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Carpenter Center heads next door for expansion

New Hampshire Union Leader

October 22. 2017 10:33PM

MANCHESTER — The carpenters union outgrew its rented space on Candia Road and found the perfect new home in the neighborhood.

“Getting the building next door couldn’t have worked out any better,” said Joe Donahue, business manager for Carpenters Local 118, which serves all of New Hampshire. “It’s absolutely awesome; we couldn’t ask for more.”

The New England Regional Council of Carpenters bought 920 Candia Road for $1.96 million — solving the twin problems of an expiring lease and insufficient space.

The larger space — to be called The Carpenter Center — will mean more space to train more people.

“The old training center, which was a small space, we were averaging 200 people a week,” Donahue said. “With this new space, we’d like to get up to 400, 500 people a week going through.”

Donahue said the average age of a construction worker is 51.

“The only way we’re going to replenish our current pool is through training and apprenticeship,” he said, adding the average yearly wage for a construction worker is around $75,000 a year.

Donahue estimated the renovation work and associated costs could cost around $500,000.

“We’re going to gut the whole first floor, so it’s one big open space (for training),” he said. Right now, it’s a mix of office and manufacturing space.

The second floor, now office space, will be targeted for office and classroom space.

He expects some training now done in Millbury, Mass., to be relocated to Manchester.

“It’s probably going to be the biggest training center in New Hampshire for building tradespeople,” Donahue said. “It’s also going to be the carpenters’ center, so the local will be located out of there, and it will also be a one-stop shop for those in the construction industry.”

Donahue expects 10 to 15 employees to work there.

Brian Chirichiello, a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty that listed and sold the property, said the commercial real estate market in the state’s southern tier is picking up.

“We are starting to see good commercial activity from Manchester and south of Manchester as it’s really considered the economic engine area of the state,” Chirichiello said. “The widening of I-93 and a new Exit 4A will make the area a hotspot for both commercial and residential real estate for the next 10 to 15 years.”

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