Central Maine

As the nation slowly regains its economic muscle, the central Maine region is experiencing a flurry of development activity and opportunity. Anchored by the city of Waterville (population 16,000), central Maine is fast becoming a hot spot for business development activity. Just a few miles north of Augusta, Maine’s capital, Waterville and the adjoining communities are poised for the next wave of growth and development along the Interstate 95 corridor in central Maine.

One of the major initiatives underway in Waterville is the revitalization of its waterfront, which is adjacent to the core business district. The Head of Falls development project is a city-owned 15-acre parcel located along the Kennebec River that is set for the construction of infrastructure within the next few months. The waterfront master plan includes the development of 100,000 to 150,000 square feet of office, retail, and commercial space with an amphitheater, public walkways, trails and green space. The Head of Falls project activity will enhance an already active downtown and will bring citizens back to the waterfront.

In conjunction with the waterfront revitalization, the city is moving forward with the redevelopment of the 150-year-old historic Hathaway shirt factory, which is also located along the Kennebec River just a few hundred yards south of the Head of Falls site. The 235,000-square-foot facility, which has been vacant since early 2003, is slated for a mixed-use development, and discussions and negotiations are underway with numerous developers that are interested in tackling this project.

Adjacent to Waterville, off I-95’s exit 127, FirstPark is currently being built out in Oakland, Maine. Twenty-four local towns, known as the Kennebec Regional Development Authority, are the owners of this 350-acre, high-tech business park that includes high-technology infrastructure, underground utilities, wooded areas and jogging trails. The 24 municipalities shared the cost of purchasing the land, providing services and building the infrastructure, and share in the revenues from properties sold and tax revenues generated. A 25,000-square-foot office building was erected about 18 months ago and is currently home to Perry, Fitts, Boulette and Fitton, a central Maine accounting firm. More recently, retailer L.L. Bean announced that it will construct a single-story, 50,000-square-foot customer service center in the park, as part of the relocation and expansion of its current operations in Waterville. Several other small single-use office buildings — less than 10,000 square feet — are under construction and slated for occupancy later this year.

Central Maine offers a pro-business attitude with a growing region, a dedicated workforce and an affordable cost structure.

John Butera, Executive Director, Central Maine Growth Council

©2004 France Publications, Inc. Duplication or reproduction of this article not permitted without authorization from France Publications, Inc. For information on reprints of this article contact Barbara Sherer at (630) 554-6054.

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