State issues $28.46 million bond for new Local 537 facility

A rendering of Pipefitters Local 537’s new building by SGA Architects.

The Pipefitters Local 537 craft union got a big boost this week in their plan to construct a state-of-the-art training facility on Enterprise Street in Dorchester.

The union was awarded a $28.46 million tax exempt bond for the project from MassDevelopment, the state’s finance agency. The proceeds will go to demolish a one-story building at 40 Enterprise St. and replace it with a 70,000-square-foot LEED-certified facility with classrooms, hands-on training spaces, and office space for its operations.

Fixtures, furnishings, and equipment for the facility will also be purchased through the bond proceeds.

“By this time next year we will have more than tripled our training space, increased our meeting space, dramatically increased our hands-on training space and improved our ability to train our members in every way possible,” said Pipefitters Local 537 Business Manager Brian Kelly in a statement. “We will do so to accommodate our growth, remain on the cutting edge of technology and learn and perfect our craft to the highest standards in the world.”

With 2,848 members, expected to grow by about 100 each year, the Pipefitters Local 537 represents tradespeople installing hot water, steam, and air piping systems, as well as the HVAC/R technicians who service this equipment.

The union, founded in 1911, is hopeful that the new Enterprise Street facility will also lead to increased enrollment in its apprenticeship program.

“The Pipefitters Local 537 craft union represents skilled workers that help drive the Commonwealth’s economy by building hospitals, schools, and factories across Massachusetts,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Lauren Liss in a statement. “MassDevelopment is pleased to provide financing for this new facility, which will help current union members learn new skills and future members explore a rewarding career in the craft trades.”

This tax-exempt bond also includes a mortgage insurance guarantee and was purchased by East Boston Savings Bank.