September 22, 2019
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Bangor’s former Spectacular Event Center could soon belong to a growing aviation company

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Spectacular Event Center on Griffin Road in Bangor.

An aviation company that leases property from Bangor’s airport could soon expand onto another four acres of city land where another business, the Spectacular Event Center, closed early this year.

The deal, which the City Council is due to consider Monday night, would require C&L Aviation Group to pay $265,000 for the city-owned land at 395 Griffin Road, according to a draft proposal. It would direct the firm to create 25 new jobs within two years or pay a penalty if it doesn’t.

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If the deal goes through, C&L Aviation would also buy the building atop the city-owned land that housed the Spectacular Event Center. The company would qualify for a 75 percent tax rebate on any expansions it makes within two years. It would then be eligible to receive that rebate for five years.

Gabor Degre | BDN
Gabor Degre | BDN
C&L Aviation CEO Chris Kilgour at the company's hub in Bangor in 2016.

Chris Kilgour, the company’s CEO, declined to comment this week on his company’s plans for the Griffin Road property, saying that the “deal isn’t signed yet.”

However, the company has said that it’s pursuing the deal in order to expand its operations, according to Bangor officials.

The company, which repairs and sells aircraft, has been negotiating the deal since March. The sale would also require approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

In early 2018, Kilgour told city councilors that his company was “bursting at the seams” at its current location at Bangor International Airport, which includes four hangars just north of the airport’s main terminal on Godfrey Boulevard.

[City in early talks with aviation company to fund expansion]

At the time, the city was considering paying $2 million to help C&L Aviation make some changes to its leased property, including an expansion of at least 10,000 square feet, an overhaul of one of its hangars and the renovation of some bathrooms.

The city has received a U.S. Economic Development Administration grant to help with that other expansion and hopes to finalize the specifications for the project soon, according to Airport Director Tony Caruso.

The Griffin Road property C&L Aviation is trying to acquire is about three-quarters of a mile north of the airport, near the Airport Mall shopping area on Union Street.

Since C&L Aviation relocated its operations from Australia to Bangor in 2010, it has undertaken two other expansions with the help of city funds and millions in federal grants, growing from 20 workers to almost 200, Kilgour said last year.

In 2017, Kilgour said his company was having difficulty recruiting mechanics and would have to expand outside of Bangor if a program to train aircraft mechanics didn’t open nearby. The City Council chairman at the time, Joe Baldacci, recommended funding such a program with $2 million in city funds.

Tanya Emery, the city’s director of community and economic development, called C&L Aviation’s proposed purchase of the land “great news,” given that it should create jobs and could eventually lead to the firm paying additional property taxes on any expansions.

Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Linda Coan O'Kresik | BDN
Spectacular Event Center on Griffin Road in Bangor.

Jane Arey, who owned and ran the Spectacular Event Center with her husband and daughter, also praised the arrangement.

After operating the family business for 20 years, they closed it early this year so that Arey and her sister could open Twinsfeather wellness center in Orrington, she said this week.

“I’m so excited for new growth, and just somebody else bringing prosperity to the community and growing Bangor,” Arey said.

 



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