BIW loses bid for $10 billion cutter contract

Bath Iron Works has lost out on an estimated $10.5 billion contract to build a new generation of cutters for the Coast Guard, in a major blow for the Maine shipyard that could cost as many as 1,000 jobs. The Coast Guard awarded the contract to Eastern Shipbuilding Group in Panama City, Florida, after a three-way design competition that also included Bollinger Shipyards in Louisiana. The decision represents a significant loss for BIW and its workforce as the shipyard tries to diversify beyond the Navy destroyer contracts that account for nearly all of the yard’s work. Citing an anticipated slowdown in Navy projects, BIW officials warned last year as they were preparing to negotiate a new labor contract that the shipyard might have to cut as many as 1,000 jobs in the coming years if it didn’t win the Coast Guard work. BIW is one of Maine’s largest private employers, with more than 5,500 workers. Read the story.


Maine Med proposes $512 million expansion

Maine Medical Center is proposing a $512 million expansion that would increase the footprint of the hospital’s main campus in Portland by about 25 percent. The expansion, which would dwarf Maine Med’s previous projects, calls for adding 20 operating rooms but would not change the total number of beds. Instead, many more of the hospital’s 637 beds would be in private, single-patient rooms. All 128 of the new patient rooms would be single-patient spaces. The reduction in double-occupancy rooms follows a national trend aimed at increasing the comfort of patients facing serious surgeries or illnesses. Assuming all of the permits and approvals are obtained, Maine Med expects the project – which would add 300,000 square feet to the main campus – to be completed in 2022. Read the story.

Mid Coast prepares for wellness center

Mid Coast Hospital will have a 9,000-square-foot wellness center as the cornerstone of the ongoing $6.2 million renovation at the Brunswick facility that is part of the integration of Mid Coast and Parkview Health last year. The renovations at the 93-bed hospital will result in expanded primary care, cancer care and outpatient clinical services, and a new 4,300-square-foot Medical Infusion Center. Mid Coast Hospital has more than 200 providers in over 30 primary care and specialty areas. Read the story.


South Portland senior complex breaks ground

Resort Lifestyle Communities broke ground Thursday on a 128-unit luxury apartment complex for seniors that’s beside the Maine Turnpike and across from the Maine Mall. The $34 million Sable Lodge is being built at 74 Running Hill Road, said Kelly Jo Hinrichs, Resort Lifestyle Communities’ spokeswoman. The 10-acre site is next to the Fairchild Semiconductor offices and a long tee shot from the Sable Oaks Golf Club. As proposed, the complex for residents 55 and older will offer social programs, shuttle service and valet parking, along with a pharmacy, bank, hairdresser, gift shop, health club, movie theater and two restaurants offering 24-hour casual or fine dining. All-inclusive rents will range from about $3,000 to $4,000 a month, depending on the number of bedrooms, with a $600 monthly fee added for a spouse or other secondary resident. Read the story.

Waterville’s Hathaway Center for sale

The Hathaway Creative Center on Water Street, which several years ago was transformed from a former shirt factory into retail offices and 67 apartments in an effort that jump-started downtown revitalization hopes, is now for sale. The property is listed on as a five-story, 236,000-square-foot mill building at 10 Water St. that is 83 percent leased. The sale price is not listed, but the city’s assessed value of the building and parking lot is about $9 million. Hathaway building co-owner Paul Boghossian said Thursday afternoon that he will continue to own the adjacent former Central Maine Power Co. and Marden’s industrial buildings and selling his part in Hathaway will give him more capital to invest in the other two buildings. Read the story.


Wind assets transferred in bankruptcy

NRG Energy, a large power company headquartered in Texas and New Jersey, is set to acquire the assets of SunEdison’s solar and wind projects in several states, including a wind proposal in Maine that has attracted strong opposition. But whether the Maine wind farm, called Somerset Wind, actually gets built any time soon depends in part on the outcome of a selection process for renewable energy proposals being conducted jointly by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The three states are collaborating to identify renewable energy projects that will allow them to meet their clean energy goals. Once the nation’s largest renewable energy company, Missouri-based SunEdison filed for federal bankruptcy protection this year and has been liquidating its assets. NRG emerged as the winning bidder at an auction this month for a total of 2.1 gigawatts worth of projects, paying a bargain price of $144 million. A U.S. Bankruptcy Court is expected to approve the sale Thursday in New York. These projects are in various stages of development. In Maine, Somerset Wind is a 26-turbine proposal near Moosehead Lake that’s rated at 85 megawatts. It has no permits, but according to SunEdison’s submission in the New England Clean Energy RFP, it’s “one of the most attractive sites in the Northeast for its combination of scale and quality of wind resource.” Read the story.


Environmentalists denounce proposed rule change

A LePage administration push to rewrite Maine’s mining regulations ran into a wall of opposition Thursday from conservation groups, former state environmental employees and other critics who said the latest version, while improved, would still jeopardize the state’s environment. For the third time in as many years, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection has proposed major changes to Maine’s metallic mining rules that could help revive a long-dormant industry. Yet Thursday’s public hearing before the Board of Environmental Protection played out much like previous proceedings. The hearing was dominated by opponents, who found fault with the DEP’s rules even though significant changes had been made to address concerns raised when lawmakers rejected the proposal last year. DEP staff said the proposed rules – contained in a nearly 100-page draft released last month – would strengthen protections for Maine’s natural resources while providing mine operators with a predictable permitting path. The proposal also would address inconsistencies or gaps created when the Legislature passed a mining bill in 2012 but then rejected two rule-making proposals. Read the story.


Auburn readies for Krispy Kreme

What could be the state’s first Krispy Kreme franchise is expected to open at the old Paris Farmers Union location in Auburn. But according to the franchise owner, other locations under consideration for the gooey doughnut chain are Portland or South Portland, Windham, Bangor and Augusta. Other possibilities are Brunswick, Biddeford and Kittery, owner Cort Mendez told the New Hampshire Business Review in a March interview. Some of those locations could be in existing, but vacant, retail stores that would need to be retrofitted for Krispy Kreme and could potentially open sooner than the Auburn location, according to Sylas Hatch, a broker with Portland’s NAI The Dunham Group, who brokered the deal for the Auburn Krispy Kreme in August. Read the story.


Elite expanding flights to Florida

Elite Airways will be doubling its nonstop service from Portland International Jetport to Orlando-Melbourne this winter. Beginning Nov. 17, the twice-weekly service on Mondays and Fridays will be augmented with flights on Thursdays and Sundays, the airline said Wednesday. The additional flights represent a doubling of the operation to Orlando-Melbourne over last winter. The airline announced last week that it was adding two nonstop flights weekly from Portland to Sarasota-Bradenton, also beginning on Nov. 17. Orlando Melbourne International Airport is growing as the gateway to Florida, according to its executive director, Greg Donovan. Read the story.

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