Redevelopment News: Business Growth Continues to Surge — 1,200-plus Jobs; 100-plus Companies
Executive Director’s Report
Happy New Year, everyone! The new year is a good time to reflect and review our 2016 accomplishments during what proved to be a very busy year. We now have more than 1,200 employees and more than 100 entities doing business at the former Naval Air Station Brunswick Properties. More than twice the number of jobs have been created than was forecast five years into the redevelopment project plan.
We added nearly 20 new businesses to the Brunswick Landing roster in 2016, including e-commerce giant Wayfair, which plans to hire 500 workers for its new business-to-business facility in the former Navy Exchange. Other new companies include Avita Brunswick, Skordo, Rusty Lantern, Flight Deck Brewing, BluShift Aerospace, North East Mobile Health Services, Go Babe, Washburn and Doughty, Studio V, Bath YMCA, Krolak Enterprises, New England Oceanographic Labs, SteriZign, Savoie Composites Solutions, and Spooner Enterprise Law.
TechPlace, our manufacturing business incubator and technology accelerator, now hosts 30 companies and more than 80 employees. Annual flight operations at Brunswick Executive Airport surpassed 16,000 in 2016. In real estate news, MRRA closed several more deals with local developers worth more than $2 million in 2016. We completed the sale of several lots and buildings to the Priority Group of Topsham. We sold the former Navy Chapel to the Brunswick Naval Museum. We also closed on the sale of Lot 17 and accompanying buildings to Tom Wright. Looking ahead, we expect to have some exciting news to announce regarding some of our key aviation and IT facilities in 2017. We continue to work with multiple prospects engaged in each of our target industrial sectors – aerospace, biotech, composites, IT, and clean tech. There are also several more large-scale construction projects planned, including renovations to Hangar 4 and 5 for 2017 and potentially new road construction to create a third entry way into campus. We remain passionate and focused on meeting or surpassing our redevelopment goals and expect 2017 to be every bit as exciting as 2016!
Avita, Irving Station Open for Business with Brand New Buildings
Two new construction projects were completed recently near the front of Brunswick Landing — Avita of Brunswick’s Memory Care facility and an Irving convenience store and fuel station. Avita offers 60 units of assisted living space for folks in need of memory care. Landry-French was the general contractor for the $18 million project, which wrapped up at the end of November. Avita began taking residents on December 12th. The convenience store, which was built by the Priority Real Estate Group and Lajoie Brothers for about $3.8 million, opened for business in early December on Bath Road across from Merrymeeting Plaza. The two projects employed more than 250 construction workers.
Cheers! Microbrew Business On Tap for February Take Off
Brunswick Landing will soon be home to Maine’s newest craft brewery – Flight Deck Brewing. Work is nearly complete to convert former Navy Building 102 (indoor small arms range) to a brewery and tasting room. Tom Wright purchased the building from MRRA last summer, along with nearby former Building 223. Tom is leasing the building to Nate Wildes, who also operates the New Beet Market eatery on Burbank Ave. and Jared Entwistle (brewmaster). The facility has a seven-barrel system capable of producing about 200 gallons of beer per run. As with New Beet Market, Entwistle and Wildes plan to use as many locally produced ingredients as they’re able for production of a variety of brews, including IPA, porters, stouts, Belgians and fruit infused ales.
Spice Company Skordo Launches New Business at 121 Orion Street
The Karonis family recently opened a spice and home kitchen accessories business in the former Navy Police Station (Building 55). The Priority Real Estate Group of Topsham purchased the building from MRRA in 2016 and did a nice job outfitting it for Skordo’s business launch. Skordo, which means garlic in Greek, is a primarily wholesale operation to support its ecommerce sales, but they do plan to open a retail outlet eventually. For now, you can order through their website — skordo.com/.
