Site to spark transportation cluster, road improvements; provides key turnpike access
BANGOR — Hartt Transportation Systems Inc. — a leading over-the-road transportation company in Maine — will spend $6.5 million on a state-of-the-art terminal facility at Kitty Hawk Business Park that includes public roadway construction of First Flight Drive Extension near Exit 75 of the Maine Turnpike in Auburn.
The project will break ground at a ceremony 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 14.
Hartt’s $5.3 million terminal will consist of a 30,000-square-foot office and maintenance facility with a commercial truck wash. Hartt also is committed to funding $1.2 million in new roads and will sell the remaining lots with visual exposure to Interstate 95, creating a transportation-related cluster development that could include office, transportation, light manufacturing or hotel uses.
“Our new investment in Auburn should help us continue to better service our customer base and provide a location with direct access to the highway, while creating jobs and new business opportunities for the Lewiston-Auburn area and beyond,” Hartt Transportation Systems Inc. president Billy Hartt said.
Hartt — a major Maine-owned and -operated trucking company with clients throughout the Eastern Seaboard including the Canadian Maritimes, Ontario and Quebec — has owned and operated a facility on Hotel Road in Auburn since 1992.
In business since 1948, Hartt began its Auburn operation in February 2001 under contract for Formed Fiber Technologies with 25 trucks and one driver-manager in a single office. Since then, Hartt has grown its Auburn operation to 200 trucks and 300 employees.
“It makes sense for us to build on our investment in the community and this site, which will allow us to grow and better service our manufacturing clients in the Greater Auburn area,” Hartt Chief Financial Officer Joanna Bradeen said. “Auburn has been our choice all along, but the pieces needed to fall in place to make this happen.”
“While the initial project is in the range of $7.5 million, we believe additional development can be made rather quickly, especially with the road improvements we’re providing, to create a vertically integrated park of transportation related entities here in central Maine,” Bradeen said.
The Auburn City Council has agreed in principle to a 20-year, $1.2 million tax-increment financing package to help move ahead with the highest quality of infrastructure improvements. Machias Savings Bank is providing primary project financing.
“Maine is fortunate to have strong business people who create opportunities in our communities, like Hartt Transportation,” said Machias Savings Bank Executive Vice President James Donnelly. “Hartt Transportation’s growth is good news for their employees, and for all of those who will benefit from this growth.
“This growth attests to their commitment to the community, to their customers and our state,” Donnelly said. “That is why we are happy that Hartt Transportation chose Machias Savings Bank to work with on their new truck terminal project.”
“The City of Auburn is pleased to see the project move forward and is excited by the energy this will add to the Kittyhawk Industrial Park and the Exit 75 area,” said Auburn City Manager Clinton Deschene. “It takes many people to create the momentum to move the city and businesses forward to make our community strong. With partners like Hartt, it makes the job so rewarding and personal.”
Hebert Construction — a family-owned and -operated Lewiston-based construction company since 1943 — is the general contractor, selected for their longstanding commitment to Maine, Hartt said. Gendron & Gendron will construct the extension and improvements to First Flight.
Kitty Hawk Business Park is located within 30 miles of 65 percent of the state’s population, just off the Maine Turnpike and near Lewiston-Auburn Airport and the Canadian National Auburn Intermodal Terminal, linking rail, air and ground transportation. Two-thirds of Maine’s population lives and works within a 30-mile radius of the airport.
Trucking revenue at Hartt has increased from $10 million in revenue in the late 1990s to $132 million in 2014, when it sent about 4,000 truckloads of goods out of Maine every month from its terminals in Bangor and Auburn. The company also operates regional hubs in Sumter, S.C., and Fulton, Ky. Hartt’s major Maine accounts include Nestle Waters’ Poland Spring bottling plants statewide; Formed Fiber Technologies in Auburn; NewPage in Rumford and Verso Paper in Jay. Based in Bangor, it operates more than 400 tractors and 2,000 dry shipping vans.
Kitty Hawk Business Park sites are pre-approved and zoned so a business can begin construction within a week of submitting an application, said Tony Armstrong of the Baldacci Real Estate Group, which is brokering the sale of lots near the development. Four additional lots are being created adjacent to I-95 for business, transportation and light industrial development.
“Baldacci Real Estate Group is pleased to have assisted in putting this project together,” said Robert Baldacci. “Hartt transportation and the City of Auburn have shown their commitment to growing the local economy through this project.”
The park offers high-speed fiber optic network, underground utilities, tastefully-lit streets and beautiful landscaping fitting. And it offers Pine Tree Development Zone tax incentives, which returns 50 percent to 100 percent of payroll and property taxes paid by businesses for 10 years, provides sales and use tax exemptions, and reduces utility rates; as well as benefits offered thanks to its location within a Foreign Trade Zone, which is considered outside the territory of U.S. Customs and therefore reduces or eliminates Customs entry procedures as well as import and export duties for most items.