New $32 million outfitting hall at Bath Iron Works granted site plan approval

Posted Sept. 05, 2013, at 12:59 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 05, 2013, at 2:58 p.m.

BATH, Maine — Site plans for a proposed $32 million outfitting hall, along with a separate paint and blast facility, at Bath Iron Works were unanimously approved this week by the Bath Planning Board.

Plans for the overall project, announced in August by General Dynamics, which owns BIW, include a 51,315-square-foot building, approximately 11 stories tall, at the south end of the shipyard, adjacent to the existing 68,000-square-foot Ultra Hall.

The new facility would contain two 200-ton bridge cranes and provide space for shipbuilders to install the structures of ships in the building’s two bays, and outfit them with piping, ventilation, pumps, electrical consoles and other equipment, BIW spokesman Jim DeMartini said in August.

BIW also hopes to tear down various older buildings and replace them with a new blast and paint building, and upgrade other facilities. Construction would be completed in 2015. The cost of constructing the outfitting hall is estimated at $32 million. The cost of the new paint and blast facility, with other modifications, will add significantly to the price, but not no total is yet available, according to DeMartini.

According to the company, the overall project would add to approximately $500 million of investment by the company over the last decade — investment “incentivized” by the U.S. Navy, Maine and Bath through payroll tax credits and three existing tax increment financing agreements with the city.

Contract rezoning for the proposed outfitting hall — which at 110 feet would exceed the 75-foot maximum building height currently allowed — is scheduled to be considered at a Sept. 17 board meeting, Bath City Planner Andrew Deci said Wednesday.

As part of the proposed contract, Bath Iron Works would make improvements to the streetscape on Washington Street and South End Park, according to Deci.

DeMartini said Wednesday that tentative plans for $160,000-$180,000 in improvements call for adding a “green strip” and sidewalks on Washington Street and building a covered picnic area and paving walking paths at the park.

The Planning Board could make a recommendation on the contract to the City Council on Sept. 17. The council must then consider approving the contract in two votes — likely at the October and November council meetings, according to Deci.

No one spoke during a public hearing at Tuesday’s meeting, Deci said.

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