Redevelopment News, Summer 2017
Executive Director’s Report
It’s been a very busy summer once again at MRRA. Already over 1,400 jobs have been created by the 100-plus entities doing business at Brunswick Landing and Topsham Commerce Park. Job growth continues to be stronger than expected. In fact, it’s outpacing the projected employment figures that were developed as milestones for the Reuse Master Plan. Six years into the redevelopment of the former Naval Air Station Brunswick, we had originally forecasted to have about 675 jobs. Job growth, property development, new business attraction, increased air traffic and other redevelopment activities have helped MRRA become recognized nationally as a model for redevelopment best practices to be used by other closed bases. The keys to the success of the redevelopment project to date is the establishment of the many collaborative partnerships that have been forged with: the businesses and real estate development community; the Towns of Brunswick and Topsham; the State of Maine; numerous federal agencies; the US Navy; and a number of other key strategic business partners. We wouldn’t be here without them. With our partners’ help, our vision to become “Maine’s Center for Innovation” is a now reality! We have become a major asset for growing Maine’s innovation economy. We are proud to say that our mix of businesses on our campuses is well represented by companies in the aerospace, composites and advanced materials, bio-tech, information technology, clean tech sectors (our technology targets), as well as numerous other industries and public service entities. With the addition of TechPlace, we now have the unique ability to foster and support the growth of both large and small innovative businesses at our two campuses. These are indeed exciting times for the Mid-coast region and the State of Maine.
1.5 MW solar farm coming to Brunswick Landing; MRRA microgrid in works
MRRA is bringing additional renewable energy to its electrical grid (currently about 3.5 megawatts) at Brunswick Landing. Portland-based ReVision Energy is about to break ground on a 1.5 megawatt solar farm near the north end of the airfield at Brunswick Executive Airport. The photovoltaic system will provide power primarily to the airport, including hangars, ground support buildings, runway / taxiway lights and beacons. MRRA expects the system to operational by the end of the year. MRRA already generates close to a megawatt of power on campus with electricity produced by the Village Green Ventures Biogas plant and anaerobic digester. Read more about the solar project in the Brunswick Times Record. Additionally, MRRA is working to improve its overall electrical grid, both in terms of reliability and resiliency, to handle more renewable energy projects, including innovative new clean tech systems. The eventual goal is to develop an independent microgrid with fully green renewable energy generated on campus. Read more about this exciting project in the Microgrid Knowledge blog.
Maine Technology Institute Awards Funding to TechPlace Companies
The Maine Technology Institute approved 31 awards totaling almost $695,000 from its source of funding programs and is leveraging an additional $960,815 in matching funds from the organizations. Congratulations to TechPlace members bluShift Aerospace, Field Phyto Nutrients and SteriZign Precision Technologies, who collectively received more than $250,000 in awards, with an equal amount in matching funds to continue development of their respective products. More information about the TechPlace awards.
bluShift Aerospace Building Innovative, Low-Cost Spacecraft
Congratulations to bluShift Aerospace on its recent award of a $25,000 seed grant from the Maine Technology Institute! bluShift Aerospace is using the award for further development and testing of a safe, non-toxic biofuel-based rocket used to launch cube satellites into low Earth orbit. A Cube satellite is a miniaturized satellite used in a variety of research and commercial applications ranging from earth observations to scientific research and exploration of space technologies. Reducing the dependency on larger satellites which are costlier to build and riskier to deploy.
A&P School to Open at Brunswick Landing
To meet the workforce demands of a growing aviation industry in the State of Maine, the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA) is working with Maine’s aviation industry and the Maine Community College System to develop an FAA-approved airframes and powerplant (A&P) school at Brunswick Landing. The A&P training center will be located in the TechPlace complex, which provides direct access to the flight line and adjacent Hangar 4. TechPlace already has much of the required infrastructure in place to provide a “state-of art” training facility, including: classroom space, metal works/airframes shop, machine shop, welding booth, composites layup room, and engine facility. MRRA has initiated the FAA certification process for the school and expects it to be operating within the next 9-12 months.
Composites Manufacturing Center Taking Shape in TechPlace
MRRA is currently constructing an environmentally controlled composites layup room, curing oven and paint booth, all designed to aviation standards and sized to accept wings, fuselages and other large structures. These complement TechWorks, our shared machine shop, which includes a CNC machining center, welding shop, 3D printers and on-site Composites Engineering Research Lab (CERL) at TechPlace, Brunswick Landing’s manufacturing and technology incubator. Once complete, this facility, will be available to all Maine companies.
Featured Airport Properties: More than 100,000 SF Available
Blue Angels Coming to BXM for Great State of Maine Air Show Aug. 26th-27th
The Great State of Maine Air Show, featuring the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, takes place this weekend (August 26-27). Pilots, Don’t miss this great opportunity to fly in to the Great State of Maine Air Show. The airport will be open before 11:00 am and after 5:00 pm Saturday and Sunday, 26th and 27th. There is ample parking for GA aircraft on the ramp within a short distance to the show entrance. For your convenience, you may purchase tickets in advance online at www.greatstateofmaineairshow.us.
Record number of flight operations at BXM
Since opening for business in April 2011 after the Navy left, Brunswick Executive Airport has enjoyed steady growth in several key airport metrics, including fuel sales, based aircraft, and flight operations. In 2016, BXM had a record 16,000 flight ops. This year, the airport is on pace for nearly 20,000 ops. Fuel sales have increased by 25 percent while based aircraft is up by nearly 30 percent over the previous year. In July, BXM had its best month ever with more than 2,000 ops.
Hangar 4 Renovations Underway in Latest Round of Airport Upgrades
Since 2012, more than $20 million has been invested in modernizing Brunswick Executive Airport to convert it from military to civilian use and improving the safety and energy efficiency of our world-class facilities. Recent projects include the installation of radiant heat in Hangars 4, 5, 6; epoxying of hangar floors; LED lighting on runways and inside hangars; 10-bay T-hangar project; snow removal equipment shed construction; re-striping runway and taxiway markings; and installation of a PAPI system. These upgrades have transformed what was a closed Naval Air Base into an essentially brand new aviation complex and the premier location in the northeast U.S. for business. Our latest project is the demolition of the work shops and offices on the airfield side of Hangar 4. We will rebuild the front of the facility and construct new work spaces to be utilized by a future aerospace tenant.
Flight Deck Brewing, MRRA Collaborate to Restore Static P-3, P-2
This evening (August 24th), Flight Deck Brewing, located in the former Navy small arms range, will hold a fundraiser to benefit the restoration and maintenance of the two former U.S. Navy surveillance planes, a P-3 Orion and a P-2 Neptune, that are on display at Brunswick Landing. Twenty percent of all proceeds will go to a nonprofit established by MRRA. Brewery owner Nate Wildes, along with volunteers, will use the funds to buy materials to reinforce the wings and repaint the aircraft. See story in the Bangor Daily News »