By Paul Burton, Contributing Writer
An affordable housing project built by good-paying union labor is coming to fruition in San Francisco.
Representatives from Ullico, the only labor-owned insurance and investment company in the U.S., recently visited the 1400 Mission project. The new 15-story below-market-rate residential project is being built with union labor under terms of a loan provided by Ullico, the Union Labor Life Insurance Company. The company announced last November that it would provide a $46 million loan to finance the project as part of its J for Jobs program. After a few months of site preparation, grading and foundation work, the concrete frame structure is now rising to the second level. When completed next year, it will have a mix of studios, one, two and three bedroom units and 4,300 square feet of ground floor retail space. The 190 for-sale apartments will include four studios, 66 one-bedrooms, 102 two-bedrooms, and 18 three-bedrooms that will be reserved for households of three or more.
After visiting the jobsite, Ullico representatives from San Francisco and Washington, D.C., gathered at Laborers Local 261 to celebrate the progress on the project. “It’s good to see Ullico here, doubling down in San Francisco after funding 45 Lansing,” said San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council Secretary-Treasurer Mike Theriault. “This is the kind of project all San Franciscans can support.”
Ullico CEO and president Ed Smith, a former union laborer, said it was great to be funding a project that is putting union members back to work. Smith said he is grateful for the support from unions whose pension funds are invested in projects through Ullico’s J for Jobs program. “Workers’ money is going into a project that creates jobs for union members,” Smith said. He commented that the fight to protect pensions for public sector workers as they are under attack is important for all workers.
Smith noted that since 1997, J for Jobs has created jobs for union workers while also providing a safe investment. He said that while many money managers don’t care about hiring union labor, “that’s not the Ullico way.”
Ullico requires that all the projects it helps to fund use 100 percent union signatory contractors and 100 percent union labor. Additionally, all construction – including tenant improvements and transportation of major construction materials – must be performed only by subcontractors having collective bargaining agreements with trade unions affiliated with the Building Trades Department of the AFL-CIO.
Swinerton Builders is the General Contractor for the project; subcontractors include Broadway Mechanical, Allied Fire, Sierra Electric, Valdez Painting, Malcolm Drilling, J.W. McClenahan, and Bigge Crane & Rigging.
Smith noted that Ullico had invested $1.2 billion in the Bay Area over many years.
“Members of unions from all over the U.S. are putting money into this area,” Smith said. “San Francisco is a great union city and we’re proud to be investing in a growing neighborhood while adding union jobs to the local economy.”
The project is also funded through developer fees for affordable housing, specifically to satisfy the below-market-rate development requirement on the “Lumina” project under construction at 201 Folsom. The apartments will be affordable to buyers earning 70 percent to 150 percent of area median income.