Maine Real Estate Insider Share:  
  September 09, 2014  
  Gardiner Growth Initiative and Creative Credit Enhancement Programs Spur New Investment in a Historic Downtown
By Scott Morelli, City Manager, City of Gardiner

Photo courtesy of Fox Photography Services (

Photo courtesy of Gardiner Main Street

Photo courtesy of Angimarie Photography
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Once regarded as the last exit before the I-295 toll on the way to Augusta, Gardiner has undergone a conscious effort to re-brand, retool, and re-position its historic downtown shopping crescent and convenient Libby Hill Business Park as an exciting alternative and a gateway for Maine businesses into the 120,000+ resident Augusta / Waterville micropolitan area.  Our Grow With Gardiner campaign represents partnerships between the City’s office of Planning and Development and community organizations like Gardiner Main Street, the Johnson Hall Performing Arts Center, and Gardiner’s strong network of volunteers and non-profit community leaders has crafted a clear and credible message for Maine and the world: Gardiner has been business friendly since 1754, and has lots to offer to families, entrepreneurs, or larger commercial entities looking for growth.

“We have a clear locational advantage for new central Maine business development,” says Gardiner’s economic development director Nate Rudy, “and a supportive climate for business, with local decision making and a host of incentives.”  The recent announcement of the Gardiner Growth Initiative, a public-private collaboration to offer forgivable loans, grants, and support for expanding Maine brands and businesses, attracted Frosty’s Donuts as part of their expansion from one Brunswick location to several around the state.  Gardiner has also attracted Spindleworks Studios, a non-profit art center for adults, and the Wellness Center, a medical marijuana dispensary serving the central Maine district.  Gardiner also hopes to become home to a high-end, Maine-sourced hard cider brand, and is the locus of a burgeoning food hub.  Efforts to promote the Libby Hill Business Park on I-295 include a “Free Land” program, which finances the cost of a pre-permitted commercial lot with tax refunds from TIF credit enhancement agreements.  A recent effort to promote downtown infill development in the upper stories through aggressive, targeted credit enhancements for office space, leasable residential units, elevators, and a hotel has also been approved by City Council.

Rudy, also a real estate broker with Brookewood Realty in Manchester, notes the excellent residential and commercial property values in Gardiner and surrounding communities along the Cobbossee Lakes watershed.  “It’s not hard to see the value--we’re an hour away from downtown Portland, and for the price of a condo there you can own waterfront property on a lake or pond here.”

FMI please contact the City of Gardiner Office of Planning Development: or find them on Facebook:


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