November 9, 2018

Front Street Shipyard's Building 6 now 'open for business'

Courtesy / Office of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins
Courtesy / Office of U.S. Sen. Susan Collins
JB Turner, president and general manager of Front Street Shipyard, at right, is joined by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, at Wednesday's ribbon-cutting ceremony for the shipyard's now-completed Building 6.

A 22,500-square-foot facility that enhances Front Street Shipyard's ability to work on large vessels at its Belfast yard is now open for business.

JB Turner, president and general manager of Front Street Shipyard, hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Building 6 on Wednesday at which U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, delivered brief remarks and toured the new building.

Built by Maine Coast Construction of Camden, engineered by Gartley & Dorsky of Camden engineered and designed by John Hansen of South Thomaston, Building 6 has long been characterized by Turner as the final piece of the puzzle for the Belfast yard's configuration. It's tall enough to allow the shipyard's 485-ton mobile hoist — the largest hoist in northern New England — enabling the shipyard even larger yacht refits and commercial vessel construction than it was already capable of doing.

"It enables us to compete better," Turner told Mainebiz in an October 2017 interview when he was honored by Mainebiz as a member of the 2017 Next list. "There are a lot of boats we could bid on and put in there and keep us rolling with inside work."

Remarks at the ribbon-cutting

"Since its founding seven years ago, Front Street Shipyard has played a key role in the transformation of the city of Belfast, with the two thriving together as a result of public and private partnerships and committed citizens," Collins said in her remarks at the ribbon-cutting. "In addition to building the finest boats in the world, Maine boatyards help to preserve the working waterfronts that are so vital to our state's heritage and future. Their leadership in environmental protection, workforce development, and workplace safety are exemplary.."

Turner said he and his partners, as well as the shipyard's 100-plus employees, were "grateful to everyone who's made Front Street Shipyard's growth possible since we started the yard in 2011."

"We've had help from the Belfast City Council, Androscoggin Bank, Maine Technology Institute and SBA to secure the land and funding for our new building," he said of the $4.6 million project. "And we've had tremendous support from Sen. Collins in finding both regional and federal resources to develop our business and grow our team of craftspeople. We hope to give back to Maine's economy by helping to establish our state as a globally recognized destination for yachts and their crews."

New capabilities for the shipyard

In addition to now having Building 6 available for larger jobs, Front Street Shipyard in July received $667,028 from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration's Small Shipyard Grant Program to purchase a new waterjet cutting machine that will streamline the construction of custom and production vessels at its Belfast shipyard.

Turner told Mainebiz at that time the waterjet cutting machine enhanced the shipyard's global competitiveness and its ability to "attract diverse projects, including non-marine applications."

The grant is expected to enable Front Street Shipyard to add 40 jobs as a result of those enhanced capabilities.

Collins and U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, sent a letter to MARAD in support of Front Street Shipyard's grant application in May 2018.

Read more

Front Street Shipyard to add up to 40 jobs as result of $667K federal grant

Front Street Shipyard begins long-awaited expansion

Next 2017: JB Turner oversees Front Street Shipyard's impressive revival of Belfast's working waterfront


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