Executive Director’s Report: Five Years After Navy Left, Redevelopment Ahead of Expectations
It’s hard to believe that Brunswick Landing is now five years old! Time sure flies by when you’re busy. MRRA has been hard at work implementing the Reuse Master Plan since day one. The Navy disestablished Naval Air Station Brunswick on May 31st, 2011. Since then we’ve seen tremendous business growth here and lots of physical changes as well. The economic impact, which many rightly feared when NASB was put on the BRAC list, has been more positive than most folks could have imagined. More than 90 entities now do business on former Navy property and collectively employ more than 950 people. We anticipate nearly double that by the end of the year with Savilinx’s expansion and Wayfair’s arrival. The two firms intend to hire a combined 700 new workers. Additionally, other existing Brunswick Landing businesses are expected to create another 100-200 jobs. We’re well ahead of where we thought we’d be in terms of economic impact. Five years into the project, we had forecast 433 jobs. We’re also seeing an increase in airport traffic. One of the first things we did was re-open the airport (while the Navy was still here) and it’s starting to pay off with seven aviation firms doing business here, increased fuel sales, and additional planes based at BXM. We are forecasting over 15,000 air operations in 2016. We continue to work with other aerospace clients to help fill some of our largest hangars. The Portland Press Herald recently published an article commemorating the five years of redevelopment. If you missed it, here is a link to the story.Thanks for reading!
Brunswick Landing Property Sales Continue to Surge
Business has been brisk this spring with several new property deals closing since March. MRRA sold Building 11 (former Navy Exchange) and accompanying land to the Priority Group of Topsham. The building is being renovated to accommodate Wayfair for its growing ecommerce business. It will move into the building in the next couple of weeks. MRRA also sold Lot 5 to Priority for a convenience store on Bath Road). Priority also purchased the former Navy Police Station (121 Orion Street) while neighbors Frosty’s Doughnuts and New England Tent and Awning purchased their buildings and lots last month.
Wayfair and SaviLinx Report Employee Recruitment Going Well
Both Wayfair and SaviLinx announced recent hiring efforts are better than expected with outstanding candidates for the new positions. The two companies are looking to hire about 700 workers between them. To accommodate Wayfair’s growth, MRRA demolished former Building 252 and built a new 320-space parking lot behind former Building 11, Wayfair’s new home at Brunswick Landing. SaviLinx continues to grow quickly after inking a recent deal with another federal agency for contact center support at its Brunswick operation, located in the quarterdeck of former Building 250.
TechPlace Becoming Robust Composites Manufacturing Hub
Recently, two more composites/
advanced materials companies have become members of TechPlace, Brunswick Landing’s Technology Accelerator – Studio V and Savoie Composites Solutions. That means 10 out of the 26 (nearly 40 percent) companies located at TechPlace are involved in the composites sector. Other sectors represented at TechPlace include IT, biotech, aerospace, education, legal services, and renewable energy. One company, MVP Aero, is involved in both composites and aerospace and plans to manufacture its MVP2 amphibious aircraft at Brunswick Landing.
Former Navy Fire Station Demolished in Latest Urban Renewal Effort
Since becoming the primary landlord at Brunswick Landing and Topsham Commerce Park, MRRA has demolished more than 30 buildings that were deemed unsuitable for redevelopment. Perhaps no building tugged at the heartstrings of former NASB personnel more than Building 292, the former Navy Fire Station. We would have liked to have kept the building, but its poor and declining condition, along with its location on the air field, hindered redevelopment. Under FAA re-use ordinances, as part of Brunswick Executive Airport, the building could only be used for aeronautical purposes, which made marketing the obsolete structure an insurmountable challenge. Besides that, the Navy had planned to tear it down anyway before conveying it to MRRA, but left before completing the job. We took many photos and videos of the building during the demo process.To view them, visit the MRRA website.
Featured Property: Former Air Traffic Control Tower (417 Allagash Drive)
We acquired the former Air Traffic Control Tower on the west side of the airport in our most recent transfer from the Navy. It’s one of the newest buildings on the property with about 15,000 SF of space and spectacular views from atop the tower. While the Navy took all of the radar equipment with them, they did leave behind some excellent office space and IT infrastructure, including raised floors and a massive generator capable of producing nearly a half megawatt of power (480kW at full capacity). We envision this building to be used for a highly secure operation, research and development, UAS business, IT, aviation training, and other special projects. Additionally, there’s enough land around the building to add a hangar or other facilities for manufacturing of aircraft or maintenance, repair, and overhaul activities.
Build-Your-Own Hangar Parcels Now Available at BXM
MRRA recently began marketing land at the airport for aircraft enthusiasts and aviation businesses to build custom hangars. BXM already offers T-hangars and other hangar space via FlightLevel Aviation, the airport’s fixed base operator. There is currently a waiting list for a T-hangar. Demand for general aviation hangars is high. The build-your-own option seemed to be a natural fit at BXM, which has plenty of space for hangars and is part of the airport master plan. The land is located along Orion Street on the east side of the air field. Three parcel sizes are available:
- 60×60 to accommodate a 1,600 SF hangar
- 70×70 to accommodate a 2,500 SF hangar
- 80×80 to accommodate a 3,600 SF hangar
Contact Airport Manager Marty McMahon for more information.
Update on Recreational Opportunities at Brunswick Landing
The BNAS Reuse Master Plan calls for significant open space and recreational areas, including bike and pedestrian paths. MRRA has been working with the Town of Brunswick, Bowdoin College, and other property owners for some time now on improving bicycle and pedestrian access to Brunswick Landing. Last year, MRRA collaborated with the Town and Bowdoin College on the opening of a pedestrian and bike path along the north end of the property parallel to Bath Road with access from both Pine Street on the west side and Allagash/SeaBee Complex on the east side of campus. There are also trails available on the west side on Bowdoin College and Town property and on Town and MRRA lands along the east perimeter fence. These trails are easily accessed off Pine Street (west side) and Neptune Drive (east side). Long range plans include a so-called Perimeter Trail system that would circumnavigate the entire property. However, construction of this trail network will require cooperation from multiple land-owners, including the Navy, the Town of Brunswick, and Bowdoin College. For more information about the recreational plan, visit the Town of Brunswick’s website and download the Recreation, Trails and Open Space Management Plan for Brunswick Landing.