Maine development company looks at move to Brunswick

Posted May 07, 2013, at 4:27 p.m.
Last modified May 08, 2013, at 6:40 a.m.

BRUNSWICK, Maine — Coastal Enterprises Inc., a private, nonprofit development corporation based in Wiscasset, has offered to purchase the Brunswick town office, police station and adjacent recreation buildings for an undisclosed amount of money with plans to build a new facility in which to consolidate its statewide offices.

CEI also has offices in Portland, Augusta, Bangor and seven other communities, in addition to its headquarters.

Brunswick Town Manager Gary Brown said Monday night that CEI offered to purchase the recreation building from the town and the town office and police station from the nonprofit Brunswick Development Corporation, of which Brown is a member.

“CEI proposes to relocate in Brunswick and to bring 50 professional positions to the downtown area,” Brown said. He said CEI wants to demolish both buildings and start fresh on the approximately 1-acre parcel.

Grace Cleaves, senior vice president of marketing and communications for CEI, confirmed the offer on Tuesday morning.

“It’s an 18-month option during which we will explore the viability of a move,” she said. Cleaves declined to release additional information until later Tuesday or Wednesday.

The police department is slated to move into a new station, at the corner of Pleasant and Stanwood streets, in October 2013. The town offices are expected to relocate to the McLellan Building on Union Street in May 2014, but Brown said Tuesday that the town and Bowdoin College have had “preliminary discussions that we may be able to push that up if we need to.”

The town acquired the McLellan Building in 2011 through a trade with Bowdoin College for the former Longfellow School. The 2013-2014 capital improvement plan includes $750,000 for renovations of that building.

The town also is due to acquire the former Navy recreation center at Brunswick Landing, and Brown said that he learned Monday the town could take possession of that building as soon as August of this year.

But at Monday’s public hearing on the issue, two residents spoke harshly about closing the recreation facility in downtown Brunswick and moving its programs to a building the town will receive at the former Navy base.

Louise Rosen of High Street called the proposal to close the recreation building and eliminate recreation opportunities for children downtown “an absolute atrocity.”

“If you think you’ve got problems now, just wait until there’s nothing there for them,” she warned the council.

The council is scheduled to discuss CEI’s proposal in executive session before the May 9 council meeting, and Brown said he hopes a representative of CEI will be present for the discussion.

Brunswick Development Corporation board members are expected to discuss the proposal at a meeting Tuesday afternoon.

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