Redevelopment News: Strong Business Growth Continues; Wayfair Bringing 500 Jobs to Brunswick Landing
Redevelopment News, Spring 2016
Executive Director’s Report
Redevelopment continues at a rapid pace in 2016 with a huge blast of good news. On Feb. 17th, Wayfair, a Boston-based ecommerce company that specializes in home and office furniture, announced plans to open an operation here at Brunswick Landing. Wayfair plans to create up to 500 jobs after it opens in June. This addition will add to the existing 850 (and growing) jobs currently on campus, with companies like SaviLinx, Tempus Jets, ONE Aviation, Pathways, Mölnlycke Health Care and others all adding new quality jobs. We projected about 450 jobs at this point and we’re currently almost double that number. With Wayfair’s and the other existing businesses’ contribution, that puts us closer to our mid-term goal of approximately 1,600 positions, which we didn’t expect until nearly 10 years into the project. We wouldn’t have enjoyed nearly this much success had we not engaged the private sector. We have been extremely fortunate to attract seven quality developers for projects at both Brunswick Landing and the Topsham Commerce Park — all of whom have paid fair market value for the former base properties. These projects, with a blend of refurbishment of former Navy buildings and new ground-up construction, collectively total over $60 million in exciting new development projects, so far. This substantial investment activity is creating new quality jobs and expanding the tax base for the towns of Brunswick and Topsham. We’ll continue to work closely with developers until we achieve full build-out.
Wayfair to Create 950 Jobs in Maine, 500 at Brunswick Landing
Ecommerce giant Wayfair, with more than $1.3 billion in sales, will open its Brunswick Landing operation in June and expects to hire about 500 workers to staff its customer contact and sales center. Wayfair will move into the former Navy Exchange building at 46 Burbank Ave. The building is in the process of being sold to the Priority Group of Topsham.Priority has already begun $3 million in renovations on the building (see photos of project). Wayfair will initially lease about 40,000 SF of the 52,381 SF facility. MRRA is providing a $300,000 redevelopment loan for Wayfair. It is also demolishing an obsolete building nearby to build a new parking lot for Wayfair’s employees. It’s been a team effort in bringing Wayfair to Maine. In addition to Priority Group, we’d also like to thank Maine and Company, the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, and the Town of Brunswick for their hard work on this exciting development.
New Beet Market Opens for Business
Wild Oats closed its doors in October leaving Brunswick Landing without a restaurant to feed its growing workforce and student body. But it didn’t take long for a new restaurant to take its place. New Beet Market opened for business on Feb. 24th at the site of the former Wild Oats eatery. New Beet Market serves locally produced “farm-to-table” food. They will work closely with Seeds of Independence and the Harpswell Coastal Academy, which both plan to provide employees for the restaurant. For now, New Beet is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The restaurant is located at 25 Burbank Ave. near the intersection with Pegasus Street.
MVP Aero to Build Composites Flying Boat at Brunswick Landing
On Jan. 21st, MVP Aero announced at the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, FL, the selection of Brunswick Landing as the development site for the new Model MVP-2 amphibious aircraft. The MVP-2 will be built using advanced composite materials. The aircraft’s design allows a pilot to fold the wings on the water, giving the MVP-2 to access to thousands of destinations such as marinas and boathouses that are unavailable to other aircraft. The wing fold feature also allows the MVP-2 to be trailered like a boat and stored off airport, reducing costs and increasing usefulness. Paul Richards, MVP’s Development Manager said the Brunswick Executive Airport’s world-class facilities, proximity to large bodies of water (Casco Bay, Androscoggin River) for test flights, and the presence of the Composites Engineering Research Lab at TechPlace, made Brunswick Landing the logical choice.
Sen. Angus King Visits TechPlace
We’ve been especially fortunate to have a strong Congressional delegation in place in Washington when we need some help from the feds. Not all redevelopers of closed military bases have that luxury. Sen. King, a Brunswick resident, has been one of our strongest supporters from the beginning. He’s worked hard on legislation such as the HUBZone expansion that will have a positive impact for years to come. He stopped by to see some of the fruits of his labor, visiting TechPlace on Feb. 5 during a nasty snowstorm. TechPlace has been open for only about one year, but it already houses 23 businesses. Sen. King was able to speak with several TechPlace companies during his 1.5 hour stopover, including MVP Aero, Grifin LLC, InSphero, STARC Systems, and Bourgeois Guitars. He also had a short tour of the Composites Engineering Research Lab.
Brunswick Executive Airport Celebrates 5th Birthday
Next month BXM turns five. Maine’s newest airport has undergone much transformation since opening in April 2011 while the Navy was still here. Fuel sales have increased by 10 percent annually and air traffic is up to nearly 15,000 operations per year. We’ve held three air shows (a fourth was cancelled due to sequestration), two fly-ins and now have 27 airplanes based at BXM. Additionally, we’ve invested nearly $15 million in airport improvement projects to upgrade facilities and convert the airfield from military to civilian usage. We now have seven aviation/aerospace companies doing business here, including Tempus Jets, ONE Aviation (Kestrel), Greisen Aerospace, MVP Aero, FlightLevel Aviation, Maine Coastal Flight, and Hoyle Tanner and Associates. To celebrate BXM’s fifth year anniversary, we plan to have an open house / media day in April and host a fly-in this summer. Stay tuned for details.
Neptune Hall (former Navy Mess)
We recently received a Lease in Furtherance of Conveyance (LIFOC) from the Navy on former Building 201, “Neptune Hall.” For now, we’re able to lease this 9,425 SF building located at 237 Neptune Drive. Once it fully transfers, we can sell it. At any rate, Building 201 is set up well for a restaurant operation. It features three dining areas, including a porch/patio for al fresco dining. The kitchen has stainless steel throughout and also comes with a dishwasher, two walk-in coolers and three walk-in freezers. There’s a loading dock and receiving area. The building also has a couple of offices for restaurant management and a large parking lot for about 50 vehicles. With Wayfair’s arrival and another 500 workers on campus, this would be an excellent time for an experienced chef to open another eatery here.
Brunswick Landing Public Works, Airport Projects Continue
MRRA’s public works department and airport staff have been busy this winter, which has been milder than usual, with several projects that have been completed, or are close to wrapping up. The new airport snow removal equipment (SRE) building is almost finished. This new building, situated along the south ramp, will help free up space for aerospace activities in Hangar 5 and give our airport snow king more space to store equipment and work on the plows. Other projects recently completed or underway include:
- Demolition work at the Topsham Commerce Park to remove concrete foundations;
- Anaerobic digester biogas plant construction for the Brunswick Renewable Energy Center (BREC) ; and
- Installation of the Brunswick Landing map kiosk on Admiral Fitch Ave.;
- Recloser/electrical switch upgrade to improve management of power grid.