TechPlace Wall-Breaking Ceremony: MRRA Launches New Technology Accelerator
BRUNSWICK LANDING, Maine – The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority hosted a wall-breaking ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 4th at former Navy Building 250, the future home of TechPlace, Brunswick Landing’s Technology Accelerator.
Rep. Mike Michaud, Maine Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner George Gervais, State Sen. Stan Gerzofski, and Brunswick Town Council Chair Benet Pols were on hand to speak and take swings at a mock-up sheetrock wall. MRRA Executive Director Steve Levesque also spoke and moderated the proceedings.
“It’s fitting that (TechPlace) will house the new generation of business technology and manufacturing,” Congressman Michaud said. “TechPlace will help ensure that the runways and roadways of the former Brunswick Naval Air Station are busy once again.”
“TechPlace will help improve Maine’s overall competitiveness,” Commissioner Gervais said. “It will enhance small business development and job creation by providing entrepreneurs a place to do research, build prototypes, and test products and do so all at a very cost-effective manner.”
About 60 folks, including several members of the press attended the event, which was held under a brilliant blue sky with bright sunshine and a warm breeze. Also present were representatives from many of MRRA’s TechPlace partners, which include the Economic Development Administration, the Town of Brunswick, Brunswick Development Corp., Coastal County Workforce, Inc., Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Southern Maine Community College, Maine Center for Entrepreneurial Development, Manufacturers Association of Maine, E2Tech, the Maine Composites Alliance, and the Maine Aviation Business Association, to name a few.
TechPlace will offer entrepreneurs and small startup technology companies shared manufacturing work space and will spark new business development and job creation as part of an effort to replace the 4,800 jobs lost following Naval Air Station Brunswick’s closure in 2011.
“We want this to be a place where entrepreneurs can come and grow and be part of a living laboratory for new technology and new ideas,” Steve Levesque said. “It provides a rare opportunity to join a community of creative innovators and bold entrepreneurs in a shared manufacturing work space.”
TechPlace will support the business clusters of aerospace, advanced materials, biotech/biomed, renewable energy and information services technologies. TechPlace will give entrepreneurs a place to network with others, research and develop ideas, build prototypes, and test products without the huge costs of leasing individual properties.
MRRA and its grant partners, Coastal Counties Workforce, Inc. and Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership, were awarded $2.4 million in federal monies from President Obama’s “Make It in America Challenge”. MRRA’s portion, $1.5 million, which includes $750,000 in matching funds from MRRA, the Brunswick Development Corp. and the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, is being used to renovate former Navy Building 250 to meet ADA / Life Safety Code requirements and other infrastructure and building improvements to support the identified industry clusters, along with the start-up cost of creating and marketing a science and advanced technology business incubator.
Phase I of the renovation project kicks off this month. Approximately 20,000 SF of shared space is being created inside Building 250, the former Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department, which the Navy used to repair and replace parts on the P-3 Orion marine surveillance planes that were based at NASB. HardyPond Construction of Portland is the General Contractor for Phase I of this project with Wright-Pierce and WBRC providing oversight and architectural services. When Phase I is complete, the space will include the following:
- Co-working office space
- Co-working manufacturing/prototype and wet lab space
- Private office/shop space
- Shared administrative equipment
- VTC enabled conference room
- Access to support programs and networks