Aroma Joe’s, a regional espresso store firm primarily based in South Portland, could grow to be the second firm to find in Portland Know-how Park, virtually a decade after the city-owned workplace improvement was established.
The Portland Metropolis Council on Monday will evaluation a proposed $595,000 sale of just about 3 acres on the park, on the west aspect of the town bordering Interstate 95.
A sale would require the town to spend no less than $662,760 to increase a street and utility strains to the 2 improvement plots Aroma Joe’s needs to purchase.
Portland Know-how Park opened in 2013 and has been marketed as a location to broaden a rising biotechnology and life sciences trade in southern Maine. Up to now, solely insurance coverage agency Patrons Oxford has constructed an workplace there. The corporate relocated from Auburn in 2017.
“We knew that we had a rising biosciences cluster in Maine and within the Higher Portland space and thought this is able to be an excellent website for the expansion of these form of firms. It simply hasn’t turned out to be the case,” mentioned Nelle Hanig, enterprise packages supervisor at Portland’s housing and financial improvement division.
The park has no workplace area to lease, and rising know-how firms generally wouldn’t have the means to put money into new buildings, Hanig mentioned.
“In case you don’t have the wherewithal to assemble a constructing, you wouldn’t be capable to come to Portland Know-how Park presently,” she mentioned. “That kicks out numerous smaller firms and biotech firms (that) may need to come to a park like this.”
In different circumstances, the areas out there for brand spanking new buildings within the park, from 10,000 to 35,000 sq. ft, will not be large enough for established firms that anticipate substantial progress.
A deliberate sale of a unit within the park to Portland biotech firm Capricorn Products fell by means of after the corporate was bought and the brand new proprietor determined to not broaden in Maine, Hanig mentioned.
However the park’s proximity to the interstate proved engaging to Patrons Oxford, and now to Aroma Joe’s.
“Aroma Joe’s likes the concept (that) it’s a second from the interstate – they may have folks coming from throughout and folk who’ve their places of work there,” she mentioned.
A sale would imply the town must pay to increase the street and utilities to the corporate’s newly bought land. The almost $663,000 estimated price might be paid for by proceeds from the sale and an allocation from the town’s capital enchancment program, the financial improvement division wrote in a memo to the Metropolis Council.
“It will price us the distinction to construct out the street, however we can be gaining tax advantages from this; it is going to be creating new jobs,” Hanig mentioned.
Town estimates Aroma Joe’s can pay $21,000 a 12 months in property taxes at its new headquarters.
Aroma Joe’s CEO Loren Goodridge mentioned in an interview final month that the rising firm moved out of its places of work on Warren Avenue and is subleasing places of work in South Portland till it builds a brand new headquarters. The corporate, which franchises drive-thru espresso outlets, has about 19 staff.
The know-how park’s location appealed to Aroma Joe’s, mentioned Goodridge.
It’s close to the corporate’s current places of work on Warren Avenue, so its staff received’t have to vary their commute, Goodridge mentioned. It’s proper subsequent to I-95, and likewise near the Portland Worldwide Jetport.
“We now have franchisees coming in for coaching from all around the nation, and we wished their commute to be handy,” he mentioned.
Aroma Joe’s hopes to finish the constructing in 2023 and expects to have 35 staff within the new places of work.
In keeping with the town, the brand new constructing can be about 12,000 sq. ft. If the sale is accepted, there can be 4 models within the park remaining available on the market.
“I believe the choice will at all times be for high quality jobs, and so if a biotech agency comes alongside, it is going to present jobs for scientists and manufacturing and administration positions that may be extremely valued by the town,” Hanig mentioned. “Admittedly, this has moved slowly, it wasn’t a straightforward website to develop.”
The problem of constructing on the Portland website is among the most important causes the know-how park has had hassle attracting builders, Goodridge mentioned. Marine clay is the dominant soil kind on the property, and that requires extra pricey and complex foundations.
“In case you had a traditional piece of land you may not have that difficulty,” he mentioned. “You may’t construct on marine clay simply.”