BRUNSWICK — With an option signed to buy the Town Hall and Recreation Center properties, Wiscasset-based Coastal Enterprises can now begin to determine if Brunswick will be the nonprofit’s new home.
CEI signed a purchase offer with Brunswick Development Corp. last week, after the town agreed to transfer the two Federal Street properties to the BDC in separate agreements.
“I’m excited to see we’re finally at the part when we engage with professionals (for the site and design work),” John Egan, CEI director of housing, said. “It’s a tangible project for us and we’re excited to be moving forward.”
If CEI decides to purchase the building by Feb. 3, 2014, the sale could be closed by April 1 and BDC would transfer the properties to CEI for $300,000, according to the executed copy of the purchase option agreement.
CEI’s move would consolidate its Wiscasset and Portland offices into downtown Brunswick and bring about 60-65 employees with it, Egan said.
To make CEI’s purchase option possible, the town agreed to sell the Recreation Center to BDC for $200,000. The town will receive an additional $25,000 from BDC’s anticipated sale of the two Federal Street properties to CEI.
The town had previously agreed to transfer ownership of the Town Hall property to BDC in exchange for the new Police Station property on Stanwood and Pleasant streets, which BDC had purchased on the town’s behalf to expedite development and lower the burden on taxpayers.
Leading up to CEI’s February deadline to say yes or no to Brunswick, Egan said the nonprofit will hire an architect by the end of the month to design CEI’s new building and run site analyses during the fall on the two Federal Street properties to make sure the land can still be developed.
Egan said he also expects CEI to submit site and building plans to the Planning Board sometime this fall.
The only things that could stop CEI from pursuing the Brunswick location would be a major environmental problem with the Federal Street properties or negative reception from the town, the CEI housing director said.
So far, Egan said he suspects neither will be an issue, especially because of how welcoming town staff and officials have been to CEI’s proposal to move its headquarters.
“There would have to be a 180-degree turn in reception, given how welcoming the town has been,” he said.
If all goes to plan and CEI purchases the two properties, Egan said he expects the Town Hall and Recreation Center will be demolished shortly after CEI takes ownership of the land.
Construction of CEI’s new headquarters could then begin sometime in May or June, he said.
The CEI housing director said the construction would take about nine or 10 months, and employees would be expected to move in sometime during the first half of 2015.
But before any of that can happen, Egan said CEI’s board of directors will have to give final approval to purchase the Town Hall and Recreation Center properties at its January 2014 meeting.