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February 20, 2020

WEX wins tax break on $50M Scarborough building plan it's 'eager' to begin

Rendering of future WEX building in Scarborough Rendering / Courtesy Crossroads Holdings LLC An early rendering of WEX's future $50 million operations center at The Downs in Scarborough.

With a $2.25 million tax break from Scarborough now secured, global payment services provider WEX Inc. (NYSE: WEX) says it's all systems go for the company's planned $50 million operations center at The Downs.

The Scarborough Town Council voted 5-2 Wednesday night to approve a credit enhancement agreement that would return $150,000 a year to the Portland-based company over a 15-year period.

That puts the project at the mixed-use development on track to break ground by the end of this summer, Safet Cobaj, WEX's vice president for global real estate, told Mainebiz on Thursday.

"We're happy to move the project right along," he said, noting that the remaining approvals needed have to do with the design and permitting.

Landry/French Construction will manage construction of the new facility, which has an expected move-in date of spring 2022.

"We have 25 months to get this done and get all our folks moved in," Cobaj said, "so the clock is ticking and we're eager to get started. We're going to get right into the design phase of the project."

The planned facility, inside a "live-work-play" mixed-use community being developed by Crossroads Holdings LLC, will consolidate six WEX South Portland offices into one location.

A WEX spokesman previously told Mainebiz that the building will hold up to 1,200 employees while giving the company room to grow. The plans come a year after WEX opened a new global headquarters on Portland's waterfront. That building is currently home to 400 employees but can accommodate 500.

Cobaj told Mainebiz Thursday that with more than 200 WEX employees living in Scarborough, The Downs is an ideal spot for the planned operations center.

"It's a mutual win for Scarborough and for WEX," he said, citing its location and "fantastic" amenities. "We're happy with the results and we're happy to proceed."

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