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HIT Hosts Worker Appreciation Lunch for Union Construction Workers Building the Gateway North Development in Lynn, Massachusetts

9/15/2017

LYNN, Massachusetts – Two years ago, this corner lot on Washington Street and Sagamore Streets was deserted and overrun by weeds, just another abandoned parcel in urban America. Today, union construction workers are raising the roof and installing plumbing and windows in the framed, five-story building that will become Gateway North, a mixed-income, multifamily development with 71 mostly affordable housing units.

The project, which is made possible with funding from a public-private partnership, is creating approximately 130 union construction jobs that provide family-supporting wages. The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT), which invested $19.4 million of union pension capital towards the total $31 million development cost, hosted a Worker Appreciation Lunch on September 14 to honor the workers responsible for the stunning transformation of the site.

Approximately 100 people attended the luncheon. Construction workers were joined by HIT staff, representatives of the Building Trades, the general contractor and developer, as well as public officials, and union business managers. Appreciation luncheons are HIT’s way of thanking union construction workers at the projects.

HIT Communications Director Katie Rosenthal welcomed the guests, saying, "It was amazing putting together the funding and approvals from the state, federal and private sector to make this happen.” She added, “but often overlooked are the people who actually do the work, the people who spend long hours on the job site, building housing units that will make safe and nurturing environments for families."

The ceremony included Tom Bauer, Managing Principal at Hub Holdings LLC; State Senator Thomas McGee; and IBEW Local 103 Business Manager, Lou Antonellis. John Sullivan, Co-Founder and CEO of Biltrite Construction, said, “Our workers are the backbone of this project and I want to thank them for the incredible job they are doing.”

“This project exemplifies that public-private partnerships can be catalysts for revitalization and improving quality of life in the surrounding district,” said Senator McGee. “It is great to be here today to recognize the workers making this affordable housing project possible for the working families who need it.” The five-story, mixed-income, multifamily development of 71 housing units, will provide 63 affordable units to low-and middle-income families, including 10 workforce housing units. It was the first multifamily project in Massachusetts to receive assistance under Governor Charlie Baker's $100 million MassHousing Workforce Housing Fund.

Funding also included federal and state Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Transit-Oriented Development Funds. The project is being developed by a joint-venture of Hub Holdings, LLC and Neighborhood Development Associates, a nonprofit, wholly-owned subsidiary of the City of Lynn Housing Authority and Neighborhood Development.

Developer Bauer noted, “We are lucky to live in a state that establishes programs like the Workforce Housing Initiative that help make this project possible. And we received critical funding from the AFL-CIO HIT, which is putting union pension capital to work for working families.”

The project is considered a transit-oriented development – located within three blocks of the Lynn Commuter Rail Station and Bus Depot. In addition, the development will be Energy-Star rated and include community accessible green space.

Gateway North is the most recent of 46 projects financed by the HIT and its affiliate Building America CDE in Massachusetts since 1984. With investments of nearly $700 million in projects with total development investment of almost $1.8 billion (in current dollars),these projects have built or preserved 5,318 housing units, with 90% affordable or workforce housing, and created an estimated 6,700 union construction jobs and 14,800 jobs across all industries. Total economic benefit to the area is estimated at approximately $2.6 billion.*

*Job and economic benefit estimates (in 2016 dollars) are calculated by Pinnacle Economics and the HIT using an IMPLAN input-output model based on HIT project data.