2016 MRRA Annual Report Now Online
This past year has been perhaps the most exciting we’ve had since the redevelopment of the former Naval Air Station Brunswick began five years ago. Redevelopment activity continued at a blistering pace in 2016 with several new projects that have allowed us to easily surpass many of the short-term goals we set during initial implementation of the Reuse Master Plan. There are now nearly 100 business entities (public and private), including 29 that are new to the State of Maine, doing business at Brunswick Landing and the Topsham Commerce Park.
We are proud to announce that we have resident businesses in each of our six target sectors: aerospace, composites, information technology, biotech, clean tech and education, in addition to other complementary business sectors. Collectively, these entities employ over 1,200 people with a promise of double that number in just a few short years.
Some of the most impactful projects of 2016 include the following:
- Sale of former Navy Building 11 (Navy Exchange Department Store) to Priority Real Estate Group of Topsham. Priority invested more than $4 million in renovations on the building for Boston-based ecommerce company Wayfair, that will employee up to 500 people to staff its Brunswick Landing B2B operations center.
- TechPlace, Brunswick Landing’s Technology Accelerator, now houses 30 businesses and nearly 100 employees. This has occurred in just under two years since MRRA completed renovations in former Navy Building 250 (AIMD facility). Demand for manufacturing space at TechPlace has grown so rapidly that we recently added another 25,000 SF of space to accommodate new tenants.
- Avita of Brunswick is wrapping up a $15 million construction project that will create a 50-bed memory care facility off Admiral Fitch Avenue. This project has employed more than 100 construction workers and contractors over the past year and the memory care operation will employ dozens more.
- SaviLinx, headquartered at Brunswick Landing, is in the process of doubling its employee count thanks to increased business and new federal contracts. Brunswick native Heather Blease, the company’s founder, is in the process of hiring more than 200 new employees to staff the growing contact center company, which also has a facility in Mississippi.
- Village Green Ventures opened its new biogas power plant in the spring. VGV is now generating nearly one megawatt of electricity (about one third of MRRA’s current peak load). VGV uses an anaerobic digester, which breaks down organic waste material, converting it to methane gas used for power production. This project is helping to meet energy demand at Brunswick Landing, which already is sourcing 100 percent of its power from renewable sources.
- Multi-million dollar construction projects continued to transform campus and create jobs in 2016. Several major projects have been completed or are near completion as 2016 comes to a close including: the new Irving convenience store on Bath Road near entrance to Brunswick Landing; a new brewery FlightDeck opening in former indoor small arms range; multiple airport improvement projects (Hangar 6 doors, runway maintenance, hangar lighting replacement projects, roof replacement, insulation); sewer system overhaul; electrical service reliability upgrades to improve transition to a smart grid, and renovations to former Navy fitness center for Bath YMCA.
More than $300 million in private and public sector investments have been made to the former NASB properties over the past 5.5 years. Besides attracting individual business entities, we have been fortunate to attract seven major real estate developers who are acquiring and redeveloping properties at both Brunswick Landing and the Topsham Commerce Park.
Additionally, MRRA’s efforts are helping boost the local, regional and state economies impacted by base closure. More than $90 million in valuation has been added to the local tax rolls in Brunswick and Topsham. More than $2.6 million is being paid in real estate taxes from redevelopment activities in both communities.
Equally important to the economic growth of the region is the success and growth of the Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) campus and Brunswick Executive Airport (BXM). The combined SMCC and University of Maine campus now contains nearly 900 students and staff. BXM is on pace for a record 16,000 flight operations in 2016.
MRRA’s staff remains passionate about this project and we’re extremely proud of our hard work and success to date in meeting or exceeding many of our short- and mid-term goals. We know there’s still a very long ways to go to achieve full build-out and potential of the former NASB properties.
Steve Levesque, Executive Director
Economic Development Report
Redevelopment of the former NASB properties continues to help revitalize the regional economy. As 2016 comes to a close, nearly 100 entities are doing business at Brunswick Landing and Topsham Commerce Park. More than 1,200 jobs have been created and more than $90 million in valuation has been added to the Towns of Brunswick and Topsham tax rolls.
Manufacturing Boom Continues at TechPlace
TechPlace, Brunswick Landing’s Technology Accelerator/Incubator has been open for almost two years. It has quickly filled up with 30 businesses engaged in each of MRRA’s target industrial sectors – aerospace, biotech, composites, IT and clean technology. These companies, collectively, employ nearly 100 people. In October, TechPlace opened an additional 25,000 SF of manufacturing space to meet demand.
Several of TechPlace’s current tenants are planning to move into the larger space to accommodate growth. Additionally, TechPlace opened a shared bioproduction lab, a shared machine shop with a new 3-axis CNC router and 3D printer for its members to utilize as part of their lease.
Redevelopment Project Attracts More New Companies
New businesses at Brunswick Landing and Topsham Commerce Park for 2016 include: Washburn and Doughty, Bath YMCA, Spooner Enterprise Law, New Beet Market, Flight Deck Brewing, Avita, Wayfair, Skordo, All Natural Technologies, MVP Aero, Studio V, Krolak Enterprises, New England Oceanographic Labs, Field Phyto Nutrients, BluShift Aerospace, Maine Composites Alliance, and Savoie Composites Solutions. Between them, these companies have created nearly 400 jobs with more in the pipeline for 2017. Wayfair alone expects to hire 500 employees.
