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September 13, 2022

Jackson Lab opens its Bar Harbor workforce housing complex

people cutting ribbon Courtesy / Jackson Laboratory Jackson Laboratory employees cut the ribbon recently on an affordable housing complex. The lab’s president, Lon Cardon, is at center and its senior director of facilities services, John Fitzpatrick, is far right.

After two-and-a-half years of planning and construction, Jackson Laboratory officially opened its new Hemlock Lane workforce housing complex in Bar Harbor.

The ribbon-cutting event attracted state representatives, employees, future tenants and community leaders.

“Affordable, nearby housing is a top concern for JAX employees, and we are proud to be a member of the local non-profit sector that is taking the lead in proposing, funding and completing crucial housing projects,” Lon Cardon, the lab’s president and CEO, said in a news release. 

The complex was built to address the lack of accessible, year-round housing in the region.

“Year-round, high-quality rentals like Hemlock Lane are a critical part of solving the local housing crisis,” said the lab’s executive vice president and COO, Catherine Longley.

Located within walking distance from the lab’s Bar Harbor campus, which employs approximately 1,500 people, the complex was constructed with sustainable design principles and includes two stand-alone buildings with 12 one-, two- and three-bedroom units each, for a total of 24 units.

There’s an open outdoor community space, a shared storage building, and tenant parking. Apartments are offered at competitive market rates and it’s expected the complex will house more than 40 people.  

rendering of apartment building
The complex consists of 24 units and aims to help alleviate a local housing crunch

Employees interested in the complex submitted a short application and were entered into a lottery conducted by the Bar Harbor Housing Authority, which is managing the complex.

The completion of the Hemlock Lane apartments marks a major step in the lab’s mission to address employee needs, including housing, childcare and other issues. 

Housing is a major determining factor on whether or not candidates can take a position at the lab, said Ezra Hallett, a talent acquisition partner at the lab and a tenant in the new complex. 

The lab will continue to assess how to best meet employee needs in the months and years ahead.

“Housing, childcare, transportation — all of these are essential to our employees and to our mission,” said Longley. “We are considering how to best invest in housing in the coming years.”

Total investment in the development, on a 35-acre parcel owned by the lab, was $10 million.

The project utilized sustainable design and construction principles, including the incorporation of elements of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, Passive House and a system called Sustainable SITES that’s designed for creating sustainable and resilient land development projects.

JAX worked with three Portland firms on the project: Wright-Ryan Construction for construction management, Ryan Senatore Architecture and Woodard & Curran for civil engineering and permitting services.

The complex is located on Route 3, the primary travel corridor on the Bar Harbor side of Mount Desert Island.

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