It is hard to imagine that the Navy base closed down 10 years ago. To look at what we inherited in 2011, it’s astonishing to see how far we have come.

A shipfitting trainee tack welds at the Bath Iron Works training facility at Brunswick Landing in 2019. Ten years after the decommissioning of Naval Air Station Brunswick, over 150 business entities are on the Brunswick Landing and Topsham campuses, collectively employing over 2,500 people. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Naval Air Station Brunswick was a bustling military base, with over 5,000 military and civilian personnel. It was a key installation in protecting our country for over 60 years. It was also a consistent contributor to our local, regional and state economies, as well as an integral part of the culture of the towns of Brunswick and Topsham.

When we started receiving property transfers from the Navy in 2011, we were excited to begin this process and optimistic about the ultimate future of the former base. But we were certainly anxious about managing the daunting challenge ahead of us, replacing the loss of this large economic driver during a major recession.

I do believe we were well prepared for the task ahead of us, as we had gone through all the requisite land use, environmental, airport and infrastructure planning efforts, which provided the blueprint for what Brunswick Landing and Topsham Commerce Park were to become. These planning efforts started in 2006, following the Base Realignment and Closure Commission’s decision to close the base.

While there are certainly multiple challenges to redeveloping a former military base, I believe we have established the important public- and private-sector relationships and partnerships to implement the Reuse Master Plan in order to be successful in this type of endeavor. I cannot say enough about the contributions of our talented and creative Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority team (both staff and trustees) who are working hard every day to make this dream a reality.

When we inherited the base facilities in Brunswick and Topsham 10 years ago, we had nearly 2 million square feet of vacant buildings on the campuses. All the 650 residential housing units and former Navy barracks were completely empty. The “ghost town” analogy was certainly applicable to this place. Ten years later, Brunswick Landing is becoming the bustling live, work and play community we originally envisioned in the Reuse Master Plan, and the Topsham Commerce Park is fully developed.

• Over 150 business entities are now on the Brunswick Landing and Topsham campuses, collectively employing over 2,500 people.

• All the former base housing units are now full, and new rental and for-sale dwellings are being constructed to meet the local demand for affordably priced housing.

• We have a college presence with both the Southern Maine Community College Midcoast campus and outlets of the University of Maine System.

• We are the home of Brunswick Executive Airport, an important regional business and general aviation facility.

• We are the home of TechPlace, Maine’s premier technology business incubator and a major element in Maine’s innovation economy.

• One hundred percent of our energy needs are derived from renewable sources, with a goal of total on-campus self-generation.

• Over 1,500 acres of land are being actively managed for conservation and passive recreation purposes.

• Over $750 million in private-sector and $60 million in public investments have been made into both the Brunswick and Topsham campuses.

• And lastly, the redevelopment effort is contributing nearly $4 million per year in annual real estate property tax revenues to the towns of Brunswick and Topsham.

While there is certainly a long way to go in this redevelopment process and many new challenges to overcome, I think it is safe to say that we are on a very good path to realizing the original visions of the plan. I am certainly very proud of what we have accomplished to date, and I am very excited to see what this place will look like in another 10 years.


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