for the first time since it opened in 1989, the incubator building in this city's economic development zone is 100 percent occupied.
The NFC Development Corp. assured that Thursday afternoon when it approved a $66,000 loan to the Maryland Maple Industrial Center, operator of the incubator. The money will be used by the center to modify three bays, totaling 9,375 square feet, which will be used by Coutts Library Services. The company, now based in Lewiston, provides books and bibliographic information to libraries throughout the United States.
Pat C. Ruggirello, manager of the center, said that the three bays to be occupied by Coutts will mean that all 16 bays at the incubator will be occupied. He said the 35 employees that Coutts will bring to the site will double the number of employees at the incubator.
Ruggirello said that although the incubator is designed to allow companies to test market their products in the United States with an eye to expanding elsewhere, some tenants have stayed and have wanted to expand in the incubator.
He said that eight companies now are in the building while six that started there have moved out over the period of years.
"Some of these have gone out of business," he said, "but every one that moves in . . . found it to be a great location being so close to the Canadian border."
Maryland Maple will repay the loan to the NFC Development Corp. over a seven year period at an interest rate of 5 percent. The center will collect the rent starting at $3,000 a month and rising to $4,500 a month in the seventh year.
While discussing the loan City Council President Andrew Walker, a member of the development corporation, asked Ruggirello if the tenants at the incubator were hiring residents of the economic development zone, located in the North End of the city, as they are mandated to do.
Clara Dunn, minority business specialist at the zone, said that the rules for hiring have been changed. Originally the hiring was supposed to be 20 percent would come from residents of the zone. The state changed that to 20 percent minorities from the county.
She said the zone staff is monitoring the hiring practices.