East Boothbay boat builder Washburn & Doughty hopes to move part of its manufacturing operation to an empty building at Brunswick Landing and create 15 jobs in the process.

To help finance the $1 million cost of retrofitting the building at the former Navy air base, the company has asked the town to submit a request for a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant to the state. A public hearing on the application is set for May 2.

“We are very happy about this,” said Linda Smith, Brunswick economic development director. “We’re happy with all the development at Brunswick Landing, but to have a traditional manufacturer look at doing an expansion there is a really exciting prospect.”

According to the Letter of Intent submitted to the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, Washburn & Doughty wants to move part of its steel boat-building operations to a 35,295-square-foot building that was once a Navy maintenance facility for vehicles and other ground service equipment. The company intends to use $200,000 of its own money and a $434,000 bank loan to pay for the cost of adding four overhead cranes, new piping and to modify the building’s ventilation system and add insulation.

It expects to create five welder positions and 10 other jobs, all of which will average $20 per hour, according to the letter. The company would like to make the building modifications and hire new staff by August.

The company was founded in 1977 by Bruce Washburn and Bruce Doughty, who met while they were working at Bath Iron Works. Washburn is a naval architect and Doughty a marine engineer.

The company has focused on building tugboats for the past 16 years and holds 25 percent to 30 percent of that market, according to information it submitted to the town. It anticipates growing demand for its products and has outgrown its facility at East Boothbay, which prompted the planned expansion to Brunswick Landing.

Specifically, the company wants to move its steel-cutting operations, panel stiffening, and part of its structural model construction to Brunswick. That will help free up space for boat sub-assemblies at the East Boothbay yard.

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