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January 13, 2017

An $18M redevelopment planned for Eastport cannery

Courtesy / Peter MacKenzie of Comeau MacKenzie An artist's rendering shows how the proposed redevelopment of the American Can Co. factory on Eastport's waterfront will look after it's transformed into a mixed-use site.

A Kansas City developer will partner with an Eastport group to redevelop the waterfront American Can Co. factory.

Arnold Development Group of Kansas City and Dirigamus LLC plan to turn the building into a mixed-use site, with retail and office space, upstairs residential units and a 26-room hotel. It will be known as 15 Sea Street.

It’s estimated the redevelopment will cost $18 million.

The building dates to 1908 and was where the Continental Brand of sardines were packed into their distinctive roll key-opening cans. The site became known as the American Can Building, though the building outlasted the city’s sardine industry, which peaked in the 1950s. By 2004, the building was nearly vacant.

Dirigamus purchased the dormant building in 2005. Dirigamus, a twist on the state motto “Dirigo” that means “We lead,” is led by three partners: Meg McGarvey, Linda Godfrey and Nancy Asante. Their intention was to “create spaces and places which will honor our fishing history, showcase local creativity and share nature’s abundance in and around Passamaquoddy Bay.”

Arnold Development Group, which is led by Jonathan Arnold, redeveloped the Mayo Mill in Dover-Foxcroft. Arnold has ties to Maine and his parents live here.

“He’s a strong visionary,” Linda Godfrey, one of the Dirigamus partners, told Mainebiz.

Godfrey said that Arnold grew interested in Eastport after being part of a GrowSmart Maine summit in which then-City Manager Jon Southern and Hugh French of the Tides Institute & Museum of Art talked about Eastport’s efforts to redevelop. (Check out the first video and skip to the 13-minute mark.)

The concept architect is Peter MacKenzie of Comeau MacKenzie in Saint John, N.B., which is an hour and 45 minutes from Eastport.

Godfrey said the project is expected to open in the summer of 2018.

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