Redevelopment Newsletter: Employment Growth Surges, More Than 1,500 Jobs Created
Redevelopment News, Winter 2017
Executive Director’s Report
As we enter the holiday season and ready for winter, it’s a good time to reflect on the past year. Redevelopment of the former Naval Air Station Brunswick continues to outperform initial projections made six years ago when implementation of the Reuse Master Plan began. To date, more than 1,500 jobs have been created by more than 100 entities doing business at Brunswick Landing and the Topsham Commerce Park. Forecasters originally projected 700 jobs would be created six years into the project.
We have resident businesses in each of our six target sectors: aerospace, composites, information technology, life sciences, clean tech and education, in addition to other complementary business sectors. New businesses for 2017 include: Atol USA, Flight Deck Brewing, The REAL School, Brunswick Aviation Services, Accel Physical Therapy, Harpswell House, Black Diamond Whiskey, Innovative Solutions and Support, American Classic Aviation, Hydroswarm, AdmitHub, Maine PTAC, Rusty Lantern Market, Helios, Brunswick Landing Ventures, ReVision Energy, JHM Associates, Maine Aviation Business Association, 14 Wiley Road, Planus, Nobleheart Products, and Mobility Technologies.
Additionally, more than $350 million in private and public-sector investments have been made to the former NASB properties since 2011. Redevelopment activities are helping boost the local, regional and state economies impacted by base closure. Nearly $160 million in valuation has been added to the local tax rolls in Brunswick and Topsham, resulting in nearly $3 million being paid annually in real estate taxes from redevelopment activities in both communities. This is new revenue to the towns. The Navy didn’t pay property taxes during its 70-year tenure at Brunswick .
Read Steve’s Op-Ed column in the Brunswick Times Record for more stats.
Solar Farm Project On Track for January Power Production
The installation of a 1.5 megawatt solar PV generation system at Brunswick Landing continues at a rapid pace. The project is being constructed on a six-acre parcel on the north end of the airfield near the old cross-wind runway, now defunct. Most of the panels are now installed. MRRA expects to begin taking power from it around the new year after the inverter system and conductors to tie into our grid have been installed. The solar farm will produce nearly half Brunswick Landing’s current electricity requirements, which is about 3 MW. View solar project photos online.
STARC Systems First Business to Graduate from TechPlace
STARC Systems, creator of innovative wall systems, has moved its manufacturing operations to 166 Orion Street, just down the road from TechPlace. STARC outgrew its initial footprint at TechPlace and is now leasing a 16,000 SF building from MRRA. Bruce Bickford, Chief Operating Officer of STARC, said the company has doubled sales within the last year and expects to grow at a similar pace. The new building will be able to accommodate the projected growth. More about STARC Systems move.
MRRA Names 2017’s Top Innovators, Property Developer
We recognized two Brunswick Landing companies for innovative business practices and awarded 2017’s top property developer at the MRRA annual meeting and dinner held November 15th at the Hilton Garden Inn. FirstLight Data Centers (formerly Oxford Networks) was named the most innovative business in the larger company category (10 employees, or more), while the Composites Engineering Research Lab (CERL) was honored as most innovative micro business (fewer than 10 employees). Priority Real Estate Group of Topsham was named Developer of the Year, marking the first time the award has been given. In order to be considered for the award, contestants were required to submit essays detailing their innovation policies. Read more about the awards.
REAL School is Tom Wright’s Latest Innovative Construction Project
Tom Wright is putting the finishing touches on the REAL School project. Most of the renovations were completed in September in time for the new school year. Tom recently installed a large solar PV panel in front of the building to go along with several roof-mounted arrays. Tom says it will be net-zero energy building when all is said and done. The building features several unique renovations, including the re-use of old steam pit infrastructure for the heating and cooling of the building. He added a second story and reused the original roof by cutting it off and then lowering it back on to the new level with a crane. The school, part of the Brunswick schools system, is located in former Navy Building 223 (network hub facility). REAL stands for Relevant, Experiential, Authentic, Learning. Tom has been among the most active property developers here. The REAL School is Tom’s sixth redevelopment project at Brunswick Landing! Tom also completed renovations on Building 102 for Flight Deck Brewing, which opened for business in March. Previous projects include New Beet Market, the Bath YMCA, Seeds of Independence, and the car wash facility. View photos of the project.
Black Diamond Whiskey Moving Distillery to Brunswick Landing
A new whiskey distillery recently expanded its liquor making business to former Navy Building 153 (recycling facility). Black Diamond, owned by business partners Shane McKenna and Fred Harrigan, expects to begin distilling several flavors of white whiskey at Brunswick Landing early in 2018. If they were fortunate enough, Great State of Maine Air Show patrons may have sampled the product back in August. It proved a popular beverage, selling out by the second day of the air show. Read story in the Brunswick Times Record.
Featured Property: 148 Orion Street, Former Navy SCIF
The Navy used Building 554 as a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) for storage and analysis of highly classified information and data used in military operations. The building is about 10,000 SF and has multiple high security access control features, including a man trap, retinal scanning units and cameras. For added security and resiliency, there is back-up power and raised concrete slab floors. Two thirds of the building is set up with office space, while the other third features an open bay of about 3,000 SF that would be ideal for a data center, colocation and server farms. Other good uses would be special projects, financial technology, back office operations, and cybersecurity activities. The open area is accessed by three overhead doors that are tightly secured by heavy steel interior doors when not in use. MRRA is asking $12 / SF for this one-of-a-kind building. View building specs.
Brunswick Executive Airport Sets New Traffic Record
BXM continues its strong performance with more business than ever. We recently went over 17,000 flight operations for the year. The previous record, set in 2016, was just under 16,000. With any luck and good weather, we should finish the year with more than 18,000. Our goal is to grow by five percent a year. Aviation fuel sales are also up by 25 percent and we have a waiting list for hangar space. In early 2018, we will complete renovations on Hangars 4 and 5 and break ground on a new box hangar for FlightLevel Aviation, the fixed base operator. Additionally, we now have 10 resident aerospace companies. This airport is really starting to take off!