Electrical Connection Member-Supported Real Estate Investment Trusts Nears $1 Billion


Very quietly, Electrical Connection members have been supporting nearly $1 billion in investments made in St. Louis area commercial real estate development projects.  The investments comes from a portion of union pension funds reinvested into St. Louis area projects through three real estate investment trusts.  They include AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT)AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust (BIT) and Union Labor Life Insurance Co. (ULLICO).  Collectively, these funds have invested $946 million in local real estate projects.

ULLICO 212 Meremac

Each of the real estate investment trusts are supported by pension funds of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1, which partners with the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) to form the Electrical Connection.

“The investments we supported were particularly valuable in the wake of the Great Recession,” noted Frank Jacobs, business manager, IBEW Local 1.”  “Projects were in danger of stalling when funding dried up and we were enduring depression-level unemployment in the trades.  The entire region needed an infusion of investment.  Fortunately, we had quality developments built with the skill of union labor that attracted investments supported by our union pension funds.”

Doug Martin, executive vice president, St. Louis Chapter NECA, concurred and added, “These are job-generating construction projects that not only provide a good return on investment, but also add to the quality of life in St. Louis.”


The local impact of each of the real estate investment trusts on St. Louis includes:

  • Since inception 30 years ago, the AFL-CIO HIT has invested $575 million to support 32 projects with total development value of $946 million. These projects have built or preserved more than 5,065 housing units and created an estimated 13.5 million hours of union construction work.  In the last 10 years, AFL-CIO HIT has invested $260 million in 13 projects with a total development investment of $484 million in St. Louis. These projects are creating an estimated 6.5 million hours of union construction work. Those investments include:
  • Villas at Crystal Lake, Swansea, IL
  • Council Tower Senior Apt., St. Louis
  • Park Pacific Apt., St. Louis
  • The Laurel, St. Louis
  • Parkway Lakeside Apt., O’Fallon, Ill.  ·
  • Holy Infant & St. Joseph Apt., Shrewsbury, Mo.
  • St. John Neuman Apt., Jennings, Mo.           ·
  • The Heights at Manhassett, Richmond Heights, Mo.
  • The Gatesworth, St. Louis      ·
  • Hampden Hall, St. Louis
  • The Fountains of Ellisville, Ellisville, Mo.       ·
  • Covenent Place II, St. Louis

More on AFL-CIO HIT can be found at www.aflcio-hit.com.

AFL-CIO BIT has invested $180 million in nine St. Louis area projects, producing 1.5 million manhours of construction work.  Most recently, this includes the $51 million Encore at Forest Park.  It also includesthe $42 million Cortona Apartments at Forest Park.   Other projects include the Veterans Administration, IRS Building, and FBI Building in St. Louis, various projects at Fountain Lakes Commerce Center in St. Charles and more.  More can be found at www.aflcio-bit.com

ULLICO has invested over $191 million in Missouri through its “J for Jobs” program. Most recently it invested $55.7 million to create 212 Meramec Apartments in Clayton, Mo.  More can be found at www.ullico.com.

“We work with our business, civic and economic development partners throughout the St. Louis region to find meaningful projects that would merit reinvesting union pension funds back into our community,” said Jim Curran, executive vice president, Electrical Connection.

Electrical Connection members provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world.  For more information visit www.electricalconnection.org.

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