Front Street Shipyard in Belfast, Maine, has gained a US$10m loan from the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development fund. It should help the company’s future, while adding seven jobs, according to the Bangor Daily News.
The company opened for business in 2011, securing four acres of waterfront property that was once a sardine canning factory. Front Street currently employs 105 people.
J.B. Turner, president of the shipyard, told the paper that the loan would give the business easier, long-term bank financing, while allowing it to expand. The complex currently has five buildings on the four-acre property. Turner said the next project will be called ‘Building 6’. It will be a 69ft-tall structure that can accommodate a 485-tonne travel lift. “We have all the permitting in place with the city,” Turner told the paper. “Now, all I need is money.”
The shipyard builds and retrofits boats as long as 200ft. It is one of the largest boatyards on the East Coast, and the largest north of Newport, Rhode Island.
Virginia Manuel, the USDA Rural Development state director, told the paper that the US$10m loan is the largest her agency can make. “The big picture for USDA Rural Development in Maine is to support the resurgence of manufacturing,” Manuel told the paper. “When you get a dynamic business like the Front Street Shipyard in a little city like Belfast, this is exactly the kind of industry in Maine we want to support.”
Thomas Kittredge, the city’s development director, said the shipyard has brought “new vitality” to the waterfront. “In some ways, they’re the face of a large part of the Belfast economy because of their location,” Kittredge told the paper. “It’s a world-class facility, and not just condos, but jobs and economic activity. And what’s more quintessentially Maine than working on boats?”