Colby College President David A. Greene and William C. Robichaud, Collaborative Consulting’s founder and CEO during the announcement which will bring 200 jobs to Waterville, Maine.
By Ramona du Houx
Earlier this month, in partnership with Colby College, Collaborative Consulting announced the opening of a digital/data delivery center in Waterville that will eventually create 200 jobs.
Known as Collaborative Waterville, the facility will be located in Waterville’s Hathaway Creative Center, and will open in January of 2016 with a first wave of 20 employees. Collaborative Consulting, a privately held consulting firm based in Burlington, Mass., will have clients that need digital and data solutions tailored to advance their business strategies and goals.
“Waterville is an ideal fit for us because of its dynamic community, exceptional workforce and impressive educational infrastructure focused on innovation,” said William C. Robichaud, Collaborative Consulting’s founder and CEO.
Robichaud noted that many clients have Northeast roots and will benefit from the center’s proximity and alliance with Colby, which will include student internships as well as faculty and staff training, and professional development opportunities.
The Hathaway Center, above, will be where Collaborative Consulting is bringing 200 jobs. Photo by Ramona du Houx
“By partnering with Colby, we will cultivate an environment of innovation, envisioning what future business environments will look like and creating solutions that address the needs of this rapidly changing digital world,” said Robichaud.
Colby College President David A. Greene promoted the economic and cultural vitality Waterville has to offer to Robichaud with such enthusiasm — he convinced Robichaud to locate here when he heard he needed to expand.
"The man wouldn't take no," said Robichaud. "We had a fantastic meeting a few weeks back."
Over the past year, because of Greene’s leadership Colby College has purchased several downtown buildings that are in desperate need of historic renovations. What the college intends to do with the properties is still being discussed. Greene has held community discussions about Waterville’s future potential and the role Colby would play in it.
“This city has so much to offer, and it’s gratifying that Collaborative Consulting was attracted to Waterville for the reasons so many of us are — three colleges, a growing arts and cultural focus, a Main Street with terrific potential,” said Greene. “When Colby began partnering with the city and others on revitalization efforts, we knew that sustained economic development would be critical to supporting the long-term needs of the people of Waterville and central Maine. ”
Collaborative Waterville also intends to work with Thomas College and Kennebec Valley Community College providing internships and possible future employment.
“Collaborative Consulting’s decision to grow their business in Waterville is great news and is a testament to the ingenuity and vast potential of our state’s workforce,” said Senator Angus King in a statement. “I applaud Collaborative’s vision and commitment to add high-paying 21st century jobs in Maine, to build on the TechHire effort, and to enhance the vibrant entrepreneurial partnerships led by Colby, Thomas, and Kennebec Valley Community Colleges that will help strengthen communities in central Maine.”
PHOTO: William C. Robichaud, Collaborative Consulting’s founder and CEO making the announcement which will bring 200 jobs to Waterville, Maine.
The Hathaway Creative Center has been a successful renovation of a historic shirt factory using Maine’s Historic tax credit, established with the help of one of the developers, Tom Niemann of Niemann Capitol. Niemann partnered with Paul Boghossian, a Colby graduate, at the urging of Maine’s Department of Economic and Development Commissioner Jack Cashman, in 2007, for the Hathaway Center’s development.
Historic Preservation brings numerous financial benefits to the state’s communities. Preservation drives downtown revitalization and neighborhood rehabilitation, enhances real estate markets, grows the tax bases, attracts heritage tourists,as well as new residents, and allows for a more sustainable reuse of infrastructure.
The Maine Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit passed in 2008, during the Baldacci administration. Since then, 62 privately developed projects have been completed or are underway, investing over $335 million in construction expenditures. These projects have facilitated creation of many new businesses and over 800 housing units, with 600 affordable housing. Many of these buildings were formerly vacant, dragging down the real estate market around them. After rehab they have raised the market and fostered additional nearby investment. Over 32 large and small cities and towns across the state host historic tax credit projects.
The Hathaway Creative Center in Waterville, Maine, after the renovation. Photo by Ramona du Houx
The credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in tax liability or a refund, for expenditures on the rehab of income-producing historic buildings such as commercial, industrial and residential-rental properties. The state credit is 25 percent of the total qualified rehab expenses, with affordable housing eligible for a 31 percent State credit. This is added to an additional 20 percent federal historic credit, for a total of 45 percent, or 51 percent for affordable housing. For developers and communities it’s a good deal.
The historic preservation tax credit has helped turn cities with historic buildings into economic centers of charm and character. It also continues to make Maine’s downtowns more attractive to investors than building strip malls. No doubt, Colby College will use the historic tax credit on their newly purchased Waterville buildings.
Since the Hathaway Creative Center’s dedication in 2008 the renovation project has won several awards, and all of the 67 loft apartments are fully occupied. The office spaces have been substantially built out. Collaborative Consulting will be neighbors with MaineGeneral Hospital, HealthReach Network and USI Insurance.
For more about Collaborative Consulting go HERE.