From parking lot to $60 million mixed-use urban hotspot, the Church + State project demonstrates the Cleveland Building Trades’ commitment to economic development.

“The union-built project has finally turned dirt,” reported News 5 Cleveland’s Jordan Vandenberge from the Church + State site on Cleveland’s west side.

Cleveland Building Trades Executive Secretary and Business Manager David Wondolowski spoke at the Church + State groundbreaking ceremony held Jan. 24, along with Cleveland City Councilman Kerry McCormack, AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust Managing Director Ted Chandler, and project developers.

“Over 100 construction jobs are created here—good paying jobs,” Wondolowski told the crowd, who braved cold temperatures to commemorate the snowy groundbreaking.

Wondolowski

“We are a pro-economic development organization. We’re very proud of the work we do. I’m proud of this team, and I look forward to a very safe and successful project.”

Wondolowski praised the project’s developers and city leaders for their commitment to developing what will be the largest market-rate U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development project in region in decades. The project will be built under a Project Labor Agreement utilizing the local union construction workforce.

The $60 million mixed-use development will feature 158 apartments and 20,000 square-feet of ground-floor retail housed in contemporary 11- and 6-story buildings. The development will feature a public plaza with an amphitheater, ample parking (for cars and bikes) and a public-art component.

The forward-looking project will fill the growing demand for housing in the city, while incorporating green technology and facilitating multi-modal transit for visitors and residents.

But high-design and sustainability aren’t the only innovative hallmarks of Church + State: The men and women of Cleveland’s Building Trades Unions are not only building the project –they’re investors.

The investment signals the Cleveland Building Trades’ commitment to “pre-development financing of projects, making it easier for developers to get from inception to groundbreaking,” said Wondolowski.

“These men and women are not only building this development, it’s their hard earned dollars…actually financing this as well,” said Ted Chandler, managing director of regional operations for the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust during the groundbreaking.  Chandler praised Wondolowki’s “progressive vision for how labor can do more to stimulate growth and investment here in Cleveland and for bringing the project team together.”

Additional sources of funding for the project include “the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 221d4 program, tax increment financing through the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, Huntington Bank, a Cuyahoga County loan and funds from the City of Cleveland’s Neighborhood Development Program and Vacant Property Initiative,” reported Crain’s Cleveland Business.

Church + State’s co-developers include Graham Veysey and Marika Shioiri-Clark, Hemingway Development Co., and Brent Zimmerman, according to Crain’s.

“It takes months and even years to plan a project like this and to continue to work with the city and county and different finance departments,” said Wondolowski, praising the “passion” of Veysey and Shioiri-Clark in seeing the deal through. “They stuck it out and the reward is what we’re going to see when this project is done.”

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