Property Deals and Construction Projects
It was another very busy year for real estate transactions and new construction projects at Brunswick Landing. A few notable projects:
- MRRA sold former Navy Building 11 (Navy Exchange) to Priority Real Estate Group, which renovated the 52,000 SF building and is leasing it to Wayfair.
- Tom Wright purchased Lot 17, which includes former Navy Buildings 223 and 102. The two facilities are being redeveloped as an office building and a craft brewery (Flight Deck Brewing).
- Priority Group purchased Lot 5 along Bath Road and is constructing a convenience store and service station across from Merrymeeting Plaza near the entrance to Brunswick Landing.
- Avita is putting the finishing touches on a 50,000 SF memory care facility, slated to open in early 2017.
- New England Tent and Awning purchased its building (former Navy Building 88) and built a new equipment storage and tent drying facility adjacent to the main building to accommodate growth.
- Frosty’s Donuts purchased its building at 119 Orion Street. Frosty’s has used the building for the past two years as its wholesale doughnuts manufacturing facility.
- MRRA sold several lots to the Priority Group, including two for the Wayfair project, and two others across from SMCC for future development.
- MRRA also sold Lot 19 and the accompanying former Navy Chapel building to the Brunswick Naval Museum.
Brunswick Executive Airport (BXM) has seen significant increases in air traffic since it opened over five years ago, with over 16,000 flight operations forecast in 2016. There are currently 25 aircraft based at BXM.
Brunswick Executive Airport has been re-selected to participate in the FAA’s Military Airport Program (MAP) for an additional five year period. Current MAP eligibility for the airport extends through Federal Fiscal Year 2020. This program provides special funding to assist airport authorities to convert former military airfields into civilian airports. To date, the airport has received over $21 million in FAA and State grant funding for these improvements.
Recently completed projects include:
- A new Snow Removal Equipment (SRE) Building was constructed to provide maintenance and storage facilities for the airport SRE.
- The glycol capture system was recommissioned to capture and recycle all aircraft deicing fluids, preventing these fluids from being discharged to the environment.
Runway 1R/19L centerline lights were removed to decrease airport operating and maintenance costs.
- Concrete and joint repairs were completed on the transient aircraft ramp area.
- Energy efficient radiant heating and roofing systems will be installed in Hangars 4 and 5.
- Hangar 6 doors are being refurbished to improve safety and reliability.
- An environmental assessment is being conducted to determine any potential environmental impact as a result of future planned capital improvement projects on the airport.
- Renovation of Hangar 4 will be completed with restoration of fire alarm and fire protection systems, demolition of existing shop and maintenance space, and construction of new ADA compliant maintenance and office space.
Future MAP projects include additional energy efficiency and safety improvements to the former Navy hangars, wildlife fence improvements, construction of a new general aviation hangar, repairing airport parking lots, additional storm water drainage improvements, maintenance of airport approach clearances, and removal of several acres of unused pavement.
Utilities and Infrastructure Report
On-Site Electricity Generation Goes Live
Village Green Ventures (VGV) has gone operational with their anaerobic digester and associated “green energy” generation facility at Brunswick Landing.
The facility, located on a 4.25 acre parcel on the south end of the parking apron of Brunswick Executive Airport, began generating electricity in April 2016.
The facility is currently generating about 30 percent of the electricity required daily at Brunswick Landing. This project is an exciting concept and consistent with MRRA’s mission and redevelopment plan for a renewable energy center at the Brunswick Landing.
Brunswick Landing Electrical Distribution System Improvements
MRRA recently completed a major capital improvement project to upgrade the primary incoming feeder and main electrical distribution center to improve reliability and performance of the Brunswick Landing electrical grid. The scope of the upgrade project included the demolition of the existing pad-mounted “substation” at the corner of Admiral Fitch Avenue and Pegasus Street and replacing it with four new overhead reclosers. The new advanced reclosers have automated controls which will allow for additional flexibility in coordinating with Central Maine Power as well as form the basis for the development of a smart microgrid on the Brunswick Landing campus.
Brunswick Landing Improvements
As part of MRRA’s on-going improvement efforts at Brunswick Landing, several buildings determined to be not suitable for redevelopment or too costly to repurpose for civilian re-use were demolished. MRRA demolished Buildings 292, 252, and 32. Building 292, the former Air Station Fire House, was demolished to make way for future airport facilities. Building 252 (the former Transportation Maintenance garage between Orion Street and Pelican Avenue) was demolished to make way for a new parking lot to support one of Brunswick Landing’s newest businesses, Wayfair. Building 32, on Pegasus Street at the former Navy fuel farm, was demolished to create a buildable lot for a future business.
Brunswick Landing Sewer System Transfer Project
As part of our ongoing efforts to reduce Inflow and Infiltration and ultimately transfer the sanitary sewer system at Brunswick Landing to the Brunswick Sewer District, in June 2016 MRRA awarded a $494,430 contract for improvements to the gravity portion of the system to St Laurent and Sons of Lewiston. The scope of the project includes the rehabilitation of sewer manholes and lines throughout Brunswick Landing, including reconstruction of sewer lines by pipe bursting, construction of new manholes, re-connecting sewer lines and laterals to new lines and manholes, rehabilitation of manholes, replacement and reconnection of manholes, replacement of sewer service connections, plugging of sewer lines, demolition of manholes, and installation of new sewer pipe. The work is scheduled to be complete by December 2016. The Brunswick Sewer District has agreed to accept transfer of the system upon completion of this project.