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NEW YORK CITY-As part of its overall investment strategy, The AFL-CIO Building Investment Trust yesterday launched the National Apartment Initiative, a $400 million equity and participating debt initiative for apartment investments nationwide. BIT officials expect that investments will generate up to $1 billion in investment activity by financing as many as 25 to 30 apartment projects in the next three years. The initiative offers financing for development and redevelopment of multifamily rental projects. BIT is a $1.5 billion commingled real estate fund that has invested Taft-Hartley and public employee pension plan funds in institutional quality real estate for more than 15 years.

“NAI meet our three goals,” says AFL-CIO president John J. Sweeney. “To invest pension funds in solid projects; to create badly needed housing in urban areas and to create union jobs. This will help take the edge off of the bad employment situation.”

NAI’s first investment is a commitment to provide $34.9 million in funding for the development of The Estates at Kew Gardens Hills, a $105 million mixed-income multifamily project in Queens. This equity joint venture with The Dermot Company will develop a 12-story, 521,500 sf structure containing a parking garage, 10,000 sf of community space, and 388 units of housing. Of these units, 78 units will be set-aside for low-income families. Work on Kew Gardens is expected to be completed in May 2005.

“Without this funding, this complex would not have had an affordable housing component,” says Carlton Arrendell, chief investment officer for the AFL-CIO Investment Trust Corp.

The NAI will focus on capital investment and apartment development projects in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and other cities nationwide. Some 11 transactions are in the underwriting process in New York City.

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