BANGOR, Maine — The region’s only supplier of natural gas is preparing to move from downtown Bangor to property near Bangor International Airport in order to consolidate its operational offices and service center amid steady growth.
City councilors completed a deal this week to sell 3 acres to Bangor Gas, now called Bangor Natural Gas, at the corner of Maine and Florida avenues for $173,439.
The city’s planning board already has approved a site plan to demolish a small building on the property and build a 12,000-square-foot brick facade service center.
Bangor Natural Gas General Manager Jerry Livengood said the move will enable his two dozen full- and part-time employees to occupy the same space. Currently, the sales offices are on Main Street downtown while the service center is located miles away in the Target Industrial Circle park off Hammond Street.
Bangor Gas first opened in Bangor in 2000, bringing natural gas to eastern Maine from abundant fields off Nova Scotia through a system of pipelines. The company is owned by Gas Natural Inc., formerly Energy West, of Mentor, Ohio.
For the first few years, the firm targeted large commercial customers such as the Verso Paper mill in Bucksport and later Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Others have followed suit in recent years, including nearly all Bangor public schools, City Hall, the Central Fire Station, several buildings at Bangor International Airport, Sawyer Arena and the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building.
More recently, Bangor Gas has made an effort to further expand into residential areas of Bangor, Orono, Old Town and Brewer, particularly while the price of heating oil remains unstably high. The goal is to add 2,000 homes and businesses in 2011.
Natural gas has resurfaced in popularity because it’s much less expensive than traditional No. 2 heating oil, which is still the heating source for 75 percent of all Maine homes. Although there is a variable cost to convert most homes to natural gas, the payback is often quick.