Featured building: Former Navy Carpentry Shop Now Available
Former Building 19, the Navy wood-working shop, (6,000 SF), located at 125 Purinton Road, is in great shape and offers ample manufacturing space along with a couple of offices. The Navy left behind an assortment of industrial shop tools, including a planer, band saw, and a radial arm saw. There is also an extensive dust collection system in place and a rugged 30′ work bench. It comes with three overhead doors, two with 14′ clearance. Give us a call to schedule a showing and be sure to fill out a MRRA Business Information Form.
Construction Attracts $350M in Capital Investment, Bolsters Workforce
MRRA’s Steve Levesque recently had the opportunity to present at the Maine General Contractors annual dinner in Freeport. He spoke about MRRA’s redevelopment and tailored the presentation for the audience to include several slides about the many construction projects that have occurred at Brunswick Landing and Topsham Commerce Park since the Navy left. It was the first time we’ve pulled all of the projects together and we were surprised by how much activity has taken place. More than $350 million has been invested in capital improvements to the former NASB properties. MRRA has orchestrated many of these projects, including airport improvements, Mölnlycke’s manufacturing plant, and ongoing public works projects. During that time, nearly 1,000 construction jobs have been created between public and private sector projects. That’s impressive! You may view the slideshow on MRRA’s website.
MRRA Helps Alleviate Traffic Congestion, Keeps Merriconeag Road Open Year Round
We’re pleased to announce that we’ve decided to keep the back gate near Harpswell Road and Mere Creek Golf Club open all year. In the past, we’ve kept it closed for the winter once we received our first plowable snow event. To help bring some relief to commuters, we’ve opted to plow Merriconeag Road this winter, which will allow motorists a secondary entry into Brunswick Landing. It is quite costly to keep this road plowed. We once again remind motorists that the speed limit on Merriconeag is 25 mph. Please drive safely. We’d like to keep this road open to the public.
Town of Brunswick Proposes Road to Facilitate Traffic Movement at Brunswick Landing
A new road that would connect Admiral Fitch Ave., Brunswick Landing’s main drag, to Gurnet Road has been proposed by the Town of Brunswick. MRRA is working with the Town on this project, which would add another entry way into Brunswick Landing from the east. The proposed road alignment, which was contemplated in the Reuse Master Plan, would begin across from the intersection of Perryman Drive and Gurnet, run behind the Cook’s Corner Mall, and connect with Admiral Fitch Avenue. Construction could begin this summer, depending on availability of funds. It might even include a rotary to improve traffic flow and provide commuter relief.
MRRA Names SaviLinx, InSphero Top Innovators of 2016
MRRA recognized two Brunswick Landing companies for innovative business practices at the MRRA annual meeting and dinner held at the Hilton Garden Inn on Nov. 16th. SaviLinx, a contact center, headquartered in Brunswick, employs more than 450 employees in Maine and Mississippi, was named the most innovative business in the larger company category (10 employees, or more). InSphero, a Swiss biotech firm with its U.S. headquarters located at TechPlace, was honored as most innovative micro business. Both companies have grown rapidly since opening their Brunswick Landing businesses and have plans to significantly increase their workforces in the future. Interestingly, both companies are headed by Brunswick natives – Heather Blease (SaviLinx CEO and Founder) and Stewart Hunt (InSphero General Manager).
TechPlace Now Leasing Larger Manufacturing Spaces
We recently completed renovations on the Hangar 4 East industrial project, which adds nearly 25,000 SF of manufacturing space to TechPlace. Innovators now have access to five more industrial spaces in former Navy Building 250. The work spaces range from about 1,500 SF to nearly 2,700 SF. The spaces are separated by 10 foot high metal walls with about 22 feet of overhead clearance. Spaces may be secured with different lock options. Access to the spaces are via bi-parting tunnel doors large enough to accommodate a forklift and other large machinery and equipment. Each space features 3-phase power (120/208V). The building has an electrical infrastructure with the capacity to supply larger power loads in the future. Separate overhead LED lighting is available in each space. Utility costs are built into the rent. Free WiFi is also included. Learn more about the new space and view floor plan.