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53 Colton is First Project to Get Financing Assistance From AFL-CIO’s HIT

This summer, the Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 38 broke ground on a mixed-use development at 1629 Market Street that will provide a new union hall as well as much-needed affordable, supportive housing, retail, and a public park. The residential component of the development plan, located at 53 Colton Street in the South of Market neighborhood, will create 96 efficiency apartments for extremely low-income and previously homeless residents. The building will feature supportive services, with 35 units reserved for previously homeless residents of the nearby Civic Center Hotel and 61 units for extremely low-income residents. The redevelopment plan will be done under a partnership between Strada Investment Group and Community Housing Partnership.

“53 Colton provides 96 units of affordable supportive housing for individuals who have experienced homelessness,” said Larry Mazzola Jr., Local 38 Business Manager and SFBCTC President. “It’s a great job for the community and the city, and provides jobs for our building trades members who are out of work because of the pandemic.”

The AFL-CIO’s Housing Investment Trust was launched this September to fuel the creation of jobs and housing in the Bay Area over the next five years. The $1 billion initiative is aimed to create about 4,000 union construction jobs and 4,000 housing units in the region by 2025. Total job creation could be as high as 12,000.

“Too many people in the Bay Area are being laid off and too many still cannot afford decent housing. A bold, multi-year effort is urgently needed. The HIT is announcing our Bay Area Investment Initiative right before Labor Day to help reverse that trend,” said Chang Suh, the HIT’s Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chief Portfolio Manager, on a video briefing with local labor, business, and community leaders.

The $52.5 million 53 Colton Street project will receive an investment of $19.1 million from the HIT fund, as the AFL-CIO hopes to achieve the dual benefit of generating a return for investors while at the same time creating jobs for Building Trades members and affordable housing for those who need it the most in San Francisco. The 53 Colton investment will mark the twelfth project in the city to receive HIT funds. Over $350 million has been invested in multifamily projects since 1984. Co-lenders for the project are the Merchants Bank of Indiana and Century Housing Corporation.

“The successful financing of 53 Colton is a signal to our community that the AFL-CIO Bay Area Initiative is real,” said San Francisco Board of Supervisors member Asha Safai. “At a time of economic uncertainty for our city and region, the initiative means more affordable housing and more good-paying, construction jobs for union members.”

The 53 Colton Street project is the AFL-CIO HIT initiative’s first deal to close since it was announced earlier this fall. It signals the start of a five-year trend of HIT putting resources toward solutions for the Bay Area’s housing crisis and the economic hardships brought by the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit construction, service industry, and public sector workers especially hard.

“The fight for social and economic justice continues today, now as we face skyrocketing unemployment, the COVID-19 health emergency, and rampant social division,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, and a member of the HIT’s Board of Directors.  “Putting Labor’s capital to work to create jobs and build affordable housing is an important step toward tangible solutions to these ongoing challenges for the Bay Area, and for the country.”

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