2016-01-28 / Front Page

Good things happening at Landing

MRRA’s Levesque delivers positive business developments in Brunswick
BY DOUGLAS MCINTIRE
Times Record Staff


STEVE LEVESQUE, the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority’s executive director, outlines gains made at Brunswick Landing on Wednesday. 
DOUGLAS MCINTIRE / THE TIMES RECORD STEVE LEVESQUE, the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority’s executive director, outlines gains made at Brunswick Landing on Wednesday. DOUGLAS MCINTIRE / THE TIMES RECORD BRUNSWICK

With more than $250 million in private and public sector investments, the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority is reporting a flurry of activity at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station.

MRRA Executive Director Steve Levesque broke it down at the authority’s board meeting on Wednesday — $200 million private and $50 million public investments culminating in 825 jobs, not including 160 Maine Army National Guard members and 124 Marine Corps reservists.

“It’s really kind of going crazy. We now have over 825 people working there. The colleges have about 900 folks. We think we’re in excess of 2,500 people a day on the property,” Levesque said.

The population at Brunswick Landing has increased so much that, according to Levesque, there is once again a traffic issue getting in and out — a problem that hasn’t existed since the Navy was there.

Levesque reported that of the 1,430 acres of land and 957,857 square feet of building space conveyed by the Navy thus far, MRRA has sold more than 350 acres and more than 675,000 square feet of building space.

Recently, the Navy has transferred about 1,761 of nearly 2,100 acres MRRA was slated to receive. Levesque said the discovery of contaminants in the soil are slowing the process of land transfers.

Within the next couple of months, Levesque said the authority expects to sell an additional four buildings, lease four or five more and sell three lots at Brunswick Landing.

TechPlace is nearing its first year when it started out with 20,000 square feet of office space. Levesque said that is now up to 70,000 square feet. Currently, 23 companies work out of the facility, occupying nearly 50 percent of available space excluding common areas.

“We have 23 companies now that call TechPlace home. We’ll probably be adding another two to four this month — pretty exciting businesses,” Levesque said.

With a $299,000 Maine Technology Institute grant, Levesque said work has been completed in bio-works and techworks shared production spaces at TechPlace.

With the passing of HUBZone legislation in the recent National Defense Authorization Act, Levesque said businesses in towns affected by the base closure such as Brunswick, Harpswell, Freeport, West Bath, Bowdoinham, Topsham and Lisbon will be eligible for benefits.

The program, developed by the Small Business Administration, grants preferential treatment to rural or economically depressed areas. Levesque said the challenge now is to inform business owners about what the HUBZone can do for them.

Levesque announced that MRRA will be hosting a conference on April 1 in their community room featuring the SBA, informing what doing business in a HUBZone means for them. Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins, whose work was instrumental in passing the legislation, will preside over the meeting.

Levesque also said a new business, New Beets Market, will be opening within the next couple weeks next to Seeds of Independence in the former Wild Oats building.

dmcintire@timesrecord.com

MRRA ‘Landing’ big gains

• $200 MILLION IN PRIVATE and $50 million in public investments culminating in 825 jobs, not including 160 Maine Army National Guard members and 124 Marine Corps reservists.

• OF THE 1,430 ACRES OF LAND and 957,857 square feet of building space conveyed by the Navy thus far, MRRA has sold more than 350 acres and more than 675,000 square feet of building space.

• TECHPLACE IS NEARING its first year when it started out with 20,000 square feet of office space. That is now up to 70,000 square feet. Currently, 23 companies work out of the facility, occupying nearly 50 percent of available space excluding common areas.

• WITHIN THE NEXT COUPLE of months, MRRA expects to sell an additional four buildings, lease four or five more and sell three lots at Brunswick Landing.

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