Developers praised the efforts of the Cleveland Building Trades during a groundbreaking ceremony held for one of the area’s most highly anticipated projects of 2019.
Thanks to the efforts of Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council Executive Secretary Dave Wondolowski, the $60 million Church + State Project received vital financing, which will ultimately create more than 100 union construction jobs.
Developers Graham Veysey and Michael Panzica said Wondolowski played a key role in helping the project gain financing through the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust Fund.
In exchange for union pension fund financing, project developers agreed to a Project Labor Agreement, ensuring more than 100 building trades jobs. In doing so, it creates union construction jobs that funnel money back into the trades respective pension fund.
Ted Chandler, Managing Director/Regional Operations for the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, credited a meeting at the Laborers’ 310 Union Hall for laying the groundwork for this project to become a reality.
“Dave Wondolowski pulled people together in the basement of a building trades hall to talk about how we could all collaborate on how we could get development and projects built in Cleveland,” Chandler said. “It was a wonderful introduction to this team and the reality of what is being built here today.”
Affiliated members of the Cleveland Building Trades will be constructing the mixed-use development that is comprised of two buildings, an 11-story structure and a six-story structure. The buildings will combine to house 158 apartments and about 20,000-square-feet of ground floor retail. Additionally, there will be a 10,000-square-foot park with a splash feature, a large public art component and the largest bicycle garage in the region (able to hold roughly 200 bikes).
Church + State is the first LEED mixed-use building on Cleveland’s west side and is also the largest market-rate HUD project in the region in the past few decades.
Without the union financing, this project may not have been possible.
“I’ve been going around town telling everyone we are not your grandfather’s building trades,” said Wondolowski. “We not only come here and build a beautiful building, but we are involved in the financing and very soon will roll out a plan for pre-development financing of projects, making it easier for developers to get from conception to groundbreaking. We are a pro-economic development organization.”
Following a handful of speeches, the major project in Cleveland’s Hingetown’s neighborhood ceremonially kicked off with a bang. Instead of shovels, guests used confetti poppers to mark the ceremonial start of the work.