A rendering of a plan to redevelop Brunswick’s old Central Fire Station. Courtesy of Aceto Landscape Architects

The Brunswick Town Council Monday night agreed to sell the former fire station to a developer with plans to turn it into Moderation Brewing’s new home and affordable housing.

In a 7-1 vote, the council approved selling the building to Portland-based Developers Collaborative for $200,000. The company plans to spend $3.5 million to redevelop the 1919 building on Town Hall Place, converting it into Moderation Brewing’s new space on the first floor, five apartments on the second floor, a community kitchen in the basement and public green space outside.

The station, which has been vacant since the fire department moved into its new Pleasant Street headquarters last year, needs new utility systems, sprinklers, and asbestos and lead removal, according to a report the town commissioned in 2020.

“This is opportunity for us to act quickly and preserve a building that we need to save,” Councilor David Watson said. “This is what we want. This is what we’ve talked about in the past, is businesses coming into Brunswick, growing and needing a bigger space.

“This project meets so many of the town’s goals. … (It) will be a piece of that economic piece that we’re always talking about and trying to reach.”

Developers Collaborative plans to preserve much of the brick building, including the three garage bays out front. It also says it will adhere to federal redevelopment standards in an effort to get the building listed on the National Register of Historic Places and/or Brunswick Downtown Historic District, which would allow it to apply for historic tax credits. State Sen. Mattie Daughtry, who co-owns Moderation Brewing along with Philip Welsh, said the move will allow the brewery to triple production and increase full-time staff from four to 12-15. The apartments will be priced as affordable to those making up to 80% of the region’s median income. The kitchen is expected to produce food for Moderation and could be rented out. Plans for the green space include trees and picnic tables and possible event space.


“Bigger than the housing, bigger than the brewery, what I envision and what I hope for is creating space for gathering,” Daughtry said. “I think about how that happens in our space now. I think about the couples I’ve watched go on first dates. I’ve watched very heated political arguments.”

The Central Fire Station at Town Hall Place in Brunswick. Jason Claffey / The Times Record

Councilor Steve Walker voted against the deal, saying that, among other reasons, the purchase price is too low and the town should go back to the drawing board because Developers Collaborative was the only entity to submit a bid.

“We left a lot on the table in terms of what could have been done with this property,” he said. “We are handcuffing ourselves and future generations to this nostalgic valuation of a functionally obsolete building.”

Walker said the town could have pursued something like a partnership with the Brunswick Housing Authority to build a larger number of affordable housing units. Housing authority Executive Director John Hodge said his organization considered submitting a bid to purchase the building for that purpose, but the property is too small and the building too old to make such a project financially viable.

Councilor Abby King pointed to a citizen survey the town conducted earlier this year that found some of the top hopes for the building were historic preservation, affordable housing and a community gathering space.

“That is what people wanted for this building,” King said. “If there was an opportunity to create a whole lot of affordable housing and we had someone out there ready to do that … I would be the first person standing in line saying, ‘Yes, that’s what we should do.’ But we don’t have that opportunity.


“I was thrilled when we got someone raising their hand saying, ‘We can make this building work.’ Not only that, we can address those three big concerns. … To top it off, it’s a local team.

Some citizens questioned if Daughtry used her political influence to aid the project, with one calling it a “sweetheart deal.” She and Developers Collaborative denied that assertion.

“Before this ever went to committee, I was interested in this building to redevelop it — as a local, as someone in the business, as someone who fought fires for 15 years,” said Mike Lyne, director of commercial real estate for Developers Collaborative and a former firefighter. “That’s part of the passion for me. We love downtown projects. We love historic projects and we know how to do them.

“If we get an opportunity to work with a business who’s owned by locals who wants to quadruple in size and stay in downtown? It’s an absolute no-brainer, as a real estate developer, to want to work with that entity. Easy. No conflict, no politics. It’s just good business.”

Lyne said the purchase price reflects the amount of money needed to renovate the building. The building is assessed at $672,300, according to town records.

“The number is commensurate with the amount of dollars that go into the deal,” Lyne said. “It’s a lot of money.”


Developers Collaborative plans to apply for a $200,000 grant for the project through the Brunswick’s new affordable housing fund. If the grant is approved, Walker said the town would essentially be giving the building away because it offsets the purchase price.

Councilor Kathy Wilson said selling the building is the best option to preserve it and keep the town from spending millions to renovate it.

“It’s not an easy project,” she said. “I want it to look like it is. I love the building. I do not want the cost of having to fix that on my tax bill.”

Moderation Brewing plans to keep its Maine Street space, which it owns, and lease it to fellow Brunswick brewery Black Pug Brewing when it moves.

Plans call for construction on the fire station to start around January and finish around the end of 2026, with closing expected at the end of next year.

A rendering of plans for the interior of Brunswick’s old Central Fire Station. Courtesy of Barrett Made Architecture + Construction

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