“The development of the Portland Technology Park further cements the city’s reputation as a community that welcomes the entrepreneurial spirit, business acumen and collaborative relationships among innovators,” stated City of Portland Mayor Michael Brennan. “Fostering an environment that supports growth and draws life science experts to Portland presents the city with an unprecedented opportunity to realize our goals of creating a research triangle — building linkages between our business community, our education system and research institutes. By bringing these groups together in partnership, we can expand economic opportunity and develop a highly skilled workforce.”
In November construction began for infrastructure necessary for the development of the Portland Technology Park. The business park was conceived by the city’s Economic Development Department to facilitate growth and expansion of the area’s life sciences industries. Phase One of the project calls for the construction of nine hundred and seventy-five feet of road and installation of utilities, which when complete next summer will open up three of the seven potential sites for development. With construction underway, the city’s Economic Development team has begun marketing the campus to new and expanding technology companies.
Currently more than forty life science businesses, the largest cluster in the state, call the Portland area home. These businesses specialize in a wide array of products and services ranging from veterinary pharmaceuticals to immunology, diagnostics, lab products and environmental biotechnology. Statewide, bio tech industries employ more than five thousand people and have generated $1.337 billion in revenue, with the economic impact for the state increasing more than 200% since 2002. In keeping with the city’s Economic Development Plan and Vision and recommendations from the MIT urban planning study, Portland in Focus: Building on assets for collaboration and growth, the city along with its regional partners have been working to support and help grow the life sciences cluster.
“As a former Ventrex employee and current owner of a biotechnology company here in Portland for the last 25 years, I am excited to see that construction on Portland Technology Park has begun,” stated Joseph Chandler, President of Maine Biotechnology Services, Inc. “The Portland region has been a mini-biotech hub for many years and now that we will have a technology park, technology-driven companies will have more opportunities to expand in this region. With the educational opportunities now offered in the biosciences at University of Southern Maine and University of New England, the construction of the Portland Technology Park will serve as an even greater draw for businesses and jobs. This is a real plus for Portland.”
Both plans highlight the fact that more than 30 percent of the city’s jobs are concentrated in education and health care services and that this, coupled with the strong educational and research opportunities at local universities and research institutes, present significant opportunities for growth within these industries as well as promote the entrepreneurial environment for businesses and increase workforce capacity. Life sciences businesses typically provide well-paying jobs, requiring a wide range of skills and educational levels and tend to create spin-off companies, further expanding the local economy.
Portland is a member of the Greater Portland Economic Development Corporation, a regional initiative focused on attracting more out-of-state life sciences companies to the area, and growing the industry cluster into a strong and sustainable economic force in Maine. The Portland Technology Park will provide a quality environment to meet specific needs for this industry including an environment that allows for sensitive lab and manufacturing work, close proximity to the Maine Turnpike and Portland Jetport and a campus setting, which provides opportunities for partnerships and knowledge sharing.
The Portland Technology Park is located on Rand Road near Exit 47 of the Maine Turnpike. With the goal of completion in 2014, Phase Two will extend the road and infrastructure by another five hundred and twenty-five feet, opening up the remaining four sites for development. The park will accommodate buildings ranging from 10,000 to 40,000 square feet with each company responsible for constructing of its building, driveway and parking area. At full build-out the park will have approximately 120,000 square feet in seven buildings.
Low impact development techniques have been incorporated into the design to create an environmentally friendly campus including reduced impervious surfaces, siting buildings for maximum solar gain, and the use of gravel wetlands for storm water management, which is designed to minimize the impact to the natural hydrology of the site and reduce the overall project footprint. The park will connect to trail systems throughout hundreds of acres of adjacent Resource Protection Zone land, including an Audubon sanctuary. All buildings on the campus must satisfy the city’s Green Building Code.