Financing expected to help create and retain hundreds of Maine jobs in Westbrook, Brunswick, and Old Town
At its December 13, 2018 board meeting, the members of the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) approved financing for three separate projects that collectively are expected to help create and retain at least 700 Maine jobs. The projects range from renewable energy at Brunswick Landing to public infrastructure improvements in Westbrook to the re-start of the shuttered Old Town mill.
FAME approved conduit bond financing for GIGME01, LLC for a project at Brunswick Landing. GIGME01, an operator of solid waste facilities, is an entity formed by Genesis Industrial Group to purchase the Village Green Ventures’ 1- megawatt digester at the former navy base. Genesis is renovating the existing digester and building an additional one to double the facility’s capacity and improve performance.
The facility diverts biosolids (sludge) from landfills and anaerobically digests them to produce biogas, which is then converted to electricity and fertilizer. The facility provides a significant portion of the electricity needs of the businesses located at Brunswick Landing. The work also will permit the injection of renewable natural gas into the Maine Natural Gas pipeline on the campus. The proceeds of the bonds will be used to finance the new capital improvements, as well as to refinance the cost of acquiring the facility. FAME’s actions are expected to help to create and retain approximately six Maine jobs. The bonds to be issued in this matter may not exceed $18 million.
FAME’s Revenue Obligations Securities Program provides tax-exempt bond financing to eligible borrowers without any recourse or obligation on the part of the state. The bonds carry no liability or credit enhancement on the part of FAME or the state. FAME acts as a conduit for borrowers in order to allow them to access favorable interest rates and to help stimulate the economy and create and retain Maine jobs.
The second deal approved, also involving conduit bond financing, is for Dirigo Center Developers, LLC (DCD), a company formed to build a large, phased, multi-use development at the site of a former quarry in Westbrook, to be known as Rock Row. As part of the project, DCD has committed to building a number of public infrastructure improvements, both on the former quarry site and on other public lands, including upgrades to public street intersections and two Maine Turnpike Authority exits. The bonds issued may not exceed $16.3 million. The first phase of the multi-use development is expected to create up to 250 construction jobs, as well as an additional 250 permanent jobs related to the tenants of the development.
“FAME is pleased to support GIGME01’s plans for efficiencies and continued operations on the former naval air station base at Brunswick Landing, as well as DCD’s plans for the Rock Row project in Westbrook” stated Jay Violette, chair of the FAME Board.
A third deal approved concerns financing through the Maine New Markets Capital Investment Program for approximately $31.8 million in investments at the Old Town mill in the company formed to hold the facility, ND OTM, LLC. In connection with the investments, a total of approximately $12 million in tax credits will be awarded over the next seven years.
The FAME Board certified applications for investments in the following six community development entities: Stonehenge Community Development 124, LLC; CCG Sub-CDE 44, LLC; Enhanced Capital New Market Development Fund 58, LLC; Community Development Funding XXII, LLC; UA Sub-CDE XXV, LLC; and CIF XIV, LLC.
The companies will use the proceeds of the investments for various capital improvements, investments in working capital, construction, equipment procurement, and other related improvements in order to re-start and optimize a pulp manufacturing facility at the site of the currently shuttered Old Town mill. This is expected to create or retain approximately 130 direct and 635 indirect and induced jobs related to the site.
The Old Town mill site has been idle for approximately three and one-half years. In October 2018, OTM Holdings sold the mill to ND Paper, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nine Dragons Paper (Holdings) Limited. ND Paper operates three pulp and paper mills in North America with combined annual production capacity exceeding 1.1 million metric tons, including the fully-integrated pulp and paper Rumford Division in Oxford County, Maine.
FAME has administered the Maine New Markets Capital Investment Program since the Legislature created it in 2011. It does so in cooperation with Maine Revenue Services. The program is designed to attract investment in economically distressed areas of the state. It allows eligible investors to claim tax credits against state taxes in amounts up to 39 percent of a project’s total cost. The maximum aggregate amount of tax credit authority is set forth at $250 million, of which after today approximately $11 million remains.
“We are grateful for FAME’s assistance with our plans for the Old Town mill,” stated Brian Boland, Vice President of Government Affairs and Corporate Initiatives at ND Paper. “The financing will help us expeditiously re-start this idled facility that will ultimately supply pulp to a global base of customers. Even more importantly, an operating Old Town mill will once again provide, directly and indirectly, literally hundreds of well-paying jobs for hard-working Mainers.”
FAME is a quasi-independent state agency that provides financial solutions that help Maine people achieve their business and higher education goals. FAME is celebrating its 35th Anniversary and helps to create a Maine workforce that with good-paying jobs by focusing on the nexus of economic and educational development. FAME recently was recognized for the fourth year in a row as one of the Best Places to Work in Maine. To learn more about FAME, please visit www.famemaine.com