ONE OF TWO air traffic control towers at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, as seen in 2014.

ONE OF TWO air traffic control towers at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, as seen in 2014.

BRUNSWICK

Could online retail and streaming service giant Amazon set up shop at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station?

It may sound far-fetched, considering what the company wants in a host community. Nevertheless, Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Steve Levesque said he submitted a proposal last week to Amazon to house their second headquarters on 175 acres of land off Bath Road.

The proposal submitted to the Seattle based company was based on 5,000 projected jobs at the site, but Levesque said the potential for growth is upwards of 50,000 over 10-to-15-years. Levesque said Brunswick Landing could accommodate the company on a smaller scale, potentially as a satellite facility.

 

 

He said there is no set timeline on when the new location will be chosen and announced, but he said it could be next spring. “There are hundreds if not thousands of communities submitting proposals across the country,” said Levesque. “But why not Maine, and why not Brunswick?”

Levesque made a case for Brunswick Landing as a prime location to house the company’s second headquarters, pointing to its airport, renewable energy infrastructure and proximity to Boston and 70 percent of Maine’s workforce.

“We can compete with anybody in the country,” he said.

According to MRRA, the Brunswick Landing campus is optimized for composites and advanced materials, light manufacturing, aviation/aerospace, biotech/biomed, information technology and renewable energy businesses.

Brunswick Landing, however, also hosts the Midcoast branch of Southern Maine Community College, in addition to day care and recreation facilities. Oxford Networks has a secure data center in the bunker-like former Navy communications center.

The campus is also home to a couple of call centers. That includes customer service company Savilinx, which has had a presence at the former base for about four years. In 2016, online home and office furnishing retailer Wayfair set up its own call center at Brunswick Landing, promising hundreds of new jobs.

“I think it’s the perception that you’re doing well that helps you to do well,” said Brunswick Economic Development Director Linda Smith. Smith spoke of getting on Amazon’s radar during a wide-ranging interview on Monday. “I think we raised expectations with the Wayfair project and I had people asking me if we were going to put in a proposal for the Amazon headquarters, too.”

According to the Associated Press, Scarborough is also a late entry in the competition to be home to Amazon’s second headquarters.

Both proposals check off most of the things on Amazon’s list, except for being located in a metropolitan area with more than 1 million people. Major cities such as Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati and Salt Lake City have confirmed they are submitting bids, as has southern New Hampshire, said an AP report.

The cut-off to submit bids to Amazon was Thursday.

Smith is realistic about Amazon’s expectations for the future host of its $5 billion project — including having on-site mass transit and being within 45 minutes of an international airport — and what Brunswick has to offer.

In the end, trying to supply a qualified workforce of 50,000 is what will likely disqualify Brunswick, Smith said.

“We know that the competition is so stiff,” Smith said. “And what we’re willing and able to offer is probably not competitive. But the thinking is, just putting something in front of them — if there’s another, smaller project down the road, we’ve perhaps gotten on their screen.”

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