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Brunswick Landing to get first new residential development

Brunswick Landing Ventures plans to build 40 residential units at Brunswick Landing on property it owns to the right of Admiral Fitch Avenue and the entrance of the former Navy base, seen here. It will be the first new residential construction on site.

by Maureen Milliken

A Falmouth developer plans to build 40 condominium units at Brunswick Landing, the first new residential construction at the former Navy base.

Chris Rhoades, of Brunswick Landing Venture, said the construction will be on 120 acres the company owns, pending town approval, which he hopes to get within 90 days.

The company recently subdivided the land, and if the units sell, will build more units, Rhoades told Mainebiz Tuesday morning.

The new construction is in addition to the conversion of 147 rental units Brunswick Landing Venture owns on the campus into condominiums and owner-owned property.

Brunswick Landing Venture is also marketing 190 units of former temporary Navy housing, which have never been available for civilian rental, as rental units.

Brunswick Landing Venture and Priority Real Estate Group are also working on a plan to construct rental units on 14 adjacent acres Priority owns, said Jim Howard, Priority president and CEO.

Rhoades said that over the past year, tenants have left the company's rental housing to buy their own homes, the rental-to-owner conversion will accommodate people who want to own, he said.

"There's no inventory," Rhoades said. "There's nothing [in the area] in that price range to accommodate people who want to buy."

The former apartments-turned-condominiums and the duplexes and single family homes will be sold for between $150,000 to $250,000.

The units that are being converted, at Brunswick Gardens and Woodland Village, are townhouses and single-family homes built by the Navy. The Brunswick Gardens units were built in the 1970s, the Woodland duplexes and houses were built between 2001 and 2006.

The 190 units that will become available for renters will help absorb the those who still need rental housing, he said. Those units were used by the Navy for sailors who needed housing while their ships were worked on at Bath Iron Works, and have been vacant since the Navy turned the base over.

The residential part of the 3,200-acre Brunswick Landing campus is in the northeast area, between Admiral Fitch Avenue and Gurnet Road.

The company bought 407 units in Brunswick and Topsham last year, and the 190 units of former naval housing in February, Rhoades said.

Since the former Navy base opened as Brunswick Landing in 2011 under the direction of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, nearly 1,700 jobs have been created from the 110 separate businesses that have located there. MRRA Executive Director Steve Levesque will be honored as a Mainebiz Business Leader of the Year, Thursday evening at the Portland Country Club in Falmouth.

Howard, whose company owns 42 acres of the campus and whose developments have created around 800 jobs, said continuing residential development on site is a necessity.

"If we want to continue the economic success at Brunswick Landing, we have to give folks a place to live," he said.

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