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As reported by Jon Chesto in today's Patriot Ledger:
To view the article online, including pictures, click here.
BOSTON ?? New England union opens a new headquarters in Dorchester
Motorists on the Southeast Expressway are passing a new landmark on their commutes in and out of Boston: the new three-story headquarters for the New England Regional Council of Carpenters.
The 75,000-square-foot building??s exterior has essentially two faces: a modern wall along the highway and a more traditional cedar-paneled facade that can be seen from the neighborhood. Union spokesman Bert Durand said the mix was intentional, partly as a courtesy to the union??s residential neighbors and partly as a reflection of the union membership??s varied range of skills.
The most distinct feature is a 30-foot tall digital sign that can be seen from the expressway. The sign??s LED lights can quickly be reprogrammed to show a new image. The union is using the sign to promote the carpentry trade, as well as providing public service announcements and supporting favored political candidates.
The carpenters council relocated last month from its old headquarters on Summer Street in South Boston. The new building allowed the union to move its training facility from Brighton, as well as other operations, under one roof within the past few weeks.
The carpenters union had been looking for a new location for at least a decade, union officials said. Durand said the union also considered locations in South Boston??s marine industrial park and on Morrissey Boulevard.
The current site at 750 Dorchester Ave. was picked for several reasons, including the ample parking, visibility and easy highway access. The property is also convenient to the Red Line, as it sits between the Andrew Square and JFK/UMass stops.
The union bought the property in 2008 from an owner of Dirigo Spice for more than $5 million, although the site had fallen into disuse. The structure was originally built in the 1940s as a laundry for the Archdiocese of Boston. The old building was gutted and its second story was removed, and the carpenters used the first floor as a foundation to build a new second level and a third level.
Mark Erlich, the council??s executive secretary-treasurer, said the union spent about $19 million on construction. More than 900 union members participated in the construction project in some way, as subcontractors, apprentices or volunteers, Erlich said. ??We want our members to feel like it??s their building,?? he said.