Redevelopment Newsletter: Strong job growth continues at Brunswick Landing with 80 businesses and 800-plus employees
Redevelopment News, Winter 2015
Executive Director’s Report
Happy Holidays everyone! We’re pleased to report that the redevelopment of the former Naval Air Station Brunswick and Topsham Annex properties continues to exceed our expectations. We projected the creation of 425 jobs by the end of 2015. We recently surpassed 800 jobs, almost double what was forecast in the Reuse Master Plan. We now have more than 80 entities doing business at the former base properties, including 21 at TechPlace, the small business incubator and manufacturing technology accelerator we opened at the end of January. Southern Maine Community College and University College collectively now have more than 900 students enrolled in classes at the Brunswick Landing campus. Many of our companies are already taking advantage of the workforce training programs SMCC offers to train their workers in specialized fields. Not only is business taking off, but so is air traffic at Brunswick Executive Airport. We’re on pace to eclipse last year’s record of more than 15,000 air operations and we are also seeing a 10 percent increase in aviation fuel sales. Indeed, 2015 has proven to be a highly successful year. We’re grateful for our good fortune, partners, and entrepreneurs who’ve moved or expanded their businesses here. Here’s looking forward to an even better 2016.
Featured Property: Hangar 5
Hangar 5, located at 112 Orion Street, is the second largest aircraft facility at Brunswick Executive Airport (BXM). It offers more than 160,000 SF of hangar space, premium office suites and shop spaces. We’ve recently installed all new LED lighting in the building and upgraded heating systems to help tenants cut utility costs. Hangar 5 features twin 40,000 SF bays on the north and south sections and another 20,000 SF Middle Bay between them. This hangar includes overhead cranes, doors with 43’ foot clearance, and will accommodate seven very large planes (up to 737 or A-320 sized aircraft). It is an excellent facility for aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO), or aerospace manufacturing. Contact us for more information if you, or anyone you know, is interested in taking a look.
Avita of Brunswick launches construction of new memory care facility
Construction of the new Avita of Brunswick memory care facility recently commenced at 89 Admiral Fitch Ave. on the east side of the street at the site of the old Navy trailer park. Avita held a ground-breaking ceremony Nov. 12. Landry-French is the lead contractor. Avita is owned by Northbridge Companies from Burlington, MA. The Sandy River Company is the primary financial backer of this project. Once complete, the new building will be around 50,000 SF and should be ready for occupancy sometime next fall.
VGV Power Plant update: Renewable energy plant nears completion
Village Green Ventures continues to make headway on the renewable energy plant on the south end of the airfield. Most of the structures are up and nearly finished. We expect the project to wrap up by the end of the year. We will begin receiving power, which will be generated from biogas created by anaerobic digestion of organic waste materials, to our grid in a few months. This exciting project is consistent with the reuse plan’s goals of renewable energy generation. It will allow MRRA to continue to provide a stable electricity price from 100 percent green energy sources that is lower than market average.
TechPlace bursting at the seams with innovation
There are now 22 businesses in TechPlace, Maine’s Technology Accelerator, located at 74 Orion Street. We never expected it to be this successful this rapidly. Recent companies to move into TechPlace include MVP Aero, Maine Composites Alliance, Kenway/HarborTech, Composites Engineering and Research Lab, Composites Technology Center, VGV Brunswick, and GHG Underground. We’ve also seen some of our fastest growing startups request more space for business expansion. There’s still plenty of space available in the 95,000 SF facility. We’ll be adding even more space once the TechPlace Phase III manufacturing space project is complete. Our focus now is the opening of a shared wet lab for biotech firms and a shared manufacturing equipment tech shop. Both should be ready in January.
Innovators of the Year: RollEase Innovation Center and STARC Systems
At its annual dinner last month, MRRA recognized two Brunswick Landing companies for innovative business practices. The dinner was attended by more than 140 folks, including several Brunswick Landing businesses and MRRA strategic partners and friends. Emily Reichert, Chief Executive Officer of Greentown Labs in Somerville, MA, served as guest speaker. Greentown Labs, a clean tech business incubator, helped inspire many of the ideas that have come to life in TechPlace. The Rollease Innovation Center, a division of Rollease Acmeda, was named the most innovative business in the larger company category (10 employees, or more), while STARC Systems, located at TechPlace, was honored as most innovative micro business.
King, Congressional Delegation Lend Hand on the Redevelopment Front
Senator Angus King, a Brunswick native, has been one of our biggest fans lately. Sen. King, working with the entire Maine Congressional Delegation (Sen. Collins, Reps. Pingree and Poliquin), helped push the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act through Capitol Hill and on to the Oval Office for President Obama’s signature. Sen. King authored key changes to the HUBZone (historically under-utilized business zone) program to benefit closed military installations and affected communities. This new law will help MRRA with its business attraction efforts and regional businesses access to new business opportunities. Not only has Sen. King been busy touting Brunswick Landing in Washington, but he’s also been hosting a radio program on WGAN called “Inside Maine”. Recently, he interviewed MRRA Executive Director Steve Levesque and STARC Systems founder and chief of operations, Bruce Bickford of TechPlace. Both interviews were very well done and entertaining. You may listen to the interviews by clicking the links above for the audio files.
Brunswick Naval Museum Opens for Business
The Brunswick Naval Museum and Memorial Gardens is now open for visitors. The museum is located in the former Navy Chapel (Building 585) at 179 Admiral Fitch Ave. The museum is now open two days per week — Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Museum President John Briley said staff will open the museum for special tours and group visits with advance notice. Admission is free for the time being. The museum is loaded with artifacts from the former Naval Air Station Brunswick (NASB). It also includes a flight simulator that visitors can use to try their hand on the stick of a virtual P-3 Orion or many other Navy airplanes. Visit the Museum website for contact information and museum updates.
Bath Area YMCA Expands to Brunswick Landing
Brunswick Landing employees, residents, visitors and students now have a new place to work out. The Bath Area YMCA recently opened a new facility in the former Navy Fitness Center (Building 25) located at 24 Venture Ave. Tom Wright of Seeds of Independence purchased the building from MRRA last year and has been busy with renovations for the past several months. The YMCA is open temporarily for now with pickle ball games during the week. The Y will take delivery of fitness equipment in a few weeks and should be fully open by January 12th. For information, visit the Bath YMCA website.
Brunswick Naval Air Station Historic Plaque Unveiled at Nov. 30th Ceremony
Members of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, Brunswick Rotary Club and Village Heritage Society recently held a ceremony to unveil a plaque commemorating the former Brunswick Naval Air Station as a historic site. MRRA installed the plaque on a temporary cedar structure with plans to eventually move it to permanent spot nearby in the P-3 Park. The plaque outlines the history of the property from incorporation into the town of Brunswick in 1739 to the Navy’s long tenure here and to the current redevelopment project at Brunswick Landing. View photos »