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March 1, 2024

Evernorth closes $8.9M investment for $9.6M Belfast health clinic expansion

aerial of buildings and land COURTESY / The BOULOS CO. Construction is underway on a $9.6 million expansion of Penobscot Community Health Care’s Seaport Community Health Center at 21 Schoodic Drive in Belfast.

Evernorth, a nonprofit real estate developer and financer, has closed an $8.9 million New Markets Tax Credit investment in the expansion of Penobscot Community Health Care’s Seaport Community Health Center, now underway in Belfast.

The project, whose costs are expected to total $9.6 million, is the first investment in Maine for subsidiary Evernorth Rural Ventures. With the expanded facility, at 21 Schoodic Drive, the health center will be better able to respond to a growing medically underserved population.

Lori Dwyer, Penobscot Community Health Care’s CEO and president, said, “The increased space will allow us to significantly increase our integrated primary care services, inclusive of family medicine, mental health, recovery and pharmacy services, expanding the impact we are able to have in our community."

The new facility is expected to open in April. Dunbar & Brawn Construction is the general contractor.


Evernorth, based in Portland and Burlington, Vt., assists low- and moderate-income people of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont with affordable housing and community investments. The organization has raised and deployed over $1 billion in equity capital for affordable housing and built more than 15,000 affordable homes and apartments, according to its website.

Evernorth Rural Ventures, is a rural community development entity that uses New Markets Tax Credit resources to support investment in the economic, environmental and social well-being of northern New England communities and its regional economies. 

The U.S. Treasury’s New Markets Tax Credit program was created in 2000 with the goal of spurring revitalization efforts of low-income and impoverished communities across the U.S.

The credits are a financing tool that allows investors to provide capital and in return claim federal tax credits for a portion of their investment. The program offers a source of cheap or free equity developers wouldn’t otherwise have, allowing them to do projects that aren’t otherwise financially feasible.

Renovation and fit-up

The Evernorth investment will finance Penobscot Community Health Care’s renovation and fit-up of Building 5 within the former MBNA Bank of America complex in Belfast to become the expanded Seaport Community Health Center. 

building, sign, parking lot and lawn
Courtesy / Seaport Community Health Center’s Facebook page
Seaport Community Health Center at 53 Schoodic Drive.

Penobscot Community Health Care bought a portion of the complex in 2021. The property conveyed included 318,979 square feet of buildings on 141.2 acres along Route 3, according to the Boulos Co., which facilitated the transaction.

The purchase was made with the plan to move its busy Seaport Community Health Center into larger quarters at the site and expand services. With the expansion, the health center will have more than double its existing space at nearby 53 Schoodic Drive.

By expanding its footprint, it will also be able to attract new providers to serve patients in the Belfast community. 

The complex financing package for the expansion includes Capital One as the NMTC equity investor to Evernorth Rural Ventures, Primary Care Development Corp. and the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.

“This is a perfect example of how New Markets Tax Credits can help communities in need,” said Beth Boutin, vice president of Evernorth Rural Ventures.

Closing a gap

The financing closes a nearly $3 million gap in project funding, which stalled the expansion project for two years. 

The expanded facility will allow the Seaport Community Health Center to add 11 new full-time positions to its staff of 41. The center’s service capacity will grow by approximately 17% to over 32,200 medical and behavioral health visits and 8,445 people annually —56% of whom are people with low incomes.

Penobscot Community Health Care is the largest federally qualified health center in Maine, employing over 850 full-time employees, and the second-largest in New England. The provider started in 1997 as a small, single-clinic community health center and has grown to include 21 clinical sites covering three counties. 

The project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as part of an award totaling $1.2 million with 68% financed by non-governmental sources. 

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