Ground broken for union-built, eco-friendly office building

Labor, business and government representatives broke ground Monday for a multi-tenant office building constructed with union labor and offering “an eco-friendly, welcoming environment.”

The T3 Office at 333 Washington Ave. N., will continue the revitalization of the Minneapolis North Loop that has been partially financed by union pension funds. Located north of Target Field, the building will be adjacent to the Dock Street Flats, union-built apartments.

The $31 million project will employ 50 Building Trades members over the course of 14 months, said Dan McConnell, business manager of the Minneapolis Building & Construction Trades Council. Once built, it will be maintained by union labor. 

“This is going to be a good project for us,” McConnell said.

The AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust, an investment program endorsed by the AFL-CIO, is financing the project. 

“It’s another example of how unions leverage pension assets to strengthen retirement and create thousands of good-paying jobs,” said Mike Stotz, president of the AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corporation, which is based in Washington, D.C.

To date, the Investment Trust has provided $5 billion for commercial real estate across the United States, with some $1.4 billion in projects under construction right now, Stotz said.

The T3 project is unique in several ways, noted Steve Luthman, managing director of Hines Interests LP, the developer.

T3 stands for “Timber, Transit, Technology.” The project will be the “tallest wood modern office building under construction in the United States,” he said. 

The North Loop is populated with structures made of wood and brick, but wood fell out of favor over the past century. Timber is increasingly being used again, in part because wood is a sustainable resource, Luthman said.

The building will be open and airy with an “ecofriendly, welcoming environment,” he noted. It will be LEED-certified, meaning it will be energy-efficient and built with reduced or no waste.

Just as important, Luthman said, the building will blend with the neighborhood and be connected with transit and bike paths. It will have 70 spaces for parking cars and 120 spaces for parking bicycles. 

The project also will be the first multi-tenant office structure built in Minneapolis in 15 years; other recent projects have all been completed for specific occupants.

“This is a beautiful project that is going up, with high-paying, wonderful jobs, locally based as well,” said Jacob Frey, the Minneapolis City Council member who represents the North Loop.

“It wasn’t too long ago we didn’t see any cranes rising across Minneapolis,” noted Bill McCarthy, president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation. “Thank you for creating union jobs in our community.”

Pictured: Labor, business and government representatives broke ground Aug. 17 on the T3 project in Minneapolis. From left are Harry Melander, president of the Minnesota Building & Construction Trades Council; Steve Cramer, president of the Minneapolis Downtown Council; Jacob Frey, member of the Minneapolis City Council; Kevin McCarthy, president of PNC Realty Investors; Shar Knutson, president of the Minnesota AFL-CIO; Mike Stotz, president of the AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corporation; Steve Luthman, managing director of Hines Interests LP; Bob Pfefferle, director of Hines Interests LP; Bill McCarthy, president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation and Dan McConnell, business manager of the Minneapolis Building & Construction Trades Council.

Article by Barb Kucera reprinted from WorkdayMinnesota.