March 12, 2015

TechPlace gears up for Phase II industrial space

Courtesy TechPlace/Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority
Courtesy TechPlace/Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority

TechPlace, the new startup incubator at Brunswick Landing being developed by the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, is gearing up for its Phase II expansion, which would include both individual company and shared manufacturing space.

The incubator, which opened its office space in January during Phase I operations, has one tenant, Brunswick Landing Realty Development Corp., plus six other occupant companies that it terms "users."

The occupants other than the real estate company are called users because while they enter into a year-long lease, they can break it at any time, without penalty, says Kristine Schuman, business development coordinator for MRRA who also is spearheading the TechPlace effort and redevelopment of the base.

Schuman told Mainebiz during a visit to TechPlace yesterday that she expects Phase II, which will include industrial space with a fully equipped biotechnology laboratory and a machine shop, to start in April, when she anticipates TechSpace will get its permit for industrial use.

If that permit is approved, the building will have about 70,000 square feet of industrial space and 20,000 square feet of office space.

So far, $1.5 million has been invested to develop and renovate the 20,000 square feet of office space. Of that investment, $750,000 is from the federal Economic Development Administration and the rest is matched equally from MRRA and other partners, including the Brunswick Development Corp.

The Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership will have office space at TechPlace to work with businesses on manufacturing processes, plant layout and supply chain management.

The industrial section, which will be done in two phases, will require several hundred thousand dollars more to develop the lab and other space and bring the former Navy building up to current building codes. The third space, which is industrial, is expected to be developed a year from now, Schuman said.

In total, she said 23 companies will be able to fit into the office, in individual offices and in a group suite with nine desks. The industrial space will contain about 25 spots for companies. Three companies are now looking at the industrial space: a composites company, a developer of engines for hydropower applications and a manufacturer of clothing made from recycled materials, she said.

Law firm Drummond Woodsum already has taken space in the office part of the building to advise startups on legal matters.

"Getting the industrial use permit will make a big difference," said Schuman. "Offering a small manufacturing space is key. It sets us apart from other shared office space."

She added that the location carries with it some advantages from being a former Navy facility. For example, TechPlace is in a Foreign Trade Zone, meaning a company can import parts, perform some manufacturing and then export them without incurring duties. Occupants also are eligible for Pinetree Development Zone benefits. It also is in a Historically Underutilized Business Zones area, which gives companies preferential access to federal procurement opportunities.

Read more

TechPlace biotech firm now taking U.S. orders

Five months in, Brunswick's TechPlace business incubator reaches 15 tenants


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