As we move into the new year, I’d like to reflect on the continued strong pace of redevelopment growth we are experiencing at the Topsham Commerce Park and Brunswick Landing, formally known as NAS Brunswick. It has certainly been another exciting year. I also want to talk about the future.

Since the former base closed in 2011, the Brunswick/Topsham redevelopment effort has realized some notable milestones, namely: 2,000 jobs have been created by over 135 entities (in multiple sectors) on these two campuses, many of which are new to Maine; the private sector has invested more than $400 million in their businesses and in new construction; and airport operations are at par with Navy’s historical activities, but much quieter now! We have thriving daycare centers (kids and puppies) and numerous colleges and education centers on the campus. In addition, we have abundant recreational facilities and significant open space for public use. What is also exciting, is that redevelopment activities on the campuses are serving as catalysts for other development activity outside the former base.

I believe we are delivering on the promises that were envisioned in the development of the Reuse Master Plan; that of becoming an important technology innovation center and a great place to work, live, educate and recreate. With all this momentum, I believe this project can indeed succeed in becoming an important economic and community asset for the Mid-coast region and the state of Maine.

These very fortunate achievements are a testament to the many efforts of numerous people and entities, as none of these are realized in isolation, or without significant contributions and partnerships. This wouldn’t work except for the continued support of the towns of Brunswick and Topsham, the State and the federal government. This project wouldn’t be successful without the significant private sector investments that are being made at the former base. This project wouldn’t happen without the support of our external team of contractors, engineers, attorneys, accountants and other professions that extend our staff to effectively manage this effort. Lastly, I have the pleasure of working with the absolute best team of professionals, at both staff and Board levels, who are all dedicated and passionate about this effort.

So, what’s the future look like? We are in the midst of a development boom at Brunswick Landing, with the construction of nearly 250,000 square feet of new office, commercial, manufacturing, aviation hangars and other buildings underway. In addition, 250 new housing units are in the planning stages, with some expected to start construction in the spring. We are also working with several of our current businesses to accommodate their growth on campus and have several really good business prospects in the works, that will be a good complement to Brunswick Landing and the greater community.

As we look into the future, we want to build on our innovation mindset and the efforts we have already started. We want to truly capitalize on this amazing property the Navy left to us. To that end, we have begun a number of new ventures which build on our current initiatives and maximize the established infrastructure and building assets.

  • Using our MRRA-owned electric system, we plan to have a fully functioning micro-grid, capable of using 100% on-campus generated power, and with the ability to be a secure energy island;
  • Using the world-class aviation complex, we plan to be the home of a new state-of-art aviation technician school to support our growing aviation industry in the State and a center of innovation for new age aerospace operations, including autonomous vehicles;
  • Building on the success of TechPlace, Brunswick Landing will host a new dedicated biotech and life sciences business incubator;
  • Brunswick Landing will be a central facility for mission control operations and R&D for the Maine Spaceport program; and
  • Brunswick Landing will possess the infrastructure to become fully 5G capable, which will be critical in supporting these new initiatives.

I’m very excited about the future of Brunswick Landing and look forward to a great 2020 and beyond.

And, don’t forget the return of the Great State of Maine Air Show at Brunswick Executive Airport, featuring the U.S. Navy Blue Angels (Aug. 15-16).

Steven Levesque is the executive director of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority.

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