PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Presque Isle will acquire one other nationwide enterprise when a longtime Caribou plumbing and heating firm strikes in.
F.W. Webb, based mostly in Bedford, Massachusetts, operates within the six New England states and New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with 13 places all through Maine. The wholesale distributor will transfer its solely Aroostook County web site to Presque Isle in roughly a 12 months and a half.
Because the pandemic started, a declining workforce and inflation have decimated companies from eating places to retailers statewide. The most recent is Olympia Sports activities, which introduced it could shut its remaining East Coast shops, together with the one in Presque Isle. However with its enterprise thriving in Aroostook, Webb has outgrown its Caribou house and needs to broaden the place the exercise is, an organization official stated.
The corporate will construct a $5.5 million constructing on the previous Fairview Acres in Presque Isle, on the nook of Parsons Avenue and Central Drive. The parcel is a part of the Presque Isle Industrial Park.
“Enterprise is rising,” stated Derek Wilson, operations supervisor at F.W. Webb’s Hampden retailer, which oversees the Caribou operation. “All the brand new development that you just’ve seen, each residential and business, along with a variety of the larger processing services — they’re all rising and leaning on us to assist that development.”
The mission’s timeline isn’t finalized, however the firm hopes to be on the new web site earlier than winter 2023, Wilson stated.
F.W. Webb’s Caribou constructing at 420 South St. is about 9,000 sq. ft. There’s no room for enlargement so officers bought a much bigger piece of land to construct anew. They selected Presque Isle as a result of it’s nearer to most development exercise.
Webb will construct a 30,000-square-foot constructing with a 15,000-square-foot mezzanine, and can create 4 new jobs, in accordance with data it filed with the town of Presque Isle.
The wholesaler offers in plumbing and heating, earthwork, HVAC, refrigeration, constructing controls, propane and water programs and different trade wants, in accordance with its web site. It additionally supplies industrial restore and irrigation gear for farmers, which have helped speed up its development, Wilson stated.
The brand new location is a part of Presque Isle’s Tax Increment Financing district, which the state granted for 920 acres of downtown property in 2021. A TIF permits the federal government to spend money on enterprise upfront and assist it get began.
The Presque Isle Metropolis Council licensed a 10-year settlement on July 6 to help F.W. Webb with the price of a fireplace suppression system. The Presque Isle Utility District’s water provide won’t help the mission, so Webb might want to construct a water tank.
“The intent is to assist with the event of their facility,” Weibley stated. “It’s not like they’re getting one thing at no cost. They’re taking up severe capital enhancements earlier than getting that return again after 10 years.”
F.W. Webb should pay its property taxes every of the ten years and can obtain a part of it again as a refund — 55 p.c for 4 years, 40 p.c for 3 years, then 30 p.c for the remaining three.
As an example, the present Fairview Acres property is valued at $200,000. A part of that property tax invoice will go into the town’s common fund, Weibley stated. The brand new worth that’s created from the multimillion-dollar constructing shall be diverted into the downtown TIF fund, which shelters it from being a part of the valuation for SAD 1 and Aroostook County.
After the 10-year mark, that cash will go right into a reserve fund for financial improvement for the subsequent 19 years for which the town’s TIF district was created. With companies dealing with limitations resembling inflated gasoline and utility prices, in addition to issue discovering employees, these funds might be necessary.
“We’re seeing a variety of new financial improvement development inside Presque Isle, and the downtown TIF is a crucial financial improvement device that Houlton, Caribou and different cities additionally use to attract new companies into their neighborhood,” he stated.
The TIF permits property taxes on new improvement to be sheltered in a fund that can be utilized for metropolis enhancements, such because the Maine Division of Transportation’s proposed downtown enchancment plan, he stated.
F.W. Webb must signal the settlement with the town and procure constructing permits earlier than they will break floor on their new facility. Wilson of the corporate’s Hampden facility hopes for a late fall begin, relying on the climate.