Brunswick Landing developer receives $2M federal grant for tech incubator

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BRUNSWICK — The developer of Brunswick Landing is receiving more than $2 million in federal grants to transform a former U.S. Navy facility into a business incubator, federal officials announced Tuesday.

The project is expected to create nearly 300 manufacturing jobs in the region.

Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority is only one of 10 applicants to receive a grant package from the “Make it in America Challenge,” a federal initiative to “accelerate job creation and encourage business investment,” according to a press release from the Obama Administration.

MRRA will use $750,000 of the grant package to renovate and re-purpose a former U.S. Navy maintenance facility at 74 Orion St. into “TechPlace,” a business incubator that will focus on manufacturing.

The funds are being provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration. 

TechPlace is also being supported by $750,000 in matching funds from MRRA, Brunswick Development Corp. and the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.

“The whole idea is to grow manufacturing jobs in Maine,” MRRA Executive Director Steve Levesque said, adding that TechPlace will collaborate with the University of Southern Maine and Southern Maine Community College to create training programs.

Levesque said he is already working with two businesses expected to become TechPlace’s first tenants. He estimated the nearly 92,000 square-foot facility will house up to 50 businesses and start-ups.

TechPlace is seeking to attract manufacturing businesses that work in aerospace, advanced materials, biotech, biomedical, energy and information services technologies.

The other $1.3 million of the grant package comes from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration and will go to Brunswick-based Coastal Counties Workforce to help develop regional workshop programs.

Levesque said the funds will allow Coastal Counties Workforce to provide customized training and increased access to career opportunities for unemployed workers.

In addition, the executive director said, the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership is expected to receive a grant later this year from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology to enhance regional supply chains.

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