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February 5, 2018
From the Editor

Portland's on fire, but don't ignore Bangor

This issue is focused on greater Portland and contains a good deal of information about the booming real estate market and new corporate headquarters.

But I'd like to redirect your attention to a city two hours to the north: Bangor.

We'd gotten criticism in the past that we weren't paying attention to Maine's second-largest city. The criticism was warranted, in my opinion, and as part of an overall effort by the staff at Mainebiz to get better acquainted with different parts of the state, I was eager to deepen my knowledge of Bangor. Earlier this year in this space, I pledged in writing to get to Bangor twice a month.

Me and my big mouth. I'm getting offers of coffee, lunch, tours and even office space. And I'm loving it.

Part of my education was to go to the Bangor Chamber of Commerce's annual dinner, held at the Cross Insurance Center. It's billed as Maine's largest sit-down dinner, with 1,200 guests.

You know it's a who's who of businesspeople in Maine when you spot not only most of the state's bank presidents, but also Royce Cross, whose family name is on the arena.

Prior to the event, I had a chance to drive around Bangor, Brewer and Hampden.

Bangor's downtown is lively and I noted people waiting for parking spots. But I took particular notice of Bangor Saving Bank's future headquarters, now under construction on the waterfront. The bank will incorporate an older, refurbished building, which also houses an office of the accounting firm BerryDunn, and then will have ground-up construction next door. It looks out toward the Penobscot River, but also the highly successful Waterfront Concerts venue.

We who are based in southern Maine are fortunate in that many people from further north do business here and are in the Portland area regularly. But it was noted by more than one person I talked to at the chamber event that quite a few people from Portland were making the trek north to Bangor. Another good sign.

Meanwhile, in Portland

I'd be remiss if I didn't tout two stories that say a lot about the real estate market in southern Maine. Senior Writer Renee Cordes does an admirable job laying out all the development activity happening on the waterfront in Portland — defined here as development along Commercial Street. Tilson Technology, one of Maine's fastest growing companies, has already moved into its new headquarters at 16 Middle St. And WEX Inc. will move its headquarters to the corner of Hancock and Thames streets by late next year. Combined, the two properties, which are a stone's throw from the Ocean Gateway, will bring several hundred jobs to Portland's East End. At the other end of the office spectrum, Staff Writer Maureen Milliken identifies a number of coworking spaces that are developing startups — perhaps the future WEXes and Tilsons.

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