December 16, 2017
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Payment processing firm eyes new HQ on Portland waterfront

By Jake Bleiberg, BDN Staff
Courtesy | WEX | BDN
Courtesy | WEX | BDN
An artist's rendition of what the new WEX headquarters would look like as part of a proposed Thames Street project in Portland.

PORTLAND, Maine — The city will sell a plot of land near the eastern waterfront to a developer with plans for the new headquarters of Maine’s second-largest publicly traded company.

The Portland City Council voted unanimously Monday night to sell the 1.1-acre lot on Thames Street to a developer that is working with the payment processing company Wex to bring its global headquarters and as many as 450 jobs to Maine’s largest city.

Jonathan Cohen of 0 Hancock Street LLC will pay the city $3.3 million for the lot and has proposed constructing a four-story, 100,000-square-foot building that will house Wex’s offices as well as some retail on the first floor.

Wex follows animal testing products maker Idexx Laboratories Inc. as the second largest publicly traded company in Maine and employs about 800 of its workers at its existing headquarters in South Portland. The company handles payment processing for commercial and government vehicle fleets in the U.S., Canada and other countries around the world.

The company has said that many employees will remain in South Portland even if it moves its headquarters to Portland.

Councilor David Brenerman, chairman of the council’s Economic Development Committee, which recommended the sale, previously described it as an “exciting opportunity” to bring “new high-quality jobs to Portland’s eastern waterfront.”

Wex posted strong growth in the second quarter of 2017 with revenue up 30 percent from a year earlier.

The city council voted 8-to-0 to approve the sale, with Councilor Belinda Ray absent, according to the city clerk’s office.

 


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