Cianbro partnership plans to turn defunct Moscow radar site into power plant, business complex

By Seth Koenig, BDN Staff
Posted April 23, 2012, at 1:04 p.m.

PITTSFIELD, Maine — Pittsfield construction company Cianbro is one of three New England companies that are considering plans to turn a deteriorating Moscow radar site into a power plant and business complex.

Among the first sources of energy to be considered at the location is wind power, Cianbro CEO Peter Vigue said in a company announcement Monday, with the location of the site keeping any proposed equipment out of public view. But Vigue told the Bangor Daily News the three partner companies will explore all possibilities to maximize the potential for the site and are not yet married to any particular plans.

“To be specific about it would be premature at this point, but we’ve got some significant opportunities to attract investment in the property other than just through energy generation,” Vigue said. “It’s an isolated site and a very secure site that has access to energy, and at the same time, because of the space, would provide opportunities to develop other types of investment, including structures that could house a number of things from light manufacturing to other things that could significantly impact the tax base and create jobs.”

The former U.S. Air Force radar installation comprises about 1,300 acres and has 30,000 square feet of buildings, with a substation and power line servicing the location. The facility was mothballed in 2002 after being fully operational from 1990 until 1997.

Cianbro’s partners in the project are Massachusetts-based partners Conroy Development Corp. and Jay Cashman Inc. The trio of companies purchased the property from the General Service Administration through a federal bidding process for $730,000.

A Cianbro announcement Monday claimed the remote location and on-site power generation could attract business tenants in search of high security and low electricity bills, such as web-hosting or information-technology firms, which use large and numerous servers.

Conroy Development is a real estate firm with a high-profile list of clients that includes defense contractor General Dynamics Corp., which has a strong Maine presence with Bath Iron Works shipyard and Armament and Technical Products in Saco.

The renovation of the installation, the maintenance of the power plant and arrival of new business operations all have the potential to add jobs to the area, the Cianbro announcement said. Representatives from the three partner companies reportedly met with Moscow selectmen on April 5 to discuss the proposed development.

In a statement Monday, Moscow Selectman Mike Staples said townspeople are “very excited” about the project and its potential impact on the local economy.

“We are happy to have the property on the tax books, and happy to have someone up there that’s going to do something with the installation,” added Moscow Selectman Elvin Hawes in a statement released by Cianbro Monday. “We’ve been waiting for something good to happen up there ever since the installation was shut down, and now we’re very excited about the economic opportunities that are on the horizon. That’s in contrast to what we’ve seen in recent years — vandalism at the site, and a slow decline to the point where the property was becoming decrepit.”

http://bangordailynews.com/2012/04/23/business/cianbro-partnership-plans-to-turn-defunct-moscow-radar-site-into-power-plant-business-complex/ printed on July 24, 2014