Base reuse panel lists gains
BRUNSWICK — Despite Monday’s announcement that Kestrel Aircraft Co. will build a new manufacturing facility in Wisconsin rather than at Brunswick Landing, redevelopment officials said Tuesday that organizations and companies already committed to leases at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station project to add a total of 450 new jobs by the time their leases begin.
At a regularly scheduled meeting of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority board of directors, executive director Steve Levesque reported that 10 entities have leased more than 325,000 square feet of the nearly 2 million square feet at the former Navy base, with another 30,000 square feet rented to other organizations for storage.
Those companies — including Kestrel — have already created 117.5 new positions, Levesque said.
Of 450 projected new jobs, Resilient Communications accounts for 150, with Mölnlycke Health Care anticipating 100, according to Levesque.
Kestrel also now anticipates creating 100 new positions altogether, including the roughly two dozen Kestrel workers already employed at Brunswick Landing.
American Bureau of Shipping announced last week that it would expand its current 30-person work force by 16 in 2012.
In addition, Integrated Marine Systems plans to create 20 new jobs by the end of 2013, should the company be successful in securing a $ 200,000 Community Block Development Grant, IMS President William Peterson wrote in a Dec. 6 memo to the Brunswick Town Council.
Of the 117.5 new positions already created, 36 are at Resilient; 35 are at American Bureau of Shipping; 25 are at Kestrel; eight are at New England Tent & Awning; 6.5 are at Southern Maine Community College; four (two full-time and two part- time) are at FlightLevel Aviation, the fixed base operator of Brunswick Executive Airport; and three are at Maine Tool & Machine.
Levesque also updated the board on the current property leases, including 83,262 square feet in Hangar 6 leased to Kestrel; 62,513 square feet, in two buildings, leased to Resilient Communications; 21,500 square feet in Hangar 5 leased to Integrated Marine Systems; and a 79,000-squarefoot building, currently under construction by Mölnlycke and slated to open in February 2013.
Still, Kestrel’s announcement on Monday that 300 to 600 jobs initially envisioned for Brunswick Landing — but that will now go to Wisconsin after that state offered a more attractive tax incentive package — loomed over Tuesday’s meeting, and Levesque addressed it during a brief statement near the beginning of the meeting.
“While we’re certainly disappointed that we weren’t able to put together a package that could win over the total complement of the manufacturing operation — and certainly part of it is going to Wisconsin — we are encouraged that Kestrel will still have a major presence here in Maine and in Brunswick,” Levesque said on behalf of the MRRA board. “In fact, this will be its finishing facility, where the aircraft are finished and delivered to customers. This will be the face of delivery for Kestrel Aircraft.”
With as many as 100 jobs still slated to be developed at Kestrel in Brunswick, Levesque said the company continues to provide “ an opportunity for us to be able to grow. As that company grows, we will be in a position to accommodate them. We certainly want to work with the company.”
“I’ve been asked if ( the Kestrel announcement) is going to change MRRA’s aggressive nature in going after businesses, and the answer is no,” he said.