Maine shipyard gets $10 million federal loan

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The Maine-based Front Street Shipyard was chosen to receive a $10 million federal loan that will help the boatyard with expansion plans.

The company got a number of smaller loans from investors when it started in 2011 and the new Business & Industry Guaranteed Loan from U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development “basically replaces all of those with financing,”Front Street Shipyard president JB Turner told the Penobscot Bay Pilot.

Having all of the debtunder one roof will put the shipyard in a better position to borrow money for pending projects, such as the construction of the planned “Building 6,”which is slated to become the largest workshop on the shipyard’s 3.6-acre waterfront property, Turner said.

The company plans to break ground on Building 6 by the early spring, which would make it ready for use by Labor Day, Turner said.

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 is one of the largest boatbuilding and retrofit facilities on the East Coast, capable of working on boats of as much as 200 feet. The company recently started building patrol boats at a new facility in Bucksport.

The purpose of the Business & Industry Guaranteed Loan Program is“to improve, develop or finance business, industry and employment and improve the economic and environmental climate in rural communities,” according to USDA Rural Development.“This purpose is achieved by bolstering the existing private credit structure through the guarantee of quality loans which will provide lasting community benefits.”

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