Portland firm wins national award for enviro clean-up & redevelopment

Northland Enterprises won a Phoenix Award, along with the City of Sanford, for excellence in brownfield redevelopment.

(Portland, Maine) The redevelopment of an abandoned mill building in Sanford, Maine won national recognition in September, with a Phoenix Award going to Northland Enterprises of Portland for outstanding execution in cleaning up a former brownfield site and transforming it into a significant community asset.

Standing in for Northland Enterprises in Chicago were Sanford city manager Steve Buck, city planner Jim Gulnac and Jim Nimon, executive director of the Sanford Regional Economic Growth Council. The awards ceremony was part of the National Brownfields Training Conference, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and attracting government and business leaders throughout the nation. Northland’s work on the Sanford Mill was completed in August of 2013, and redevelopment from the beginning of the project was in close cooperation with city officials. Gulnac paid tribute to the public/private partnership with Northland.

“In the business of brownfield redevelopment, this is like winning the Oscar,” Gulnac said. “Northland’s participation far exceeded their huge financial contribution. They were patient and persistent, considering all the bureaucratic red tape, and they were ‘all in’ from the start of the project. This was a great partnership.”

The redevelopment of Sanford Mill took seven years from start to finish, according to Josh Benthien, a partner at Northland Enterprises. Located at 61 Washington Street, Sanford Mill is a mixed-use development that includes both residential units, as well as office and retail space. It’s part of the Sanford Mill Historic District, and is the nearest mill building to the center of the city’s downtown. Benthien said that of the $12 million invested in the project, nearly $11 million went to Maine-based contractors and companies. Benthien and business partner Rex Bell commented on the Sanford Mill project in a YouTube video published earlier this summer.

Northland Enterprises also contributed $10,000 earlier this year to help with infrastructure and landscaping needs at Gateway Park. The park is an approximately 1-acre parcel that allows citizens to enjoy an overlook and waterfall near Number One Pond and the Mousam River, at the corner of Riverside Avenue and Washington Street.