a $62 million mixed-use development in downtown St. Paul.

With construction already underway at 100 11th St. E., when completed, the six-story building will have 254 rental units, a Lunds grocery store on the first floor and three levels of parking.

“This is a keystone of the redevelopment of downtown St. Paul,” Ted Chandler, AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust’s Chief Operating Officer, tells MHN. “This is a large project for downtown. It’s kind of a proven residential market in the twin cities and it’s great to see St. Paul’s success in getting this project underway.”

The Penfield site spans an entire city block and is situated near the downtown employment core, state government offices, and the popular Lowertown District with its numerous arts and entertainment venues.  It sits just a block away from a new Central Corridor light rail line and directly south of a planned central park area.

“The inclusion of a Lunds, a grocery chain of that size and prestige, brings an important amenity to everyone who lives in downtown St. Paul,” Chandler says. “Plus, with three levels of parking, it ensures that there is adequate parking for both residents and those going to the grocery store.”

The City of St. Paul is sponsoring the Penfield in an effort to bring quality market rate housing and a full-service grocery store to the area while serving as a catalyst for future development.

“I think because the redevelopment agency is involved, it provided the city with a lot of flexibility in getting it started,” Chandler says. “A key focus of ours is that all projects must be constructed with 100 percent union labor, and this is expected to create 300 jobs for the St. Paul building and construction trades unions.”

Additionally, many jobs will be created at the new Lunds grocery store, represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 1189.

“We really appreciate the fact that the HIT is using union pension capital to create good union jobs that will put many of our members back to work while giving our community an economic boost,” says Harry Melander, St. Paul Building and Construction Trades Council’s president.

The Penfield development is expected to be a significant catalyst for further downtown growth and revitalization and is scheduled to open in winter, 2013.

The Penfield is the HIT’s 30th multifamily investment in the Twin Cities area in the last 10 years, with the last few in the St. Paul area.

“This is our fourth project in downtown St. Paul that we have invested in, bringing our investment total to over $55 million in $100 million of development,” Chandler says. “That has created 481 units of housing and 579 union construction jobs in the last few years alone.”

Overall, the HIT’s investments in the Twin Cities metro area in the last 10 years have built or preserved nearly 4,000 units of housing and generated more than 3,500 jobs for members of the local building and construction trades unions.