Front Street Shipyard picked for $10 million federal loan
BELFAST - Front Street Shipyard has been selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development to receive a $10 million Business & Industry Guaranteed Loan.
Speaking on Oct. 29, Front Street Shipyard President JB Turner said the company got a number of smaller loans from investors when it started in 2011.
“This basically replaces all of those with financing,” he said.
The loan would be through Androscoggin Bank. Turner said having all the debt “under one roof” would put Front Street Shipyard in a better position to borrow money for pending projects like the construction of the planned “Building 6,” which would be the largest workshop on Shipyard’s 3.6-acre waterfront property.
Turner said the hope is to break ground on Building 6 by early spring. If that happens, he said the building could be ready to use by Labor Day 2015.
Turner was part of a small group of Maine boatbuilders, marine industry executives and investors who founded Front Street Shipyard in 2011. Almost overnight, the company transformed a formerly derelict sardine canning property into a working boatyard. Today the Shipyard one of the largest boatbuilding and retrofit facilities on the East Coast, capable of working on boats up to 200 feet long. The company recently started manufacturing patrol boats at a new facility in Bucksport.
“This important investment will benefit Maine’s thriving marine industry, helping Front Street Shipyard meet local and global demand for its craftsmanship and quality of composite and wooden boats while supporting 114 jobs in the industry,” said State Director Virginia Manuel in a prepared statement, issued Tuesday.
The purposed of the Business & Industry Guaranteed Loan Program, according to USDA Rural Development, is “to improve, develop, or finance business, industry, and employment and improve the economic and environmental climate in rural communities. This purpose is achieved by bolstering the existing private credit structure through the guarantee of quality loans which will provide lasting community benefits.”
The agency has programs to support homeownership, business assistance, energy and renewable energy development, water and wastewater and community facilities.
Locally, Freedom Falls, LLC in Freedom received a $49,500 Rural Energy for America Grant in 2013 to install a hydropower system in an existing dam as part of its redevelopment of a derelict mill.