AFL-CIO to bankroll $550M Crown Heights project, and there are strings attached

AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust would provide funding for $550M development

Bruce Eichner, Joel Bergstein and 120-136 Montgomery Street (Credit:L CUNY TV and Google Maps)
Bruce Eichner, Joel Bergstein and 120-136 Montgomery Street (Credit:L CUNY TV and Google Maps)

Ian Bruce Eichner has a deal in place to finance the $550 million, 1.2 million-square-foot rental project in Crown Heights that he’s developing with Lincoln Equities Group, and it’s great news for the unions.

AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust, the mutual fund with $6.1 billion in assets under management that invests for about 400 union pension funds, is slated to provide construction financing for the project.

As per the terms of the deal, Eichner would use only union labor on the site – a major win for a union movement that’s lost traction in the city.

The amount of financing is yet to be determined.

The Developer Told The Wall Street Journal he is about 10 days away from closing on the $75 million purchase of the three-acre site at Franklin Avenue and Montgomery Street.

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“There’s obviously an awful lot of private residential work in the last few years that has gone nonunion,” Eichner said.

The Real Deal first reported in September that Eichner’s Continuum Company and Joel Bergstein’s Lincoln Equities were teaming up to develop the project, which would be one of the largest ever in Crown Heights.

The project would require the city to rezone the properties, and the developers would set aside about 800 units at below-market rents.

“We’re seeking an up-zoning, assuming this is something the city wants,” Eichner said to the Journal. “Early indications from the local elected officials are that this is exactly what they want to see.” [WSJ] – Rich Bockmann