Photo essay: J.C. Cannistraro thrives on Boston’s building boom
Now a $200 million family business, the mechanical construction company assembles the piping and plumbing of many of the city’s new high rises.
By Bennie DiNardo
SINCE THE START OF 2014, $26 billion worth of construction has launched in Greater Boston, and billions more in projects are planned — a building boom unlike anything seen here in generations. Workers and companies in the construction industries are operating at full bore, churning out the foundations, steel frames, piping, plumbing, and wiring that brings the towers to life.
J.C. Cannistraro is one of those companies. Founded in 1963 by John Cannistraro Sr., and currently led by the second generation of the family, Cannistraro fabricates and assembles the guts of many of the new high rises popping up on the skyline, such as Vertex Pharmaceuticals at Fan Pier, Millennium Tower at Downtown Crossing, and Pierce Boston in the Fenway. Its revenue rose 28 percent, to $205 million, from 2013 to 2015, and its office workforce has grown significantly in that time.
Today, Cannistraro builds and assembles piping and plumbing systems at workshops in Wilmington and Stoughton; next year, the company is relocating its fabricating and warehouse operations to a renovated industrial building in Boston’s Seaport District, to be closer to the action.
Its headquarters and planning operations will remain in Watertown, in an old ice house the company purchased in 1984. Since 2007, the ice house has also been home to The Plumbing Museum, a collection of commodes, claw-foot bathtubs, and other plumbing fixtures that once belonged to the American Sanitary Plumbing Museum in Worcester. The main space, surrounded by toilets and tubs, hosts company meetings, outside events — even the occasional wedding.
Boston Globe photographer Jonathan Wiggs went behind the scenes with Cannistraro employees to provide an inside look at the workers who are building the new Boston.