Development to Bring New Life to Empty Newport Warehouse
By KEITH MCGILVERY for WCAX
April 14, 2013
NEWPORT, Vt. - Northeast Kingdom developer Bill Stenger sees new promise in Newport's old Bogner manufacturing facility.
"It's 25-years-old, but it's in good condition and it's a great campus," Stenger said.
The space has sat empty for two years, but that's slated to change. Plans are in the works to transform part of the property into a new plant for window-maker Menck USA.
"We've got a clean sheet of paper, if you will, to map out our work flow," said Todd Bachelder, CEO of Menck USA.
Bachelder says the Northeast Kingdom is ripe with possible employees and that he's heard from others who want to return to the region for a job in his shop.
"Without even starting the process of looking for folks, I've actually already started receiving interest from folks from around the country, many of whom have ties to the Northeast Kingdom," Bachelder said.
The campus is also on track for a new biotech center for South Korea-based AnC Bio.
"This space will be removed and then we will build a brand new state of the art research and development facility," said Ike Lee of AnC Bio Vermont.
The five-story building will alter the view for John and Sylvia Ward, whose home overlooks the property and Lake Memphremagog. But they welcome it.
"We've lost a lot in Newport, as you can see just by driving through the city," John Ward said.
The couple has lived in town for more than 50 years and says they're literally prepared to look the other way.
"It's something that Newport needs. And my view won't be destroyed because I have a good shot of the lake and a good shot of the bay," Ward said.
Developers expect locals to have a good shot at landing a job as the project moves forward. They estimate it will create 500-700 new positions.
"The overall standard of living goes up and I think we have a much more robust, dynamic community," Stenger said.
Construction here on the Northeast Kingdom campus is slated to begin early this summer.
The project still needs permits that are dependent on architectural plans. The project is just one part of Stenger's development project taking place across the Northeast Kingdom.