Brunswick Development Corp. makes first loans under new rules

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BRUNSWICK — Brunswick Development Corp. made its first wave of decisions on funding proposals after changing its business lending practices earlier this year.

The nonprofit is also continuing talks about partnering with two lending entities that could maximize the amounts of funds available to local businesses.

Linda Smith, the town’s business development manager, on Tuesday said BDC on March 28 rejected one grant request for a business, while offering letters of commitment for a loan to another business and a grant for a nonprofit group looking to relocate the Brunswick Farmer’s Market.

A funding request from Wild Oats Bakery & Cafe has since been withdrawn in favor of alternative financing. Its original $214,000 request was sought to help the bakery open a new location at Brunswick Landing.

The $115,000 grant request from Rollease, a window covering manufacturer at Brunswick Landing, was rejected as a result of the BDC’s new practice of not offering grants or loan-to-grants to for-profit businesses.

The letters of commitment approved by the BDC would convert into a loan for CAMM Inc., an audio speaker manufacturer, and a grant for the Brunswick Farmers’ Market Association. They reflect BDC’s revised lending practices

BDC’s loan to CAMM would cover 20 percent of the company’s $295,000 in total project costs. The company would cover another 20 percent, with the remaining 60 percent coming from alternative financing. The loan would be less than the more than $236,000 originally requested.

BDC will provide Brunswick Farmers’ Market Association a matching grant of up to $15,000 if the farmer’s market group can find another grant source. The total amount issued would be less than the approximately $142,000 originally sought.

BDC revised its lending practices to offering smaller grants to only nonprofits and smaller loans to only for-profit businesses after its board received four funding requests in February that exceeded the cash it had in the bank.

The revised lending practices has also prompted BDC to discuss the possibility of new lending partnerships with the Midcoast Council of Governments in Bath and Coastal Enterprises, a financial institution that that might consolidate its Wiscasset and Portland offices to downtown Brunswick.

By partnering with local lending entities, board President Larissa Darcy said BDC will “maximize the amount of funding available to Brunswick businesses.”

Smith said to further explore the possible partnerships with the council of governments and CEI, BDC formed has a working group with board members Dan Harris and Vin DiCara to brainstorm proposals on how such partnerships would work.

BDC was incorporated as a nonprofit development corporation by the town in 1995, with a mission of supporting economic development. The nonprofit’s assets originated with a loan from the town to develop an industrial park, which was eventually paid back to the town in full.

BDC’s next two meetings are on April 18 and June 20, with both starting at 2:30 p.m. Locations for the meetings have yet to be determined.

Dylan Martin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or Follow him on Twitter: @DylanLJMartin.