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May 26, 2015

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

Photo / Courtesy of Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority
Photo / Courtesy of Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority
A floor plan of TechPlace's office and manufacturing spaces.

TechPlace at Brunswick Landing has signed up 15 tenants, just five months after the manufacturing-focused business incubator and co-working space opened its doors. The manufacturing space has room for about 25 companies, while the office space has room for about 23.

Kristine Schuman, business development coordinator for Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, told Mainebiz she feels great about the number of tenants the business incubator has attracted so far and what that means in the near future.

"The more people that are here, the more collaboration happens," she said. "Having space where people are interacting with each other, sharing ideas for supply chain, funding, marketing — all of that helps in the process of [supporting collaboration within TechPlace]. It gives us capacity to do workshops and get some speakers."

TechPlace, which has its grand opening on May 28, is designed for manufacturing-focused startups and early stage companies, primarily in the aerospace, aviation, biotechnology, renewable energy, composites and advanced materials and IT sectors.

Schuman, who is leading the TechPlace effort, said four of the 15 companies have set up in TechPlace's 50,000-square-foot manufacturing space, which opened in early April. Tenants include Atayne, a Brunswick-based maker of high-performance athletic gear that uses reusable material; Tempus Jets, an aircraft refurbishment company that has a larger space at Brunswick Landing's Hangar 6; Starc Systems, a provider of debris containment systems; and Bourgeois Guitars, a Lewiston-based guitar maker that is using the space for "wood torrefaction," which is the process of curing a guitar's panels for maximum stability and rot resistance.

The other tenants are in TechPlace's roughly 20,000-square-foot office space, which opened in late January. Office tenants include Brunswick Landing Realty Corp., Aerotech Surgical, Sonic Blue, Greisen Aerospace, Grifin LLC and Switzerland-based biotech startup Insphero. The space also has some familiar names, like the University of Maine, Rockport-based IT firm Harbor Digital, the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership and law firm Drummond Woodsum, which has set up there to advise startups on legal matters.

Schuman said most of the tenants have one-year leases, but they're able to leave at any time with a month's notice and without financial penalty. The benefit is aimed to give startups and early-stage companies a little leeway if things don't go as planned.

"Funding may come through sooner or later than expected, contracts may be delayed, etc.," she said, explaining why a tenant may need to leave. "This gives flexibility to the starting company."

There is more space on the way in the form of a 250,000-square-foot industrial space that is expected to open early next year.

Schuman said TechPlace's early success with attracting tenants helps validates MRRA's findings that there is a need for small manufacturing space.

"We still have a lot to get done, but we've accomplished a lot in the first [few] months," she said.

Read more

TechPlace biotech firm now taking U.S. orders

TechPlace gears up for Phase II industrial space

Brunswick tech business incubator to open soon

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