MRRA to issue up to $24M in bonds for Brunswick base tenants

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BRUNSWICK — The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority intends to issue up to $24 million in bonds for two tenants at the redeveloped Brunswick Naval Air Station.

When the property is transferred to MRRA from the U.S. Navy, it will be renamed Brunswick Landing.

MRRA Executive Director Steven Levesque said MRRA will issue tax revenue bonds that allow revenue as far back as 60 days to be captured up front, a benefit for both companies, he said.

MRRA Board Chairman Arthur Mayo said a $10 million bond is anticipated to be issued to Kestral Aviation, which plans to move to base property next month.

Levesque said Molnlycke, a medical foam manufacturer that last month announced its intention to build a plant at Brunswick Landing, is seeking a bond of $9.7 million, though MRRA may go as high as $14 million. He said new market tax credits will also be used to assist the company.

While there were more than 50 people attending Tuesday’s MRRA board meeting, there were no public comments about either decision. Another public hearing will take place before the bonds are issued.

Levesque also said sale of 702 BNAS housing units was completed at the end of October to developer George Schott. The houses were purchased from Northeast Housing LLC, while the land beneath the houses is expected to be transferred to MRRA sometime next summer.

The MRRA board also voted to authorize Levesque to sign leases and licenses on behalf of MRRA, a request made by the Navy as the process of base closure progresses. Levesque said a license is a short-term permission and a lease is a long-term agreement for use of a building. Having licenses and lease agreements in place will allow businesses to move to Brunswick Landing before the official transfer of the buildings to MRRA.

BNAS Capt. William Fitzgerald told the MRRA there are several differences in the closure and transition taking place in Brunswick compared with other states across the country, including allowing a civilian authority to begin to take over lease properties before an official transfer. 

“This doesn’t happen anywhere else,” Levesque said.

Fitzgerald said relaxation of access to the base Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. has worked out well so far. He said the base may be opened to the public on weekends prior to the closure. 

He also updated the board on the closure schedule. Many major milestones have already been reached, he said, including submission of the final environmental impact study.

The base is still on track for “operational closure and disestablishment” May 31, 2011, Fitzgerald said. On June 1, the Brunswick Police and Fire departments will have full jurisdiction on base property. June 4 will see the “reduction in force” with the departure of about 140 civilian employees. 

Fitzgerald said without changes in legislation, transfer of the base will take place “no later than Sept. 15” next year.

Stephanie Grinnell can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or sgrinnell@theforecaster.net

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