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Nordic announces construction managers for salmon farm

Construction to start upon approval of submitted permit applications
Jun 06, 2019

Belfast — Nordic Aquafarms Inc. has named Gilbane Building Co. and Landry French Construction as construction managers for the proposed Nordic Aquafarms land-based salmon farm in Belfast.

The 850,000-square-foot aquaculture production facility will be built in two phases, with the first phase expected to be operational in 2021, Nordic said in a press release June 5. It is to be situated on 54 acres of land off Route 1 in Belfast. Construction is expected to begin once permit applications are approved, according to the release.

”We are committed to delivering high-quality seafood with low environmental impact and take pride in the sustainable practices embedded into every facet of our business," Nordic President Erik Heim said in the release. "By partnering with Gilbane, an experienced builder of food production facilities and a company that shares our commitment to environmental stewardship, we’re confident that the Belfast site will serve as the future of land-based seafood production in the United States.

"We are excited for the opportunity to expand the relationship with Gilbane as a national service provider to include future projects as (Nordic) grows,” he said.

The proposed site layout calls for nine buildings, including hatcheries, freshwater juvenile facilities (smolt buildings), grow-out facilities, and peripheral support facilities such as office space, a central utility plant, and a water treatment plant.

Electrical infrastructure will include substation and back-up generation with fuel storage and fish processing. According to the press release, Gilbane has experience constructing Constellation Brands’ 983.5-acre brewery expansion project in Mexicali, Mexico, as well as the LEED-NC Gold-certified, 260,000-square-foot Kerry Innovation and Technical Center in Beloit, Wisconsin. Located on a 124-acre tract, the campus for Kerry’s worldwide food production houses over 800 employees.

Mike O’Brien, head of Gilbane’s Boston and Northern New England offices, said, “... Gilbane will leverage our vast experience in constructing complex and varied food production facilities in making (Nordic's) mission a reality, while Landry/French, a leading contractor in Maine, will bring the local knowledge and key relationships to this important project. We share Nordic Aquafarms’ commitment to sustainability and minimal environmental impact and are extremely excited to break ground on this pioneering project.”

About Gilbane Building Co.

Founded in 1873 and still a privately held, family-owned company, Gilbane has 48 office locations worldwide. Gilbane has served as a leading construction manager in Northern New England for nearly 50 years, serving private and public clients throughout the region including Bank of America, the University of New Hampshire and Concord Hospital. For more information, visit Gilbane’s website at

About Landry/French Construction Co.

Landry/French is a leading commercial building contractor providing construction management, design/build, and general contracting services to a diverse range of clients including health care, commercial, corporate, financial, housing, and education. Landry/French is a 100% employee-owned company in Scarborough. For more information, visit



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Comments (5)
Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Jun 09, 2019 11:59

The construction jobs could have been large if the money remained local, like a company like Cianbro.   Cianbro builds in Maine for projects in Texas!  Why would Texas look to a Maine construction company?  Reed and Reed is another construction company in Maine.  I suppose the $70 million project building the new bridge between the proposed aqua farms makes the unqualified though, right?


Choosing company's from out of state just starts to shine lights on NA business plans.  I could go on and on about how Mainers support Mainers Eric, however being from Miami you wouldn't understand.


Did you ever consider that Maine's DOT had to cancel the road projects because your so called poverty levels are not really true?  It is called supply and demand!   The economy in Maine's building community right now puts prices higher because there is more work then companies can produce.


Wait until NA discovers the "add-ons" put forward by a company from our of state!  When they learn how weather can increase costs like Maine companies know.


Shame on you for saying that "buy local" is a joke.  When you have been here long enough to understand why you deserve the shame, you will understand the logic and common sense of why you deserve that shame.


Using your numbers for building a 3000 sq ft home for $250,000 works out to $83.33 per square foot.  Given Miami has an average price per square foot of $228, I'd say you have NO room to argue about Maine contractors.


As a side bar....Tractor Supply's permit process went pretty smooth in all honesty.  Matter of fact you can find the same names of your so called "boo-birds" that lobbied for protectionism in that project too.


PS Nordic WILL do what ever they need to do.  Who knows.....maybe they will partner with Whole Oceans??  That decision is up to them and only them.  Doesn't matter one bit what you and I think!

Posted by: Eric Schrader | Jun 08, 2019 02:52

I think the difference between Whole Oceans and NA is the amount of "blowback" from the small contingent of Belfast/Northport residents that will stop at nothing to stop NA. Bucksport wholeheartedly supported Whole Oceans because of the economic benefit of replacing the shut down paper mill and reclaiming the land to include an expansion of the Maritime Academy at Castine. The City of Belfast has a ongoing lawsuit initiated by a Belfast resident that has cost the City just shy of $ 58k to date and by the time the case is resolved, it will probably be closer to $ 100k or our tax dollars. The number of "operating" jobs creating will not have a major impact on the employment base, but the construction jobs over the course of the build out could be substantial. Then, we have all the ancillary services that will be ongoing to supply the NA with materials and services. The Belfast Boo Birds are those that consider it a hobby to oppose all things "progressive" for the City. I've talked about the Armageddon scenario if athenaHealth, On Process and B of A leave town and leave 400k SF of space empty. Significant job loss and a major blow to property tax revenue. The point is diversify your economic base while you have the luxury of time. Just look at the hoops that Tractor Supply had to go thru for approval. That should have been a slam dunk.

Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Jun 07, 2019 13:45

I agree completely Eric, but shame on anyone, who in the beginning, was praising how many local jobs the project creates.  Just like saying the hotel owners will make out when in reality crews will rent one house instead.  It is bait and switch mentality to get the citizens to buy into the idea of "local".  The crew renting the house will go to Hannafords and buy groceries so the restaurants are not making three meals a day.

We already had the living below the poverty line debate with you coming from an area with higher poverty then Searsport.

I'd like to see the aqua farm grow but would rather it be with honesty Eric.  That's as simple as it can be stated.

What is Nordic doing differently then Whole Ocean?  Why is NA still waiting for permits?

Why would a boob bird champion the aqua farming of Whole Ocean?

Posted by: Eric Schrader | Jun 07, 2019 05:10

Nordic AquaFarms is free to select whoever they want to build the facility. Who is to say that these companies won't have local sub-contractors and purchase materials locally. The contractor base, especially in residential construction, is not exactly world class. I know first hand, building a 3000 sf home and pumping over $ 250k into the local economy. Maine needs licensure of general contractors similar to many states like Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, SC, etc. The problem is that most companies probably couldn't pass the 16 hour test that you have to take to become either a residential, building or general contractor. This "buy local" campaign is a joke. Look at MDOT having to cancel all kinds of road projects because the estimates where out of the ballpark. Lack of competition is Maine's worst enemy, but when communities like Belfast chase Walmart away in 2004 to perpetuate protectionism, then you end up with a 25% of the population living at or below the poverty level. So Nordic, do what you need to do and don't pay attention to the Boo Birds.

Posted by: Kenneth W Hall | Jun 06, 2019 16:44

To bad NA had to add Gilbane and not keep the jobs in Maine.  Landry/French is great but why not give it to at least Cianbro?  Nah, lets let some of those construction funds slip out to a world-wide company.  Belfast and Maine don't need 100% of the construction costs to stay local right?  I have no doubt the southern part of the State of Maine will appreciate the company from down south getting the building contract and no one local.  I have no doubt there will be some token local laborer jobs but follow the money and see what percentage stays local.

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