PORTLAND, Maine — Development at Brunswick Landing, contract possibilities for Bath Iron Works and the outcome of a major hospital merger will play major roles in how the Bath-Brunswick area develops in 2016, according to a local real estate agent.
Donald Spann, co-owner of the Topsham-based RE/MAX, said development at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station supported about 805 jobs by the end of 2015 and would continue to lead the region’s development news in the coming year.
In a presentation Thursday to commercial real estate professionals at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland, Spann said that a significant amount of development in southern midcoast Maine has been at the former Navy base, where senior housing developers and investors have moved in to acquire property.
Spann said Brunswick Landing, the name affixed to the former Navy base after it closed and became available for civilian reuse in 2011, has made up “a significant amount” of the activity in the region and will continue to do so. The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority still owns more than half of the property, with the Navy owning the next largest portion at the former base and another former Navy site in Topsham.
Spann identified evolving regional trends to watch in retail, medical and residential markets.
The market has not yet felt effects of the merger of Mid Coast Hospital and the bankrupt Parkview Adventist Medical Center, Spann said, and that could create a more active market for additional medical office space.
In retail, he said vacancies at the Cook’s Corner shopping center in Brunswick and nearby Merrymeeting Plaza could lead to some battles between those centers and the Topsham Fair Mall retail complex.
As a 22-year employee at BIW, Spann also said he expected the outcome of the shipbuilder’s bid for a new Coast Guard contract could also have reverberations at the end of 2016.
If the shipbuilder lands that contract, he said he expects a “dramatic favorable impact” for office space demand in particular around Bath and Brunswick, where the shipbuilder and Navy also have offices.
BIW has not contracted with the Coast Guard for more than half a century, and a new contract would likely lead the service to establish support offices near the shipyard.